Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
on 9 July 2012
As a budding ukulele player I was attracted to this book by the subject matter, not having read anything by the author before. When I read the back cover in a shop I thought it was going to be a book about a man with no musical ability, teaching himself the ukulele by travelling around and playing in different places, but it is revealed early on in the tale that Wallington previously played the guitar in a band and so he wasn't a complete newcomer after all, which I did find a little disappointing, but it didn't spoil my enjoyment.
The book is essentially a road trip where Wallington aims to travel the length of the country, playing the ukulele - and the kazoo - at open mic nights in pubs, honing his craft until he finally plays a solo show in a remote pub at Cape Wrath, a booking he makes at the start of the story. In each chapter he does the normal "travel book" thing of describing his location, the people he meets, places he visits and so on, and these sections are often hilarious, particularly his numerous encounters with pensioners, especially when he finds himself on a bus with a driver who is something of a boy racer. The open mic performances themselves are described a little briefly, but then again what more could one say than what was performed and did it go well or poorly, so he focuses more on the other acts and the audiences themselves.
As the book nears its conclusion I did wonder how he was going to end it, such as if there would be some big moment of clarity, or a discovery of some kind, an insight into human nature kind of thing, but it seems that the author doesn't know himself, so as a result he plays a show, enjoys himself, and the book ends with a somewhat bizarre "Thank you". It did feel a little abrupt as an ending, but the journey there is enjoyable as it is.
It's a short, fun read, and not just for fans of the ukulele. Very enjoyable, despite the mild sense of "is that it?" at the end.