Tessellate Ukulele Cover

Here’s a ukulele cover of Tessellate by Alt-J. I really like Alt-J. Partly because they are local boys (big up Southampton) but partly because their music is layered and interesting. The lyrics are often wonderfully nonsensical and it makes a pleasant change from a lot of what gets put out.

I’ve been experimenting with some finger picking on this track. Not gonna lie, it was almost impossible for me to keep it up for the entirety of the song. I tried and tried and my fingers cramped and I got frustrated, so I recorded it in chunks and made the uke track that way. I stitched it all together, leaving in a beat of silence at the end of every fourth bar, which you can hear if you listen carefully. The vocals took me an hour or so to lay down, and I don’t think it’s half bad for something recorded in my kitchen. And to be honest, I’m not really sure what I’m doing. It’s just fun to make them. 

Anyway, here is the original.

 

What next? I’m thinking perhaps Toothbrush by DNCE. Hit me up with any suggestions and I’ll see what I can do. 

Wicked Game

wicked game ukulele cover

So this feels…. gratuitous, and I don’t know why. Probably because I am very self deprecating. To the point where I annoy myself. I’m not great at tooting my own horn. I tend to get in there first and put myself down a bit, so that no one else can. It’s by far the lamest thing about me. But then, why would I take the time and make the effort to record and (very roughly) produce these little covers and then post them up on the internet if I didn’t want people to hear them? 

I make ukulele covers and I put them up on Soundcloud. People tell me they’re good, so I’m going to try to start accepting that at face value. I like to do songs that you wouldn’t automatically assume would work on a ukulele. It’s got to the point where I hear a song on the radio or on Spotify and my first thought is, ‘Ohh, I wonder what the chord progression is?’

So here’s my cover of Wicked Game by everyone’s favourite one crooner, Chris Isaak. My friend Cory used the word ‘intense’ when he heard it.

And, over on the other side of the world, I snorted and went about my day, because it took me about 3 hours to do from start to finish and didn’t feel in the least bit intense. But now I’ve listened to it again, I really quite like it. And just maybe he’s a little bit right. 

That Time I Played Graze Festival with Toyah and The Beat

The Beat

Before I went on my blog hiatus – with good excuse *cough two novels cough* – I wrote about how I had picked up a new hobby. A sweet little four-stringed mini guitar type thing. Reader, I learnt how to play the ukulele. One of the most hipster instruments after washboards and mouth organs. I picked it up and I taught myself how to play that song by Metro Station. Then Junk of the Heart by The Kooks (which in hindsight was super ambitious for a novice). And then Every Other Freckle by Alt J. I picked up a ukulele and I loved it. 

Still do, as it happens. 

graze festival bunting

A little while later, I put on my big girl pants and joined Southampton Ukulele Jam. Which is a big deal for someone who gets anxious about trying new things. But it was a right laugh and the people were friendly so I carried on going. Fast forward a few months, and I’d got brave enough to start playing gigs, and last summer, I was picked to play at Larmer Tree Festival. How about that, then? Proof that good things happen when you put yourself out there. 

I didn’t get to do Larmer Tree again this year, because I took myself off to California instead, which is a story for another day, or maybe not. We’ll see. Depends.

graze festival forno pizza

But instead, I got to play Graze Festival, which was very small, charming, and in a field in Hampshire. We did a workshop in the afternoon, ate some jolly good pizza, and then got up on stage and played a set right before Toyah Willcox and The Beat.

 Just another casual Sunday, no?  

graze festival toyah willcox

graze festival the beat

I saw The Beat at Larmer Tree and loved them, and they were just as good this time around as well. Such a cool mix of reggae and ska and pop and soul. Honestly, they are a joy to watch. You can’t help but dance. Absolutely worth catching, if you can. 

It’s been a good bank holiday weekend. Yup. 

 

 

Ukulele

ukulele love

Here is something not a lot of people know about little me. 

I like to play the ukulele. And by like, I mean, I bloody love it. And by like, I mean, out of all the stringed instruments out there in all the world, I think I have found the one I like the best. This is a fairly new hobby, and I reckon my friends thought it would be a passing phase, as so many of my hobbies turn out to be. So I can’t really blame them for that.

I am flighty. I pick things up, and if I can’t do it easily I give up pretty quickly. Take, for instance, knitting. That was a pretty short-lived hobby. Hand me a crochet hook and I’ll crochet you up something pretty (in basic crochet stitches, natch, hard ones are too tricky) but hand me a pair of knitting needles, and I’ll maybe poke you with one of them. 

Or, here’s another example: a regular, six stringed guitar. I just couldn’t do it. God knows, I tried. I really tried, for a couple of weeks. I even managed to learn how to play that Metro Station song.  Badly. When I played it to my sister, whose guitar it is, she looked very confused. Maybe even baffled. 

“Megan” I said, “It’s Metro Station! It’s bloody Metro Station! Shake it! Can’t you hear it? Look, like this.” And I played it again. I’m playing fast and loose with the word ‘played’ here. 

In my head I looked like Courtney Love (complete with big hair and smudged eye makeup). My sister looked blank. I called it a day. As it turns out, even Metro Station can’t play Metro Station songs well, so I don’t feel so bad about that. It’s the extra two strings, they blew my mind. 

I did, once, try to play bass guitar. Just once. I went into a shop in Denmark Street in London and pretended I knew what I was doing because basses are cool aren’t they? They are such a “I don’t give a fuck” instrument with everything they have going on, and I was about fifteen. The staff straight up knew I was an impostor, my friend looked at her feet, and I haven’t picked one up since.

See? Flighty. It’s okay, I am aware of my faults.

So, I surprised myself when I picked up the ukulele. I only did it because there’s a ukulele in my novel, which I wrote in on a whim. There’s also a bass guitar (or two) and I wanted something pretty much opposite sounding to that. So I picked one up and had a go and haven’t really put it down since. It’s fun to play. It makes a nice sound. It’s not at all scary, and it really isn’t at all hard. I think I’m all right, in any case. I can play a few songs now without even having to look at tabs. Including Post Break Up Sex by the Vaccines. Oh yeah, and Shake It, by Metro Station, because I wasn’t going to be defeated by Miley Cyrus’ brother, no sir. Today I taught myself how to play a Maximo Park song, and now I feel badass.

Last night I went along to Southampton Ukulele Jam, which obviously means I am well serious about ukuleles, doesn’t it? It was great. Hilarious. A lot of fun, and we played some cool songs. Everyone was friendly, and I didn’t even get picked on for being new. I’ll go back, for sure. Plus there was beer. My friend Liv and I walked home in the rain, puffing away on fags and generally enjoying life. It was a good evening.

ukulele love

And look! They come in pretty colours! 

 

 

You’re so naive, yet so

Back in 2006, when Ross was trying desperately to woo me, and I was trying (and often failing) to play it cool and hard-to-get, I’d spend a fair bit of time at his flat, which later became our flat, in King’s Cross.  We’d have CSI Tuesday, where, as the name suggests, we’d get a Chinese and watch CSI, and we’d have Go Out On The Town Friday, where, as the name suggests, we’d go to a bar and get a bit, well, hammered.

On the way back home, South of the River, I’d listen to my iPod and think about how much I really did quite fancy Ross, and how I really did want to be his girlfriend, but how I really didn’t want to do any chasing.  I’d sit and plan ways to be cute.  Apparently these plans worked a treat because we are married now, and he still thinks I’m cute.

True story.  And one he definitely knows now if he didn’t already.

Anyway, I quite liked The Kooks at the time, and the one song I’d listen to over and over on their album was Naive.  And even now it totally reminds me of Ross.

This post is for week 9 of Mumra’s Playlist, this song reminds me of you

Mumra Playlist