Monthly Archives: July 2011

My new ukulele

Huzzah! Here is my new ukulele. My first ukulele.

My baby-blue Mahalo ukulele

OK it looks like a toy (it’s not – it’s a Mahalo) – but I wasn’t going to spend more than £14.99 until I know if I really am going to learn the ukulele, or whether this is just another of my frequent and passing fads. I have spent practically the whole day tuning and retuning and retuning and retuning… Seriously, by the time I’ve tuned the fourth string, the first has gone flat again. If things don’t improve tomorrow, I will re-string with better strings (Aquila) which I’ve already bought having heard about the tuning problem with cheap strings.

So far I’ve learnt ‘three blind mice’ and ‘Mary had a little lamb’. It’s going well. I’m dreaming about finger picking ‘Tears of Heaven’ and have found a great tutorial online, but I can’t keep up with it yet.

I’ve always been annoyed by my total lack of any kind of ability with string instruments. I can play the piano, and lots of woodwind instruments, but I have never been able to master the guitar. So I thought – lose two strings and maybe that will help!

I may demo my progress (if I make any) – we’ll see!

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Piped Home

A little treat from my travels yesterday (to work and back – nothing exotic!). I came across a bagpiper at the entrance to Charing Cross train station in London (having just missed a train and having to wait half an hour for the next).

The filming is terrible (on my iPhone) and bizarrely I decided to film in portrait, but close your eyes and think of Scotland!

Sky Orchestra

The ‘Sky Orchestra’ has come to London this week to help celebrate one year (of manic planning, building, arguing and back-pedalling) before the Olympic Games 2012.

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The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has teamed up with the London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT) to bring UK artist LukeJerram’s Sky Orchestra to the city.

So if you wake up to a strange sound coming from the sky, peek out the window and see if there are any hot air balloons around. An ethereal composition by Dan Jones is being played from seven hot air balloons, with each balloon playing a different element of the musical score. The balloons aim to fly at 500 feet, so that the music will sound great from the ground (or in bed). This is an early morning endeavour, so you’ll miss it if you’re not awake with the birds. If you’re not an early riser though, the team are also aiming for some evening flights (weather permitting).

If you’re still not lucky enough to catch the phenomenon in person, here is a film clip of this morning’s flight.

The project ends on Wednesday 27th July.