By Hans Ebert

(Courtesy of Fast Track)

Some of us learned to play cricket in our backyards. Some of us had to make do with a plank of wood for a bat and bowled with a ball made of socks or a coconut husk before ever holding a real cricket ball. And how good did gripping that cricket ball for the first time feel?

There was then the idol worship of watching local cricket heroes play. Those batsmen were knights in shiny whites with their gloves and pads standing up to warriors running down the pitch and hurling missiles their way. The knights would duck away from these bouncers, keep the googlies out and seize every opportunity to drive, cut, late cut and simply wallop that ball over the fence for six.

And then, there you were, suddenly at the centre of a real cricket pitch- bowling, batting, fielding and understanding how the game all came together. Some of us had mentors who fine-tuned whatever strengths we had and introduced us to cricketing legends like Everton Weekes, Clyde Walcott, Frank Worrell- all those wonderful cricketers from the Caribbean who played their own version of the game.

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By Hans Ebert

Here that? Listen carefully. That’s the sound of silence. Hello, darkness, my old friend, indeed. And, of course, there’s been a darkness ever since The Orange Buffoon and his crooks and cronies lumbered into the White House spewing forth his own brand of fake news, vitriol and racism and just about everything we have not come to expect from any previous leader of The United States Of America.

Joe McCarthy was never President, but what we have been seeing is far more fearful than McCarthyism, especially when you throw Chief Advisor and the puppet master Steve Bannon into the mix.

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By Hans Ebert

No one said it would be easy. But no one also warned that it would be so damn tough to make it in music. Of course, it wasn’t always like this. But there’s always hope. It’s about finding it that’s what is inspiring and keeps one from falling off the edge or steps or trees.

Back in the day, it was as easy as learning to play the guitar or drums, forming a band and getting a recording deal at a time when music companies really were music companies and in the business of supporting their acts and marketing and selling music.

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By Hans Ebert

The stories from former and current staff at many of the offices about the politics and mismanagement of one of the major music companies in the region is not only a pity, it’s a bloody disgrace, especially having worked for the company when it was the leading music company in the region when PolyGram and Goliath, and then when taken over by Edgar Bronfman Jr’s music company and being reduced to David.

It’s still probably the “biggest music company in the world”, but what does this even mean anymore? Size matters? Why? It’s as pointless as saying that MTV is still a music channel. Nothing is what it is anymore, and here’s another music company that was a con in the Asia Pacific region when there actually was a music industry by all manner of corruption, shenanigans and creative accounting by those in the good books of those at Head Office, who were way too trusting of those in charge of the region, especially the Greater China region, and believing that Mainland China was “potentially the biggest music market in the world”. Please.

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THE BEATLES: THANK YOU, LADS

Posted: February 14, 2017 by We-Enhance in Beatles, Music, Music Industry

By Hans Ebert

Their music has been the soundtrack to many of our lives. We grew up with them. Their songs made us smile, sad, think, forgive, forget, fall in love, fall out of love, stay in love.

They gave us answers when there were none. They inspired us when we needed to be picked up when having been put down. Because of them, some of us picked up guitars and tried to write songs and be musicians. At least we tried.

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LIFE THROUGH THE MUSICAL LOOKING GLASS

Posted: February 7, 2017 by We-Enhance in Beatles, Music
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By Hans Ebert

We talk too much. We don’t listen enough. Our priorities are often upside down and back to front. We sleep so much, we lose touch with reality. We have minds, but rarely think. We’re happy to be led. We’re nowhere and everywhere. But think we’re somewhere. Or getting somewhere by doing nothing.

We lose ourselves in this place called social media. Here, we also often lose that human connection. We rarely talk. But we say we’re constantly exchanging and inter-acting and communicating. We’re each different, but we’re all starting to sound the same. We’re lost and confused and want the world to stop because we want to get off.

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By Hans Ebert

A friend in music was trying to find “solace” in the recent cases of Alanis Morrisette being duped by her former manager for millions, and Sir Paul fighting with ATV/Sony Publishing to buy back his and John Lennon’s early catalogue of songs.

Call me naive, but how did we ever get to the point where what someone wrote, and which, let’s say, became huge hits, belongs to someone who had absolutely nothing to do with creating these songs?

My friend’s point is that if these two artists, one far more successful than the other, are fighting uphill battles, then us mere fiddlers on the roof shouldn’t feel bad if things don’t go according to plan as we are all in the same boat. Misery loves company, but I can’t subscribe to this school of thought. Methinks Sir Paul is slightly more successful than I will ever be.

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By Hans Ebert

For those who don’t follow horse racing, it was something most wouldn’t have even read about: Rapper Dragon winning the Group 1 Hong Kong Classic Mile at Shatin racecourse on Sunday. To racing fans, however, here was something to celebrate, something to discuss, share, go through the history books and play trivial pursuit to see what this achievement meant so they could own bragging rights. It was one of those all-too-rare Feel Good moments in a sport too often allowed to meander along with little or no creativity and leadership. But Rapper Dragon led from the front and stayed there.

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Racing fans talking about Rapper Dragon with other fans is no different to having, let’s say, a new artist coming out with a recording of “Purple Rain”, turning the classic by Prince on its head, and seeing the track suddenly start trending. Okay, that might be a stretch, but this is surely the time when the world should come together, start to really understand each other and embrace the differences.

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There’s also the need to switch on that inquisitive mind. In the world of horse racing, the On switch has been off for too long, which means not even trying to make those with a passing interest in the sport understand the significance of that win by Rapper Dragon, the training effort by John Moore, and the ride of the mercurial Joao Moreira, a poor kid from São Paulo, who couldn’t afford to own a saddle until in his teens, fought all kinds of adversity, and is now known as The Magic Man- one of the two best jockeys in the world. If anyone can help bring horse racing into the mainstream consciousness, it’s the very marketable Brazilian. This athlete is the total package- charismatic, likeable, a fiercely competitive rider, hugely talented, successful and beguilingly media savvy. The man is no fool.

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By Hans Ebert

Word is that James Taylor is performing in Hong Kong next month and that drummer Steve Gadd will be part of his backup band. Guess so.

Musician friends are looking forward to the gig and have taken it for granted that I’ll be there. But I’m not too sure I will as I’ve cancelled out on seeing so many of my musical heroes recently. Sometimes, it’s had to do with scheduling, and other times it’s had to do with just not caring enough to make the trek to the venue and come away feeling both sad and disappointed. Most times, you’d rather listen to what they have to say. We don’t seem to listen too much these days. There’s way too much oneupmanship which I blame on all the clutter on social media where too many intellectual midgets are given a voice.

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By Hans Ebert

Having been born in what was then Ceylon- a rabid cricketing nation now known as Sri Lanka- played school cricket while looking up to two elder cousins playing cricket for various clubs in Hong Kong, one captaining Hong Kong, and growing up around the sport, cricket has not only played a role in my life, the sport was once part of a city trying to find its way through trial and error by being an important meeting and melting pot of nationalities.

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My eldest cousin- Carl Myatt, pictured below at the centre of the photograph, was Editor of The Sunday Morning Post and later, the TV Times, but was far better known for his bowling and captaincy of local cricket clubs like the Indian Recreation Club, the Craigengower Cricket Club, and later captaining the Hong Kong cricket team.

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Whereas his younger brother Tony, below, with and without hair, was always said to have more talent- a lethal pace bowler who could make a ball turn faster than Linda Blair’s head did in “The Exorcist”- he didn’t have the determination and discipline of Carl.

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