Tom Hodgkinson tries out some new tunes on holiday
Bringing a ukulele on holiday seemed like a great idea. Finally I would have the time to really get to grips with my new books, The Baroque Ukulele and From Lute to Uke: Early Music for the Ukulele. I have recently decided to move on from playing “Brown-eyed Girl” and on to more challenging tunes like Bach’s “Air on a G String” and Pachelbel’s “Canon”.
The fact that we are holidaying in a medieval town in Croatia added charm to the whole project. My sweet airs would echo delightfully around the paved streets and perhaps I would even be invited to play in the cathedral one evening.
On day two I got the ukulele out and started thrumming my way through Vivaldi’s “Winter”, which I think I do rather well. As I played this tune and then followed it up with “The Harmonious Blacksmith”, I heard the sound of the door to the terrace being gently closed by a family member.
I moved to the kitchen so as not to disturb these unappreciative swine, and ran through my repertoire including spirited renditions of “Kemp’s Jig” and “Pastime with Good Company”. The shutters to the kitchen opened out on to the narrow streets. To my horror I heard a low muttering of voices followed by the shutting of windows.
That really hurt. After all, you’d expect your own family to diss your achievements. They exist for the single purpose of reducing the size of your ego. But an objective listener, a Slav, living in a medieval town, predisposed to good times and merriment – for that person to shut their ears to my melodious twanging… was painful indeed.
The fools do not know what they are missing. Next term I ask going to join the Idler Academy’s ukulele course. I just need to be with my people.