The Ukulele and the Scot


Here’s the story of technology, the voice, and insanity.

You don’t see many ukulele buskers these days, do you? In fact, I don’t think there was ever a time when it was a ‘thing’. Yet this week I genuinely saw this very thing. A young man, in public, playing covers of pop songs… with a ukulele! And let’s get one thing clear: these weren’t ‘direct’ covers. Oh, no. They were your garden-variety ukulele songs. All happy and cheery, all with roughly the same melody. I mean, I love the song ‘Chasing Cars’, but there’s no denying that it is a sad song. But when a young man performs it with a ukulele, it really sounds rather jolly. It was so upbeat. But you know what the best part of it was? Half way through the song, a mate of his turned up in a kilt with bagpipes. Oh, yes. A ‘Chasing Cars’ duet performed by a man with a ukulele and a Scot with bagpipes. It might sound a tad nuts, readers, but trust me, it was actually better than the original…

How did these two people become friends? If you imagine a Venn Diagram, one circle ukulele, the other bagpipes, there isn’t really an overlap, is there? These are two instruments played in very different climates. So how did they meet? You know what, there’s an ‘odd couple’ type sitcom in this. ‘The Scot and the Ukulele’. I’d sure watch it.

Pondering forever more about the mystery of the duet’s beginnings isn’t the only thing that’s had me a smidge perplexed, this week. The Smartphone. I’m not really ‘technological’. I avoided getting a mobile telephone until last year, shortly after the government took my benefits off me for not having one. What’s that? ‘Cameron’s Britain’? I couldn’t possibly comment. My mobile telephone is one of these ‘old people’ phones, very simplistic and not at all modern. Although I shouldn’t say ‘old people’ phone. My dad has a Smartphone and he’s around 39 years older than I am. Which some may consider depressing, but I don’t. I’m clinging on to the old ways of life for as long as humanly possible. Stupid modernity…

Dad didn’t start off with a Smartphone, though. No, his first phone was one of these simple ones. That I had to set up. When that broke, he got a slightly more advanced one. That I also had to set up. When that one broke… you get the idea. You have no idea how many hours I have spent imputing his million and one contacts. Pushing buttons so small only a baby could accurately operate it. Dad, eventually, got a Smartphone. And guess what? Two hours of data input were for nothing when the sodding thing stopped working. You see, people may criticise me for not jumping on the Smartphone bandwagon, but they’re like all new technology – they do not work more often than they do work. They’re completely unnecessary.

My dad didn’t think so, though. He persevered and got another one. His tenth phone in three years. Oh, boy. I knew what was coming. It should be the tagline for Smartphones. ‘Say goodbye to your weekend, you have contacts to input!’ The things I could’ve done in the time it took me to do all that. Baked a cake. Ran a marathon. Things like that…

Do you want to know how useless I am with Smartphones? Whilst inputting the data, I accidentally called several relatives. Smartphones are not intuitive at all. I even managed to dial one number that wasn’t even in the bloody contacts! The guy who answered? I have no idea. He was speaking in a foreign language. Sounded Arabic. I have no idea who he was.

After spending what felt like an eternity frantically pushing buttons to try to figure out how to use the infernal contraption, I almost had a heart attack. “Jesus Christ. Working.” The phone spoke to me! That wasn’t in the manual! Well, I presume it wasn’t, I’m a guy, I don’t read those sorts of things. You see, I’d pushed this button and the phone said to me, “Hello.” My terrified response was, “Jesus Christ!” She then said, “Jesus Christ. Working.” She had Googled Jesus! It was the beginning of a nightmare…

“Stop!” I said. “In the Name of Love. Working,” she said. “No, not the bloody song. Just stop!” “Stop, drop and roll. Working.” “NO! My God woman, what do you want?” “What Women Want. Working. 2000 movie starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt.” “Why you little – I’ll give you Helen Hunt!” “Hunt. Working. Cockney rhyming slang for Donald Trump.”

I was tempted to start asking her rude things, but we all know the British government monitor and record everything we do these days. I firmly believe we’ll arrive at the point whereby all that data will become public information. I won’t have much of a funeral. I’ll probably be the only one there. The Priest will probably be late. And he won’t have prepared much or have much to say. So when it comes to the point when he has to say a bit about me, he’ll probably fall back on the data the government collected.

“Ah, Ally. What could one say about him? Well, erm… erm. Well, erm, let’s – let’s take a look at the government records, shall we? Ah, here we are. He once asked Google – oh, my! I can’t say that in church!”

Voice control is utterly pointless, isn’t it? It makes us lazy. Just imagine in a couple generations time when everything is voice controlled. What would happen if the electricity went out? The first thing most people do is rescue what they can from the fridge. “Fridge – open! Fridge… OPEN! Fridge! FRIDGE! Open! OPEN, damn you! ARRRRGH! How the hell am I gonna open the fridge!”

We’ll have probably de-evolved to have no hands, by that point…

Dad was far more enamoured with the voice control. Older people love new technology. It just takes them a little bit of time to grasp it, but they get there in the end.

“Dad, you just press this button and say ‘Home’. It’ll then bring up our home phone number and you can call home. See? Isn’t that clever?”

“Ooh, I like that. Very clever. So, I just press this button?”

“Yes. Well done.”

“And I say what I want?”

“There you go, you got it!”

Clears his throat.

“Hello, can I call home please?”

Oh, Lord, give me strength…

At least I was saved from all the Smartphone hell when the doorbell rang.

Guess what?


I was ecstatic. I felt like I was king of the world…

‘King of the world. Working. Donald Trump.’

Indian engineer, writer and professional magician, Amit Kalantri, once said: “Before you get bored of yourself, try creativity in your life.”

Peace Out :|:

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post. You can leave a comment and/or like this post below, or by clicking the title on the top of this post if you are on the ‘Archives’ page. Likes and follows greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Please feel free check out the latest posts from my other two blogs:

To Contrive & Jive
New Posts Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Click Here to Read the Latest Post

Hark Around the Words
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