Some people would say you can’t have too many ukuleles. I’m not one of those people, because those people are probably crazy, but I do nonetheless think it’s good to have more than one ukulele. So today I made a drive down the freeway to beautiful Huntington Beach, CA, to visit Island Bazaar, one of the coolest places to buy ukuleles anywhere.
I was looking for a Fluke ukulele, built by the Magic Fluke Company of Massachusetts. Massachusetts is of course known for its sandy beaches, coconuts, palm trees and lovely ukulele music. There aren’t that many dealers locally who have Flukes, but it turns out one of my favorites places, Island Bazaar, does have them, so even though I have a cold and will probably die in the next few days, I got in the car and rolled on down to Huntington Beach. But first, I called to make sure the store was open, and when a man’s voice answered, “Island Bazaar, can I help you?”, I assumed it was open. I asked what their hours were today, and he said, “Noon to five. But we have the Surf City Strummers in from two to four, just so you know.”
I asked if the store would still be open for shopping (because I have a huge ukulele jones right now), and he assured me they would be open for shopping, but it’s just that the Surf City Strummers could get kind of loud. I was fine with that, so I headed on down.
After looking at the few Flukes and Fleas (the other ukulele from the Magic Fluke Company) , I decided I liked the model pictured above as far as tone quality was concerned, but I didn’t think I wanted the tie-dye design. A little too Huntington Beach for me, actually, a little too Huntington Beach from the 1970’s for me. So I had them order the same ukulele model for me, in the solid green color as shown below. It’s called “Ukelyptus.” Ha. Get it? Kind of like “eucalyptus,” but with the “uke” thing. See what they did there?
The mission was accomplished, all while the Surf City Strummers were getting set up, tuned up, and warmed up to play. The Surf City Strummers is a group of 25 or 30 people who come to Island Bazaar Sunday afternoons for a little ukulele jam session. They put the “bizarre” in Island Bazaar. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many Hawaiian shirts, other than in Hawaii or Trader Joe’s, and I haven’t often seen such a collection of gray hair. I don’t want to cast aspersions on the Surf City Strummers about their average age; however, I’ll just say that if any of the Surf City Strummers happened to see the new “Noah” movie this weekend, a few of them probably commented, “That’s not the way I remember it.”
Well, the store guy who sold me the Ukelyptus ukulele, who I’m sure was the same guy who answered the phone, invited me to stay and play with the Surf City Strummers, but I declined. I do, after all, have this cold and I’m probably dying, so I just wanted to get on home. But not before hanging out by the door for a few minutes and watching the Surf City Strummers play a song called “Whispering,” which was kind of fun. I’ve attached a video below, not of today’s performance, but of another time the SCS’s played “Whispering.”
So, it was a good day here in Southern California – warm and breezy, not too much traffic, a store full of tie-dyed ukuleles and other more normal ukuleles, and a room full of ukulele players who have probably lived in Huntington Beach since tie-dying was normal. Anyway, I’ll let you know when my new ukulele arrives.