THE “TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY?” QUESTION
or:  You Can’t Get The Staff — the simple pros & cons
Why not all Tuesdays?
At The Guide Dog, more demand on The Doghouse.
I’ve had to cede a very occasional second Tues. of the month, at least for the earlier part of the evening, to the South Hants. branch of CAMRA, who hold periodic AND calendar-irregular meetings there.  And that’s just at The Dog… !!
At The Wellington Arms, we’d be working round the arcane diary of their Cribbage Club’s home fixtures.  Late 2021 was tricky enough:  in 2022, there was no numerically consistent [e.g. all “Third”] Tues. available right through to July.

Why Tuesdays at all?
For…
Organizer’s prerogative!  I wanted to maintain a presence at The Dog:  I like the ‘feel’, and Gary the landlord’s enthusiasm for folk music is an incalculable bonus.
It bypasses the eyebrow-raising anomaly of running at the same time as a similar venture 1½ miles across town.
It taps into 7 to 8 people, including a good singer, who are loyal to something else on Weds.  And, under another body’s new regime, a choir attended by 3 potential Focsle-rs is now on Weds., thus worth trying to avoid, if possible.
Enough folks are regularly available.  We may be able to provide an alternative folk ‘fix’ for some ‘strays’ from the recently-defunct Ringwood Folk Club, which met every Tues.
Organizer is free to MC the events while still being able to Host/co-Host the online ones:  that maximizes his usefulness.

… zero-effect…
Most of the pro-Focsle people who couldn’t attend on Weds. also can’t on Tues., so no loss or gain.
… and against
The Welly’s availability is all over the place.  The Dog’s is consistent, but allows no expansion.
Some other comparative nearby music events are on Tuesdays.


And the case for Wednesday…
Every Weds. is available at The Welly.  (So why not meet there, every Weds.?  That’s because we still run virtual FOCSLE, very successfully, if different from the live version.  ITS [newly reduced] schedule interlaces with FOCSLE Live’s.  Organizer can be available to MC both formats, every week, if called upon).
Many folks who used to attend The Dog are likely to be still available.

… and against Weds.
We can’t use The Dog.
The Welly has the problem of having to let smokers and garden-users through.  Our recent experience there shows that such folks largely ignore the principle of ‘live’ music, and exercize their right to pass, even mid-song.  A guest duo actually complained aloud about it.  Along with other tiny niggles about the place, it feels like not the hoped-for solution to the small-room issue.
Very similar music event close by, though slightly further at The Welly than at the The Dog and mitigated by our Weds. meetings being only monthly for most of the year (‘Fifth’ Weds. occur roughly quarterly, and we may cease running those).

I get that it looks / sounds a nightmare to keep track of, but:
a) a fair proportion of people will have other things on, on one day or the other, so they’d be following only one weekday, or the other, through the month, or the year.  If you can’t usually make any Weds., “second and fourth Tues.”, even with a VERY occasional venue relocation, or late start, is miles easier to follow.  If you’re otherwise engaged on Tues., “third Weds.” is far easier, too [a pattern adopted by many a club across the country].  That should cater for most of our turnout.
b) seen on a monthly calendar, it’s a neatly alternating pattern, with some activity every week.
I’ll own the complete t/table isn’t so easy to REMEMBER, but that’s the point of calendars, etc. (in whatever form) and why we send e-alerts.
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:
    2022’s schedule is a bit like 3-dimensional chess!  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 earlier polling of 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 20s, even after 27 months), 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’m happy to be back.  Because of the pub’s scale, it stuck to an earlier COVID regimen, precluding singing folks meeting there, for far longer than other pubs.  In this “after time”, we can’t resume there on Weds., anyway:  we used to meet on Weds. because it was the latest night in the week that the pub didn’t count as “busy”.  On Thursdays, they boosted a previously quiet-ish night by serving curry [well-recommended, but popular enough to make The Doghouse unavailable].  Post-Lockdowns, they’ve moved that night to Weds., presumably because now Thursdays are as full as they can safely cope with, just with drinkers.  This has concertina’d all the music events into Mons. & Tues.
All this means that those who wish to keep supporting us regularly could do so only by getting used to alternating days, or by attending one weekday or the other.  Over time, I’d hope those two [somewhat different] ‘pools’ of folks would generate their own critical mass.

    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, even on their reduced frequency, caused by a different aspect of life.  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, even though my caring duties have now ceased, easing the onus on them considerably.  I’d have to have given up all the Zooms, to run ‘live’ Weds. singarounds, esp. in the winter when Jon is back in India.  Since first writing this, we have added a couple of people to our admin. team, but they don’t want to commit to weekly or fortnightly M.C.-ing.  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… >  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>

    The Pandemic-induced BIG BREAK, with its other changes, was an obvious cue to reschedule.  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 was very transferable.  For the club to bed down again at the Dog, we needed a ‘pool’ of folks who had Tuesdays free, and this seems to be building better at The Guide Dog than at the Welly.  That said, there are about half-a-dozen who prefer the latter due to being able to walk to it, so it COULD build its own core, too.

    While less sure now that it will work out, I saw the Welly’s larger room as FOCSLE Music’s back-up venue.  It could all fall apart, but my longer-term plan was to run mostly singarounds, and perhaps a monthly local guest, at the Dog, while establishing a regular Wednesday pattern at the Welly for bigger draws when our guest programme resumed in full.  To assure that, it made sense to get our feet under the table now, while their Weds. diary was quiet, in the hope of priority when there was more demand on the room.  That might yet morph into a mostly DIY FOCSLE Music on Tuesdays, and some kind of guest-led ‘strand’ on Wednesdays.
    I haven’t mentioned, except in passing, my house, with some advantages over both the pubs, incl. cost-free use on Fridays [or ANY night], great acoustics, the fact that we wouldn’t have to negotiate round my elderly mother’s personal needs [as we would have done, until recently], easier parking, etc.  Meets there were subject to clashes wth bigger events, and were inadequately supported, thus died stillborn, for reasons undetermined.  More than one of the Pandemic out-FOCSLE coterie have enthused about, and mooted incorporating, garden Sings (for which it had been one of the 9 venues) into FOCSLE Music’s formal schedule when clement, with the now much COVID-safer option of being able to retreat indoors, if the weather forces us to.  This is an idea we may adopt, but probably without the element of its being on the old Fo’c’sle F C’s meet-night.  More likely, we’ll run it on Tues., when we can’t use The Doghouse.
    Back to FM What’s On…