I really never though I’d see this happen, but The Complete Uncle really looks like it’s going to get published.
I think Uncle stuck with me because of its combination of excess, gadgetry and eccentricity – all of which are modes of being I have attempted to emulate in my adult life. I blame J.P. Martin.
— Will Self on the Uncle books, from the Telegraph’s Unsung Books.
Not all of these could be classed as banjo tunes, but I’d want to try, anyway:
- The Coo-Coo Bird (it’s not optional)
- The Old Plank Road (Uncle Dave’s delivery, which was more demented than the Rounders)
- Hot Corn, Cold Corn (like HMR; just how does one spell moo’m moo’m moo’m de boo’m boo’m de boo’m?)
- I’m Going In A Field (Nic Jones style)
- Bridges & Balloons (Joanna’s song’s just crying out to be covered with a broad Glasgow accent)
- Needle of Death (too many banjo tunes are too happy)
- Ghost (the Neutral Milk Hotel one)
- something by Sufjan (even if Peter Stampfel says he plays banjo kind of boringly)
- I Love How You Love Me (like Mangum, not Spector)
The following is chapter 2 of Uncle & Claudius The Camel, by J. P. Martin. It was published in 1970, is still in copyright, but is out of print. Uncle and his entourage are on holiday at Wolf Lodge in the run-down resort of Sunset Beach. The beach is plagued with biting fish called Blue Jacks, and Uncle has called on his ingenious American friend Ira Smoothy for assistance …
Goodman spent all night chasing rats and mice, and yet in the morning seemed perfectly fit and full of good spirits.
Soon after breakfast the melodious sound of Ira Smoothy’s motor-bike horn was heard outside and Smoothy stamped in. He was a short, immensely broad man, with thick hair brushed up and large horn-rimmed glasses.
Happily General Boar always had breakfast in bed, so they could get straight to the point.
“Let me cook you a fresh breakfast,” said Miss Wolf eagerly. “No, no,” said Smoothy, polishing his big horn-rimmed glasses, “I’ll just have a few Seaweed Slashers.”
“It’s no good, madam,” said Uncle. “I’ve tried to tempt Mr Smoothy with all the delicacies of Homeward, but he always likes Seaweed Slashers best.”
“They suit me,” said Smoothy. “Now let’s get down to the pier, and I’ll show you what I propose to do about the Blue Jacks.”
My favourite elephant got a good writeup in The Oldie, a magazine I’m not quite old enough to read. The PDF of the full May 2004 issue is currently online if you wish to read it.