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PLUC Tales – More Benny Hill Than James Hill

Dave Parnell's Holiday Uke

Dave Parnell’s Holiday Uke

I’m in sunny Vejer at the moment with my wife Chris. It’s nice here, and the locals are going mad enjoying their feria. With plenty of singing drinking and dancing it’s just the right backdrop to get me going…

I was watching a programme on telly a couple of years ago now about how to grow old gracefully, and keep your marbles longer, before going into full-blown old age stupidity! Angela Rippon and gang were extolling the virtues of taking up dancing, a foreign language, musical instrument, or some other hobby. Having tried the piano and realising my limited ability years ago, I told my wife I was going to take up the uke.

She laughed!

The next day I was in Normans Music shop in Eltham, looking at their many ukes. The shop owner was busy with one of his suppliers and eventually asked me if I wanted any help. I told him I was after a uke and he showed me a couple. He asked me who it was for. Feeling a little embarrassed, I heard myself say, “It’s for my son.”

The next question was, “How old is your son?” To which I realised, this hole is growing too big really quickly! Also realising I was now wearing Pinocchio’s Nose, at which point I burst out laughing and confessed:

“I’m sorry mate, I’m lying. It’s Angela Rippon’s fault. I’m trying to stop myself going old and stupid before my time by taking up a musical instrument!”

He had a good laugh with his supplier, then asked why a uke. To which I replied, “It’s only small with four strings. How hard can it be?”

I came out with a mahogany Freshman concert, chord book and tuner. The journey had begun. (I was about to find out how hard it could be!)

At first I started to learn some easy chords and tunes from books. These weren’t really tunes I wanted to play. I moved on to YouTube and tried out Ten Thumbs and the Ukulele Teacher.

I was doing this for about a year. Then one evening my wife said she’d found a uke club on the internet called PLUC. I knew I needed help, so went along, feeling apprehensive and hoping I wouldn’t be laughed at for my obvious lack of ability.

The first night, Jeanette welcomed me and asked Colin and Bob to guide me along. They didn’t think they’d be stuck with me for this long! But I’m glad to say, they haven’t told me to get lost yet.

From the first tune that night, I knew I’d come to the right place. All the tunes were upbeat and different styles. For the first few weeks I was conscious that I couldn’t stop smiling. Everyone must have thought I was mad. I felt that I ought to be clapping everyone – it’s making me smile now writing this, thinking about it.

That first night I just didn’t realise what a great bunch of pluckers I was walking into!

Before I joined PLUC, I thought that I was practicing but I have since realised I was only playing at it. I now practice at every opportunity. I have brought a sopranino on holiday and can’t put it down. The more I learn, the more I realise I don’t know, but I know that walking into PLUC hat night was the best decision I’ve made on the uke trail.

The only side effect I wasn’t expecting is I’ve now got five ukes and I’m on the look out for that special one. I hope I find it before I end up like Rufus and Kev!

I’d like to thank everyone at PLUC for their encouragement along the way. They’re all great individuals and it’s given me the motivation to aspire to a better standard.

All the best, Dave the sub-standard plucker.

Other PLUC Tales: I Never Liked The Uke – Steve H; Long-Distance Strummer – Gail; New Uker! – Sheila; A Tale Of Two Ukuleles – Tina; The First Rule Of Uke Club… – AnthonyRon’s Progress; Probably The Most Fun Instrument In The World… – Jos; It’s Been A Year – Part 2 – Jeanette; From Classical To PLUC – Andrew; A History Of The Ukulele – And Its Part In My Downfall – JamesSanta Rides Again – Alan F; Steph’s StoryRon’s Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome; Uncle Ron’s Legacy… – Wee Kheng; Dan’s Story; Five Years & Loving It – Simon; My Ukulele Origins… – Rufus; Why Ed Started Playing The Ukulele; Ron’s Song; It’s Been A Year… – Jeanette

 

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PLUC Tales – I Never Liked The Uke

Steve H with uke

Steve H with uke

I never liked the uke.

It sounded bleedin’ awful.

A really low-quality astringent taste in the ears. Not like the softer tones and fuller sound that my nylon string acoustic gave. So I put the uke back and had another look around the music shop in Lewisham High Street. I looked at harmonicas, banjos, bass guitars and the plethora of musical diversions offered in Eric Lindsey Music.

I was looking for something new. An instrument to encourage a little more playing, primarily by being a little more portable. Then I could take it to work and practice on the nursery class I taught. In the end, financial concerns brought me back the uke. It had a little tuner cleverly sunk into the side of the body. Yet, it still sounded dull.

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Posted by on January 22, 2017 in Members' Items

 

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December 2016 Club Nights

Please note the following arrangements for our club nights around Christmas: Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2016 in PLUC News & Info, Uke Night

 

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PLUC Tales – Long-Distance Strummer

Last April I was in Catford for six weeks awaiting the birth of my grandson, Evan, and helping afterwards. I had been going to a Colchester U3A group and thoroughly enjoyed it, so was missing it.

I googled local ukulele groups and came up with the excellent PLUC. I knew where Lewisham Hospital was and discovered PLUC in one of those now rare places, the hospital social club.

The group were very welcoming and not over worried re my very amateur twangings. I enjoy the songs they do and appreciate the obvious talent there too. For me, it has helped my ukulele ‘alphabet’.

Thanks from Gail, Colchester.

Gail's Ukulele

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Posted by on February 7, 2016 in Members' Items

 

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PLUC Tales – New Uker!

Sheila's Ashbury Uke

Sheila’s Ashbury Uke

Last year I decided to have a random year of doings which included all sorts of stuff from a boxing match to bingo to a cookery course. And included in my fairly long list was the ukulele. I’d seen clips on YouTube and marvelled at the skill of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain and just fancied having a go.

I’m really a viola player by trade, so came with knowledge which is an advantage, but I pitched up at PLUC having bought one two days previously on New Year’s Eve, in fact right before going to see Dame Edna at the Palladium. I knew two chords… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2014 in Members' Items

 

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PLUC Tales – A Tale Of Two Ukuleles

I’m always up for a sing-song; although admittedly, I haven’t the voice for it. However, there is something magical about the ukulele.

I didn’t know when I bought my son a ukulele from the music shop for £19.99 that I would be the one using it.
Despite this, I was warmly welcomed even with my son’s bright pink ukulele, which needed to be re-tuned after every song or tenth strum. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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PLUC Tales – The First Rule Of Uke Club…

Anthony Checking Out Tip 3a

Anthony Checking Out Tip 3a

I’m a recent convert to the world of ukulele. I’ve been playing around about 10 weeks and am really enjoying it. I’ve managed to learn the basics and am managing to play many more full songs than I thought I’d be able to play at this stage when I first picked the thing up.

Anyway… I was asked to put together a few words on what I’m enjoying and not enjoying about ukulele.  I’ve tried to do this below, its a little rambling (like myself), its personal to me and hopefully you’ll take these comments in the way that they were meant.

What I like… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2013 in Members' Items

 

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