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Learning to live again without fear

It’s unfortunate that growing up often means losing one’s imagination and no longer believing in magic and all that’s associated with magic.

As a child, you could be anyone. Even if alone, there could be an army of knights, or, if a kinda weird kid, even an army of ants, fighting beside you.

Looking into that mirror inside Mum’s old cupboard could take you into fantasy worlds where you faced dragons, met magicians with Cheshire Cat smiles and pretty maids all in a row.

What always drew me to much of the music of Led Zeppelin was the lyricism of Robert Plant. “Ramble On”, for example, seemed a journey back to the days of Camelot and hearing about “evil one”.

I met Plant and the other Zeps and manager Peter Grant at a dim sum restaurant somewhere in the bowels of Kowloon when a junior reporter. They were with a local promoter friend who had asked me to meet them as they were thinking about holding a concert in Hong Kong.

The concert never happened, but walking through the backroads of the city with the band and trying to find some female action of the very local kind, Plant and I had a good chat about Camelot and Arthurian days and nights.

I had read almost everything possible about the Arthurian legend and studied “Morte D’Arthur”. He, of course, knew all about King Arthur and with us both fascinated by the Lady Of The Lake.

It was time well spent and why I have followed the singer-writer’s career for all these decades and have his new record with the wonderful Alison Krauss on constant Repeat.

When one gets a little older, one pill makes you smaller or whatever and you’re suddenly transported to somewhere like Camelot and Tombstone Territory while meeting and falling in love with Guinevere and needing her in your life.

Being an adult means having to snap out of it and act your age. The problem with acting one’s age is often being burdened by responsibilities and losing those previous powers, especially the power of imagination and believing that everything is possible.

For some reason, I was thinking about all this while reading about the Hong Kong International Jockey Championship.

This is being held at Happy Valley Racecourse tonight and brings together twelve of the best jockeys from around the world to compete with each other and win the coveted IJC Cup.

What if this Cup was Excalibur, I thought, and the twelve jockeys competing were knights?The Doors’ “Riders In The Storm” could be playing in the background and Ridley Scott or Steven Spielberg directing something of epic proportions with a twist to its tail.

We can dream, can’t we?

Whereas Dylan would have sung how we’re invisible now and with no secrets to conceal, we’re adults today and must stick to the script in everything we do including how we behave and think.

It’s the price one pays for growing up. There’s very little or no place for individuality or breaking free from the shackles of mundanity.

One can be financially secure right up to the hilt, but be morally and emotionally bankrupt.

This is especially true in a financially driven city like Hong Kong where, apart from Bruce Lee, home grown heroes fighting for what really matters, have been thin on the ground.

It’s almost always been about what ABBA was singing about- Money, Money, Money and how it’s a rich man’s world.

This is also a reason why more than a few marriages fall apart. There’s no sense of adventure and no time for chivalry and looking beyond the obvious. It’s all about making more and more money, or else putting on a brave front and busy surviving, but not living.

Is it any wonder that the world has become so damn predictable, scared and downright boring?

As for Hong Kong, perhaps too many childhoods have been robbed of their innocence and that inner magic. Perhaps this magic is still there. It can trump the fear that’s often the engine driving what’s become a divisive and suspicious city.

At a time when priorities are changing and being rearranged, being a big man and living here in the material world isn’t what it once was. It’s lost its faked out lustre.

Maybe now is the time to re-evaluate things and find that magical something that’s been missing- but waiting to return and lead us to new ways of looking at things.

We need to, especially to be relevant again and help guide the next generation towards a better tomorrow.

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