WITH HKIR WEEK AROUND THE CORNER, A LOOK AT THE NEW HONG KONG…

By Hans Ebert
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Warning: This isn’t the Hong Kong that was around two years ago. Or even a year ago. A shopper’s paradise? Hardly. Those nouveau riche Mainland Chinese came in droves a few years ago, shops closed exclusively for them to overpay for luxury items before the spending was finally reined in.

Walk through the Landmark and Pacific Place and very often the staff outnumber customers. Those big name brands just lie there. Unless there’s some seasonal sale. Or an Everything Must Go Sale.

It’s like restaurants, bars and clubs. One day, they’re there. The next they’re gone. It’s all about over supply and demand. And more often than not, no demand. Other than the occasional drunk tourist being thrown out of Escape in Jaffe Road, except for Dust Till Dawn, Wanchai is dead.

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ALGORITHMS IS NOT MUSIC, OK?

By Hans Ebert
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Let’s try to make some sense out of all this. Or at least find solutions. We know the problems. One major problem: Unless a (Sir) Lucian Grange, or a Simon Cowell, Jimmy Iovine, Jay-Z, perhaps Daniel Ek- or any of the other big Poohbahs in the music business- and those established artists who were complete unknowns with no direction of home until plucked from obscurity by those with the intuitive A&R skills to hear something special in their music, many very good artists fell through the cracks. Or else didn’t become as big as they should have.The band Low Millions come to mind. And Athlete. Starsailor. Placebo. Moriarty.

So many great talent from Denmark led by Nephew.

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IT’S JUST ANOTHER GROUNDHOG DAY IN THE BLUE TICK TWITTERVERSE

By Hans Ebert
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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.

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THAT BEAUTY OF A RIDE BY DOUGLAS WHYTE (AND ABOUT WINNING OVER NEW FANS)

By Hans Ebert
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“You missed the best ride I have seen by a jockey.” It was a message sent by someone relatively new to horse racing. A female in her late Twenties. French Chinese. A regular at a Happy Wednesday meeting. Someone met around three years ago for the first time at Adrenaline when helping her fill out a Six Up ticket. She was talking about Douglas Whyte’s winning ride last night at Happy Valley on the John Moore trained Good Beauty.

Though out of Hong Kong, I had watched a replay of the race. To say it was vintage Douglas Whyte wouldn’t be doing the ride nor the rider justice. And certainly not to those still learning about the incredible career of the legendary South African rider. About how very very few ride the idiosyncratic city track better. Possibly no one.

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Opportunities knock for Douglas Whyte?

By Hans Ebert
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The fire in his belly might have never left as he’s certainly not someone to roll over and become another Yesterday’s Man, but the Chinese racing media has been abuzz of late about the persuasive powers of jockey Douglas Whyte working overtime during track work these days.

As anyone who’s watched his winning rides of Star Shine and on Kiram on Wednesday will testify to, the Durban Demon has woken up from, most likely, a self imposed hiatus where he stood back and checked out the lay of the land. Timing is everything.

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GETTING OFF THE TWITTER TRAIN…

By Hans Ebert
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It was my last girlfriend who tried to wean me off it- Twitter. Though pointing out that it was taking over my life and, without me even realising it, detonating any chance of trying to make our relationship work, I refused to listen. I was lost to the clutter of 140 words or less. Instead of there being one less bell to answer, it was adding another empty online junkie’s lament dressed and disguised as some bluebird of happiness. Progress has created some dangerous addictions. It might explain much about a world having lost its way. Lost with no direction of home. Refusing to recognise the tell tale signs.

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VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR AND TECHNOLOGY HAS KIDNAPPED CREATIVITY

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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At the end of it all, we come here alone, we leave here alone and we do our best to fill in the middle bits with things that have something of us in it. Guess this is what’s called a legacy.

I ended up in the creative field possibly because my mother was a painter, my father was a singer and pianist and I was left handed. Where I was born- Colombo in Sri Lanka- being left handed meant that one had inherited the devil’s hand.

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WHERE EXACTLY IS HORSE RACING HEADING?

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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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.

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NASH RAWILLER: THE CIRCLE IS COMPLETE. THE NEXT CHAPTER BEGINS…

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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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.

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NO FREE MUSIC, NO FREE LUNCHES AND NO FREE PASSES

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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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.

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