Are you an old fart?

Are you an old fart?

I’m 41 but people tell me I don’t look a day over 56. [insert groaning emoticon here] People also tell me I’m fortunate to live in the Portland Oregon area with all its lively Irish music going on, which I guess is true, but something else I’ve noticed of late is that the average age of these musicianers seems to be early 40s; and what few younger musicians there are mostly seem to have arrived from other parts of the country, too. This makes me wonder about the future of the music around here; are people going to start playing music from the seat of their Hoveround Personal Mobility Vehicles someday?

Not that ITM being played by ancient people is anything new, but it seems like you should have a corresponding vanguard of youngsters taking up the stuff, which doesn’t seem to be happening around here. In the 90s the sessions seemed to mostly start up mid to late evening, too; now it’s at family-friendly hours, early as 3 in the afternoon.

Is your scene similarly greying? Anybody taking steps to rectify this situation? Davey Matthias, a guitarist who backs up Randall Bays, told me about how he and his fiddling wife do lots of free gigs just to get the word out about the music in the Carolinas, so there’s that. A friend was telling me about School of Music ran by Joanie Madden and Rose Flanagan in New Jersey, with something like 300 students - a regular college of ITM. Is that some CCE project?

Re: Are you an old fart?

i’m 22 and i consider myself ancient, i find it frankly worrying that clapped out geriatrics over 25 are wasting their precious remaining years diddling tunes from fiddles

Posted .

Re: Are you an old fart?

At 41 you are still a youngster.

Re: Are you an old fart?

» Is your scene similarly greying? Anybody taking steps to rectify this situation? «

I am considering an auburn rinse and a Joe Derrane comb-over.

You write as though North America was at the centre of things Irish traditional. No dearth of youngsters taking up the music in the ould sod as far as I can tell.

Re: Are you an old fart?

Yes.

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I used to be with it…then they changed what "it" was

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What part of my post suggested that, Steve? All I wrote was that the locals seem more and more long in the tooth, and that people have told me it’s a good town for ITM, and wondered if anyone else had noticed the same in their locality.

I’ve seen all the fresh young faces on the telly, until they invent a teleportation booth they could all be in Timbuktu for all it matters to me. Irish people showing a strong interest in Irish music? You don’t say.

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There might be a coast-availability issue. I’m a Bostonian, and the scene is quite young - perhaps "adult young," but still nowhere near gray-hair range. New York does seem to be overflowing with young musicians. Portland (a la Maine) has also got its fair share of spry folk playing the music. Maybe being closer to the ould sod has something to do with it?

—Dan

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Re: Are you an old fart?

I’m old at heart.

Re: Are you an old fart?

Kevin, given that everyone under the age of 30 in Portlandia is in a band, there are very few younger musicians with free time to squander on ephemera like traditional music. When they aren’t "rehearsing", they are out roaming the neighborhoods looking into ‘free’ boxes, foraging for urban fruit, butchering chicken/goats/other backyard livestock, and making fermented food projects. (No. 1 daughter just texted me a photo of a gigantic cabbage that is destined for the kraut crock. She has no free time; she’s hunkering down for winter.)

There does seem to be a healthy population of old time players, though. (Stroll through Stickerville: tiny Irish camp; acres of old time.) But you’re right about ITM.

I’ve noticed the same thing about dances—mostly old farts in our area. Robust old farts, but still…

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Doesn´t Kevin Burke live in Portland ?
Is he ever seen at sessions there ?

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I thought I had a copyright on that one….😉

Of course I am an Old Fart. but intellectually I refuse to accept the mind set that engenders

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Yes, sometimes this other Kevin, whoever he is, shows up at one session, but only rarely.

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Because of the demise of my old session, I now go to one in a different pub. In the other pub, the old farts of the session were surrounded by old fart punters, a generally quiet bunch. In the new pub, I guess because of the proximity of local colleges, the old farts of the session are surrounded by a variety of youngsters engaging in a number of mating rituals. I find it more important than ever to sit facing only my fellow musicians, as these activities are often somewhat distracting.

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The only part of that country usa that I have repeatedly been to is Oregon. There were a lot of farts there and some were old farts like Don Younger for instance (not a musician but a bar owner- similar sort of thing…) anyway here at the navel of the world I see people of all ages playing the bloody music and anyway older humans are respected and referred to as elders by the yoof/ yoot/ youth so no I’m not an old fart (we all thought Rod Stewart was though when were punks in 1977!)

No! But maybe a trifle tired & emotional?

I bought my main iconoclastic baritone uke in some music shop in Portland. So it was the city of roses that promoted my single handed assault on the tradition of session wrecking by backers on strange doodahz!

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I’m leaning toward old fartiness.

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I hope old fartiness isn’t offended….

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To get back to the original topic, I find that if I avoid milk products before the session, I can avoid the dreaded "South Wind."

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You probably need a cane then, Michael…and I’m in the same boat you are.

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Odd split in our session: about half the gang is in the 45-to-60 span, the other half is 21-25. Apparently ITM missed a whole semi-generation in between (or else they’re just busy with distractions like starting careers and families) but it’s gratifying to see the younger set coming up strong.

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In our sessions you rarely get people over 25. Once it dawns on them that to play Irish music it’s not enough to drink green beer and that you actually need to put in some effort, they get discouraged and move on to ambient stuff.

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Yes, and I agree with ‘Biotunga’. People are attracted to the
music and the scene. But there’s nothing more nerdy
and unattractive than playing an instrument.

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…oh you said *over* 25, didn’t you? Well I’ll have to adjust that
and say under 35. Once you get past 35 - you’re a lost cause,
so might as well be nerdy.

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I know a lot of young farts.

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Can’t believe no-one’s mentioned this yet:

youtube.com/watch?v=ACl4ZZRJe48

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"olod fart…"

Having trouble seeing the keyboard with your aged eyes, eh? 🙂

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I guess I am but I am new (or newly returned) to this music. I grew up with it but in my teens turned to Rock n Roll. Now in my 50’s I am listening and playing the music again. I think sometimes it takes people a while to find music that is not as popular. That involves some age.

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‘Is it all in the mind - or the joints?’

It depends on how many you smoke.

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I’d never seen The South Wind as being about that.

But I’ve realised for some time that traditional tune names are all extremely rude if you look at them hard enough and think about them long enough.

Though being over 14, I don’t devote myself to looking at them for rude meanings overmuch.

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I guess I’m in my second childhood. 😉

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my car smells like old fart. i am the only driver. therefore I am an old fart. QED

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Yes.
Over here in Ye Olde London Town there seems to be a sudden resurgence of folk music clubs that attract young performers and audience, as well as the long-established units still dragging in the greybeards.
There are those of us who think this is healthy. Despite our own ages.

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I’m 22.

As a young boy when I heard the Titanic theme song I was in love with it. I seriously listened to ‘My Heart Will Go On’ a thousand times.

Years later, and around six months ago, I listened to ‘The Wind That Shakes The Barley’ (this version http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0_6NVr-da0 ). I was hooked! I downloaded the Dancing Willow CD with that song and listened the five songs nonstop.


This lead me to wondering what instrument was being played, a whistle, which I then found to my great joy only cost ten dollars. Since then, for the most part, I put down my bass and put all practice into the whistle.

But in regards to the original post it does indeed seem most musicians at the local session, which I view from a dark corner drinking beer, are 40+.

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I’m 38-and-three-quarters. I just played a gig this afternoon with a 15-year-old, for a 4th birthday party. In that context, I’m undoubtedly an old fart. But I also regularly play with a 70-year-old, in whose company I am a young whippersnapper. I fear I may have to face up to the horror of being middle-aged.

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Well, I completely resemble the OP. I’m an old fart. I’m disabled, so I get around on my Jazzy (Hoveround on steroids), play ITM and occasionally show up at sessions.

My rig has the ability to eat toes; just sayin’.

My Grandson loves playing ITM with me, but who knows if he’ll stick with it.

I have noticed that a lot of the session players here in Puddletown are long in the tooth. Wonder if this is true elsewhere

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And here I thought "F-A-R-T" was another way to spell "relief"?

Laurence