Of Ukuleles And The Zombie Apocalypse

13 May

I don’t know about you, but I always seem to have a tune of some kind or other going round in my head, and I know one of the best ways to raise my spirits when I’m feeling dragged down by life is to dig out an old favourite and sing along to it (albeit pretty tunelessly at times) as loud as my neighbours will let me before they start banging on the walls. When the zombie apocalypse comes, there will be both a great need for music to help boost morale (provided you can find somewhere to play it without attracting the undead!) and an almost complete inability to play any recordings.

Once the power goes, so will the mighty iTunes and its would-be usurper Spotify. And while your MP3 player might allow you to fit every song you’ve ever heard in your back pocket, there will be few opportunities to top up its battery. Radios will last longer (since they don’t use as much power and you can even get wind-up model these days) but once civilisation collapses the only thing you’ll be able to pick up beyond static is automated warning messages.

You might come across the occasional CD, cassette or even the odd piece of old vinyl while you’re scavenging but you won’t have anything you can play them on so they’ll be no help; and besides even if you did, there’s nothing worse than having to listen to the same album over and over again because it’s the only one you’ve got (I haven’t been able to listen to Bob Dylan ever since I spent a month sailing off Labrador when one of his albums was played almost constantly because it was the only tape we had and we couldn’t get any radio stations).

So what can you do? The logical thing would be to make your own music, but to have any hope of staying in tune (and indeed to making sure everyone sings in the same key), you’ll need some sort of musical accompaniment. Now, this is where things get a little tricky. Come the zombie apocalypse, you can’t exactly tuck a piano under your arm and leg it. Accordions are pretty bulky too (as well as sounding awful) and even a guitar will be too cumbersome to carry while trying to evade the undead; but just when think you’re running out of options, the humble ukulele comes to the rescue.

Clearwater Soprano Ukulele

Clearwater Soprano Ukulele

Ukuleles are small, easy-to-carry and great fun to play. The one in the picture accompanying this article is mine. It’s a mere 18 inches long and weighs under a pound so it can easily be strapped into a pack or thrown in the back of a car without getting in the way.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: aren’t ukuleles, a bit, well you know, naff? Being an avid ukulele player, I’d disagree but don’t just take my word for it, take George Harrison’s (he of the Beatles fame) – He was a major ukulele fan. You see, when most people hear the word ukulele, they think native Hawaiian tunes (if you’re American) or George Formby (if you’re British) but there’s much more to ukuleles than that. With a bit of thought, you can play almost any type of music on a ukulele and it’s this versatility make a uke prefect for accompanying moral-boosting sing-a-longs no matter what your musical taste. If you don’t believe me, check out some of the many surprisingly-effective ukulele covers of famous songs you can find on YouTube (I’ve provided links to a few of my favourites below).

Then there’s one last thing going for the ukulele: it’d make the perfect improvised weapon for smashing in the skull of a rampaging zombie should you ever find yourself in need of one. You can’t doing that with a harmonica!

Ukulele Covers To Check Out:

Hey Ya (originally by Outkast)

While My Guitar Gently Weeps (originally by Santana)

Sweet Child Of Mine (originally by Guns n’ Roses)

Smells Like Teen Spirit (originally by Nirvana):

Satisfaction (originally by Rolling Stones):

Wonderwall (0riginally by Oasis)

Teenage Dirtbag (originally by Wheatus)

From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.


2 Responses to “Of Ukuleles And The Zombie Apocalypse”

  1. Jack Flacco 13/05/2013 at 15:11 #

    I play guitar. Love my guitar. I can carry it everywhere. And I play the blues harp, which is a bit different than the chromatic harmonica, which I can also play. I have a 30-year-old bent-out-of-shape chromatic that has this wonderful mellow sound to it. Almost like an a large accordion. On one side of it I get the key of C and the other side is the key of G. Like I said, a beautiful, mellow sound.

    • cmdrysdale 13/05/2013 at 15:39 #

      If you can play the guitar, I take my hat off to you! I’ve tried a few times over the years, but never got the hang of it (I’m in the middle of another bout of trying at the moment, at least in between writing and working). I think it’s the number of strings that confuses me. I can handle a uke, a bass and even a mandolin (all basically four strings), but both the five-string banjo and the guitar leave me flummoxed. Could never get the hang of a harmonica either … but I can get a good blues sound out of my baritone ukulele.

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