Updated: Jul 24
It’s not even about the money anymore. It’s about the happiness. And as we should all know by now, money might be able to buy you a variant of love- remember Sinatra singing “Love For Sale”?- but not absolute and undiluted happiness.
Happiness cannot be bought and sold like some discardable commodity. It’s either there or it isn’t.
How does one find happiness? Can it be found? Where is it?
Happiness is something that comes and goes so fleetingly with the “going” part hardly staying long enough to say Hello.
Yet, those moments are precious and live with and without you forever.
Of course, we’re all different and happiness comes in many shapes and forms and often hits you when least expecting it- kinda like that “variant of love”, which has hit me enough of times, but only once in any lasting manner.
When that happened, I married her, and the happiness continued until the happiness ran its course.
With my marrying days over, it’s about finding and falling in love with happiness- real happiness in a world where there are those, who, for reasons often fuelled by jealousy, want to tear it down and almost resent seeing people happy.
This unnecessary irritant can be found regularly on social media, especially in the Comments section of any of those click bait post.
For me, interesting is how nostalgia is such a powerful and interesting emotion. Yes, it might trigger sadness, but under this sadness is a form of almost therapeutic happiness.
Why else would I choke up watching the scenes below, but which also help me understand myself better, and maybe even find something totally unrelated hiding in there?
It’s a bit like going from a major seventh chord to a diminished one. Somehow they work in different ways.
It’s not unlike the time I was trying to explain to someone who was reaching into the child in me why I didn’t know how to show sadness, and how I never cried when my wife and I divorced, and even when my parents passed away.
The more I spoke, however, and the subject of my wife and my dog Nipper came up, I remembered how I tried to numb my feelings the day he had to be put to sleep.
That’s when the dam finally broke and that painfully sad, yet freeing sense of happiness came over me.
Guess it was the start of a healing process for many things that should have come before.
Happiness and finding it is a multi levelled subject that means different things to different people.
For me, it’s about finally being honest with one’s feelings and being brave- brave and confident enough to know when to walk away from anything and everyone holding you back.
I need to write and to create. If unable to do this because of constipated rules and regulations, it can take me down a very dark and long corridor.
I need to be around those who can inspire, not those who make me perspire, and not those who always, always, always look to see why something cannot be done, don’t offer solutions and don’t move from this square, and bring nothing to the Happy Dance table.
While still spending most of my time in Hong Kong, the last 3-4 years have seen many a blindingly obvious lowering of standards.
This has happened in pretty much every aspect of life and, most important to me, creativity, especially creativity in music and things like the incredible atmosphere once found in those Happy Wednesday nights at Happy Valley Racecourse.
Yes, Virginia, there really was a happy Hong Kong.
Today, other than some very good youngish Hong Kong based musicians like Andy is Typing, Mr Koo, Room 307, Funkee Tung, Indigo Town, Young Bucks and a few others, there’s really nothing happening for music makers beyond, well, Causeway Bay.
It shouldn’t be like this.
For instance, Brendon and John and whoever else might be in Indigo Town these days really should be performing on a global platform like the NPR Music Tiny Desk series.
How? By trying. By maybe adopting a new business strategy and new mindset of looking beyond the obvious.
Maybe also needing a different mindset is why the once vibrant international city that was Hong Kong is limping along looking old, tired, bored and under extreme stress. And, oh yes, constantly unhappy.
Remember that scene in “Broadcast News” where Albert Brooks character Aaron Altman starts perspiring profusely during a ‘live’ newscast? This, to me, is Hong Kong today- a city of nervous nellies and with no confidence in anything.
This is why there’s a need for Batman or Captain Crunch or Captain Nemo to give homegrown Hong Kong music- and Hong Kong itself- something different through, perhaps, collaborative efforts with musicians outside of the city and with strong A&R people helping to bring everything together.
Too much of a long shot? Not at all.
As with anything, it needs the “right team” happy in their work and experienced in strategic thinking to make this happen. It’s time to break free of naysayers and let music- and happiness- breathe- especially in a song.