The Saturday Miscellany: How to play the ukelele; Garth Stein's bookshelf; Farmville


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The Independent Culture

How to: Play the ukelele

By Oscar Quine

A daiquiri in hand, a warm Hawaiian breeze as the sun sets… Failing a trip to Waikiki, use this guide from William Grove-White, member of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, to master a few evocative uke ditties:

"First, get a ukulele (you can't avoid this). A decent 'soprano' uke should only cost £30-50. So if you don't like it you can use it as a ping pong bat."

"Using a piano or electronic tuner, tune it to GCEA. Put your middle finger on the second fret of the G string (nearest your nose) and strum. That's an A minor. With just this you can play all of Bob Marley's 'Get Up Stand Up'."

"Find more chords online and away you go. Jimi Hendrix started out playing a ukulele with just one string – imagine the possibilities with four!"

Get Plucky with the Ukulele by Will Grove-White (Cassell Illustrated, £14.99)

Rotating column: Salt in the wound

By Samuel Muston

I confess, I am an overseasoner. Salt is my crutch. I cannot see a tomato without wanting to give it a dose of the salt; my steaks I practically frost in the stuff before it hits the pan. It is not that I don't like the natural taste of the world's flora and fauna, really it isn't. It is merely that it tastes so much better when its tones are given the amphetaminised jerk into life which only a sprinkle of the white stuff allows. So, why this modern chefy mania for removing the salt from tables? I get it in your Simon Rogan and your Ollie Dabbous-type restaurants. I trust them to be attendant to my salty needs.

But in my local gastro-cafe? Are you kidding me? It is a tyranny too far; a damn imposition and frankly rather uncivil. So in future I would counsel you to follow my lead: bring your own salt shaker and to hell with that prissy chef.

For the chicest salt shakers try Heals

Instant Ethics

By Ellen E Jones

Dear Ellen

Q. I agreed to host a hen do at my flat and a guest spilled red wine on my white rug. Can I charge her for the cost of cleaning?

A. At some point in life everyone must make their choice: would you like your days and nights to be filled with friends, fun, laughter, wine, women and song? Or would you like white carpets?


Four play: British Brutalism

1. The National Theatre*
2. Trellick Tower
3. Alexandra Road Estate
4. Ministry of Justice

*The queen opens the NT this day in 1976

Micro extract: Funny money

'In 1968, Fortune magazine put him on its list of 66 wealthiest people in America , with a net worth estimated at between $150 million and $200 million – the richest entertainer in Hollywood.'

From Hope by Richard Zoglin (Simon and Schuster, £20)

All Good Things

By Charlotte Philby


Farm Hopping is a marketplace where farmers around the world directly access customers, and set their own prices. The company currently delivers meat, cheese, jam, beer and more, across London and Bristol.



Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin were responsible for the wonderful likes of 'Bagpuss' and 'The Clangers'. 'The Art of Small Film' (above) celebrates their work. £25,


A dress to impress

Collaborations are 10-a-penny right now but next month's OTHER/shop x Peter Jensen has us excited. Featuring three limited-edition designs, the capsule range is a celebration of Jensen's signature 'demi sleeve' shift dress (above). £309,