I’ve just bought myself a Ukulele!
It's one of the most exciting things I’ve done in awhile, not that my life could ever be considered dull...not even at the dullest of times!
I’d been up at the Colony Room the night before, where much merry making, cigar smoking and hedonism is the order of the day / night, and not in any small measure!
This was being encouraged more so, by a fellow strummer (Tom Hodgkinson), upon his ukulele.
I’ve always wanted to take up the ‘Uke’ but have never seen it performed up close and personal.
Sure, I’ve seen it played on the telly; George Harrison, George Formby, Tiny Tim, the fantastic 'The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain' and of course Elvis in ‘Blue Hawaii,’ but this was in the flesh.
R, the said strummer, told me of a jam session the following morning just down the road from the Office, at the ‘Duke of Uke’ in Spitalfields.
‘Frances, why not come along at 10am and join us? There’ll be a few of us there, you could sit in and play, you’d be most welcome,’ said T.
‘Cool, I’ll be there…promise,’ I replied.
It was closer to midday when I did arrived; 10am being the more usual time that the Sandman releases me from his grip / spell.
And so, there in a little Dickensian shop that time had passed by for 100 years or more, sat four musicians; three Uke players and a drummer with a snare.
R seemed surprised that I did actually turn up, he introduced me to everyone; I pulled up a chair.
Reaching for a guitar, I played along as they led.
They've an old upright piano to one side, I made use of that too, pleasantly surprised to find it actually in tune.
We had a full blown jig going on here and like love at first sight, I was hooked.
Of the many many 'Uke’s’ hanging upon the walls, I narrowed my choice down to 8, then 6, then 3, 2, 1.
I asked T (he being very proficient) to play each of them whilst I listened studiously to the tone emanating from them.
I took my chosen few outside, so as to hear their acoustics and projection in the breeze; I made my decision.
£90 later I was the proud owner of a baby, a chord book and a new found passion.
Having played the guitar for 30 odd years certainly helps in both the melodic and strumming department, alack, the chord structures are totally different.
And with those guitar chords burnt into my memory, I find myself having to rewire my brain and fingers natural inclination to use those shaped chords.
However...five days on, I can now play the German national anthem behind my head!
Hey, come on, anyone can play guitar behind his or her head…well I can anyway, but have you ever seen someone playing a Uke behind their head…look out world!
And so I now take it whithersoever I go.
I play it in the car whilst waiting at the traffic lights (much to the amusement of fellow motorists and pedestrians), I can walk into any bar, knowing that with it tucked under my arm I’m going to be asked, ‘Come on then love, give us a tune,’ and I do.
This thing is so portable (no case required), that the only place I’ve yet to play it is in the bath. Hmmm…I’ve not had a good long soak for a week now, tonight could be that night?
So...get a life, get a Uke, they're just so so easy to learn.
Should you happen to be in London, then get on down to the 'Duke of Uke,' those folk sure know their stuff.
I promise you this...as well as being a great stress buster whilst stuck in traffic, it'll set you on a joyous musical journey, opening doors that no casual conversation, chatroom, online dating or otherwise could ever do; enjoy.