Everyone around is singing “Last Christmas” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.” I look around and see what I have seen for the last three three years: those who have paid to attend some “festive gathering” insisting to themselves that they’re going to have a good time. Maybe some are. Me, I’m weighing out the pros and cons of leaving Facebook. If I jump ship, this would be the fifth time though an ex live-in who thought she had figured out a successful escape plan quickly realised that like that line in Hotel California, you can check out anytime you want, but you can never leave. You might have bolted, but you’re still there like the ghost of Christmas past.
Believe me, we’re trying to change things around. The question is whether we’ve left it all a little too late and are happy to just coast, because it pays the rent. And as no one’s getting any younger, to many, that’s life’s main priority. Maybe we don’t want to change the world. That’s not our job. Maybe we just want to survive in our own little corner of the world and put on that happy face everyday and try to kid ourselves and everyone else that all is cool.
I might be writing about Hong Kong, but I could be writing about anywhere. I might be writing about music, but I could be writing about any of the arts or any business or even life itself. And music is entertainment and much about life, but it’s also a business. Those days of playing for free for “exposure” should have ended when playing with one’s first school band and performing at tea parties.
There was a summer of change ahead. Kids who had left Hong Kong were back for a few months, there were newcomers to the city, Cat Street, the coffee shop at the Hong Kong Hilton, was the place to meet at night with afternoons usually spent hanging out at the restaurant at Dairy Farm. There was a great deal of hanging out…and just plain hanging in there.
My best friend Steve was dating a number of older girls who were mainly in local bands until settling for Irene Ryder, below, a stunning Eurasian Go Go dancer and later a popular singer before her life went through a number of bizarre twists and turns.
“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.
Around 10-15 years ago when still in the music industry and having recently split from my long suffering wife, our real offices were The Tiffin Lounge and the Champagne Bar at the Grand Hyatt. Living right next door to the hotel meant convenience if needing some different type of stress release during those Wolf Of Wall Street days when nothing was impossible and The Longest Cocktail Party was meant to continue forever.
These were the Days Of The Long Lunch and where I had “graduated” from the English pub scene of the Dicken’s Bar from my days in advertising to the five star lifestyle of being a senior music executive. And being part of this supposedly brave new world, we became legends in our own lunchtime.
It was raining. And these days one has to almost force one’s self to get out as there’s really nothing much happening in Hong Kong that’s worth making the effort to see or looking for new people to meet. It seems like it’s all been said and done and heard before and the only sensible thing to do is to get away from it all and find a new perspective in life. So, with my friend having made a spicy tofu salad with Chinese spinach, we decided to stay home and watch The Voice, something I hadn’t done in over a year.
I gave up on these television karaoke competitions years ago, but my friend, who still holds onto the dream of being a high powered female music executive, wanted to see some of the talent appearing on this particular night and who she knew.
A contemporary fairy tale based on the songs of Hans Ebert and Trevor Carter.
He woke up one day and it was like someone had switched the lights off in his head. He knew he was here, but it was hard getting there and beyond. For some reason, all motivation was gone. Inspiration had decided to pack its bags and leave. And with no inspiration, he knew there’s nothing except as Dylan sang, being stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues again.