how to play the Yamaha

Playing a Yamaha is not as easy as you might think, especially if yours has handlebars and sturdy tartan pannier bags. A rudimentary tune might be achieved by tapping different areas of the petrol tank with your key-ring, but you risk chipping the enamel, so I'd advise against it.

Instead, why not slip on your leather gauntlets and ride off to Tandy, or Dixons, where you will find a host of the latest Yamaha keyboards. And Casios, of course, though I don't think they sport the fun rhythm which goes down so well in sheltered accommodation.

My current Yamaha was purchased for pounds 35 from a policeman called Ian Horncroft. Now Ian couldn't master it, you see, and he was very bitter about this, and wanted it off the premises. He assumed he'd be recreating classics like Jennifer Rush, or Toto's surprise smash hit of 1983 "Africa", within seconds of peeling off the cellophane. "Well, it doesn't work like that, Ian," I told him. "Yes, it's got 'single-finger play', but you've still got to decide which finger to use, haven't you?"

When you first get your Yamaha home, set it up in the lounge on the stand provided. If you didn't get a stand, do what I do. Place the keyboard on your armchair (so it's supported by the arms) before gingerly sliding your body down in-between the tiny gap.

Extra impressive results can be achieved by plugging into your hi-fi stack system - a silver one like mine's best because it's got "bass boost" and "five din to phono", things like that. I used to work for Comet, so I've a thorough knowledge of technical wizardry.

Enjoy the honeymoon period because your family will soon complain that your playing is interfering with the telly - which is fair enough - and insist you seek an alternative site.

Now here's a hint: your departure to the back bedroom can be delayed by switching to headphone mode. But beware of spillage and check your breathing regularly. It can become noisy and rasping and often the mouth produces more saliva than is desirable. (Don't ask me why, I'm not a doctor.)

If your destination is the garden shed - another word of warning. Make sure it's one with an apex roof, because you must have room to punch the air when you get roused on a key phrase, as Michael Ball does, or the Boo Radleys, and I wouldn't want you to graze your hand on a proud nail.

Then again, the fewer fingers you have at your disposal, the easier the prospect of the "single-finger-play" mode, if you see what I mean.

Currently I'm set up in the garage, which is ideal because I get a nice reverb off the breeze blocks. I squat on a 24-pack of Diet Sprite, which provides easy access to the Yamaha on top of the deep-freeze. The only drawback is that Mary, my wife - a dinner-lady at a local primary school - does have an annoying habit of coming for a shepherd's pie during the final chorus.

Right now she requires four economy steaklets and a Linda McCartney sausage roll (for our Karen who's gone veggie) and as my typewriter is also on the deep-freeze I'm going to have to close now, aren't I? Sorry about that.

Have I explained how to play the Yamaha yet? I haven't really, have I? It doesn't matter. If you have any problems I suggest you refer to the manual in the box. If, in the end you really don't know which finger to use, why not hit the demo button with your elbow? You'll be treated to a sprightly rhumba version of George Michael's excellent "Last Christmas".

Oops, I'd better go. "All right Mary, calm down. Let me get the lid on. Be careful, it's not even my typewriter." It belongs to the halfway house, you see. They let me borrow it in return for me cutting their grass, because they haven't got a mower. But I have. It's a Concorde, which is a bit erratic as it is an early model. Do Yamaha make lawnmowers, do you know? They should do.

John Shuttleworth, aka Graham Fellows, is appearing at the Bloomsbury Theatre, Gordon St, London WC1 (0171-388 8822) 7 to 11 Nov, 8pm, pounds 8.50/pounds 7 (concs)

Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl

First look at Oscar winner as transgender artistfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month

TV reviewHouse of Cards returns to Netflix
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford will play Rick Deckard once again for the Blade Runner sequel

film review
Arts and Entertainment
The modern Thunderbirds: L-R, Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John in front of their home, the exotic Tracy Island

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
News
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
people
News
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Oscars
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
music
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
film
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
architecture
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower