Monday, 12 June 2017

Summer Strum Monday Missive #11 - 12th June 2017 - Welcome to the Family!

A New Family Member?

Why is it that one is never enough? Take red wine for instance - you buy a bottle telling yourself that you'll only have one glass with your tea, despite the voice in your head mocking you - "yeah, right, how many times have I heard that!". Then you finish that glass and it is just not enough. You have one more and then before you know it the bottle has been polished off between the two of you, leaving you relaxed on the sofa heedless of the muzzy head coming your way in the morning. If you had another bottle you would probably open it - let's be honest! Thank god we hardly ever do!

Yeah, you guessed it - it has been an alcohol fuelled weekend ending with the age old question "why?!" and the 'promise to self' of "never again!" :-/ We went to stay at the in-laws which always means a guaranteed babysitting opportunity and it was never the intention to have just the one - we planned on getting a little tipsy. It was a great night - playing pool, feeding coins into the jukebox and discussing politics surprisingly very little! Until, that is, the point where you make that decision (the other side of the double-edged sword) to have just one more - 'one for the road' ... that last drink that just tips you over the edge of 'just enough', ensuring you an appointment with the big white telephone (not me! I just slipped into a coma and woke up 6 hours later with a shovel planted firmly through my skull!). 

"Goddamn it - it's always that last beer!" No S**t! 

Not sooo bad if you could lie in bed for hours the next day; but not so good when you have a dinner date with the whole family to celebrate your mother in law's birthday :-) A heady mix of pain, nausea, loud children, polite conversation, big plates of food ... a proper family affair where you need to be awake, alert and able to make stimulating conversation! Well I managed the first one - just! 

Will we ever learn? It's doubtful! 

During my hungover state I made a decision - that I must get myself a new electro acoustic ukulele - a soprano. Inner dialogue as follows: "Why? You already have a concert one" - "I know but when they put the screw in, so that I could attach a strap, they did something to the connection". "Well why don't you get that fixed instead?" - "Yeah I know but I'm not sure where to go and there might not be anything they can do and I need one for the Summer Strum which is only in four weeks and besides I like my soprano acoustic so I think I want a soprano EA". "Well why don't you just borrow Tom's like you always do?" - "Well it's just that I am not used to playing Tom's in between gigs and I would like to have one of my own that I am used to playing". "Why don't you just stick one of those external pickups on the acoustic one?" - "well, people say its not as good and that plugging straight in makes a better sound". "Well - it sounds like you have made up your mind and I won't be able to change it. It's not like you have enough ukuleles hey*?" *sarcastic tone

Yes - like most ukulele players I have a little library of ukuleles (one in every size!) secreted around the house! You never know when the urge will come over you! Sometimes I forget I even have them so when I come across one it's a lovely surprise! Got to have these pleasures in life haven't you? One is definitely never enough when it comes to ukuleles!

It's not that I am even very good at playing the ukulele (I'm a blower by trade) so to have so many is often a struggle of conscience! But they are so pretty and it's not like I ever spend a vast amount on any of them and I usually function on a one in-one out basis. My first one was a purple Mahalo I got for Xmas; then I bought myself a slightly nicer sounding wooden Mahalo for £40 odd. These have since both gone to another home with the hope of encouraging a friends' kids to take up the uke. I also bought a BUG uke which, despite its cuteness, I didn't like playing so I donated it to a charity raffle for Cystic Fibrosis (*virtuous*). 

So my current collection consists of:

A Laka soprano - the one I play the most. I bought it as a xmas present for my father-in-law with a view to encourage him to learn to play. But it sounded soooo lovely I couldn't part with it! Listen - he got tickets to the golf Open instead which wasn't a bad alternative and, to be honest, probably more appreciated. Imagine - that little Laka would be sitting neglected in a cupboard now if I hadn't rescued it! A caged uke cannot sing!

A Lani Concert Electro-Acoustic - a Xmas present from hub and VERY pretty! But like I said - it was damaged the moment that screw for the strap went in. Sounds lovely unplugged though. Any recommendations for ukulele fixers please send my way and I promise I will sort it! 

A Clearwater plastic Concert - played it twice. Anyone want it? One in - one out! 

A Makala Tenor (donated by my Uncle Bob - yes, Bob is my Uncle!).

Makala Baritone - I bought a cheap one to see if I liked the size and sound. As it happens I do! If it was electric I would definitely play it more! Santa - get looking! 

And my newest baby - an Ozark Banjo Uke. I bloody LOVE it! If I could get away with it it would replace my Laka as most played on stage! It just looks so rock n roll man! I don't care what it sounds like!

Here is a family portrait. Ahhhh: 

All that's missing I guess is a sopranino but I will draw the line there. If I was Andy Eastwood or Joe Brown then yes, maybe, but I'm not and will never be!! That's my Gretsch Parlour Guitar in the background by the way :-) Now that is a thing of beauty!

Anyway I have a £100 budget (that's not too over the top is it?) for a new EA ukulele and am willing to go slightly over. So it's a toss up between one of these two: 

To the left - a Laka VUS50EA - as I say, my acoustic soprano is a Laka and it has a beautiful tone :-) But does this necessarily mean that an electro version will have the same properties?

Or a much prettier Kala KA-SEME to the right? I have never played one before but I do like the way it looks :-) 

So if anybody could offer some learned advice this week I would be very grateful. 

Yes - a new soprano EA to complete the family! And then "no more" I promise. When I had my second child I said THAT IS IT! I said it exactly like that - in great big shouty capitals! NO MORE! I still only have two children so that proves I can say "No More" and mean it!! Just not when it comes to alcohol clearly!

I hope I get to introduce you to my latest family member at the Strum. In the meantime please post your family photos on the Strum Facebook page. Ooh - and btw we are thinking of setting up a trading post at the festival - literally a post on which you can stick/pin/staple ukuleles/instruments (well pictures of them - don't nail a ukulele to the post!) you want to sell/swap/give away to better homes. Bring your adverts (no bigger than A6) with a photo and contact name/number and see if you can strike a deal. 

See you next week

Em & Pat xx

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