Season of the 'Ukulele (SOTU) 629 - Season of the Cuckoo'lele

I Built A Friend is a song by Alec Benjamin about life changes and leaving behind things that you once loved. That's the basic explanation for the meaning of the song but I think that it overlooks a much darker subtext. It overlooks codependency and severe depression (that leads to ....) which I think really come out in his music video for the song and it's the distinct impression I got when I first heard the song.

 
I don’t know if I can participate in the seasons yet this week or not, but I do want to say this: I would never want to devalue or minimize anyone’s suffering, no matter how small it might appear to be. We seldom know much of the story, let alone all of it.

What is trivial to one may be tragedy to another.

I do think that this is a great theme, and I am glad that there is an opportunity for various forms of expression on this topic.
 
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Given the first lines "I'm so happy 'cause today I found my friends / they're in my head" I thought this song by Nirvana was about schizophrenia, but according to wikipedia: it is a 'fictionalized account of a man who "turned to religion as a last resort to keep himself alive" after the death of his girlfriend, "to keep him from suicide."'

Apologies for the terrible rendition. As someone that grew up in the grunge era, I love Nirvana, but I find that their songs are somehow impossible to sing.

 
original poem, written 20/2/24
that i read today 4/3/24 and made some improvised music to accompany it
using a baritone ukulele and a 1930's National tenor guitar.

i very much appreciate this week's theme, Chris.
chronic depression, anxiety and addiction have crippled my life.
last Monday i was discharged from rehab for the 6th time
and some years ago, spent months in a mental hospital undergoing TMS and 13 rounds of ECT amongst other treatments.
today marks 15 days of sobriety.
during this latest stay i wrote a number of poems and this is one of them.
the paintings in the video are all by Paul Klee (1879-1940).

 
"It's No Good Trying", by Syd Barrett, for concert ukulele with singing. Overdubs of Ashbory Ubass, fuzz uke, and secondary vocal.

Most folks probably know that Syd Barrett was the original guitarist and songwriter for Pink Floyd, and had one of the most famous mental breakdowns in rock and roll history. I’m a huge fan of early Floyd and especially Syd, who I believe was an artistic genius.

Thanks for hosting, Chris!

 
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And, hello again, Chris! I have long been strangely drawn to this song, but couldn't quite work out how to do it, as over half of the record consists of the introduction. However, when I was obviously NOT gainfully employed yesterday, I devised a method of recording it. The whole thing is totally absurd, but I don't want anyone to think that I am belittling the severity and impact of mental struggles; it just seemed right to bring a little "levity" to the proceedings. I, myself, have struggled with anxiety for quite a large portion of my life, and later with PTSD following a traumatic near-death incident when I developed an infection after my second bone marrow transplant. It is, therefore, very easy for me to identify with the likes of Jon and Mark and I send my love and sympathy to anyone here who is currently suffering. BUT ... life is short and I am determined to enjoy what's left of it!

 
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Your health is you wealth... mental or physical. Warren Zevon wrote this song and shortly after he died of cancer. Having a terminal illness and how you react to it surely has an effect on you mental health.

During my time on the underground I have known of the deaths of 3 ukulele players who were regulars and in the case of Randy and Lesley, the songs they penned before their passing were special, and Ukey Dave was just special himself.

I know my stroke has had an effect on me. I laugh and cry at the slightest things. It worried me at first that I could loose control of my emotions so easily... Crying when I read Robert Frost in speech therapy, laughing when in occupational therapy and practicing my pincer movement to pick up pegs and place them on a pin board I constructed the shape of a colourful flag for stroke victims... everyone seems to have a flag these days.

And of course Sotu has been a life line.
 
I was working on a Beethoven song earlier this week for John's 628 theme, but I want to post it here as well.

Beethoven composed the melody to lyrics by Goethe about a pet marmot, La marmotte. It was first published in 1805. The original key is A minor. The version in the Boosey and Hawkes publication Learn As You Play Saxophone by Peter Wastall is in Dm, which sounds as Fm in concert pitch. I was struggling with a few chords until I realised I can just pretend to read the notes/letters in bass clef, and the chord progression became a lot simpler.


 
I've been on a journey of self-discovery in recent weeks that fits right in with this wonderful Season theme. I planned this song for 628's "pretending" theme ... and how wonderful that it works for both!

It's about neurodiversity, a subject with which I've been growing increasingly familiar ... and a common strategy many neurodivergent people develop, called masking or camouflaging - which is basically trying to be (or at least appear) "normal" and acceptable to others, to fit in and succeed in a neurotypical world.

Somehow the "Matchmaker" song from Fiddler on the Roof seemed like a good fit for this topic ... "make me a perfect mask". It's a fun lighthearted song about a very serious topic with huge potential impact on its subjects' lives - the three sisters who sing it go from romantically imagining dream husbands, to justified terror at the prospect of being married to someone truly abusive, repulsive, or both. Sometimes neurodivergence can feel like all of that.

It's a work in progress - the song and its creator. I left out the whole fun middle part where the sisters act out Yenta the matchmaker delivering the news of the not-so-wonderful matches she's found them. I may add that part in later this week, but I wanted to get something in for 628's Season of pretending that inspired it.

Neurodiversity isn't strictly speaking a mental illness, but it is about having a brain that works differently from "normal", and often leads people to treat you differently, including often judgmentally or dismissively. And it can lead to challenges managing some basic aspects of life that neurotypical people seem to navigate easily. So it seems at least parallel to me.

 
Greetings folks! We're about 26 hours in and this below is the 25th song on the playlist + 1 that doesn't show, as unhidden. I'm not sure how that works and haven't counted the entries in the thread, but I believe I'm all caught up with the playlist and comments. At this rate, we would get to 192 entries by the end of the season! I'm sure no one has ever graphed the submission rate of season entries, but it would be interesting to see the initial spike, ramp, then dwindle, and few blips at 11:59pm HST. ( 🚨nerd alert)

Anyways... there have been some amazing entries so far... ranging from a bit of humor to touching originals to heartfelt covers. I've definitely been enjoying the listens!!

There have also been some wonderful comments, real f***ng stories, and strong emotions. I totally understand that this topic touches everyone in different ways and I appreciate the sensitivity and understanding from everyone. I also appreciate those folks who aren't afraid to go to a real place inside of themselves! I'm there with you... and I'll Stand by You...



I don’t know if I can participate in the seasons yet this week or not, but I do want to say this: I would never want to devalue or minimize anyone’s suffering, no matter how small it might appear to be. We seldom know much of the story, let alone all of it.

What is trivial to one may be tragedy to another.

I do think that this is a great theme, and I am glad that there is an opportunity for various forms of expression on this topic.
I didn't want this post to go unnoticed. I thought of the word "sonder" a while back, as I was walking around the mall during Christmastime.
dictionary.com defines it below.
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I started to write a song about it that never came out, but I did come across this pretty well made video on the word...


Turns out, the word was just coined in 2012 by a Swiss-American writer in 2012, John Koenig, as part of his fabulous website – The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

Well... I'm glad UU members and the Seasonistas have made their way into my story, whether it be as supporting cast or an acquaintance or a random passerby, liking a post, or just as a username showing up as online at 4:29am PST.

If you happen across this post, I hope your story is going well. Join the Seasonistas! Get a postcard! ;)
 
After @engravertom's comment yesterday (thanks!) a song visited me and insisted I write it. I told it I was busy and I tried to get other stuff done today, but it kept coming back saying "write me! write me! write me!". And it just wouldn't leave me alone. So in the end, just for a bit of peace, I did.

This is not my usual kind of thing. But I do believe in it. It basically says, assume nothing. Whatever kind of triviality it looks like, you have no idea what else is going on in someone's life. Be kind. Have empathy. Say a kind word or two. You get what you give.



Fear not. I have a silly song in mind on this theme too. Normal service will be resumed :).
 

The Dutchman - Michael Smith


The late Michael Smith from Chicago was the first non-Canuck that we ever hired for the folk club that we ran in the eighties and nineties in the Citizens' Forum in Victoria Hall. We called it Folk At The Forum. He had come with a friend from Toronto, Norm Hacking, and played a couple of songs at an open-mic and we knew that we had to hire him as a headliner. This is probably his best known song and he told me that his sister was going out with a Dutchman at the time he wrote it.

 
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