This week’s interviewee is Mark. What can we tell you about Mark? Well, he insists he didn’t stalk us before he came along to a Moselele night, but the evidence is overwhelming… and his daughter is our biggest fan. Aw, cute.
1) Tell us how you started playing the ukulele. (How long ago? Did you play other instruments before?)
I started almost exactly a year ago, with a very nervous first session where I could only really attempt a C chord on a uke I’d ‘borrowed’ from my four year old son. I still play the piano (badly), but no other instruments.
2) What uke(s) do you play? (Have you made any adjustments/personalised it? Do you use a plectrum?)
After a few weeks I decided I needed to restring my four year old’s uke. Reasonably, he refused, so I bought myself a cheap red Makala Dolphin. Now I’ve upgraded to a ‘Moselele’, concert size. I sometimes use a felt plectrum, sometimes not.
3) Do you remember your first Moselele? (What prompted you to come along? What were your first impressions?)
I remember being vaguely aware of Moselele (bizarrely I’m in a crowd shot of the first gig three years before I joined!)
[Editor’s note: he’s right. Creepy much?]
I checked the website and then just turned up. I wasn’t sure what to expect to be honest. I was a bit concerned about knowing nothing, but I soon learnt that no-one else knew anything either.
4) What keeps you coming back to Moselele?
Playing music in a group has been a total revelation to me. It sounds weird and I’m not sure how I’d got this far through my life without trying it before. Perhaps because the piano is a solitary instrument and you rarely get to play it in a group? It’s great when we are playing well; it’s sometimes hilarious when it falls apart. Moselele at the Prince of Wales feels a bit like a continuation of the ancient tradition of meeting together in a pub to sing traditional folk songs, but in our case we are singing dubious 80s power ballads. It’s also about a shared musical heritage and anyone – anyone – can contribute to that.
5) What’s your favourite Moselele song?
It varies! Maybe Echo Beach?
6) What’s your usual Moselele tipple?
Timothy Taylor’s Landlord. And one of Ian’s pork scratchings on the way past.
7) Do you practise at home? (What do your family/housemates/pets think?)
I practise songs for gigs, including listening to them on loop, sometimes try playing them with the kids, managed a couple of Xmas singalongs. Come to think of it the neighbours are moving house.
8) What’s your favourite Moselele story/memory (so far)?
Rude Food Fiesta was an extremely strange experience: singing ‘sink you with my pink torpedo’ to a crowd in an allotment in Digbeth? I never thought I’d do that.
9) What would you say to anyone thinking of joining?
It has been quite a year – try it.
10) Tell us a secret.
This is a confidential website, right? I’m a sleeper agent for North Korea.