Have we messed up? Sure, we have. Over and over again. But we probably didn’t know it at then and are now trying to make up for lost time by making amends. It’s like reading from the Big Book Of Bill and trudging up those 12 Steps again and trying to get up there without tripping up on the eighth and nine steps.
Having cohabited with Mr and Mrs Covid-19 for the past few months and living through broken sleep patterns and dreams with a Silent Scream has, whether one cares to admit it or not, forced us- well, many of us- to face some home truths. Home truths about love and mercy and the days of future passed and questioning how much “goodness” there really was in those “good old days”.
To kinda paraphrase Bruce Springsteen, Were we blinded by the light while dancing in the dark?
Crucify me for saying this, but I never warmed to the music of “The Boss”- all that blue collar Americana and marathon ‘live’ concerts. Was invited to three and never stayed the distance for any. But friends thought that he could walk on water. But did they really? Or were they happy to follow the herd?
And now Carl Reiner is gone. Yes, he was 98 and no doubt lived a very full life surrounded by loving family and friends. But when the world loses one of these iconic figures, especially from the world of entertainment- and really think about this word and everything that it’s given and keeps giving the world- all of us lose a little bit of ourselves.
Some chicken soup for the soul is not only missing. It’s gone. And we’ll never have that recipe again.
We’ve lost something or someone who, during our lifetime, made us laugh or cry or feel an emotion. Maybe they helped create a special bond with our parents.
They also touched us with their special brand of magic. You remember exactly when and where it was and how whatever it is that they brought to this wonderful world of entertainment made you feel.
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.
This is where I arrived by ship from Colombo at nine, was a stranger in a strange land called Hongkong, and thought nothing of living in a shoebox in North Point on the 27th floor with my parents, my aunt, uncle, cousin and grandmother.
This is where I took a Shaukiwan tram to Quarry Bay School, possibly the first “East Asian” to be accepted.
This is where I first faced racism- and beat that devil at his own game by being a good pupil- academically and in sports- if you call Rounders a sport.
We were having dinner with a few cricketers over the weekend. Not just any cricketers. World class cricketers. Guys with whom I was and still are in awe. But heroes rarely last forever. Most eventually disappoint.
These cricketers were talking about their complete disinterest playing in a five day Test match, let alone a series. How much discipline was needed. Being kept under lock and key. Every move being scrutinised. But with there being the 20/20 game, One Day Tests, it was all very much about big money for almost nothing and plenty of models, actresses and groupies for free. It was a Dire Straits song.
It’s not even a question anymore. It’s a fact. We’re over-complicating everything. Even the most simple things.
Unable to sleep the other night from sleeping too much earlier in the day after much too long an unnecessarily long night out, there was the idea to listen to one of those “racing and sports” radio channels. Mistake.
Of course, we’re creatures who are riddled with quirks- like petty annoyances that have to do with, well, stupidity. A particular peeve is hearing someone say, “it’s raining outside”. Of course, it must be raining “outside”. When does it ever rain inside? Anyway, it’s been raining outside most of the day. More rain is forecast. For outside. On, by the way, what would have been Bruce Lee’s 78th birthday. Maybe the sky’s crying for Bruce and Brandon.
Today’s also a Happy Wednesday at Happy Valley racecourse. Some enjoy hanging out at the Beer Garden and singing and dancing in the rain. Everyone has their own bouts of weirdness. Maybe some will still be celebrating what would have yesterday been the 76th birthday of Jimi Hendrix. We sure don’t consume music like we used to when music kept that long train running. That’s for sure. That long train has been derailed. Even The Marathon Man has stopped running. Still, great music by great musicians live on. It keeps us honest. To ourselves.
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.
Some make it through the rain, some fall by the wayside. A few make comebacks for whatever reason. A sync deal for Pringles. Included in a movie. Or television series. Or have always been there. But in the Lost And Found of one’s mind. Words that can’t be deleted.
A song about the one who got away. The one you let get away. Slipped through your fingers. Butter fingers. The one who wore your ring.
That song that meant everything about another time. And which suddenly is more relevant today.