Updated: Aug 24
If music makes people happy and there’s so much emphasis placed on curing everything ailing the world through wellness, it stands to reason that wherever we are should be filled with as much music as possible, right? Take a while to absorb that.
The fact that music in Hong Kong- but Hong can be almost anywhere- is being hobbled because those venues needed, especially for ‘live’ music to survive and be heard are being whacked by so many different rules and regulations to stop them from being able to get up and get going, doesn’t help.
This only helps create an environment of fear by playing it so safe that all the enjoyment of listening to music is sucked out and spat out.
Who would ever have thought about making music with masks on and social distancing measures whereas audiences might not even be allowed to get up and dance?
Wasn’t music meant to be a release? Shaking off the tensions of the day?
As Bowie sang, music was about putting your red shoes on and dancing with me. It was Prince telling us that it’s fine to let’s go crazeeee and Sly and the Family Stone inviting everyone to Dance To The Music.
Music were jam sessions and Bebop and Twist And Shout and time to let’s get in on and some good sexual healing.
Today, what exactly has happened to the very soul and heartbeat of music?
It’s been reduced to seeing how many streams or views or “likes” someone’s got and purchasing online fame.
While the world was asleep at the wheel, the Bogeyman killed the Boogie Woogie Man and silenced him with push button music and “musicians” who are wannabe star tekkies.
The ‘live’ music scene is giving way to DJs, and sooner than one thinks, these will be replaced by Spotify playlists. They’re safer.
This is why those, in what was such an exciting and vibrant and vital city called Hong Kong, and who, for one reason or another, have been given the power, seem to make rules up, don’t know, or refuse to understand how things work.
Why? They have no idea how and why music worked when music mattered- real music played by real musicians and not fakirs and opportunists playing Let’s Pretend.
It’s now very obvious that these guardians of law and order are thinking of why things shouldn’t work.
They, too, are living in fear of upsetting whoever is above them. And it sure as hell ain’t that god person. He seems to have done a runner.
The Hong Kong government has always had nincompoops working for it, but never ever have there been so many doing so much to ensure that nothing happens.
Guess this city is still being spanked by its elders at head office across the border for those “freedom fighters” who tore this city apart in 2019.
Instead of injecting people with the vaccine called fear and uncertainty, these lawmakers and those really calling the shots in Hong Kong need a huge dose of common sense.
The constant fear that has gripped this city, and isn’t letting go with the word ‘Covid’ included in every conversation is something that should be deleted. It’s getting us nowhere. Absolutely nowhere.
Right now, fear is the greatest enemy of the people. It’s the latest pandemic.
Perhaps this was always the plan? Create a dysfunctional and divisive Orwellian society.
When the SARS crisis hit Hong Kong in 2003, the government turned to music to help bring tourists back to the city.
Though the Harbourfest concerts that were handed on a silver platter to the disorganised Fawlty Towers that was the government funded InvestHK, and featured the Stones, Santana, Prince, Neil Young and others including leading local artists, the event was swept up in controversy and various pockets of dodgy deals.
There were more than a few mysterious Keyser Soze type characters appearing out of the shadows along with dummy companies being setup and with this exclusive group of individuals making their money before disappearing acts came into play.
Still, Harbourfest did at least show an attempt to do SOMETHING to get Hong Kong on its feet.
Today? Yes, with all the travel restrictions and social distancing rules, an event like Harbourfest isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Very possibly never.
Still, there’s got to be more to life in Hong Kong than checking into a staycation or checking on the latest Covid cases in the city, going for hikes and checking whether property prices are rising or falling.
Money. What’s there even to do with it these days except to maybe count it?
There’s no changing of the guard in this city-and elsewhere- because the old guard knows that they won’t be around to see any changes. And so they’ll stay put looking after their own vested interests and follow orders. They. Don’t. Care.
When looking at this landscape that’s a cross between Mad Max, A Clockwork Orange and Bladerunner, where and how is music meant to survive?
There’s got to be an answer. I truly believe this. But this answer must be about how to bring value back to music by showing and proving the effectiveness of those songs in the key of life.
Remember Songs In The Key Of Life? They made us better people.
Nothing is ever going to happen waiting for others to make things happen for you. That’s just Pollyanna thinking.
You came into this world alone and you will leave this world alone.
Let the meat in the sandwich in the meantime, at least for some of us, be Music in all its many shapes, colours and sounds.
Help dig music, sure. Also help dig it out of the rut it finds itself in today.