The times have changed

By Hans Ebert
Visit: www.fasttrack.hk

There must be a way outta here and where people take responsibility for their actions. And non-actions. It’s become much too easy to jump in and out of being part of passing fancies that in time will go…

Some, of course, have turned fads into big business. They watch what’s “trending” and jump onto whatever of these bandwagons are rolling.

Anyone else hear the theme from “Rawhide” playing in your head?

When these bandwagons run out of steam, they jump off and wait for the next trending hashtag- hashtags about diversity, #MeToo, #TimeIsUp”, whatever Life matters, wellness, gun laws, Mr Potato Head, the rainbow connection, BidenGait, #HarryAndMeghan, shootings, more shootings etc.

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RIP MELVIS, THE KING OF LAN KWAI FONG

By Hans Ebert
Visit: www.fasttrack.hk

Melvis, real name Tsui Kam-kong, 68, is gone and long live the King of Lan Kwai Fong. Those of us who have made Hong Kong home know Melvis from his performances throughout most of the Central district of this city for the past three decades.

I would always run into him when having dinner at what still remains one of the best restaurants Hong Kong ever had- Bistro Manchu. That wonderful restaurant managed by the always honest Tom- “No order any more, Mister Hans. This enough”- and with a menu that included the best pan fried dumplings anywhere and the brilliant Cumin Lamb, closed its doors over a year ago along with many other restaurants in Elgin Street.

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GEORGE HARRISON: NOT JUST “THE QUIET BEATLE”.

By Hans Ebert
Visit: www.fasttrack.hk

He added an extra chorus to the songs through all the riffs, hooks, and whatever you wanna call them to the songs. Think of the guitar intros to “I Feel Fine”, “Daytripper”, “Ticket To Ride”, “And Your Bird Can Sing”, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, “You Can’t Do That”, that singularly wake up call of the chord that opened “Hard Days Night”.

Then there were his creatively minimal guitar solos that might have been copied by many, but never bettered- those melodic solos on “I Should Have Known Better”, “Taxman”, “I’m Only Sleeping”, “Let It Be” and every little big thing he played throughout his great love song to then wife Patti on “Something”.

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WHAT EXACTLY IS THE SOUND OF MUSIC TODAY?

By Hans Ebert
Visit: www.fasttrack.hk

There’s old fashioned, there’s new fashioned, and then there’s just flailing about hoping like hell no one will see the truth- how that despite all the smokescreens, algorithms and views and followers, there’s nothing there.

It’s no different to what’s being played out for far greater stakes in the minds of the Donald and his enablers taking advantage of someone who has completely lost his marbles. While he’s bunkered down and going through terminal Loser Denial, his team has planted so many seeds of doubt into minds that nothing any side says or does is no longer believable.

CNN, Fox News, Spotify numbers, YouTube views, Facebook “likes”, Instagram numbers, Rolling Stone reportage, the Washington Post etc etc, nothing adds up.

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MUSIC: KEEPING IT REAL

By Hans Ebert
Visit: www.fasttrack.hk

There’s not much to show for it, is there? There never is when there’s no substance to anything being done- and done for reasons that are from Rue Shallowness.

It’s like much of the sounds being made today- and those responsible for churning out these fatuous sausages sold with hundreds of hashtags and aided and abetted by “followers” and “likes” purchased for a price. Is this a good business model? Will it show a return on investment?

Music is something very subjective. It has to be. It’s something personal. And maybe this Instagram “version” of the art form mentioned above is right for these times. Maybe. Maybe it’s escapism from having to deal with the harsh realities of life.

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ARE YOU ON THE FAR SIDE OF NORMAL? 

By Hans Ebert
Visit: www.fasttrack.hk

Personal tastes have changed so much in the past year. Of course, there are the constants- for myself, Audrey Hepburn, the Beatles, Fred Astaire, The Far Side and a couple more on the personal side of the hurdles of romance. But the one-time buffet spread laid out has been streamlined.

Taste is becoming more exclusive. Not everyone is invited to the party. There are no more free lunches. At the end, someone has to somehow pay the piper. Words that matter are not for everyone. Maybe this was the way it was meant to be.

No regrets, but was there too much wasted time? The Eagles sang about it. Wasted time. Not bothering to see this while living what were outwardly good time. But despite Grandfather Time ticking away, when, what and who mattered was allowed to slip away. Fools were allowed in and entertained.

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Getting back to feeling groovy

By Hans Ebert
Visit: www.fasttrack.hk

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?

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That’s life, that’s entertainment, and there goes Carl Reiner

By Hans Ebert
Visit: www.fasttrack.hk

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.

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From there to here, but where is the love?

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.

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THIS IS WHERE…

By Hans Ebert
@HansEbertMusic
Visit: www.hans-ebert.com

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.

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