When the ukulele is maligned…

This might surprise some people, but the ukulele has not always been given due respect. I have recently found two examples of this. They follow (Warning — blog tone OTT):

1. In The Argus, 15 March 1930, it was reported on page 25 that, at a Conference in Nottingham of Free Church ministers, the Rev. Herbert Leggate of Manchester ‘described many young people today as having ukulele souls’. I take this to mean ‘light and frivolous’ souls. If I am correct in my inference, then ‘light and frivolous’ might have been a just description of young people at the time, but I want to know why the noble ukulele had to be maligned to make this point.

[Update on the Rev. Herbert Leggate (1891-1965?) regarding the young : The Times, 14 March 1930 (page 11, col. D) quotes him as follows — “The modern world treated the young harshly. Cinemas and wireless made it easy for them to live dangerously or romanically by proxy. A pleasure-mad world beseiged them with new escapes from boredom. Was it surprising that many of them had ukulele souls? But multitudes of them were too fine to drown the sound of the world’s anguish with jazzy music”]

2. In the novel, Unfair & unbalanced: the lunatic magniloquence of Henry E. Panky‎ by Patrick M. Carlisle, the new CEO of a failing company was giving a pep-talk to disheartened staff, and the narrator says: ‘Oh he played us like a ukulele’. Now, I might be too cynical in my reading, but it seems to me that we are to understand that the CEO had such control of the situation that he could ‘toy’ with the staff, make them do or believe what he wanted them to do. If my inference is correct, again, I say, not fair to associate the noble ukulele with a toy.

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Published in: on December 10, 2009 at 8:17 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being ‘light and frivilous’ anyway.


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