By Mark Kemp

It’s Saturday afternoon (or evening, depending on where you are). It’s sunshiny outside (or snowing like crazy, depending on where you are), and you need to chill out. What better way than to watch Eddie Vedder, smartly dressed and sitting on a rock surrounded by a huge body of blue water, furiously strumming “Can’t Keep” on his DeVine ukulele and singing, “I wanna shake, I wanna wind down, I wanna leave this mind and shout”?

That’s the image that inspired at least one Scottish lass to ask Santa for a uke this past Christmas. Her dad (at least I guess it was her dad) wrote about it Friday in The Southern Reporter, a newspaper in the southeastern Scotland town of Selkirk:

Not only did it get played relentlessly on Christmas Day until its strings were almost worn out, but it has been played almost every day since. Sometimes twice a day …

It is now hopelessly out of tune, but a You Tube clip of Eddie Vedder (font man of the 90s grunge band, Pearl Jam, and unlikely ukulele champion) playing the uke whilst sitting on a rocky outcrop with waves crashing about him, had fuelled the enthusiasm. I am not so sure that a You Tube clip of [British banjo uke player George] Formby would have had the same effect, but maybe that’s just me judging her by my own extremely low standards.

I have always had a soft spot for Mr Vedder who, I must say, for a man of (just) over 50 is not looking too shabby. I don’t think I could have said that about George Formby ever, no matter what age he’d been.

I dare you to watch the video and not pick up your uke. For that matter, I dare you to watch that George Formby video and not pick up your uke. It’s just that kind of day today. Happy strumming!

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