The Review That Got Me Fired

I’ve been writing reviews for a few years now, mostly for an online local arts journal, but before that, I covered a few shows for a print publication. I considered myself very lucky and honoured to be a part of the team, and took my contributions very seriously. One day, though, I stopped receiving invites, and the following review was the last I ever submitted. It was never printed, and I never knew why. Indeed, I never even heard from the publication again. I’ve been back and forth over it since then. Is it just not good enough? Did they have a special relationship with the performers I was unaware of and didn’t honour articulately enough? Did the draft I submitted contain hidden Satanic messages? I still don’t know, but having revisited the review again, I’d like to share my appreciation for the show, which I did really enjoy, here.

Music Review: The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
Grand Opera House, York, Wed 17th June 2015

From American Blues to Russian folk to British pop, the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain have got it covered in their touring anniversary show, 30 Plucking Years.

Formed in 1985 “as a bit of fun”, the charm and energy of this eight-piece ensemble after thirty years of international touring is impressive to say the least, in an industry where most artists perish after around five years. It’s fair to say that the speculation on the Orchestra being a big part of the inspiration behind the current worldwide trend for turning every tune into a tiny, twangy cover is justified. Of course, the instruments may be small but the sound is anything but.

Willingly misleading segues and nonsensical, self-aware banter fill the gaps in a pleasing array of covers across genres including Kiss by Prince, Life On Mars by David Bowie and the inevitable Get Lucky by Daft Punk; all with their own individual twist. Each of the six men and two women take their turn in the spotlight with effortless prowess, hosting tracks suited to their various voices and tastes. The band allow the audience to let their guard down in the second half with some low-key numbers before a punchy, funky finale.

The group are fleeing to Germany – one of their “this song is very popular in…” inspirational travel destinations – for one gig before returning to the UK to continue their tour on the 27th June.

I believe this particular tour is over now, but you can read more about The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain and their upcoming gig dates all over the world here.

#100

Only this will do now
Pump it into me
For a hundred days
Don’t stop to think
about what you’ve done

#99

The girl’s past tutors
watch her on television
not seeing a sell out to music
but enjoying that she still
performs, magnetic,
disciplined, captivating
they are on her side

#98

Dear Héloïse Letissier,

Having just watched your music video for the song Christine, I know that we are meant to be together. As sisters, lovers, soulmates.

Yours sincerely,

#97

Glass breaks around my family
There’s that time I chased my brother down the street
And he ran inside and slammed the door
And my outstretched hands
went straight through the panes
The time mum slipped on the back yard in the rain
And somehow there was glass there
She sat on the stairs, wrist dripping onto the lino
giving me a phobia of blood
And of course she is static
Every touch is an oh-for-fuck’s-sake
Every computer blows up when she plugs it in
And the glasses she paints
Sit still in the cupboards of relatives
Waiting quietly in case we notice them

#96

I am going on a date
I met a dog online
and his parents want to suss me out
So I’m donning my most responsible outfit
Fleece and wellies
treats in my pocket to seem thoughtful
first-time conversation cards at the ready
and my first breath of autumn
is a deep intake of well-meaning nerves

#95

My dream girl jumps about
Like a Lamia
Disproportioned legs
Flailing like wire rods finding minerals
Or water
I’m not sure what they were for
But she is jumping
And missing her real limbs
It doesn’t seem to bother her
That they are impotent and out of time