When we were playing After You’ve Gone this week, Rufus mentioned that he’d recorded a version in his garden with Alli, founder of Ukulele Cosmos. It seems a fitting song to post here on St Skeletor’s Day:
I’d always been aware of the uke – as a child I loved George Formby, had seen Tessie O’Shea on TV, but for some reason I never took an interest in owning one. I was mainly interested in Classical music, and that became exclusive from about 1969 until about 1975. I think the birth of heavy metal was what put me off pop.
Since I got my first job I had wanted a classical guitar, but never got around to it. I never realised how cheap they were compared with the oboe I had been learning. And I was ashamed of my bitten finger nails.
I’d been in a music shop in Brighton a couple of years ago where I plinked a uke hanging from the ceiling and wondered at the re-entrant tuning. Then came the Frank Skinner Formby documentary, and, not put off by the long-haired, bearded, Hawaiian-shirted cynic, I bought a uke and a guitar on Amazon and, since a friend swore by Violin For Dummies, I bought Ukulele For Dummies, where I found the Cosmos’s URL.
On the Cosmos I found out about PLUC, which I attended once and then had a heart-attack, which, followed by a spinal chord injury, put me out of action for 6 months, but now at last I’m becoming a PLUC regular and long may it continue.
Other PLUC Tales: More Benny Hill Than James Hill – Dave P; 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… – Anthony; Ron’s Progress; Probably The Most Fun Instrument In The World… – Jos; It’s Been A Year – Part 2 – Jeanette; A History Of The Ukulele – And Its Part In My Downfall – James; Santa Rides Again – Alan F; Steph’s Story; Ron’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
I’ve been playing ukulele for five years now. It began when my friend James to stay with his wife and children for the weekend in July 2007 armed with a blue Mahalo ukulele. He taught me some basic chords jotted on a piece of scrap paper and I learned I’ve Got The Whole World In My Hands. It felt really good and from this moment I was hooked. James had been taught by Mr C from the UPHoS group in Sudbury Suffolk, who was running a school club at the primary school they both worked in. Read the rest of this entry »
So: one week on, and the comedown is just about over. The inevitable blues and emptiness that hit after a great, great, time have just about gone. Can it really be a whole year till the next Hollesley?
Every year about this time, there is a gathering in Suffolk of uke folk on a truly international level at the famous Hollesley Ukulele Jamboree. What started out as a fairly casual gathering of friends six or seven years ago has now become (to its devotees at least) THE premier ukulele event anywhere. Visitors come from as far as the USA, South Africa – even Australia – though most are from the UK and Europe (with a curiously high proportion of Swedes…).
There’s about 120 of us in the group photo – including partners, kids, friends…It’s a very inclusive thing. Read the rest of this entry »