Hollesley 2016 – Farewell

It was that Hollesley time of year again, but sunny Suffolk was a mix of joy and sadness as it was to be the last year at this site. Still it didn’t dampen the spirits, the revelry or uke playing.

Hollesley 2016 – Phil Doleman, Rufus & others playing Enjoy Yourself (filmed by almuzo):

Friday was open mic night and our very own Rufus was on second to give a heart-warming rendition of A Mother’s Lament, a sad song of a baby going down a plug’ole, and wonderful it was too. Later, Chris gave Don McLean a good run for his money with Vincent (aka Starry Starry Night).

Rufus and Chris were joined by Bob and showed Phil Doleman (on bass) how to sing and play Doctor Jazz properly and it was the bestest!

Saturday night’s show was compered by the always elegant Chris in his trompe-l’oeil tuxedo T-shirt (I hope it had a wash as he was wearing it last year). The raffle draw was held at half time and star prize was won by Chris for the second year running, He insists it’s nothing to do with him being MC.

In Sunday night’s singalong we bashed through forty oldies at breakneck speed.

So that seems to be it for Hollesley but let’s hope another venue is found, and to paraphrase Dickens, ‘F*** it, the sadness of each ending is also the joy of a new beginning.’  But then, Dickens never played the uke.

Sweary Steve

Previous Hollesley reports: 2015 & 2102.

Hollesley 2013 – Chris, Rufus & Alan playing Va, Pensiero (filmed by Darren) – go to 1:15 for the start of the tune:


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It’s Ringo Starr’s 76th birthday today, so here’s BirdsEyeViewOfMyUke’s version of his solo hit It Don’t Come Easy (self-penned by Ringo, with a little help from George Harrison). Don’t forget to say “Peace & Love!” at midday.

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Posted by on July 7, 2016 in Interesting Uke Sites


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Pratts Bottom Village Fete May 2016

This year saw fine weather for our annual Pratts Bottom Village Fete gig so Chris arranged for us to be outside under a gazebo, instead of indoors in the Village Hall.

The wind proved an entertaining challenge: whilst we had remembered to bring pegs to ensure our songsheets stayed in place, Bob’s music stand decided to swing round like the sail of a boat &, at times, Colin had to hold down his pages with his foot – an interesting new playing technique!

We had an excellent day. Andrew has caught some of our setting up, clearing down and the obligatory post gig drinks in the local hostelry in this set of photos:


Posted by on May 9, 2016 in PLUC News & Info


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PLUC Club Nights – Feb & April 2016

Here are some recent photos of two of our club nights – one in Feb, taken by Marie Angell, visiting us from her Texan band The Snake Charmers, and another in April, snapped by Simon:

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Posted by on April 27, 2016 in PLUC News & Info, Uke Night


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Sheila’s Birthday Bash 1

We were delighted to be asked to play at Sheila’s birthday party – a joint do for her fiftieth & her cousin Jenny’s fortieth – down in Horn Park, Lee. It was the first time the entire group of us has performed a public gig & went absolutely splendidly.

We played two sets of our favourite numbers – twenty songs in total. There are some videos on the way of a few of the tunes and here are a few photos of the event.

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Playing on the day were:

Back Row (L – R): Ed, Eddie, Steve, Anya, Jos, Tina, Kev, Emma & Maria

Front Row (L – R): Andrew, Rufus, Chris, Jeanette, Bob, Simon, Sheila & Colin



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Posted by on April 18, 2016 in PLUC News & Info, Uke Night


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Croydon Ukulele Festival 2016 – Sat

Saturday 5th March saw day one of Croydon’s inaugural ukulele festival.

Maria was the first of our number to arrive, attending the Mass Busk practice at midday, which she found very useful. I met up with her & the other players around 1.30pm outside the Whitgift Shopping Centre for the al fresco busk. Luckily they’d thought to erect a marquee, as it was rainy, & we nabbed the last two (front row!) seats. We worked our way through the songbook of well-known numbers for about an hour to a small but appreciative audience of soggy shoppers. Our fingers were pretty numb from the cold by the end but it was a fun gig!

We grabbed a hasty lunch then dashed back to the daytime venue – the Green Dragon pub along the central High Street – to catch the last part of the set from the Berkhamsted Ukulele Random Players (BURP). Here they are with their version of Jesse J’s Price Tag (filmed at a previous gig by John O’Sullivan):


The room suddenly filled as everyone arrived for the afternoon’s main session: Phil Doleman‘s Ukulele Player’s Bag of Tricks workshop (at a bargain group rate of £3.50 each). At this point we joined fellow PLUCers Bob, Ed & Kev, who were all equally keen to learn some fresh skills.  As always, Phil gave an informative, fun and clear workshop, filled with handy little tips and detailed reference sheet to take away.

Carol from Croydon Uke Jam, who’d been busy rushing about as the main organiser of the festival, slotted in a quick free workshop on using tab and sheet music to play in ensembles, handing round three different parts of Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King for us to try.

Then we needed to head a mile or so through the back streets of Croydon to find the evening venue – The Oval Tavern – tucked away in a quiet residential road past East Croydon station, over the other side from all the central shops & trams.

The Oval’s claim to fame is that a few scenes for Peep Show were shot in there. They were kindly offering discounts on food & drink to anyone carrying a uke; the staff were friendly & they had a decent range of menu choices (including several vegan options, which obviously pleased me).

Phil Doleman played a two-part set, which was highly enjoyable & included numbers such as Police Dog Blues, Diddy Wa DiddieSinging In The Bathtub, Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now) (which he’s recently recorded on wax cylinder), Mysterious Mose & many more. Colin – who also attends the Croydon group fairly regularly – managed to join us for the second half. Here’s Phil doing his own take on a number we play regularly (filmed by Ed):


Ed also caught his performance of Hesitation Blues.

After Phil finished, there was a strumalong where they used a projector & screen, which was unfortunately a bit tricky to see, especially as most of the numbers were totally unfamiliar. We all thought we’d be using the songbooks we’d printed out for earlier but found out on Sunday they had been so busy organising the festival & a lot of their members had been sick, that they were rehearsing the numbers they needed to play for their two sets the following afternoon. This explained the change of plan & it must have been a relief to finally get in some practice time after such a manic few weeks!

I think Bob & Colin were the last of our number left strumming in the pub as the rest of us departed, with Maria & I due to attend on the Sunday for more entertainment…



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PLUC Tips – Tina

Here is one of my favourite uke tutorial YouTubes.

This is by Ten Thumbs Productions. Tyler Austenfeld produces a wide range of ukulele materials – he does a couple of new song tutorials every week (from beginners to advanced; classics to the latest chart hits) in addition to lessons covering different playing techniques.

Here he takes you through the song Lava, from the Pixar short animation of the same name, which was shown alongside the movie Inside Out. The song was written by Pixar director, James Ford Murphy. This was the first time that I saw this Lava video and fell in love with this small motion picture and the very catchy chorus. I love the play on the lyrics ‘someone to lava’.

My son and I often sing through the words, at times making them up as we go along, but just keeping to the style of music.

It is very easy on the ukulele, although I need to keep practising my Up, Up, Up-Down, Up-Down, Up, Up, Up-Down, Up-Down (SMILE). However, whenever I’m practising my son always comes along and perches on the side arm of the sofa and sings the words as I attempt to play. It’s always a comical time/moment.



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