Who's a plonker then?

Re: Roy Swift, Drummer, Rioters Dixieband

Article = "Doom & Gloom Debate"
Quote = "bands mainly playing the same tunes in four/four with a plonking banjo creating a musical straightjacket"

I resent this remark, Roy, besides all those Banjo jokes, do you know how much you have hurt all the steady plonkers out there, do you realise, we will be the first affected by the demise of trad jazz, we will have nowhere to go, nowhere to play, cast into the street, busking George Formby on corners. We may be too old to take up rock and roll, and anyway most of us only know four chords and have short fingers. Nine out of ten trad drummers are failed banjo players anyway, so there!! 

Bert Schroeder, WirrOrleans

Sorry to have upset Bert Schroeder re banjos.

I would of course have excluded Bert, and Gerry Cambridge from Bolton, who plays in the 'Rioters band with me, and others if I were to have gone to the trouble of listing them.
BUT there are others .........!!!! I was referring to those who play an incessant four-four with no break in the rhythm, same chord for several bars and no passing chords.

I am not a failed banjo player, by the way, but an occasional piano player, mainly for my own pleasure these days !!!
That's what makes me a musical drummer !!! --- and one that occasionally takes chord books to gigs for the benefit of
those in the band who need them.

Hope that puts me back in Bert's good books. Maybe I'll get a gig or two from him sometime !!!!

Regards, Roy

Hi Fred, now I've contributed to the stir in the Doom and Gloom debate, I can't confess to being a major fan of the banjo, but accept that everyone has a part to play in our music. But to defend Bert, I heard some time ago, that a plonker was slang term for a piece of wood used for smoothing out items of clothing, as used in the laundry/dry cleaning industry!!! Now I heard this some years ago, when the term was popular on a certain TV comedy show. There was a debate as to wether * or not the word was rude. However, I heard this a few years ago, when living down in the smoke, so I can't vouch for its authenticity. Can anyone shed further light on the matter ( I know it's nowt to do with Doom and Gloom, or Jazz in general), Best wishes, 

Andy Henderson (Hopefully, not a plonker). 

* Here's a  definition for you Andy -
 WETHER- A castrated ram lamb. Term also used for castrated male goats.
- Fred

Hi Fred,

I'm reminded of the apocryphal story of the banjo player (could it have been Bert?) who parked his car, unlocked in Liverpool, leaving his banjo clearly on view on the back seat. When he returned to his car, he found 2 banjos on the back seat!

Cheers, Phil Yates

The old ones are the best Phil. No more banjo jokes please, there's more than enough on the web already - Fred

Dear Fred,

It's always good to have a new topic for discussion and amusement - it gets all sorts of comments creeping out of the woodwork! A friend of mine has always contested that a plonker is the correct name for a cafetiere coffee jug, because of the action required before pouring the coffee.

But on the subject of banjo players, I'm sure that many of us remember the regular events at various jazz festivals when one word was enough to either fill a venue (or empty it, depending on your musical tastes) - BANJORAMA - when all the banjo players from the participating bands were brought together to amaze the paying punters with their plonking dexterirty.

And finally, how many bands can your readers recall with not one, but two, banjo players? I'll start you off with Bob Oliver's Hot Seven from Birmingham.

Keep up the good work!

Jim Callander.

In reply to Phil Yates = finding banjos in cars,

I did find one in a rubbish skip! True!
I followed a skip lorry one day after seeing what looked like banjo head stock sticking out of the top, Im think I gave the driver 5.00 for it, I think it was named Old Joe, and made by olivetti for the cheap end of the market, a plectrum, it still had one string fitted and it was in tune!!!, one rainy day while playing at a funeral it got wet and the fingerboard came away, so I stuck it back on and sold it on Ebay as a wall hanger, 

Bert Schroeder


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