May 18th @ Free Times Café

Recently the Globe and Mail ran an article on the ukulele with the headline “The ukulele strikes a chord with the in crowd” talking about how the uke has become an instrument of choice for hipsters. Now it is important to recognize at the outset that if you are relying on the Globe and Mail to determine what is in and what hipsters are doing, the odds are quite good that you will be a year or two at least behind the times.

There is also the issue of how the Globe determines who makes up the in crowd and the hipster set. For example, the article quotes an associate professor at Osgoode Hall Law School who focuses on Aboriginal rights in her work and who also plays the uke. While for personal reasons, I would very much like to believe that a lawyer who focuses on Aboriginal rights and plays music on a small stringed instrument (perhaps the mandolin rather than the uke) is both a hipster and part of the in crowd, I suspect that this is not a widely held view, by either those in the in crowd and hipsters or even those observing them from a distance.

I also have to say that I harbour some doubts about the street cred associated with the uke when the article talks about a mass group of ukulelists (I made that up but it sounds right), all playing Billy Joel`s Piano Man. As some might recall from an earlier missive, I believe there is special circle in hell for that song and even if you don`t share my visceral and violent antipathy to that particular tune, I don`t think Billy Joel can be made in and/or hip even if played on the ukulele, although maybe if it was played by 57 people on the jew`s harp that could do it.

I`m also a bit concerned that this in crowd/hipster thing could cause dissension and division. What about those folks who don`t play the ukulele – what are they, chopped liver?

Take for example the members of that fine musical ensemble that I am fortunate to be a part of – Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room. As it turns out, two members of the group play the uke (and have done so way before anyone at Canada’s National newspaper thought it was cool) while eight of us don`t. I suppose that gives us a 20% hipster quota for those keeping score; and I`m sure someone is.

But why don`t you be the judge. We`ll by plying our musical trade at the Free Times Cafe (on College just west of Spadina) on Sunday, May 18. There is no cover – which is a thing we hip folks do – and the show will start at 8. Since Monday is once again a holiday you can stay late and enjoy the whole show.

There are, of course, the bagpipes, because at a Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room show there is always the threat of bagpipes. And bagpipes will never be in and hipsters will never adopt that cursed instrument, which I suppose is one reason to tolerate it.

Hope to see you there.


By the way a threat of bagpipes is the term used for a gathering with more than one bagpipe – it is akin to the term a murder of crows, except a murder of crows is easier on the ears.

May 18th Set List
Set #1 Set #2
Lady Bridget Oppenheim
You Ain’t Going Nowhere
5 Days In May
Weird Weather
On The Street Where…
Great Day
Leaving It All Up To You
Love Hurts
Slipping and Sliding
The Butterfly / Evite Gabriel
Sister Goldenhair
Histoire sans parole
That’s Amore
The Rose
Over The Rainbow
Smoking Song
Gumboot Clogeroo
Tower Of Song
Ashokan Farewell
Old Paint
A Prayer
Almost Persuaded
Night Rider’s Lament
What’ll I Do
I Wanna
Unchain My Heart (encore)