Exceptions to the rule

· culture ·

While listening to a Radio 4 documentary about The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (TUOoGB), I remembered an article I wrote -- wow -- nearly four years ago about how cover versions of songs and remakes of films are very rarely as good as the original, and are frequently worse. It struck me that TUOoGB are pretty much a universal exception to that rule. They play a lot of cover versions, and by some kind of weird voodoo which breaks all known laws, they manage to make the songs you dislike great and the songs you like brilliant, but brilliant in a different way to the original.

For example, I can't say that I've ever liked the theme to 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly', but when TUOoGB plays it, it's a work of genius. I positively detest 'Leaning on a Lampost' in its original form by George Formby, but the Cossack version by TUOoGB is fantastic. Conversely, I love 'Wuthering Heights' by Kate Bush, but the Working Men's Club Crooner version by TUOoGB is terrific. And if you haven't heard their gentle, folk version of 'Anarchy in the UK', you haven't lived. I don't know how they do it, but I'm guessing that it involves sacrificing chickens somewhere along the line.

Do yourself a favour and check out their law-defying antics on BBC iPlayer before they take it down.