31 October, 2009

Yep, I'm obsessed...

I had a dream last night (and if you, reader, were talking to me face to face, you would interject and tell me about the funny dream you had last night. That's the way of the world) that I was standing in a pew in some church, and a guy was onstage playing ukulele and we were all singing along. The weird thing was, they weren't church songs. It was a nice little medley of Beatles songs. I remember thinking, "Oh, the Beatles in church? Huh." as I sang away.  "Hey Jude"sounded very nice when the whole congregation belted the "naaaa na na nanana na" bit together. And, somehow, it sounded like a hymn.  It was a good dream.

Okay, I absolutely do not agree with the message behind John Lennon's "Imagine", but I must say, just from a music standpoint, it is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. And so easy to get stuck in your head. I sang/hummed that song all the way home on a particularly trying road trip recently, and my dear mum was about ready to kill me. Sort of negated the whole peace thing.

Poor Mama. I do tend to sing a lot, I suppose. She often has to say things like, "Okay, stop while I'm talking to you" and "You need to pay attention to the road, dear. No, like, hand-motions while driving, okay?"

The point of the madness

I am sort of opposed to blogging and the whole "share" culture in general, yet here I am.  Writing a blog. Hmm.
But, as a member of the Me Generation (who, personally, likes "iGeneration" better - clever, no?) I MUST tell you my story.  Because I love to talk about meself. 

It all started with an ukulele.   
Well, not really.  But that sounded nice and dramatic didn't it?
Wait, do you write it "an ukulele" or "a ukulele"?
Actually, it all started with a house-sitting job.  One lonely, chilly evening when the house was creaking in a way heart-poundingly reminiscent of scary burglar footsteps creeping toward you, I tossed myself morosely onto a couch and picked up an aged copy of Real Simple magazine.  Inside this magazine was an article entitled "Ten Ways to Enjoy Doing Nothing."  That's where it all began.  
In the few days leading up to this house-sitting job, I'd been considering, with more seriousness than usual, the ukulele. I'd half-wanted to play the ukulele for years.  But this is nothing extraordinary. I am Emma Woodhouse when it comes to musical instruments - want to play them, don't want to practice. (I also make lists of books to read, but that's beside the point.)  
But, the ukulele had been popping up all over the place in my life.  At Christmas, a guy played a nice little medley of songs - on the ukulele  - in church.  I bought a couple of ukulele songs on itunes. I found Wade Johnson, Youtube's Ukulele Wonder Boy. A genuinely cool guy in the theatre class I was taking walked around - not at all in an affected of showing-off way - playing his ukulele on campus. 
Then, house-sitting, a tiny bit miserable, wanting to be home in my own bed, I ran across the above-mentioned blessed article by Tom Hodgkinson. It's a lovely little list, and I highly recommend giving it a read if you have a moment. Which, obviously, you do because you're here reading my blog.  But, anyways, while I was happily learning how to become a more idle human being (my mother, if she were reading this would say, "you don't need to learn to become more idle!" I just know it.), I came across a sign from heaven seemingly planted in the page. I'd been thinking about ukuleles and bang! there it was - "5. Play the ukulele". I mean, could you ask for a clearer sign that a union between your humble servant and a ukulele was meant to be!?

I told myself that night that if I got through the housesitting without: A. killing their dog ( which almost did happen. The poor dear had a seizure or something at about 5 in the morning two days before the family came home) B. having the house burgled or C. Smashing up their car, then I could get a ukulele.

The next week, now happily at home, my Mum and little sister needed to go to Alan's music (a shop in San Diego that's been around forever) to buy piano duets.
My sister is sickeningly musical. She takes three classes a week; piano theory, regular piano lessons, and viola lessons. My mom is fabulously good at piano as well. Think I feel inferior?  You think right.
But at the music shop, I remembered my promise to myself. I wandered, I hoped casually, over to the ukuleles. There was a lovely little soprano one for $54, and a less-attractive, but still appealing concert size for $52. Trying to look like I'd been a ukulele pro for years, I pondered. Soon, my mother and the salesperson came over and settled me: I got the concert, because the shop guy said it would be easier and less shrill, and my mummy said, "I love less shrill. I'm all for less shrill." It's true too. She convinced my sister to learn viola instead of violin, quietly confiding to me, "Mrs. so-and-so said that viola isn't as screechy."

My darling mum, in a truly kind show of support, bought me a book the salesman recommended called, "Fun With the Ukulele".  I am all for fun. The shop guy threw in three picks for free (They do that at Alan's. That's just the way they are.) and I was off, ukulele in hand, ready to idle.

Kind of long and meandering, but that's my story. Thank you for your time and patience. Please dispose of trash in the specified containers and be sure to take all personal items with you. Have a wonderful day. 

The point is - now that I've got the ukulele, I want to learn to use it. As much as I love "Fun With the Ukulele", I don't want to play "Long, Long Ago" morning, night and noon. So, I'm hoping, that this blog will help me to learn some discipline - discipline I can apply to my ukulele playing. It would be cool if other people, looking to add an extra few points to their coolness level, stumbled across my little blog and could find easy ukulele songs and useful links on here. I know I'd love, as a new ukulele player, to be able to stop hunting for a version of "Moon River" that doesn't have Fmaj7 as a chord, and play some nice, easy songs. I'm doing the song hunting anyways, so I figure I might as well try to share it with someone. When the ukulele entered my life, it brought idling along with it.  I'm only now starting to learn about famous idlers of the past, books on idling, and the brave new world the idle lifestyle opens up to a kid who doesn't really like to work but enjoys sitting around doing nothing.
So, essentially, I am here to idle.  

Thank you Tom Hogdkinson and Real Simple and the nice shop guy at Alan's.

Yours respectfully,
an amateur idler