Appalling news in morning papers: there’s a boom in ukulele sales. According to reports from UK retailers, purchases of this infuriating noise-box have risen faster in the past twelve months than purchases of any other instrument, outstripping keyboards and acoustic guitars. Very depressing.
Many of us thought the uke had died a well-deserved death with George Formby and the vogue for baggy trousers belted just below the nipple (as older readers may recall he used to proselytise). But suddenly it’s back among us with a vengeance. And I know exactly who to blame.
1. The Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain, which rose inexplicably to prominence a couple of years ago plink-plonking its way through arrangements of Beethoven’s 9th.
2. The Proms, which encouraged the UOGB in its assaults on Beethoven and (worse still) organised online tutorials so that thousands of others – innocent and harmless people, most of them – could share this evil practice. In another context you would call it grooming.
The consolation in the news, though, is that, by contrast with ukuleles, keyboards and acoustic guitars, sales of ELECTRIC guitars have slumped. I write as someone who lives next door to a former rock star and within earshot of a few of his more devoted admirers. Maybe I can get some sleep now.