Once upon a time and served on a saucerful of secrets were the Sixties. For a while, it was the Age Of Camelot. There might not have been Merlin, but it was a time full of magic- magic in the form of music the world had never heard before that took listeners on various journeys of discovery and where they might have found themselves or else lost their way and ended up in Itchycoo Park or the Dark Side Of The Moon.
There were wise men who had dreams to bring the world together…and did. The four horsemen of the apocalypse galloped into lives with messages some understood then and whose words only resonate now. Words that asked about all the lonely people and where do they all come from. Words about that Nowhere Man making all his nowhere plans for nobody.
You can’t even get your favourite Madras Chicken Curry from Jimmy’s Kitchen in Hong Kong anymore. So how the hell does one expect to be inspired enough to continue with everything else? But one still does. Trudging up those steps. Asking for forgiveness. Seeking redemption. Always searching for that elusive burst of inspiration. Settling for mediocrity because creativity is in such short supply. Listening to talk leading nowhere.
Gave up on reading Bob or Bill’s Big Book years ago that was going to lead to finding that higher power. That was a wasted journey. Cracked. Just another crutch.
Yesterday I went through eight business meetings. All in the same place. Only one made any sense. Why? He was smart. Knew his music. Can write. Really knows this thing called social media. Still excited about new musicians. Like artists from Mongolia. Told me things I never knew. How Hip Hop existed in Mongolia over twenty years ago.
Something is wrong. Very wrong. It sounds like a murder of crows out there. But they’re the sounds of silence. The noise is emanating from the online world. You know, the one divorced from reality. The one with very little sense of humour. Or no humour. And where extremely angry people have an opinion about everything. Politics. Music. Hashtag movements. And of course, sports. Everyone is unfair game.
This online world is where anything goes. It’s a dysfunctional world that hides behind Freedom of Expression. And Freedom of Speech. But what exactly does this mean? And what are its side effects?
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.
“We’re not pushing the envelope. We’re licking the envelope.” I said that to a musician friend of mine recently who shan’t be named as he has to work in Hong Kong and do what he has to do to make a living.
As for myself, I’ve now come to a point where I really don’t care what anyone thinks and am spending more and more time away from the usual chatter that doesn’t seem to have an Off switch. It’s boring as none of it leads anywhere except maybe to a Facebook page that has no relevance to where I’m heading.
Forget the tiresome excuses about there being a lack of venues. There have been venues and they closed because they went bust. The Morrison Cafe comes to mind. So does the doomed-from-the start Orange Peel. There’ve been more.
The Beatles, the Stones, Led Zeppelin etc simply didn’t have a role for a female in their lineup. Yoko and Linda might have had roles in the Beatles just before they finally made the breakup official, but the world was a very different place back in the day.
Not understanding the almost overnight need for women in music today to be recognised more in an archaic awards show like the Grammys, the peculiar thing is that this event has always been dismissed as being more about the past than the present- an old person’s club where winning a Grammy has never been something of great prestige. But in this year of hashtags, sudden memory recall and being angry just about everything there’s around until there’s really nothing more to vent celebrity angst upon, female artists are up in arms because the awards show has supposedly “snubbed” female artists. Really? I mean, really, really? How does Kendrick Lamar feel- and nothing against nice guy Bruno Mars- for not receiving the Grammy for Record Of The Year?
If it wasn’t for the fact that it’s part of my job responsibilities and being paid quite nicely to be part of it, I would just press delete and detonate my presence on social media. And more and more, it’s all too obvious that I am not the only one considering doing this.
Friends are closing their Facebook and Twitter accounts as the initial thrill is gone. Seeing way too many nobodies trying to be somebody when no one cares is aggro no one needs in an already aggressive world getting angrier and full of hate every day. Keyboard warriors forcing themselves to be heard above the rest of the din don’t help.
“If we’re going to have dinner, I want you to turn that bloody thing off.” “What did you do when you didn’t have a mobile phone? Surely, it didn’t incapacitate you? Surely, you still went out, had a good time with friends and with no need to constantly check if you missed out on anything?” “I refuse to reply to you with text messages when I can just call you or you can call me. If we’re going to move this relationship anywhere, I don’t wish it to be based on some emojis.” Smart woman. Definitely not from or in Hong Kong, some of whom judge you by the size of your, well, iPhone. Seriously though, in Hong Kong, your phone is like an invitation to join Mensa.
There were more, but these were just a handful of remarks received about being iPhone dependent and this becoming an invasion of privacy, and stunting interpersonal skills. There’s also a fast-growing backlash against that oxymoron known as social media. And don’t think millennials are not part of this move. Most are leading the revolt. Many have tired of what they see and read on social media and are hopefully returning to more simple and honest times.