EDitorial ± 14-May-2007

One String Per Decade Plus One

If you're lucky enough, like the opening track on Abbey Road, things sometimes come together. During a recent podcast from those fine people at Word magazine, Mark Ellen happened to mention being on holiday and picking out some Pink Floyd chords on his ukulele. Which reminded me to book tickets for an upcoming concert by the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain to take place at Easton Farm Park, home of smelly animals and mini tractors.

Day 14 -- flip it around to make 41 -- that's me today. Not yet at that age where grown men grow their hair (though I'm due a visit to the Men's Room) and ride off into the sunset on their Harley ... bizarrely, found a clip on YouTube of Travolta and co promoting Wild Hogs on Oprah. In which the respected William H. Macy, he of Fargo, picks up a ... ukulele and sings a ditty about making the film.

Hence my birthday request, which duly appeared in front of me around 7:30am. Naturally the marshmallows, but also a shiny blue package containing a cardboard box ("from Newcastle") enclosing an instrument case protecting my very own four string uke. See, having been an owner for nearly 24 hours, I get to use the familiar name. Had first strumming session this evening, trying to keep up with Eldest and her superior guitar technique. Will see how I progress through my Li'l Rev how-to guide.

Further inspired to learn after Friday night's marvellous Ukulele Orchestra gig. Hadn't known quite what to expect. What a talented bunch. Five blokes plus two ladies equals twenty-eight strings, from soprano to bass. Hugely entertaining versions of Silver Machine (not by David Essex), Teenage Dirtbag, a Commitsment rivalling Hard To Handle, and a lovely Life On Mars. I was already sold by the time they played The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: gotta love that Morricone. And a celebrity spot of a beret-wearing Mr Neil Innes too. Great evening.