This is starting to happen a bit more, so I thought it might be useful to jot down a FAQ. On the other hand, I tend to be a bit conflicted, so this FAQ might not make a lot of sense.
What does Sally like about calling ceilidhs?
- I like lots of people having fun dancing, and the smug feeling I made that happen
- I like being the centre of attention, and compliments afterwards ;-)
- I really really like ceilidhs, so I like being someone who makes more ceilidhs happen, in a 'pass it on' kind of way.
- Calling is good fun, I like doing it. I like thinking about the ability of the dancers, and the mood, and how tired they are, and the band, and trying to pick cute and unusual dances.
What doesn't Sally like about calling ceilidhs?
- I don't like too much pressure. I've gently steered away from wedding ceilidhs because of the fear around 'this is the Most Important Event of My Life and you called it badly'
- I don't like not being able to dance. I like dancing much more than I like calling, if I end up calling all the time I do less dancing.
- I don't like not being able to spend time with my friends. If it's a party or event that i would otherwise be invited to, spending the whole evening calling is different to dancing most dances and hanging around and chatting a bit.
- I don't like stressing about money. By which I mean, I've entirely lived on pay as you earn tax and not worrying. I'm very pro-tax, so I don't think I'd be comfortable just taking money for calling in cash and not paying tax on it. But I'm very anti-faff, so I really don't want to have to start doing Accounts, and Tax Returns, just because I called three ceilidhs in a year and earnt about 100 quid. I don't know what the law is about things like 'give money to charity and I'll do this' or 'just pay my travel expenses and give me a bottle of wine', but it feels slightly against my pro-tax stance? On the other hand, I believe in things like unions, and a fair wage for fair work, and don't want to be accidently undercutting all the hard working callers who need to be paid to survive.
- I don't like causing faff, if a band usually comes with a caller. If you're booking a band that have a regular caller they usually work with, I would much rather you used them than broke up a regular thing to use me.
- I'm not sure how good I am yet. I have done a lot of calling for clever Cambridge types who do a lot of folk dance. I haven't done a lot of calling for people who don't do a lot of dancing. This is a skill I want to build up, but it's something that makes me a bit nervous. Hence the mostly-avoiding wedding ceilidhs thing.
- I don't have any PA yet. You may find out it is nearly as expensive and faffy just to hire a microphone and speakers as it is to hire a caller with their own PA. I really should try and get some (hmm, it's my 30th soon, maybe that would be a sensible thing to ask for... I want a microphone you can walk about with - maybe even a crazy head mic so you can dance! - and just a speaker to make it loud... but I don't know much about PA)
So, will Sally call your ceilidh?
- If she isn't busy already, and is expecting to be vaguely in the right place at the right time, the answer is almost certainly yes. But...
- she doesn't have any PA, and would like at least a microphone.
- she likes dancing and being sociable, and would be happier to call only half a ceilidh
- she is only an amateur, and while she calls quite good ceilidhs this isn't her day job. If everyone ends up out of time with the music and each other, err, she's still learning.