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Thursday, 2 May 2013

"Today I accidentally let a meth addict use my ukulele as an ashtray."

Fairly self-explanatory? No? Ok, apparently this one needs further elaboration.

Jenny Lawson, wonderful and strange, offered a copy of her book to a random commenter on her blog. "What should you comment about?  Anything.  Your favorite toe.  The pet names of your body parts.  How many glass eyeballs you think a normal person uses in a lifetime.  The number of bodies you can fit under your bed.  It’s totally up to you," she said, and so...

I was showing a friend around Cardiff yesterday. She's recently moved to this fair city, and I wanted to show her everything exciting and good that it has to offer. We swung by the Cardiff Fashion Quarter to introduce her to my lovely and talented friend Laura Pickering, who recommended that we wander around Bute Park, seeing as how it was such a lovely day.

It was such a lovely day, guys.

At some point, I got my ukulele out in a quiet area and started strumming one of the few I know by heart. A woman approached us. Now, I'm woefully naive at the best of times, but even I know that someone who's walking unsteadily, missing teeth, and alarmingly thin is either an addict or a zombie. (From that perspective, this story could have gone far worse for me.)

She opened with "You can't play." I smiled politely and said something self-deprecating, probably "I know I'm not very good, but -"
"Let me have a go."
So, I took a gamble, thinking she'd take refusal as an insult and hoping that she'd get bored fairly quickly. Above all, I hoped she didn't smash it. (Spoilers: if she'd smashed it, I wouldn't be writing this - I'd be cackling madly on the news while a man in a suit said "my client has no comment at this time" to the cameras.)

She twanged the A-string, pulling it out of tune, and shakily tapped her cigarette ash into the body of the uke.

Now, my friend, as she's pointed out to me, has lived in London and dealt with worse. God bless her, I don't know how she had the fortitude, but she stood straight away to ask for - and then take - my uke back. And she had to fight for it, too.

The woman struggled with her and called her a fat bitch a few times, while my friend said "would you please leave us alone," politely but firmly. She eventually did walk off, and I went to a music shop to buy the uke some strings as an apology. I should have known better. I am sometimes, as I said, woefully naive.

So, that's that! I apologise for the long period of silence. I got scared away from my blog because of something I can't talk about, and in all honesty I only came back because this one was too long to tweet. But there it is, Tony. She left, everyone's fine, and my friend reassured me that I should forget about it, so I think I will.


  1. Thank you for the full story - was worried about your uke.

  2. Sad to hear of this story but occurences like this seem to be more common in Cardiff of late.

    I was tempted to do a blog post on how a certain type of person is infiltrating our wonderful city and on investigation it seems that Cardiff has the most homeless beds in the city outside London.

    It seems that homeless people from all over the UK are 'recommended' Cardiff due to the large number of beds and other facilities.

    But I couldnt bring myself to blog post on it as I may come across as heartless and not understanding the plight of a 'homeless' person.

    Many times each week I walk past The Huggard Centre on Dumballs Road and these people are either drinking super strength alcohol or totally off their heads on something else.

    These are also the same people that ask for 6-p outside the station 'for their bus fare' then if you do decide to give them the '60p' to help them get home they then ask for much much more. If you refuse to give them anything at all they hurl a wall of abuse at you.

    Now that there is such a large number of homeless beds in Cardiff it seems to be attracting a huge number of people from outside the region whom then seem to be spoiling our wonderful city and I don't really know what any of us can do about it!

    Right I'll stop there before I say too much!

    Im sure there are genuine homeless people in Cardiff but the ones that cause all the trouble give the legitimate ones a bad name!

    Hope you and the ukelele are ok now!



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