June 8, 2013
Excitement knows no bounds in the Town Mouse household as a sign appears on Noticeboard Tree announcing ukulele workshops. It’s a sad truth that, after a promising start my ukulele has sat sad and abandoned (despite frequent prompting from the neighbour who, bless him, still believes me to have some musical talent even though I’m sure he must have heard me singing in the shower) since the mallet finger incident. The finger is long healed, but the uke never quite got taken up again – at least until now. Could this be the prompt I’ve needed for so long – a ukulele workshop, within cycling distance? Or,at least I think it’s within cycling distance. The problem is that the ink has run on the sign giving the crucial information of *where* the ukulele workshop is being held because the rain has got into the lamination and ruined it.
There has been wild talk in community council meetings about setting up a village website where news of such things could be disseminated, although so far nothing has actually come of it. The other half is dismissive of such novelties – who needs a website when you have a tree – and on the whole I’m inclined to agree, if only because if anyone was going to set up a village website it would be muggins here. On the whole, I’ve found, people don’t really do websites round here, preferring the tried and tested TTP (tree* transfer protocol) approach. This may mean that the rain gets in and runs the ink on your notices – but then again, at least there’s less chance of the US government discovering what you’re up to, especially if they don’t get around to checking the trees before it’s rained. I’m 99.9% certain that they have no interest – yet – in any mass outbreaks of ukulele playing, but you can never be too careful.
*telegraph poles may also be pressed into service, if need be
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.
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.