christopher james

Poems and prattle

Month: September, 2015

The Polar Pioneers

I’m currently reading Cherry-Garrard’s riveting account of the 1910-1913 Terra Nova expedition, The Worst Journey in the World. It’s written in the most elegant prose, with plenty of gripping detail and captures that great spirit of noble hope that characterized the whole enterprise.

Terra Nova

From motor sledges falling through rotten ice to killer whales almost gobbling polar photographers, it reminds you that there was a great deal of incident beyond the central drama of the doomed five man pole party. Almost every member of the expedition was involved in some astonishing drama of their own. And of course the expedition was not just some desperate lunge for the Pole, but a floating university, with a huge agenda. There were almost as many scientists aboard as sailors.

I’m currently working on a poetic sequence about this, more of which later, but for now, I have cooked up a little song as an interim tribute to these gallant men.

The Uke of Wellington – My second ukulele LP

In October last year, I released my first ukulele LP, In the Plink. (Q****) Since then, U2 and I have been in secret talks to ensure that the release dates of our new albums do not clash. I’m pleased to say that these talks have ended happily and I will be releasing The Uke of Wellington today.


To access the tricks, simply click on the links below. All songs by Chris James.

Side 1 

Lighter Than Air

Old Fashioned Things Called Love

The Hot Club of Bohemia  

Rainy Days 

The Scarecrow in the Rain 

Side 2 

The Golden Age 

Allotted Time 

Neither Here Nor There 

Heaven Farm 

If you like what you hear, tell your friends and perhaps even buy a copy of my latest book, The Fool. Be good, be kind, have fun, eat plums.

It’s a little known fact that the Duke liked to unwind by playing the greatest hits of J.S.Bach on his humble uke to sing his dear horse Copenhagen to sleep each night. The ukulele is now kept in the Tower of London. His famous pastime is remembered each year by the players at the Uke at the Duke on the second Tuesday of every month in Shoreham on Sea.

Duke Uke





The Hot Club of Bohemia

I discovered the great jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli in the most roundabout way, through his collaboration with Paul Simon on Hobo’s Blues, which appeared on Paul’s first solo album. It’s well worth checking out for its springy rhythm and stylish exuberance. I’ve written my own homage to the golden era on of the Paris nightclub with my song: ‘The Hot Club of Bohemia.’ Enjoy both tunes!Henri-Crolla-Grappelli1-400x208