Saturday, January 27, 2007

'Pick up another ukulele!'

There's a useful expression with a nice bit of philosophy in it in this interview of Peter O'Toole by Gaby Wood in last Sunday's Observer:
"Reminiscing about his mentor, the renegade actor-film-maker Kenneth Griffith who died just six months ago, O'Toole tells me about an episode that cemented their friendship. In the mid-1950s, Griffith and O'Toole shared a dressing room in Manchester with George Formby. Formby, they found, kept two ukuleles, tuned to different keys, and they asked him if one was a spare. 'No,' said Formby, 'I find it very difficult to change key, so I don't bother. I just pick up another ukulele.' The phrase became a favourite - whenever anything would go wrong, they'd say: 'pick up another ukulele!' and roar with laughter, as if that were the solution to every problem in life. Even now, wheezing with pleasure in the telling, O'Toole gives the impression that his survival instinct is so strong he won't ever really disappear; he'll just shift into another key."

George Formby plays When I'm Cleaning Windows. (It sold over a million copies, in the days of wind-up gramophones.)

More George Formby songs and film clips at MySpace.

Bio of George Formby.


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