“Sir, this Sunday. Your day. Finally “. It was the Manager of the apartments where I live reminding me that the new Hong Kong racing season starts up again on Sunday. I didn’t need reminding. Almost two months without horse racing in this city is like being celibate for three years. It’s tough going if stuck inside this dumpling with some wontons.
It’s more tough going when you’ve been internalizing far more important things going on in your life and seeing all the ills wreaked on the world.
Horse racing? It’s a pleasant enough distraction. It’s not all-consuming. I don’t get paid enough for horse racing to take over my life. Only the love of a good woman can do that. That’s the stress buster needed.
It’s stating the obvious to say that the Beatles were special. But to someone who decided to drop a tab of acid in his early teens for the first time not knowing what to expect, they took me on a Magical Mystery Tour.
It was a twelve hour trip to Camelot, the Wild West, where I was shot in the back during a poker game while holding a “dead man’s hand” and developed what’s known as a Wild Bill Hickock Complex. Even today, I cannot sit anywhere without my back to the wall. Hey, Bungalow Bill, indeed.
Douglas Whyte was the first person to bring him to my attention. It was about eight years ago. “This kid is very good,” said the champion South African rider. “He’s got great hands and certainly has potential. My only concern is that he’s already a tall boy. This might work against him.” It hasn’t.
During the off season, the HKJC sent now 30 year old Derek Leung to France to gain more experience by working for the great trainer Andre Fabre. One understands that Fabre, too, commented on the Hong Kong born rider’s hands. He also mentioned the rider’s attitude. Positive and always willing to learn.
It’s been mentioned enough, especially over the last couple of years: In music, the really big money up for grabs is by appearing in the tsunami of television singing competitions that have again suddenly swept across Mainland China. This big dosh is in being a celebrity judge or being a contestant who has a certain track record.
In every industry it’s about expanding the customer base. Retaining the current market and expanding it. Always expanding it. It’s business 101. Marketing 101. Do those in leadership roles in horse racing lose sight of this? And its importance? Too often. And the racing media? How does it help spread the word? Improve the perception? Could there possibly be a new-fashioned entertainment media waiting in the wings to take horse racing beyond where it’s going now? Hmmmmm.
It was a hole in the wall in the basement of a shopping arcade in Johnson Road down Wanchai. It’s where us record collectors went to find the unusual- mainly vinyls and obscure exports during the time of the CD.
For myself, Rock Gallery was THE place for bootlegs, especially Beatles bootlegs. Us hardcore Beatles fans visited one particular shop whenever in Tokyo for memorabilia and the occasional bootleg by the Fabs. But for over two years, Rock Gallery was the only dumping ground for thousands of obscure Beatles bootlegs. These were mainly from Italy. And for just HK$120 each and HK$380 for a box set.
It really should be called “Crazy Rich Singaporean Chinese”, but “Crazy Rich Asians” is what it is, and the movie based on 2013 book of the same name by Singaporean American author Kevin Kwan has extremely quickly crept up on the world. It’s box office boffo in America. But how well will it travel in this region?
One has to also wonder if the Orange Julius in the White House will ever watch it? Wonder if its success and interest in the success of the movie by talk show hosts has to do with everything going on in America today? The xenophobia that shows no signs of subsiding.
Listening to many in the land Down Under given the task of interviewing trainers and jockeys about the chances of their rides and runners often fills some of us with a combination of embarrassment and terminal cringing.
This has to do with that very loud sound of desperation- slobbering, salivating and basic sucking up. Add begging into the mix.
My longtime friend Munir (Alsagoff) in Singapore shared some music videos with me last week of another friend from the fairly old days: Vanessa Fernandez.
What stopped me in my tracks was seeing a very familiar name on one of them: Leland Sklar, one of my musical heroes and a bass guitarist who’s played with everyone who’s anybody. James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Toto, Carole King, Phil Collins, and part of The Section with Russ Kunkel, Craig Doerge, and Danny Kortchmar.
It seems to have all happened back in the day. It probably did. And because “back in the day” was a much more simple time, we seem to keep needing to go back there often to understand how so much happened to change the world and educate ourselves on those game changers.