Ukulele Lesson 2
Ukulele Lesson 2
‘Alexa, why can’t I get G Major right?’
‘You cannot play the G Major chord because your fingers are too fat and clumsy to work the strings. Also, all your life you haven’t bothered about playing any type of musical instrument. And your finger muscles and sinews aren’t strong and pliable enough. Your brain doesn’t have the mental dexterity required. Not to mention your demonstrated ability to give up on something the first chance you get. Did I mention the fact that you only like doing easy things, you never challenge yourself? Not forgetting as well that…
‘Alexa! Shut the fuck up.’
‘I’m sorry, I don’t understand the question.’
Everything she said is true of course. But, aside from the fact that addressing Alexa as ‘she’ makes me complicit in the act of assigning an undeserved female gender to an electronic, voice recognising, voice synthesising, lifeless piece of junk, there is more to it than the magnificent pantheon of human failings she had chosen to highlight on my behalf.
The main problem is that G Major requires me to hold down three strings by putting my fingers in a position that a circus contortionist could only aspire to, and my ukulele, whom I now consider to be something of an unrelenting Tiger Mother, will not suffer imperfection.
I was twisting and bending my fingers around those frets so much it felt like someone was trying to force a confession out of me, while all the time the Tiger Mother ukulele considered my efforts with a silent contempt. Well, I say silent, but it was far from it. I suppose to learn how to make music, you must first learn how not to make a lot of ungodly noise, and I was certainly making plenty of that. Then at last, towards the end of the session, with careful and deliberate placement of my fingers, the Tiger Mother relented and allowed her strings, just once, to vibrate in the chord of G Major, and that alone was enough for us both to agree was progress. By which I mean, it was as much progress as I was going to make that night, for no matter how many times I tried afterwards, I could not repeat my solitary success. So, I put the Tiger Mother back in her case and poured myself a shot of Glenmorangie to celebrate my little victory. Other whiskies are available.