He’s always mixing it up, ready to bust some new moves, and at Shatin on Sunday, trainer Caspar Fownes, aka “Casibah” to local racing fans and five star hotel car park attendants everywhere, went into overdrive after watching his very impressive young galloper Sky Field with the Brazilian Magic Man aboard demolish a pretty good Class 3 field. This baby is going places!
Unable to contain himself, big daddy Cas broke it down-and without injuring himself- to a unique victory dance.
Personal tastes have changed so much in the past year. Of course, there are the constants- for myself, Audrey Hepburn, the Beatles, Fred Astaire, The Far Side and a couple more on the personal side of the hurdles of romance. But the one-time buffet spread laid out has been streamlined.
Taste is becoming more exclusive. Not everyone is invited to the party. There are no more free lunches. At the end, someone has to somehow pay the piper. Words that matter are not for everyone. Maybe this was the way it was meant to be.
No regrets, but was there too much wasted time? The Eagles sang about it. Wasted time. Not bothering to see this while living what were outwardly good time. But despite Grandfather Time ticking away, when, what and who mattered was allowed to slip away. Fools were allowed in and entertained.
Frankly, posting stuff like this on Facebook and having a presence anywhere on social media is not going to make a helluva lot of difference to my bank account. What it does is help me keep my writing chops going and see where they lead. Sometimes they lead to a song or a short story or some clarity as to what’s waiting round the bend for me with my Huckleberry friend.
This leads to a recent late night conversation with a former colleague. We were chatting about nothing in particular except for marketing and she suddenly said, “No one cares. It’s just something thought to be necessary. But if one were to ask even the coconut right at the top of the tree, they’ll say the same thing: None of what is passed off as ‘marketing’ has any real impact on the bottom line. It’s just another layer added for the sake of it”.
Heading up corporate communications in one of the biggest entertainment companies in the UK, she was talking about what we used to do and why.
When arriving in Hong Kong from what was then Ceylon on a slow boat to “China” and hoping like hell that my friends in kindergarten would never ever find out that unlike them, my family was not going to settle down in Melbourne- for some reason, a magnet for us Dutch Burghers- my favourite curry became a Chinese beef curry and rice.
Having no domestic helper and with both parents working as we were hardly even close to middle class status, my mother had arranged for me to have lunch after school at a nearby restaurant in North Point.
Thinking back, it wasn’t a great curry- some tinned curry paste poured over some thin slices of beef and a few potatoes. It’s all I ever ate in the restaurant. It must have been quite a show as the waiters and chefs would come out just to watch me eat. Often, they would give me a free side order of something I had never eaten in Ceylon- pancakes.
For there to be ANY kind of traction, ANY paradigm shift, anyone with the power to bring about change, needed are powerful names- people like Quincy Jones, Jay-Z, Taylor Swift, Sir Lucian Grainge, Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John- to band together and go to bat for other musicians.
But will they?
The business of what’s still known as “the music industry” seems to be fine. It still has or has sold or has licensed its various catalogues.
It owns all Mechanical and Publishing Rights. It has its cabal of lawyers and layer upon layer of deal makers and gatekeepers to keep retirement plans afloat and portfolios under lock and key.
Someone asked me the other day where I think music is heading. There were so many ways that question could have been answered. None particularly complimentary. The easiest was to say that I have no idea.
Once upon a barre chord and a plectrum, music was meant to bring people together. Not necessarily music fans, but people. Sound travels and all that. This happened.
Music gave us a sense of community. Music lit the creative spark of the Sixties. Music gave the world an important Voice for social change.
It was the soundtrack to the sexual revolution.
Music was the creative glue that gave so many films the necessary mood indigo. It added extra texture to their themes.
Today, they’re everywhere. Conspiracy theories. It’s what especially social media has wreaked on the malleable psyche of the world.
Like all the other online clutter, it’s what feeds our head today. It’s definitely not the same White Rabbit that Grace Slick was singing about all those years ago.
Once upon a Beatlemania, the only conspiracy theory that mattered was whether Paul was dead and replaced by Billy Shears.
After all, the clues were laid out for us, especially on the Abbey Road album cover. There were the Beatles crossing the road with Paul in bare feet, apparently the Greek way of burying their dead, whereas George in denim symbolised the grave digger, Ringo being the priest and John, all in white representing- I think- the angel.
As always, the big get bigger, the headlines seldom tell the real story, and the oompah loompahs get quashed in all the big business deals that, at some juncture, involves them and their possessions, whatever these might be. But with no Robin Hood in sight or on their side, and suddenly deciding to try and learn as they go, the oompah loompahs are often bamboozled and sidetracked and overawed by buzzwords, huge dollops of name droppings and can’t see that the devil is often lurking somewhere in the details.
Last week, the music industry, which is another way of simply saying, Big Business as it no longer has anything to do with music and those who create this art form, saw the Chinese entertainment internet behemoth that is Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) announce three huge global deals in three successive days.
Have we messed up? Sure, we have. Over and over again. But we probably didn’t know it at then and are now trying to make up for lost time by making amends. It’s like reading from the Big Book Of Bill and trudging up those 12 Steps again and trying to get up there without tripping up on the eighth and nine steps.
Having cohabited with Mr and Mrs Covid-19 for the past few months and living through broken sleep patterns and dreams with a Silent Scream has, whether one cares to admit it or not, forced us- well, many of us- to face some home truths. Home truths about love and mercy and the days of future passed and questioning how much “goodness” there really was in those “good old days”.
To kinda paraphrase Bruce Springsteen, Were we blinded by the light while dancing in the dark?
Crucify me for saying this, but I never warmed to the music of “The Boss”- all that blue collar Americana and marathon ‘live’ concerts. Was invited to three and never stayed the distance for any. But friends thought that he could walk on water. But did they really? Or were they happy to follow the herd?