A contemporary fairy tale inspired by one too many steps beyond

The problem with the But People who lived underground in the outskirts of a remote area to the left of Nowhere Land Man, and known as Buthole was that they always started their sentences with a Big But, which meant everything they said had a Big But to it.


If the sky was blue, they’d look up and say, “But it will soon turn grey.” If a nanu moment of happiness entered their lives, they’d ask themselves, “But how long will it last before the sadness comes again?” You get the drift…

As they shuffled around Buthole, all one heard was a cacophony of “But, but, buts” that sounded like the nervous stammer of a staple gun marching through the silence of a paper moon.

The But People weren’t always like this- sad little people with long faces drinking from mugs that said, “Half Empty”, shunning their once bright kaftans and bell bottoms for dull grey overalls, and switching off the bright lights and big city for what could have been what Bob Dylan sang in “Just Like Tom Thumbs Blues” about “being in Juarez and it’s winter time, too.”

This was when today’s But People were actually shiny happy people living in Itchycoo Park, where it was all too beautiful with long and winding roads that led to magical places like Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields and when nights were filled with Golden Slumbers and Waterloo Sunsets.

Theirs was a life surrounded by music- not just surrounded by music, but- and this “but” is a positive one- actually MAKING music that was a kaleidoscope of purple haze and sunshine supermen, sharing it with the world around them and reminding everyone that anything is possible as making music and appreciating music is about using one’s imagination and how imagination has no boundaries.

For years, Itchycoo Park was filled with music, music, music, Peace signs, and what its residents called “good vibes”. Everyday, people banged their green tambourines and danced to the music, music, music from this magical place. The shiny happy people were happier than the morning sun and so was their music. Happy music made people happy and happy people gave out “good vibes” that made for a happier world.

Where things began to go off the rails and onto oncoming crosstown traffic was when everyone thought they, too, could make music.

Suddenly, there was so much music coming from all corners of the world- music that was really whirring sounds which spoke to people in a numbing chorus of auto tuned voices. Melodies were replaced by “beatz”, and no one listened anymore to what was being said which left everyone in Itchycoo Park out in the cold and on a downtown funk.

Happy music, said the mysterious and powerful Appsters- very different to hipsters-was a thing of the past- and so were musicians.

Technology, they preached- technology created, owned and sold by The Appsters- was the new musician even though it had no heartbeat, no soul, and no meaning.

Whatever The Appsters said, the world bought without questioning. And these Appsters always had something new to sell. Though they preached that these would bring people together, a steady diet of them only created a robotic and insular society.

The music of the shiny happy people soon started to fall on deaf ears, and these musicians who knew no other lifestyle or work started to question themselves and the point of making music if no one was listening to it.

The questioning became increasingly louder until, one day, they laid down their instruments for good and the “But, but, buts” started up.

Without their music, they were lost. They lost all hope, they lost the melodies that made them look on the bright side of life and greet every morning by singing “Here comes the sun”.

“Good vibes” became bad vibes and good karma was replaced by reptilian karma chameleons. All these new sounds from the technological-driven world of The Appsters was creating suspicion, paranoia, and viruses never known before. And it was spreading…

As the days aimlessly drifted by, Itchycoo Park turned into all the negativity of Buthole with its But But Buts. The former shiny happy people had only their memories for company, and even these were quickly disappearing.

It was during this time that a stranger, like Alice falling through the rabbit hole, fell into their midst- a strange looking young man- thin, tall, wearing top hat and tails and long boots.

He had been wandering around, taken a misstep and crashed into the underground world of Buthole carrying something they hadn’t seen in years- a guitar case.

He smiled a wacky though knowing smile at them, and on what was a warm Wednesday afternoon, took his guitar out and started to play.

What he played was music they hadn’t heard in a very very long time- happy music that came from where music should be created: the heart.

He sang about everything that once made the world a happy place- happy feet, about being happy together, about smiles, about sailing, and letting the music make you drift away into whatever pictures were in your mind.

They asked his name, and when he said he had none, they named him Happy- Happy Wednesday. He was full of happiness and it was infectious and innocent.

Wherever he had come from- some said he had come from outer space- this stranger in a strange land had never heard of The Appsters.

Like Ziggy Stardust- and maybe David Bowie- he seemed to come from a future past when music was created by musicians playing real musical instruments to make others sit up and think and turn this thinking into positive thoughts where “Why?” became “Why not?” and everything was possible. Even that impossible dream was possible.

The more he played, the more he sang in a quirky high-pitched voice, the But People had an urge to sing along even though they didn’t know the songs. And though they hadn’t sung in years, they clapped their hands and tapped their feet. Some even did the Hippy Hippy Shake and twisted the night away.

“Join me!” asked Happy Wednesday. “Pick up your instruments and make music with me!” The But People looked nervously at each other, and replied, “But, but, but, we can’t.” “Yes, you can!” sang Happy, “because you have the music in you! Once it’s there, it never leaves you! It just needs to be refreshed! All of YOU need to be refreshed!”

Without even knowing it, like that mysterious pied piper of Hamlyn, Happy Wednesday had led them out of the dark underground world of Buthole and into the sunshine of a beautiful valley they had never seen before.

Happy put down his guitar and continued singing using handclaps, snapping his fingers and drumming on his legs and body to create truly natural rhythms.

Slowly, the But People joined in while making up their own lyrics- happy lyrics with happy words and nonsense words and nothing mattered as there was nothing to get hung about- no Ifs or Buts about that.

“That sounds so special!” yelled Happy with words of encouragement. “Really?” asked his new friends with no Buts to be heard anywhere. “Yes, because it’s all coming from your hearts, which means it’s true and original music”, sang Happy.

For every question they asked, Happy Wednesday had a positive answer. It was infectious. The more he sang and talked, it made all of those who were once stuck in Buthole realise that nothing’s ever that bad. And life is what you make of it.

Filled with positivity, armed with “good vibes”, and surrounded with their own music, the But People were shiny happy people again, who turned this valley- this happy valley- into their colourful new home.

While they got back to the business of being themselves, they realised something was missing: Happy Wednesday had gone- disappeared. Was it all a dream? Who was he? Where was he from? Had he been sent to silence The Appsters? Was he out there somewhere else showing other But People negativity only creates more negativity in an already negative world? Was he out there saving the music from The Appsters?

And all that’s another Happy Wednesday story for another day. In the meantime, see if you can go through an entire day without using the But word.

Hans Ebert
Founder Racingb*tch
Chairman and CEO
We-Enhance Inc and Fast Track Global Ltd
www.fasttrack.hk

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