Tuesday, August 10, 2010

More tunes in Feakle

Session at Pepper's Bar - NOT the one so scurrilously described.
Sessions have a very particular etiquette which can get you in trouble if you don't know what it is. It's one of those things, though, that nobody tells you. If you do something wrong you just feel an atmosphere. You won't be asked to leave unless you're really out of order (dancing on the table, shouting, vomiting) but you might be frozen out. Told you're out of tune. Or sometimes everyone stops playing until you go. I was once listening to a session where every time the victim started playing, three other musicians set off a cacophony of notes. Thankfully that has never happened to me, but I know people who have come a cropper because some bollix thinks he's the king of world, or some queen bitch has an inflated view of herself and no manners.

Nice spot for a tune.
This all makes for interesting people watching at a festival where drink is taken and some people don't give a toss anyway. Change Of Session is a good one. Two or three musicians are booked by the publican and get paid to run the session. €50 is the present going rate, though I suspect if you're A Somebody as opposed to an Ordinary Local you get more. So we're in one of the pubs (this is going to be annonymous) with a couple of musicians from the 2.30 slot still going strong when the 5 o'clock boys arrive. There's shuffling. The 2.30s pretend they don't know they have to be out of the way for the newbies. The newbies go outside for a bit. It's 5.30 and 2.30s are not giving up. The bar is full of musicians waiting to play some tunes with the newbies, instruments still in their cases, and there's an air of waiting.

Attentive audience.
Eventually the three newbies come in the door all smiles.
'Am I moving you out of your seats lads?'
'Oh. You want to sit here.'
'We usually do.' Smile smile. An age putting away instruments. Change of the guard.

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