THE TUESDAY OR WEDNESDAY QUESTION
or:  You Can’t Get The Staff — the simple pros & cons
The case for Tuesday…
Organizer’s prerogative!  You wannit done different?  YOU run it…
It’s the night FOCSLE Music will meet most often when ‘normality’ returns
We’ve got to make the Weds.-to-Tues. change somewhen:  this COVID-enforced interruption seems a good time
Enough folks are regularly available
Organizer is available to MC the events [except ‘unvaxxed’ dates] while still being able to Host the online ones:  that maximizes his usefulness

… and against
The current availability is all over the place
Some other comparative nearby music events are on Tuesdays


And the case for Wednesday…
Every Weds. is available at the Welly
Many folks who used to attend the Dog are likely still available

… and against Weds.
We can’t use the Dog, though its availability is not as sure as it was
Very similar music event close by, though slightly further than at the Dog
Another cultural event draws away several known interested parties, incl. a good singer
Our online sibling runs every Weds.  Organizer would have to either change ITS meet-pattern, or sort more stand-in Hosts / MCs, which is more time-consuming
Those who’ve offered to MC so far are appreciated but, until more step up, it’s not fair to lump them, or the Organizer, with the whole rota
AND THE DETAILED EXPLANATION:
    2021’s / 2022’s schedule is a bit like 3-dimensional chess!  I get that it’s hard to follow.  In the “before times”, at The Guide Dog, we met, initially on second and fourth Weds., to avoid both another music meet there on first Weds. and the monthly duties at another club of FOCSLE Music’s co-runner.  Due to moans by a few, that such a cycle was hard to follow(!!) even with regular e-reminders, I initiated weekly events.  Even back then, Wednesdays had downsides:  one can’t avoid clashes with music events SOMEwhere, but one only 1½ miles away, of a similar nature, did raise eyebrows among newcomers from outside the area, seeking such entertainment.  We also lost about 8 folks to a local Film Society.  I myself disfavoured the choice, even pace the potential, or apparent, bad blood with the other club [though we both survived], esp. when polling our list had yielded equal support for Mon. or Tues. nights, but Weds. suited the diary of the other 50% of the team, and neither of us wanted to crew the good ship FOCSLE solo.
    That’s the pattern we broke off from.  Without foreseeing the issue that would crop up now, it seemed logical to run our virtual replacement on the night we’d recently vacated [‘warm’ audience, people needing to maintain an existing framework at a time of uncertainty, etc.]  As it’s transpired, hardly any in-person FOCSLE-ers took up Zooming, citing its lesser points, but hindsight’s a wonderful thing.  Also not predicted, but a delightful bonus, are the several international professionals who grace [some weekly, others less often but regularly] and compliment [sic] our online series.  They have other homes to go to, but they choose ours.  The turnout (sustained high 20s to low 40s), were it transferred to in-person events, would leave me gibbering with pleasure, in normal circumstances.  I COULD ease the ‘live’ dilemma by cancelling the Zooms, reducing their frequency, or by switching nights, on which many already have other cyber-loyalties.  But it would be mad and sad to lose that silver lining of the C-19 cloud.
    Organizer’s prerogative:  I like the Dog [ask me directly, to learn why], so I’d like to go back, though I can now see that possibility slipping, which would take the shine off the club as a whole [for me].  Because of the pub’s scale, it’s been sticking to the pre-July-19th COVID regimen, precluding singing folks meeting there for now.  [Stop Press:  Nic Bradford’s Gyspy Swing sessions [third Tues.] have restarted there, and, I hear, the Euro session [which had met on first Tues. at its previous venue], but these maybe allowed because there’s little singing].  In this “after time”, we couldn’t resume there on Weds., anyway, because of a busy night for the pub that was on Thursdays when we used to meet.  That means those who wish to keep supporting us would do so only by habituating to Tuesday meetings. 

    A man who knows his pubs, in stark contrast to yours truly, Jon Ellis found us The Wellington Arms.  One <quotes> “easy” solution would be to run there on Wednesdays, every one of which the Welly has free.  But, even without the other Weds. cons, that seems to count out going back to the Dog, and fully overlaps with the Zooms.  Jon has never engaged with virtual FOCSLE Music, so it’s ended up my pigeon.  Online, my back-up Hosts don’t – and, mostly, can’t – commit to the rôle all night, every week, from 8pm:  they step in when I’m called away for caring duties.  For me, this is MY “easy solution”:  I’m at home, thus don’t have the nagging background concern about my care-charge, whom I have to leave unattended to be at the pub events;  my back-up Hosts are fine with doing that small-scale support, without the tie of a whole evening, every month, so THEY’re happy to keep logging in.  I’d have to give up all the Zooms, to run ‘live’ Weds. singarounds, esp. in the winter when Jon is back in India.  And “Organizer’s prerogative” again:  with all their flaws, I actually like the Zooms.
    So, how about some of YOU running some of the in-person music? <cloud of dust and small pebbles… >  Or why not stop half the Zooms?  Good question, but I’d expect it to generate the confusion, though on a larger scale, of the folks who found second and fourth Wednesdays a hard pattern to keep track of.  (If you don’t use a paper monthly calendar, and many now don’t, you’re probably not used to the visual days-through-the-month as a pattern.  “First” Weds., or “last”, of the month is not so hard to envisage, but the changing sequence of 4- and 5-Wednesday months creates a mess in that “second-&-fourth” cycle.  So it may not be such a dumb reason as it first sounded).  To keep the Zooms running in parallel with the ‘live’ show, I’d have to persuade more online-ers to step in = more admin, for me, and it risks alienating those who feel pressed to do it.  “So, how about some of YOU running the… ?”, etc. <repeat ad nauseam>

    This pandemic-induced BIG BREAK, with its other changes, is an obvious cue to move from Wednesdays to Tuesdays.  Outwith FOCSLE Music’s auspices, a pod of musical associates had already got used to Tuesday gatherings in each others’ gardens during the lighter drier months.  While a smallish group, it’s very transferable.  If the club is to bed down again at the Dog (which I hope will happen by the Spring) we need a pool of folks who have Tuesdays free, so it strikes me as daft to be marshalling the likely people towards Wednesdays now, when we’re going to have to change fairly soon.
    The main – and only temporary – problem with Tuesday ‘live’ meets is the irregularity of occupancy by the Welly’s Cribbage Club.  (If you reckoned FOCSLE Music’s currently-planned schedule bizarre, spare a thought for the poor sap organizing the Cribbage league, involving multiple home-&-away pairings, in venues and in-demand back-rooms, all of which must be enmeshed!  No surprise that a consistent cycle of free Tuesdays at the Welly is nigh indiscernible).  Because it’s only temporary, pending getting back to the Dog, I’m all for sticking with the Welly’s quirks, and steering / tempting folks towards that.  A change of venue AND night at the same time is surely asking for trouble.  That issue is partly bypassed by making one event per month open to the unvaxxed, and one not, meaning that a large tranche of the Tues.-availables would split into two streams, each observing only a monthly date, not such a confusing pattern.
    And all THOSE threads are just one aspect of the cat’s-cradle diverting the team’s focus;  there’s also been the hoo-hah over some of that pod only recently revealing they’ve been coming to the garden Sings unvaxxed, without informing the others.  That’s the reason for the policed / unpoliced nights.  Who’d run a folk club, eh?

    I see the Welly’s larger room as FOCSLE Music’s back-up venue.  It could all fall apart, but my longer-term plan is to run mostly singarounds, and perhaps a monthly local guest, at the Dog, with then either Tuesdays-as-available at the Welly, or establishing a regular Wednesday pattern, for bigger names when our guest programme resumes.  To assure that, it makes sense to get our feet under the table now, while their Weds. diary is quiet, in the hope of priority when there’s more demand on the room.  Later, that might morph into a mostly DIY FOCSLE Music on Tuesdays, and some kind of guest-led ‘strand’ on Wednesdays.
    Back to FM What’s On…