Pandemic diary: Day 10 – Moselele turns 10

I'm just in the door from clapping the NHS and other key workers for the second time. I'm sitting here waiting for Moselele's 10th birthday to start – via Zoom's online video conferencing software. (Zoom – one of the few business winners of the coronavirus pandemic.)

Who'd have thought this would be how we'd celebrate it? It'll be interesting to see how many ukenauts join in (update: 45 at one point – see screenshots below!) and how this will actually work since we are all muted but will presumably be playing along to someone. (Past recordings on SoundCloud – it worked really well.)

I went to the very first Moselele in 2010 and have had many fun times ever since, including a drunken singalong at our wedding. There's an interview on the Moselele blog from three years ago. And a big nine-year roundup on my own blog last year. I haven't attended much recently but looking forward to tonight's virtual'pub' session. Although I am running out of booze thanks to the lockdown. Gotta eek out this tiny French shitbeer.

I pity the neighbours. Maybe I'll lip sync – they'll never know.

Today I am thankful for all the fun times.

Wedding shingalong.
Happy 10th birthday from homes in Brum, Tower Bridge, Kent and Pennsylvania apparently.

Hire/commission me: fiona [at]

Nine years with Moselele

Ukulele groups – they ain't pretty but they are pretty entertaining.

Nine years ago this week I went to the very first Moselele, set up by Daz Wright "for people who live in or can be bothered to travel to Moseley in Birmingham". Since there, there have been (*does vague maths*) 200-plus pub sessions for the players and a ton of public performances at festivals, charity events, summer singalongs, Halloween nights, Christmas light switch-ons, the golden Jubilee, Acorns Children's Hospice and several weddings, including my own (featured pic).

I don't remember much about that inaugural session apart from it was held in an officey co-working space, there were less than 10 people there, singing was hesitant and Eight Days A Week by The Beatles was the crowning glory of the night. When I say crowning glory, here's an actual recording of that first early success posted by fellow ukenaut Ian (or click image below to go to link).


We got *slightly* better when we moved to the pub…

Things were still pretty rudimentary but it was a whole lot of laughs getting it wrong and Paul's Living on a Prayer kazoo solo (in medley video) is positively audacious.

By 2013, we'd moved to our main home at the Prince. Singers with big diaphragms had arrived and made all the difference to how exactly we murdered famous songs of yore. This was amplified by the fact that those who were uncertain of tone were now free to unleash their inner rock stars, safe in the knowledge that they wouldn't be ridiculed (much).

Big songs with a 'five-uke' difficulty were attempted and mastered. Instruments were swapped mid-song. Plectrums were hidden in instruments or dropped into full pints. Drunken ideas were brought to fruition – and never spoken of again. Christmas was becoming a thing to look forward to again.

T-shirts were made with slogans like 'Ukes, Beers & Counting' and 'Starts at 8 and goes up to 11' and many more. A Moselele uke – the Bambookelele – was launched.

Moselele slogan tee

Things escalated even further when hundreds of people started joining in at the twice-yearly singalongs.


And winter (with Snowselele now signalling the official start of Christmas)…

Sometimes you couldn't hear us playing for the crowds (thankfully, we now have Stephen on bass and James on drums to hold it all together for everyone).

And so the years went by. Friends were made and are still being made. We often celebrate each other's life events – big birthdays, weddings, shed destructions and removals. It's been quite the journey, and not just musically as you can hear, er, here.

On Thursday I attended its 9th birthday party along with 30-40 others in the usual back room of the Prince of Wales in Moseley. We played the best of each of the 10 songbooks, three songs each – essentially Moselele's greatest hits. (Daz has built up quite the song collection on the Moselele website.) Big thanks to Daz and all who work on the new songbook each year for keeping things fresh.

I recorded one of the songs – Fleetwood Mac's The Chain – to mark the event but it could have been any of the set. This clip shows off the iconic bass riff from Stephen and drums to lift it from James. It's pretty great how far we have come. As I was leaving I >think< I heard someone drunkenly suggesting a mass outing or holiday for our 10th birthday. I'm up for it… who's in?

Next big event – look out for the 2019 Summer Singalong at the Prince of Wales, usually held in July. You can also 'meet' Moselele on the blog – here's my Q&A – there are others. More Moselele mentions from me are tagged here.



Poster girls, GoPro debut and a sudden Total Eclipse of the Heart

Snowselele is the now-traditional Christmas singalong featuring Moselele ("The second best ukulele group in Birmingham") and a chorus of around 400 drinkers at the Prince of Wales pub in Moseley. I was pleased to find myself and my sis appearing as poster girls for this year's event (photo by fellow Moselelean, Sarah Aust). Continue reading "Poster girls, GoPro debut and a sudden Total Eclipse of the Heart"

From little Acorns…

A little bit of family history was made today. This afternoon Moselele (the ukulele band I play in) performed a gig as part of a sensory weekend for the kids at Acorns Children's Hospice in Selly Oak.


There were four or five young people with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties listening in, along with carers and volunteers. Music is one of the things that stimulates the children with PMLD and as we ran through our set, some were smiling or waving their arms response to the music. It was a lovely sight.

But it was a particularly poignant day for me because my mum was Ann Cullinan, the founder of the Acorns Children's Hospice Shops. Here she is standing in front of the first charity shop in Cotteridge in 1987 – before the hospice even had a name.

When I got home from the gig, I went up into the attic to find a certain box containing a certain chapter of Acorns history.
Continue reading "From little Acorns…"

The Sound of Moselele

One of the great things I did last year was join Daz Wright's Moselele group, aka 'the second best ukelele group in Moseley'.

Sometimes it ain't pretty, sometimes you need to sing songs by Spandau Ballet or Bonnie Tyler, but it is always entertaining.

Occasional extras include bongos, saxazoo, bass acoustic, sleigh bells and shakers, but tonight it was just us, the music, a single kazoo and the lowest fi mobile phone video known to man. It had to be done…

PS. The Moselele Facebook group is here!