Some of you might remember listening to “Teach Your Children” by Crosby, Stills and Nash. Yes, it was back in the day, but those sentiments probably apply more to today than before. And that’s because everything points to us having done a pretty crappy job of teaching our children. Either that or we’ve done a bloody terrible job of teaching ourselves right from wrong and which horses to back and which ones are non-starters.
In the music world, where nothing today is what it seems, and those who artists once depended on and signed pacts with to make things happen, ignore what one would think are basic and legally binding requests for information, what’s needed most- management or a no-nonsense lawyer? Perhaps both, but most who work today as “management” are hopelessly out of touch with reality. They have not been students of music. They wouldn’t know Chris Blackwell from Mr Blackwell. They wouldn’t know how to press “Play”. They’re busy being busy.
There is a Chinese laundry list of things wrong with Hong Kong, but instead of regurgitating it all again, let’s just say that this city has been horribly mismanaged going back to its colonial days, and everything has only come to a head now. To blame everything on Chief Executive CY Leung would be naive and too easy. This has been a historical problem brought on by nobody minding the store, but, instead, working on fulfilling personal agendas. But getting away from the tedious subject of politics, let’s look at why Hong Kong is so void and bereft of creativity.
Everything that can possibly be written about the Beatles has been written, and, almost every day, something new is discovered to keep the dream alive- the Number 9 Dream that was the reality of four young rockers from Liverpool who changed the world and set a benchmark that no one else is yet to reach through such an incredible output of music- not Bowie, not Prince, not Dylan.
Remember bands? You know, 4-5 guys who played guitars, drums and maybe keyboards with one lead singer who would play with his big hair, and always have the urge to grab his crotch and scream out in a high-pitched voice about back doors and lemons while the guitarist would pose and preen and unleash torrents of lightning bolts from his instrument of choice that would leave your entire being shaken and stirred?
It’s been a rough couple of weeks. I’ve had a house guest from the States who is obsessed with all the comings and goings of celebritydom that’s rampant on social media and, especially, E! Channel. So, for the past ten days, the television has been spewing forth non-stop verbiage from E!
E! is really a celebrity shopping channel for those who wish to live vicariously. And many do because they’re either bored with their lives, or have no lives. It’s why so many live on Facebook and Twitter etc and buy everything that’s sold on THOSE shopping channels- gossip, stories, Lemonade, Tay Tay, Trump, Hillary, #BlackLivesMatter, Kylie, Kimmy, Khloe, Pokemon Go etc etc.
Of course, every music company is different, and some actually veer towards the positive side of being good. But, good grief, people, there are some real shysters in positions of power, especially in this region, that makes one go, How on earth did this Tool- it’s the only appropriate word- get his job? The evolution of The Tool has not exactly been a new development. The Tool came into existence in music companies decades ago, and when with those other Tools running radio and television stations controlled what music fans could watch and hear and jumped the queue to setup, first, music cassette manufacturing plants and then DVD manufacturing plants.
They were almost all there in Perth- the leading concert promoters in the region, the usual coterie of music executives who always find a way to attend one of these conferences, mainly for the free ride, and to check out the five-star hotel bar, and trailing behind them were the wannabes, groupies and hangers-on of the music industry in Australasia.
As always, missing were the Chinese music industry leaders. To them, they had and still have better things to do. To them, these tribal gatherings have always been a waste of time and an excuse for, mainly, the “gweilos” (foreign devils) to get together and talk the talk knowing it will all be more Much Ado About Nothing. It’s chump change time. What made this particular music conference different, however, was the Big Picture hanging in front of it that was truly visible. Maybe not to all.
Here’s the problem: I really don’t have time for nor do I like many people these days. Blame social media for this. Like what happens when suffering from too much of anything, everyday we’re inundated with information overload. Of course, it’s a personal call whether to stay or to go, but even if there- wherever “there” is, for business reasons and part of one’s job responsibilities, there comes the time when one is drawn into incessant chatter from faceless entities who see themselves as self-styled experts on anything and everything until that little voice in your head asks, “Who ARE these people and what’s their curriculum vitae on, let’s say music?” Where are they getting their information from, and why should I engage in inane banter when you’re coming from a business point of view and they’re music fans- and nothing wrong with this- but who don’t even understand the dysfunctional relationship between the recording side of a music company and its publishing division?