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6 October 2012

Ode to Uke (2012)

I came across an interesting little read this week by the name of Ode to Uke. It's a ukulele instruction manual, but not like any instruction manual you might have read before. Actually, Ode to Uke is marketed as a ukulele novelty book... and a love story! What on earth can it be about? Let me tell you...

"Ode to Uke"

It's about ukuleles! :-D

Ode to Uke is the brainchild of Arthur Ravenscrag the Third. I don't know much about the author, but if the blurb is to be believed, he lives on a mountain and has a beard. Sounds like my type of guy! I did see mention of Art being one half of a ukulele duo called Men from the Twenties. They have a couple of videos on youtube. I recommend that you check out their version of Sweet Child of Mine. Beautiful!

This is how I imagine Art Ravencrag III looks...

Art has a pretty good way with his words. Ode to Uke very much relies on humour to get its point across. I'm a hard man to please on this front, but even I let loose a quiet chuckle when I thought no one was listening.  I've probably read most of what you can possibly read about ukuleles so it takes something special to catch my eye. Art manages to condense a lot of good information whilst keeping it light and interesting. I liked it. It worked for me. Art's style of humour reminds me a bit of Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer.

George Formby - Paul Andrews

The illustrations in the book are by a gentleman by the name of Paul Andrews. They are a perfect compliment to the words. Don't tell my wife, but I'd proudly hang any of the pictures from the book in my living room.

What do you get inside the cover?

These are snippets from the iTunes Bookstore version

Put simply, Art covers the rise, fall, and rise of ukulele. There's discourse on Hawaii, plaid, Rockulele, Hollywood and a million other things. It's a heady mix. Interspersed are a number of songs for you to strum along to. To be honest, I didn't know most of the tunes, but I'm okay with that - it's to be expected. Youtube is your friend here. I picked up a folk/country slant to most of them - the exception being Aloha 'Oe. You get the chords and words. What more could you ask for?

I could be wrong but I think that Ode to Uke is only available as an ebook. I bought the Kindle version and it's worth pointing out that I think that I compromised on some of the magic. I didn't get to see the videos or hear audio clips that are present in the iTunes bookstore version. And the songs are tiny on the Kindle screen. I mention this snippet to allow you to pick the format that is right for you.

iPad versus Kindle
The top half of this picture is the official advert for the
iTunes Bookstore version of Ode to Uke.
The bottom half is my unofficial advert for the Kindle version.

Okay - It's time for me to close this review off.

On the Triple-B, I'm going to go triple-denim + triple-denim + triple-denim. Yep, that's a pipe-smokin' 9. Buy!


  1. That painting of George Formby looks uncannily like Chad Morgan.-)

  2. Paul Andrews (the creator of the picture) lives in Oz, so you never know... there might have been some subconscious influencing going on there. You should see his Tiny Tim (! Chad Morgan looks like he's a bit of a character... While touring Australia Morgan made sure he had fun. If he wasn't racing cars off the highway, he was playing a modern game of William Tell with a .303. Morgan explains "Trevor Day & myself were travelling outback Queensland, we stopped beside a billabong for lunch. Well I had me .303, doing some roo shooting as we went. Trevor yells out "Hey Morgan, you reckon you're good, see if you can take this can off me head at 50 yards." I said "No, better not." Trevor said "You haven't got the guts, uh?" "Well, it was 50 yards off the shoulder, I took that bloody can off his head."

  3. William Burroughs said a similar thing to his wife,but that didn't turn out foe Burroughs as good it did for Chad;

  4. I've got to say also that I was a bit worried as to what game you were playing when I saw a revolver and some Russian Dolls on a desk in the same picture as your hand.-)

  5. You mention the gun and the russian dolls. But my ring didn't worry you at all? Heh?

    What surprises me the most is that Burroughs got away with it!

  6. The ring didn't worry me,it's the odds of winning Russian Roulette that worries me.-)