No, an Irish Banjo!

Me and Em did a gig at the Adelaide Central Market this weekend.

It was one of those morning shows where families of shoppers drift past and smile at you and then some of them give you two dollars.

Proceeds were immediately spent on coffee and buns.

A very drunk, angry-looking chap walked up to us at one point, and said “do you know blah blah blah (insert name of song)?”

No, we don’t.

“Well do you know blah blah blah (inset name of other song).”

No, we don’t.

“What’s fucking wrong with you then?”

(Storms off scowling as though we have totally ruined his day.)

Then, another chap from the UK was trying to talk to me about banjos.

Says he: “I’m thinking of getting an Irish banjo” (p.s. I have no social skills).

Oh, that’s interesting. Is that a five-string? (Here I am, showing my ignorance of Irish banjos).

“No, an Irish banjo” (p.s. I am borderline Asperger’s).

Oh. You mean a tenor banjo, then? (Once again with the ignorance).

“No, an Irish banjo.”

I later found that while nominally, there is such a thing as an Irish banjo, it is really more a style of tuning than a type of instrument. Basically any 4 string banjo could be an Irish banjo. So I suspect this is a little like saying you want a Russian piano to help you play Rachmaninov.

For the record, my own banjo is a bastardized affair, a 5-string with the drone taken off and the 4 remaining strings tuned like the first 4 strings of a guitar, with a capo on the second fret to keep the tension OK. It isn’t ideal but it sounds decent in most conditions. I am also learning 4 string tenor banjo, properly.

But I hope this guy got his “Irish” banjo, really.

Probably Ireland would be a good place to look.


A young man enters abruptly from the street.

Young man: “Excuse me, do you have an Irish banjo.”

Attendant: “I’ll check, sir.”

The attendant looks at the back label of his only tenor banjo, which says “Made in Indonesia.” He looks again at the young man and quickly reaches a decision.

Attendant: “Why, yes sir, we do! This one is as Irish as a fat old cow! And a top of the morning to ye!”

Young Man: “Finally! A proper Irish banjo! I’ll take it!”

Attendant: “That will be nine hundred pounds sir.”



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