Luke’s Ukes #1: Romeo & Juliet (Mark Knopfler Cover)

So what have I been up to lately?

Well, lots of things. The plight of the Sessional Lecturer is that one’s job security comes by contract, only four months at a time. I’m gearing up to teach in September, and thrilled with my work, but it sounds as if come January I might be an academic ronin–a wanderer with PhD in hand and no institutional affiliation.

This is a dark situation; but these are dark times–though not dark enough, I suppose, that they have (yet) prompted a radical revolution in the way things are done. With my defense pending this term I should be launching towards a professorship, or a postdoc, or at least some kind of adjunct or contract work so that I can eat, still sleep indoors, and most importantly, still send out applications on university letterhead, rather than sketchy-looking home-made letters that proclaim me dubiously as an “independent scholar” — one step, semantically, away form “interested amateur” (the less said about institutionalized distrust for ronin of the mind, the better).

Realistically, I’m looking at a winter without work or the prestige of a home institution. There’s not much I can realistically do about prestige; on the other hand, when it comes to money, there are quite a few things I can do. There’s a chance I could “make a go” of my music, or my writing, and in that regard I’ve been intensely productive since Fan Expo (more on that later). I’ve had a medium-length poem (88-line might even be “long” these days) accepted in Traverse; I’ve submitted a comic book proposal (pipe dream, I know); and I’m starting to build the word-of-mouth and Internet-indie-press-presence machine that could give me some kind of music career–or at least, a little boost to get through the lean months.

To that end, as part of my musical experimentation, but also part of my branding, I’m launching a new Youtube channel called Luke’s Ukes. Here I’m going to arrange and play well-known cover songs for the six-string ukulele, on the premise that (a)more people do Youtube searches for the Beatles, for example, than they do for me, and (b)ukuleles are AWESOME and make people smile.

I could go on forever about ukulele and people I love who play it (there are a surprising number of local musicians in Southwestern Ontario who can shred on one!). I have a six-string uke tuned to ADGCEA, which is probably what I’m using on the songs. Not all of these are going to be ridiculous songs, but many will be. There may be a few Disney Afternoon theme songs thrown into the mix just for kicks.

Because these aren’t originals, I can’t revenue-share the Luke’s Ukes channel, but it’s my hope that a little but of ukulele-based notoriety will lead people to other channels where i host my original work, as soon as I get around to that. In the meantime, enjoy this not-so-weird Dire Straits cover, on the house. I’ve got more in the works.

Luke Maynard – Luke’s Ukes – Romeo & Juliet in GLORIOUS FULL HD! (though I’ll admit, the smudgy quality of the Youtube encoding leaves a lot to be desired.

Now, off to the next project…

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