It was a challenge and a random exercise to see how much we had changed along with the world around us. A friend asked me to open a Twitter account saying that my old and fairly popular horse racing blog Racingb*tch was back as Racing Buzzfeed, follow a few people and see how I felt and what might happen.
That was at 8am on Sunday. By noon, I had grown bored with it. There were a few followers, I had tweeted a few innocuous messages, and that was the extent to this exercise in futility. It wasn’t just stupid, it brought back memories of those who were continuously lampooned on Racingb*tch- and who are still there and doing the same old walk of life.
There’s a Martin Scorsese movie hiding in here somewhere with an incredible script, soundtrack and some truly absorbing characters: When Nash Rawiller, below, won on Harmony Hero at Sha Tin on Sunday, what some might not have realised or had forgotten was that fourteen years earlier, the jockey won his first big race aboard Elvstroem, the sire of this now Hong Kong owned galloper who had won both of his races in Australia before being sold to Hong Kong connections for a reported AUS$1.3 million.
Forget Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon. These two wins completed a circle for Nash Rawiller. It also brought back memories of those times when an often underrated galloper in “Elvis”- Elvstroem made his mark. With his rider, they’ve both travelled under the radar. They’ve let the results speak for themselves. Sometimes, others have to speak on their behalf for the words to resonate.
Looking back to those surreal, weird and right out there days when firmly entrenched in the music industry with many of us making The Wolf of Wall Street look like pussies, there weren’t a helluva lot of executives who actually lived and loved and BREATHED the music, certainly not like pioneers of the industry like Sam Philips, Chris Blackwell, Berry Gordy Jr, Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, David Geffen, Ahmet Ertegun, below, and the handful of others.
Once upon a Tomorrow Never Knows, many of us couldn’t wait to grow up, spread our wings, gain our independence and fly off to unknown lands where there were uncharted waters and adventures to be discovered and lived. We couldn’t wait. We took walks on the wild side. Some of us survived, a few fell through the cracks. We moved on and often took some bravely stupid steps.
We fell in love, we fell out of love, we stayed in love and got married. We had children and became domesticated. Domesticated. It’s a funny word. Often it means giving up and becoming what you promised yourself you’d never become. But you did, yes, you did, yes, you did and the penny finally dropped. There was the realisation that you had become everything you never thought you would be: Boring. But having made one’s bed, there was a need to lie in it at least for a while. Guilt pangs surfaced when wondering if this was just living a lie. Often it was- a lethal cocktail of falling in lust, thinking it was love until that train dropped you off at the right station. It was fun while it lasted, but it was just a U2 song.
Watching the recent spate of awards shows supposedly to acknowledge and celebrate the arts- films, film makers, actresses, actors- please, Natalie Portman, note that actresses were mentioned before actors- musicians, music etc etc, what one has been exposed to is a Hollywood made chain reaction of politics, sermons, self righteous indignation, and hashtags. What the hell was Hillary Clinton doing appearing at the Grammys? There’s Bruno Mars and then there’s Hills reading from the book “Fire And Fury”? Enormously stupid move.
The reading of #FireAndFury and the #Grammys was one of the lowest class things I have ever witnessed on television and I dont get why Hillary Clinton continues to embarrass herself.
Instead of taking a break from #MeToo and #TimesUp, these award shows have become another platform to pummel the senses with speeches and sideshows that often ring hollow as it is more of the same- the same old crocodile tears on the same background, the . same old same old with no answers, no solutions, and no answers to And now what? Time’s up is a nice enough term for a hashtag, and the message behind it, but surely it must be more? How is this hashtag and rah rah speeches from celebrities going to achieve what everyone hopes they achieve?
In how many awards shows do the best actually win? How many Oscars, Grammys, Golden Globes and Emmys have got it all wrong with awards going to the wrong people and others being snubbed? How many times was the brilliant Al Pacino passed over for an Oscar before receiving one almost as an apology for hitover-the-top performance in “The Scent Of A Woman”? In this #MeToo year, the Academy Awards have decided to pass on actor James Franco.
Arrogate being named this week as Longines World’s Best Racehorse Horse by being the highest rated racehorse have many up in arms. But what’s done is done and who’ll remember any of this tomorrow? Anyone remember Oprah’s #TimesUp speech at the Golden Globes that trended for around six hours last week?
Kristine entered my life soon after my breakup with Irina and my mother passing away from the dreaded Alzheimer’s disease which turned into full blown dementia. Though divorced by then, Trina flew down to Melbourne many times to keep a promise she had made to herself: My mother should leave this world with dignity. It’s extraordinary everything she did when she could have just walked away. For this, I will be forever in her debt.
As for Kristine, she was introduced to me by two social networking blonde twins in Hong Kong who would make themselves available for the opening of an envelope.
Being Danish, they had met Kristine, an urban planner. on Facebook. She was coming to Hong Kong from Dubai to work on a job for the office out here. She was around 36, divorced, and attractive in a Sandra Bullock way. We met through the twins, went out once, but there were certainly no immediate fireworks. The fireworks and rockets went off after she returned to Dubai and we kept in touch through text messages and phone calls. There was something about her…and phone calls could be very seductive.
Before reaching the inevitable breakup, Trina and I threw ourselves into work. Guess it was high avoidance after the death of our wonderful Nipper. The only time I cried during any of our counselling sessions was when asked, Hans, what made you sad? Easy. It was losing Nipper. That little dog kept us together.
By now, Trina was constantly travelling, I was constantly travelling and living pretty much a wannabe rock star lifestyle. There’s no point going into detail, but absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. It takes it everywhere and nowhere until it finally lands somewhere with someone new where words and action have no meaning. It’s often machismo bullshit played out for the peanut gallery.
It’s very tough going writing this, but there seems to be an invisible force pushing me to finish it as if it’s my last will and testament. Maybe it is. Nothing matters more to me than saying what I have to say. Perhaps it’s about living on borrowed time where I have to be totally honest with myself and try the best I can not to hurt anyone in the process. But I will because the truth hurts. We try to escape it, but it always catches up with you no matter how hard you try to mask it.
Bottom line: You come into this world alone and you leave this world alone. The filling in the rest of the sandwich is just stuff that, in the end, was given way too much oxygen until it suffocated you.
Married life with Trina was more than good. It was everything and more. As a young couple, our combined salaries were around HK$5,000, and this was fine. We were still in our little Japanese style apartment in Park Road and were even able to save money. Living together there was like a Graham Nash song: Perfect.
This was a very different Hong Kong to what we have today where people talk in millions and billions while those who can’t live detached lives on social media where fantasy and reality often come together to create emotional clutter.
As for Trina and myself, she was busy working for an arts magazine called Orientations whereas apart from working as Creative Director with the same local ad agency, I was making a little extra money writing an entertainment column for the SCMP and reviewing records for the TV and E Times.