Getting back to feeling groovy

By Hans Ebert
Visit: www.fasttrack.hk

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?

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When social media just doesn’t add up…

By Hans Ebert
Visit: www.fasttrack.hk

Under “paid sponsorship with Puma”, there are a series of photographs these days of (singer) Selena Gomez on Instagram with over 6.5 million “likes”. One of these “likes” was by Puma.

My friend was watching something or another on television and I nudged her and showed what I had seen. She looked at it, smirked and carried on watching whatever it was that she was watching. She couldn’t be bothered and was no doubt wondering why I should be.

Didn’t I know about Covid-19? Had I washed my hands? We’re all different…

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WHAT HAPPENED TO THE SMARTS AND SMARTIES?

Nothing personal, but it seems like it’s skipped a generation. Maybe even two. The giving out of The Smarts and Smarties and understanding how and when and where to use them.

Think about the Sixties and its explosion of creativity- photographers like David Bailey, and Robert Freeman, the way the Beatles changed the world, the movies, the Mad Men of advertising, Antonioni, Malcolm McLaren, Andrew Loog Oldham, Chris Blackwell, Vivienne Westwood, Sergio Leone, the writers, the leaders. Television. All the changes. Changes for the better.

People ask why there’s never been a Pop group like the Beatles. Or how and why the yin and yang of Lennon and McCartney worked?

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THE KARISMATIC ONE AND MAURITIAN MAGICIAN

By Hans Ebert
Visit: www.fasttrack.hk

He’s not exactly the fly in the ointment nor the third wheel, but one sees him more and more being the resident party crasher of the Zac And Joao Show and photobomber extraordinaire.

Yes, while The Zac Attack has raced away with this season’s Hong Kong Jockey Premiership like the dish ran away with the spoon, and the Magic Man comes up with his always dazzling repertoire of party tricks, there’s Karis Teetan, always smiling, always happy to ride another winner. And these days, that smile is becoming broader and broader.

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That’s life, that’s entertainment, and there goes Carl Reiner

By Hans Ebert
Visit: www.fasttrack.hk

And now Carl Reiner is gone. Yes, he was 98 and no doubt lived a very full life surrounded by loving family and friends. But when the world loses one of these iconic figures, especially from the world of entertainment- and really think about this word and everything that it’s given and keeps giving the world- all of us lose a little bit of ourselves.

Some chicken soup for the soul is not only missing. It’s gone. And we’ll never have that recipe again.

We’ve lost something or someone who, during our lifetime, made us laugh or cry or feel an emotion. Maybe they helped create a special bond with our parents.

They also touched us with their special brand of magic. You remember exactly when and where it was and how whatever it is that they brought to this wonderful world of entertainment made you feel.

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The Beatles and that never ending ticket to ride…

By Hans Ebert
Visit: www.fasttrack.hk

Yeah yeah yeah, you’d like to think that everyone has heard of them, but it doesn’t take you long to realise that few actually know ABOUT them- their songs, the backstories, their evolution through the years and heard on every new album released.

There’s the role that producer George Martin played in familiarising them with the recording studio and production techniques starting with recording on a four track machine, but which became a playground for experimentation.

There’s also been their influence on lives and how their music is the soundtrack to much of everything we’ve gone through and our continuing to go through.

Some might say, “Who cares? The Beatles happened another lifetime ago”. True, they did. But, especially for those musicians who have not completed their “education” on the Beatles, there’s a very strong chance that an important part of their homework is missing.

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Coming To Terms With The New Abnormal

By Hans Ebert
Visit: www.fasttrack.hk

“Hey, what do you think: An online Members Only venue- a virtual club- and with ‘live’ performances via Zoom where the musicians- a mix of established and new artists- would be paid just as they would any ‘live’ gig”.

It was a friend who dropped by the apartment on Saturday night with a couple of other people in the creative field talking about an early blueprint for a new business plan of his.

He and his friends are well aware of the coronavirus and how it’s short-circuited many things. And though being realistic enough to admit that this pox on the world probably isn’t going anywhere until at least March of next year, it’s not letting this become a hurdle and a Pause button to stop creating.

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The social distancing between the online and real worlds

By Hans Ebert
Visit: www.fasttrack.hk

It’s really about listening and understanding the wants and needs of the customer. And let’s remember that the Customer Is Always Right. It was something drummed into those of us when in advertising. After all, it was the customer who kept all our clients in business…and which paid our salaries and provided a certain lifestyle.

These days in Hong Kong, the government has thrown their support behind the hospitality trade- financial support and everything possible to ensure that it makes a comeback. That it succeeds. And keeps succeeding.

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THE YEARS OF THE CAT

By Hans Ebert
Visit: www.fasttrack.hk

It was a track called “Into The Lillywhite” on the album “Mona Bone Jakon”, which, like many of his next few recordings was produced by former bass guitarist with the Yardbirds Paul Samwell Smith, that really introduced me to the work of the artist named Cat Stevens who was born Steven Giorgiou.

I had heard some of his music when with Deram Records- often over-produced and almost bombastic records like “Matthew And Son”, “I Love My Dog” and “I’m Gonna Buy Me A Gun” and the very honest “The First Cut Is The Deepest” written for singer PP Arnold for around thirty quid etc. But it wasn’t until he signed to Chris Blackwell and his co-founders’ then-fledgling Island Records, did I actually start to seek out the music of Cat Stevens.

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DION DIMUCCI AND ALL THAT JAZZ AND BLUES AND WANDERING WITH RUNAROUND SUE

By Hans Ebert
Visit: www.fasttrack.hk

For some reason, I never warmed to Elvis. No idea why, especially as I was so influenced to and by whatever my older cousin Tony was listening. And being a disc jockey, he was an Elvis fan. Perhaps even some Bobby Rydell. For me, it was the Dave Brubeck Quartet, especially drummer Joe Morello.

I was a weird kid, new to Hong Kong and from Ceylon where my old man had his own radio show. This was when I was introduced at a very young age to the music of Ella, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Nat King Cole, June Christie, Julie London, Peggy Lee, Errol Garner and the music of Tin Pan Alley.

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