Court Inn Session
Wednesday evenings from 9:00, organised by the University Folk Society but open to all. The first hour or so is usually easier or more frequently played tunes than the latter part. There’s good beer, too.
Session moved to Market Tavern
This DUFS session has moved to the Market Tavern. Still Wed 9 to 11pm. Focus is on tunes from each year’s 25-or-so-page tunebook, but you can start up another tune/set.
Weekly sessions held by the university folk society, starting at 9pm. See http://www.dur.ac.uk/folk.soc/sessions.php for more info.
The Little People
This is the secret session of the student kiddie tradheads in Durham, an accredited Home of Hogwarts.
You pick your way through the noise, fug and swaying clientele in the front bar, purchase a drink and pick your way upstairs to the upper chamber at the back. You are startled by your own presumptuous entry into another world, a dead silent one which is under a spell. Then you realise it is not dead silent, but contains student kiddie tradheads who are tranquilly but untiringly playing their way through their Tunebook with the sort of eyes-down purposefulness that rebukes. It is like watching people sitting their Finals.
It is like the experience of coming upon Diana and her nymphs bathing, in the moments allowed one before the latter cause you to be eaten by your own dogs. But then I did Classics, which fills one’s head with lugubrious and esoteric fancies for evermore.
So far, however, I have found these strange beings to be quite harmless. Indeed, if you stay long enough and drink with precision, you might be privileged to see other secrets of the glade. The Babycham Fawn might disport itself in the midst, or the Otherworldly Pigs of Annwn come trotting through, or visionary psychedelic fungi expand their parasols out across the hall.
Responsibility for the Tunebook changes hands quite often, I believe, with the tune selection being subject to the taste of whoever last got the task. There is thus an ongoing struggle to the death between G Minor tunes and nice tunes, and I suppose their puppet-masters (or mistresses). There could be a droll campus novel in this. N.B. I realise that these latter statements are in the nature of high-handed assumptions, but I thought them too good to leave out.
To conclude on a more pedestrian note - the etiquette for outsiders is, simply, to give precedence to the University Folk Society members and their closer circle, taking a literal or figurative back seat and not crowding or drowning them out. Their music can be remarkably good, and the tunebooks (fairly eclectic in their sourcing) contain among the standards some lesser-known tunes that are well worth having.
Market Tavern Session in Winter
I’m visiting Durham from abroad in December. 10 years ago I used to join Dun Cow sessions, but it seems to have come to a halt. I know this is long in advance, but what are the chances of a session happening on Wednesday the 23rd of December at Market Tavern?
Try the Shakespeare!
Re: Market Tavern
The Market Tavern session (Durham U Folk Society) stopped a couple of years ago. During academic termtime, some students may gather at the Shakespeare on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays, but the vibrancy of this organisation varies year by year. See their website http://community.dur.ac.uk/folk.soc/