Monday, March 22, 2010

On Golfers and Trends...

First a disclaimer. It is very likely that something in this post is going to piss you off. It's just my opinion. Try not to take it personally (it is NOT aimed at anyone in particular), and try not to hold the rest of the UCB responsible.

Ok. Now a story. I promise this long-winded rant has a point related to recent posts... hang in there.

A few years ago I accidentally took up golf. I went to a local range with some friends on a whim and discovered I not only liked it, but was pretty darn good at it. I was raised as poor white trash. No one golfed where I came from when I was a kid. It was a huge surprise and a refreshing change. I liked the "walk in the park" aspect, and I liked the beer. So I bought some cheap clubs and for a couple of years golfed through the summers.

But I gradually discovered two things.

First, the more I golfed, the more golf gained popularity in these parts. It had nothing to do with me - just a local trend based on income, social status, yadda, yadda... Random, but the crowds started coming.

Second - I realized I hated golfers. I mean hate. Not all, but certainly most. They were almost universally arrogant rich white guys who not only didn't give a crap about anything I considered worthwhile, but sucked the fun out of every trip to the links. From parking lot rudeness, to 6th hole rage, to pinching the beer-girl's ass - every interaction made golf far less fun for me.

So I quit. It simply wasn't worth the bull shit those ass-clowns brought to the party. Even though I liked it, even though I was good at it - it became tedium and I walked away. I didn't want to be "that guy" and I didn't want to be with "that guy".

But it wasn't just the golfers. It was also the rise in popularity. I have a character that tends to value the obscure and self-discovered things in life. General popularity - especially by parts of our culture I have no respect for can take the value away from something for me. Take movies - I hate Forrest Gump. Not just because it was a sub-par tear jerker, but because of it's inexplicable popularity with people who wouldn't know a good movie if it shit in their hat. Any small enjoyment I got out of Forrest Gump was striped away by the fact that it was popular with people I had little respect for.

I think you see where this is going.

I play much less uke today then I did a year ago. It's not because I like it less. I still write with it - I do grab it a few times a week. But I'm reluctant to perform with it these days. It may make me a bad person, but I want nothing to do with the types of people I see flocking to the uke lately. The second I saw a uke on American Idol I felt some of the fun and joy literally ripped away. Now that 2 or 3 uke players appear on every season of that heartless abomination of a show, it's like someone killed my favorite puppy.

It's not just American Idol. The relatively minor (but still significant in terms of YouTube) popularity of folks like Julia Nunes and Wade Johnston have ushered in what I consider to be a massive wave of bland, self-indulgent, musically uninspired, and generally annoying and rude players. Again - not all, but most. Much like the afore mentioned golfers - they make the playground less fun for me. Every single time I break my uke out in public I'm asked if I play any Julia, or Molly, or Jason Mraz. It's like a stick in the eye.

Not that the above people are not talented... they clearly are - and I'm not delusional about my own talent. I have zero aspirations about becoming a star of any kind. I really do this for my own satisfaction and for my friends. But again, through a quirk or flaw in my character - popularity with folks I want nothing to do with will suck the fun out of nearly anything for me.

I'll always play uke, but as the popularity increases, particularly with the spoiled sub-urban kids with shitty taste in music, more and more of the charm disappears for me.

So when I read a post like the one below from Deach, I wonder how much of this is true at some level for all of us. How much of the malaise we feel from time to time is about the golf - and how much is about the golfers.


RussBuss said...

wow coyote, you took the words right out of my mouth. but instead of golf, it was badminton. badminton players are such assholes with their high fiving and crystal meth dealing.

all joking aside...
last year, i would frequent this open mic and be the lone "ukulele guy" playing odd covers and some originals. the other patrons were really supportive down there and not once was i asked to play any of those shitty songs most people associate with ukulele these days. i thanked my lucky stars for that! but just recently, there has been a new ukulele guy who goes there and he plays ONLY shitty songs that people associate with ukulele. his set includes SOTR, I'm Yours, Hey Soul Sister. i'm not even joking here to make a point. i'm just waiting for him to round out his set with Hallelujah and Hey there Delilah. that guy has every right to perform whatever he likes, but he may as well put on a Tiny Tim outfit and finish the job.

i know that it comes off as being snobby and i don't intend it that way. i just wish some people could think outside of the box once in a while. there are millions of songs that could be played on a uke. why limit yourself to the same ol' shit everybody else is playing?

deach said...

I agree about golfers. I worked for many years at country clubs. They're all the same. FEA

I also agree about ukes. I doubt I'll do another open mic until the uke fad dies down. Too many cool kids play the uke now. FEA

Little 6ster said...

whatever will become of us? if our mainstay loose Ukefaith...
We all need you!
and I do agree with you I hate golf, I played once in Switzerland
it's Bullshit society ;°)

Anonymous said...

I don't want to play golf. Just want to wear the clothes. The pants on that guy are something, aren't they? Of course, I'm colorblind.

I wrote a comment earlier that I took off, because I don't think you need a reply. Seems like pretty natural feelings to me. Good to blow off the steam sometimes.

RussBuss said...

i agree Don. i've always wanted golf pants like that but they're surprisingly expensive. i guess it really is a rich man's game.

Adelle the Great said...

Holy crap, Grump- thank you for this post. Every time I try to put what you've described into words I end up sounding whiny, or like the "First!" guy.

I think to a lot of us the uke community was like a secret club. And is there anything wrong with being excited about being in a secret club? I don't think so. It's not the *reason we picked up the uke- it was something we discovered we got to be in afterward. It seems to me the opposite happens more frequently now- people hear about the club & so they pick up a uke so they can say they're a member.

I'm double whammied on account of Ms Nunes grew up in my area. Articles from the local paper regularily get shoved in my face because since I play the uke, I obviously am a huge fan of hers- and I'm scared to go to open mics in the area because of lame comparisons & accusations of wanting to be like her.

ukeyermind said...

What's being said here resonates with me.

Growing pains. . .

Usually, either the tribal elders show the newcomers the path by means of their awesome example, or else they abandon the scene for a new, different scene and leave the old scene for the newbs to do with what they will.

knowspics said...

I tend to do things not because others do or don't do them. I did not take up the ukulele because I saw its popularity exploding. I took it up because I had just broken up with my girlfriend, I hated playing guitar in my small apartment at night and have neighbors bang on the wall and it just felt awkward physically. I stumbled upon the uke in the last days of dating. We went to the outskirts of Brooklyn to hear some live bluegrass/rockabilly and a female artist got up and started to sing and play and I thought that is the sweetest sound. I was hooked then but didn't act until the final act. Now I can't get enough.

With golf that was a different story. I grew up rich white boy but learned the hard way to be poor white man. I never play in my youth but some poor colleagues (photographers) kept pestering me to join them. I did and realized I was good. I stopped not because of the craze but because my apartment could not handle a full set of golf clubs and poor white man could not afford golf.

I do my activities not because they are popular or unpopular. I do it because it gives me some peace, some time away from my daily hustle of sitting on my ass wondering how I am going to get work. If everything I did depended on who did or didn't do it I would be really unhappy and at the whim of the wind.

Anonymous said...

"the last one to paradise is the first to slam the door..."

Just because you do something, you are allowed to resent others that enjoy it as well? Sounds like a bunch of pious individuals to me. Do what you enjoy. If you are unhappy with the popularity of the ukulele, perhaps you should stop blogging about it?!?!

Boozelele said...

Great post GCT. Very well written. I love you man.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I was raised here in Hawai'i (and still live) where the 'ukulele was never a fad or obscure but just a normal everyday instrument since it's introduction over 100 years ago. Kids are taught it in public school, no ignorant people looking down on it. Each one is an individual and nothing special is expected, no comparisons made. I guess it's 'ukulele paradise. I play 'ukulele for myself, not sure I'd ever post a YouTube vid of myself playing, too private a person. That being said I do try and encourage new musicians especially 'ukulele players I meet on YouTube as I think music is good for the soul.

DeG said...

I agree. I really liked U2, then they got popular and I didn't like them any more. (YCSI Joshua Tree!) I think this is true with many things in life. You like something because it is differnt and you make it yours. Then everyone starts liking it and it looses its cool factor.
I would really like an El Camino SS with color changing paint, Lambo doors and 26" wheels, but now you see them on every block. They still are cool though.

Falcon said...

To me that sounds like teenager thinking, please don't get offended, just do what you like and pay less attention to others, man! Life's too short!

Dave Eriksen said...

Yeah, I agree that clock towers should be built at strategic locations around golf courses. Better a shooting happen there than around schools.

Just kidding.

Still, I know what you mean about (some) golfers. Last year, I was at Seattle's Green Lake par 3, 9-hole course and encountered a group of asshat golf snobs. Everyone else was mellow and cool, but this one group of polo-shirted jerks had to mouth off about the average folks messing around and having fun. And it's really sad to see affluent white folks acting this way. It's only reveals their own denial that their success came on the backs of other people. It's also a statement of their own lack of humanity.

Given that, I think it important that people not let those idiots keep us from doing our own thing--be it persisting with the uke or improving our golf game. If anything, sticking it out, keeping in the game, and showing your best attitude might make those bone-heads see that they're the real losers.

--Dave E.

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