Friday 3 February 2023

Doom Bar and Ukuleles

Yesterday evening we had a rather delicious beef stew, but we had it a little too late, and despite having an early night I woke up at 3am completely ‘wired’, so got I up a feasted on the wormhole of YouTube for a couple of hours.  

The last time I felt like this was when I worked in TV for a well known megalomaniac on their news channel. I recall that same 3am adrenaline fuelled buzz trying to stay awake and not take the broadcast off air by hitting the wrong button on the mixing desk just as breaking news from The White House or such was announced. 

I finally got back to sleep around 5am, and had an odd dream. I found myself and a couple of my band members (I’m a weekend muso) in a rather dull chain pub in Southeast London trying to find something worthwhile to drink. You know then sort of pub that thinks that by having a pump selling stale Doom Bar Bitter, it will entice the Christmas-only pub goer to experience the delights of cask ale. And in their boiled-in-the-bag and deep-fried defence, it probably does. I had an ersatz mainstream lager by the way, for that was definitely the lesser of two evils, even though the gas cylinder adding fizz to the bland liquor was almost depleted. 

Just as we were about to leave to find a more worthwhile beer experience, several smiley souls, mostly in later life appeared with silly hats covered with badges and what looked like violin cases. Yep, it was a meeting of the local ukulele group. The demographic is rather like that of toy train nuts, certainly the age group and the need to wear matching monogrammed polo shirts displaying their allegiance to their chosen uke-troupe, which in this case was the Lewisham & Blackheath Ukulele Strummers (apologies to any ukuleleists if this is a real group). 

As I took our glasses back to the bar, a rather jovial jolly hockey sticks Women’s Institute type, probably one of the inner clique of the troupe, said to me “we have some ukuleles here if you’d like to join in”. My fellow muso friends thought why not, after all, a ukulele is just the top 4 strings of a guitar at capo 5 for those who give a toss. We rummaged through a rather battered collection of ukuleles, most of which had broken strings or missing tuning pegs and finally managed to put three together with a little cannibalisation. 

And then I woke up….


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