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
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper, Alessandro Nivola and Patricia Clarkson on stage

film
Arts and Entertainment

Grace Dent on TV

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is heading to Norwich for Radio 1's Big Weekend

music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

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

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Arts and Entertainment

Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated

Arts and Entertainment
Damian Lewis shooting a scene as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall
TV

Arts and Entertainment
A history of violence: ‘Angry, White and Proud’ looked at the rise of far-right groups

tv

An expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle

Arts and Entertainment

art

Lee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Keaton in the 1998 Beetlejuice original

film

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Kitchen plays Christopher Foyle in ITV's 'Foyle's War'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt will be starring in Dominic Savage's new BBC drama The Secrets

Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
art

‘Remember the attackers are a cold-blooded, crazy minority’, says Blek le Rat

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.

    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
    Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

    Diana Krall interview

    The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
    Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

    Pinstriped for action

    A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

    'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

    Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

    Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
    Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us