idling right

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Played a private party on the Isar this evening, and it really was quite enjoyable. Relaxed and a bit languid, even. I told Jarrod that I used to play gigs in a tuxedo and this was much more fulfilling. Wouldn’t go back to that earlier life as a musician for anything. Not that anyone misses me in the classical music world. There are plenty of people willing to do that sort of thing – I’m just glad I’m no longer one of them.

You might be wondering what we played, so I’ll list a few of the songs here. We normally play a lot of originals when people want to hear our tunes, but this sort of event is normally all covers. I have a weird history with covers. I like the lesser-known songs of many artists, so if you ask me to play Harry Chapin‘s Cats in the Cradle, I’m more likely to pull out Danceband on the Titanic or A Better Place to Be instead.

My friend Dermot came by to listen, so we did a few Dylan songs for him. Both I’ll Be ‘Your Baby Tonight and Just Like a Woman. My compadre on twitter @Hazelblackberry would’ve approved. She likes Bobby Zimmerman.

We did If You Needed Me by Townes Van Zandt and Jarrod likes playing Whiskey in a Jar, so we did that. I’m sure Townes would’ve approved. Maybe not the song but the sentiment, I’m sure. Alan Parsons Project‘s Eye in the Sky and Daniel LanoisWhere Will I Be, which are two of my favourite songs.

Rain by the Beatles and Rod Stewart‘s Maggie May. I know that was a huge hit for him and I just said that we avoid the better-known cover songs, but by then we were just trying to play anything that people might recognize and enjoy. They were a tough crowd. Very cool and reserved until near the end. Jarrod played REM‘s You Are the Everything from the Green album.

We’ve been doing Friend of the Devil (music by Jerry Garcia and John Dawson & lyrics by Robert Hunter) since we were playing guitar and bass (before the ukulele obsession), so we did that and later we closed the evening out with Brokedown Palace. It was the perfect ending to a party on the bank of the river. Look up the lyrics. They’re beautiful.

At some point, I’ll upload a recording of Idleright. It’s the least I can do.

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introducing my London correspondent

that’s Nigel on the right (back when he lived in Munich)

My friend Nigel and I were chatting the other day. He was in London, and I was back home here in Munich. I was telling him about the Summer of Uke, which kicked off the other day at the Corso Leopold when Idleright played Mustard and a Piece of Bread. Then we found ourselves knee-deep in a discussion about idling.

So, we were talking about playing the ukulele and idling, and the logical place this conversation is going is to London. Not just London, but Nigel‘s neighbourhood there. You see, there’s a place for idling. Well, there are many places for idling. Shakespeare and Company in Paris. Or up in Aspen, Colorado there’s Explore Booksellers. Those’re excellent idling locations. As is the Orange Show in Houston, Texas. I could keep listing excellent places to idle, but the point of this is to introduce one place in particular that I’m very excited about. The one in London. Near Nigel.

The Idler

That’s right. It’s a place called The Idler. I’m going to go there. It’s on my list. As a travelling Bon Vivant, I’m sure I’ll be there sooner than any of us expect. But in the meantime, Nigel has offered to be my London correspondent. He’s going to the Idler Academy of Philosophy, Husbandry and Merriment in my name and writing about his encounters. There will be stories of Nigel doing as little as possible. He’ll ask some inappropriate questions while he’s there, and hopefully manage to get his photo taken. It’s all very official.

I think you’ll enjoy Nigel’s work. Especially because it won’t resemble work in any way, shape or form. As is the way of a true idler.

Mustard and a Piece of Bread

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Jarrod and his Sponge Bob ukulele

We’ve been playing together for a little more than a year, Jarrod and I…parties and other informal events. Several times at the International Songwriters Evening Munich, which has been a pleasure. Nevertheless, we have plenty of other things going on, so we haven’t bothered coming up with a name. We play our own tunes, as well as relatively unknown covers (the more obscure the better).

But all this is about to change. Not dramatically. Not quickly. But change it must. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, we’re not partial to entropy. We’re playing at Corso Leopold, which is a festival that takes place in the middle of one of Munich’s biggest streets (Leopold Straße). They block it off – it’s not like we’ll be sitting there while traffic whooshes by – and the festivaling commences.

The website is pretty straightforward if you’re accustomed to German. However, if you try using your google-fu and translate it unsupervised, you might encounter a bit of whimsy. Would you like to see a bit of that? Of course you would:

‘When taken to the streets of Munich, he has a lot to see. But nowhere will open his urban diversity so boisterous, as colorful and surprising as to unsrem (our) large hard-Schwabing. On the Corso Leopold is enjoying the big city, slightly self-indulgent as it is now time, as great in front of a mirror.’

Is someone being taken to Munich against his will? That sounds ominous. Schwabing is one of the more popular neighbourhoods in the northern central part of Munich, but I’d describe it as neither large nor hard. Is it in fact ‘now time‘? Really? I suppose that is a bit self-indulgent. And then the announcement goes on:

‘Amazed, because we are immodest, pushes himself as the crowd in front of the attractions. Come on, there’s something for everyone. Culture for everyone. It works! is the motto. And linger, enjoy life. Corso’s is on the event.’

Are we immodest? Merriam-Webster tells me that this means: ‘not conforming to the sexual mores of a particular time or place‘. Are we really all of that? Well, ok. As it’s written, let’s push ourselves as the crowd. According to this translation ‘It works!‘ is the motto. I can think of poorer mottos. As they say, ‘It works!

So, you’ve been informed: we’re playing at the Corso Leopold. To be more specific, we’re playing at the ‘Theater der Flaneure’ on Sunday 10 June 2012 sometime between 17 and 18 o’clock (according to the map provided, it’s near the Gisela Straße U-Bahn stop). The only thing that’s missing at this point is that we need a name. We’ve been talking quite a bit lately about idling, and our newfound obsession with the ukulele seems to go well with said idling. So the name we’ve come up with is:

Idleright

If you can’t make it, I’m hoping we’ll have some footage I can link to later. Oh, and this is the first time we’re playing ‘Mustard and a Piece of Bread‘ live in front of other people. That’s exciting.

How about all of that? I think It Works!

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some ukulele whimsy