Music can often express the ineffable. A simple melody can speak to our souls and connect people across the complex and wondrous spectrum of human emotion. Except the ukulele. The ukulele has the emotional range of a Cocker Spaniel.
That the ukulele itself can’t convey the irritation it provokes is obviously some sort of sick cosmic joke. Indeed, it has the inverse effect on my mood than might be expected; the more insistent its artificial joy the more annoyed I become. It’s like being constantly told to cheer up when you have every goddamn right to be grumpy. The higher the string-tension, the closer I get to snapping.
To listen to the uke’ and its supposedly lulling strains is to induce a mindless stupor, to willfully subscribe to a Stepford Wives’ soundtrack. Even “universal-love” hippies prefer something less uplifting in the tambourine. It’s the Prozac of the South Pacific, perfect for whiling away the days in ignorant bliss as climate change claims the last square inch of your island.
But while once just faintly absurd in the massive hands of a 300lb Polynesian, it’s now the instrument of choice for inner-city hipsters and backpacking bores. A few beers and a bonfire and at least the wannabee troubadour murdering Marley becomes somewhat tolerable. But a tedious traveller toting a uke? I just want to smash it into little pieces and feed its mangled frame to the flames.
Surely the reason the uke’ attracts these self-satisfied trendsetters is that it evidently requires no actual talent to play. Is there such a thing as a ukulele virtuoso? Does the 10,000-hour rule to achieving world-class mastery apply? Could you possibly even imagine 10,000 hours of a strummed ukulele? It sounds like a forgotten circle of hell, right next to the room with the school kids practising their scales on the recorder.
And that’s the biggest issue. You can’t even call it out for fear of being labelled a social malcontent, like some Larry David hating on kittens and ice-cream. So the epidemic of idiocy goes unchecked. You’d know full well to steer clear of a saxophone trio calling themselves The Sax Addiction, yet popular ukulele ensembles employ more painful puns than a social tennis team made up of tabloid subbies. Uke Beauty? Uke can go and get F-uked