Hell is Other People

August 25, 2010

All around Notso Bigtown this afternoon I noticed posters advertising mass ukelele sessions for beginners. Unfortunately, the timing and location are terrible: out of cycling range, realistically, and on a day and a time that the other half has the car.

‘It’s a shame,’ I said. ‘It looks like it could have been fun.’

The other half just made a face. ‘I suppose it would mainly be for children,’ I said, but that wasn’t really his objection.

‘Whether it’s children or not, at the end of the day, it’s still going to be a room full of people playing ukeleles.’

Till my Fingers Bleed

April 22, 2010

Alert readers will remember that it’s been just over a month since I got my new ukulele and I have absolutely no doubt that you’re all waiting with bated breath to find out how I’m getting on. Well, I have been practising it regularly (it strikes me that if I’d put as much effort into practising any of the many instruments I’d tried and failed to learn as a child, I might actually have got somewhere by now. Truly, youth is wasted on the young), although much of that time is spent checking on the progress of and admiring my callouses – typing currently feels a little wierd where I’ve been hardening my fingertips by holding down the strings. I haven’t quite mastered Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now – although surely it’s only a matter of time – but I did eventually find the excellent (but sadly unfinished) Uke School and finally got to the point where I could not only play a song with chord changes, but play it at the speed at which it was normally sung. Okay, so the song in question is ‘Happy Birthday’, but everybody’s got to start somewhere. So last night, as I was demonstrating my prowess to the other half (he was not impressed), he decided to look up the Guardian’s birthday column to find someone whose birthday it was so I could sing it for them, because it’s a bit wierd singing it to anyone else.

Which is how we found ourselves last night sitting at the kitchen table, singing Happy Birthday to the Queen. Truly, life does not get much more rock and roll than this.

For Breakfast, it’s Usually Muesli…

March 21, 2010

Except today when a slight catering crisis, coinciding with my birthday, meant we very nearly had devil’s food cake for breakfast in bed this morning. In the end, sanity prevailed and we had cinnamon raisin toast followed by devil’s food cake. Mmm. And then played my new ukelele*. I can now just about do the chords for Sweet Home Alabama (where the skies are so blue) but my ambition is to learn the ukulele version of Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now. Not because I’m a massive Smith’s fan, just because the thought amuses me. It’s easily done

I’ve a feeling that learning to play the ukelele at my age is the downshifter’s version of buying a Harley Davidson. Still, it’s less likely to kill me, is better for the environment, and means I get to watch loads of YouTube videos of very large men playing comically small guitars.

Admit it, secretly, in your heart of hearts, you want a ukulele too. Or have you already got one?

* Or ukulele – even Google, which knows everything, doesn’t seem to know the correct spelling so I’ve decided to standardise on alternating between the two.