When I was younger I spent a decade or so working in music shops selling all sorts of musical goodies to an unsuspecting public.
One thing I don't think I ever sold was those peculiar felt plectrums that used to occupy the never opened drawers of the pick cabinet behind the counter. I can remember laughing about them with my cool mates. "What sort of musical wierdo would use these" we would scoff, as we tried to make ourselves comfortable in our too tight jeans while tripping over our I'll fitting hand painted red boots. Some older person informed me they were used on ukuleles. That made it even worse! How uncool could you get?
cut to the present. I'm in a Newcastle bound train heading for the Newkulele Festival, one of the great uke festivals and really looking forward to it. Ukes have become a big part of my world since embarking on the design and production of the Maton range of ukes. I love the instrument and I love the scene. So much for "uncool"!
I also have been given the honour of playing acoustic guitar (and a few other bits and pieces) on my good friend Suzette Herft's forthcoming album 'Roses'. The record is being produced by the wonderful Shane O'Mara, a genius on guitar and in the studio and who makes my obsession with instruments and gadgets look like a passing interest. Shane was trying to get me to play a soft strummed part and I was struggling. I suddenly flashed back to those dusty pick trays of my youth and asked "hey Shane, do you have one of those felt picks they used to use on ukuleles"? Of course he did! Probably the only man in Melbourne that would have but that's why we love him. So, despite the fact that it felt like stirring porridge with a soggy stick of celery I got the track done and it sounds great! I'm going to buy a pack at this festival and keep them for a rainy day.
Here's to a forgotten hero, the mighty felt pick!