I wrote about a year and a half ago a hopeful piece about how Hong Kong with suffrage might serve as a sage-like voice, a Confucian sounding board as Zhongnanhai considered reform. Just as scholars in the past took great courage and personal risk to tell the truth to the emperor, so the people of Hong Kong, voting their minds, in what would be a Special Political Zone, (SPZ) rather than the already successful Special Economic Zones, (SEZ) like Shenzhen. This, would afford Hong Kong a future of great importance, rather than simply a fate as another Chinese city.
It wasn’t published, but if it had been it might seem rather foolish or certainly premature on read-back today. Beijing announced yesterday that it is not interested in listening, to anything other than adoration. The citizens of Hong Kong have been instructed to love the country, love the Party, as one would a father and above all preface stability. As the crisp Sinologist, whom I haven’t seen in years, Minxin Pei succinctly surmised:
“They are afraid that caving in to Hong Kong would show weakness. They believe that political weakness will encourage Hong Kong to demand more and will give opponents of the party’s rule in China great confidence to challenge the party.”
This leaves us with a standoff. And has been written a few thousand times, this is merely the standoff, before the bigger stand off. If Hong Kong resists in a unified fashion, we can follow the train of professor Pei’s thinking; there will be a decisive, and if necessary violent response to reassert control. There is no doubt about the outcome, as the people of Hong Kong are not armed. But any such disruption will fundamentally alter the relationship with Taiwan, undo years of rapprochement and, perhaps in a fashion not unlike the Crimea, entice Beijing to consider a land grab. Taiwan, however, is armed.
This was all on my mind as I headed to the gym this morning. And I suppose I have to write about The Creation today as they managed to take my mind off of what’s in store for Hong Kong. I’d heard the band before, years ago on mix or two I’d had of British psychedelia and bounding around Rdio, came across the collection entitled “Our Music is Red – With Purple Flashes.” I recognized the band’s name but if asked I couldn’t have named a song or anyone in the band.
Having just read their Wiki page, I still can’t recall the name of anyone in the band, so perhaps I should write a few of them down, as they came and went regularly till the band dissolved in 1968: ‘’ Kenny Pickett (vocals), Eddie Phillips (guitars), Mick "Spud" Thompson (rhythm guitars), John Dalton (bass), and Jack Jones (drums) was where it started and will suffice for now. I’m glad there is yet another rock band to consider with a “Jones” in it. (The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Clash, The Sex Pistols, The Small Faces . . . and if we’re talking Kenny Jones, we could include The Who.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Creation_(band)
I don’t think they had intended to be funny, but mid way through my push-up routine when the song “Through My Eyes” came on, I exploded in laughter. I hadn’t heard it in years, but it has a lovely synthesis of flower-power hope and punk presumptuousness wherein the singer is taunting the straight world to gaze through his presumably acid-drenched pupils.
If you could see through my eyes, you would get a big surprise
Things you haven’t noticed before. Things you haven’t seen, I’m sure.
Hope that I can change your mind. Hope that I can help your mind.
What a better world it would be, if they’d take some notice of me.
If you’re happy as you be, don’t take any notice of me.
But you should take a holiday, trip around the world, would be OK.
Here is a choppy video of the song. The singer I assume is Bob Garner who seems to have arrived on bass at some point and then migrated to the mic. It’s worth watching despite the Chaplin-esqe timing, as he provocatively paints the camera lens at the end of the clip. Not quite Pete Townshend smashing Tom Smother’s ukulele, but appreciated, nonetheless. This, as well, as a more interesting video of them singing an earlier song that sounds particularly Who’d-out, “Try And Stop Me.” Alas, they seemed to have stopped themselves.
It strikes one, considering the arc of yet another band how hard it must have been for just about every one of them to enter the arena not sound derivative. This A-side of ‘Through My Eyes’ was “Life is Just Beginning” and it sounds lovely. I can’t help but thinking how proud they must have been, listening to it on the first playback. The obligatory nod to Eleanor Rigby intro, the weepy minor key descent into melancholia juxtaposed with the pumped up positive refrain: why wasn’t this a hit? It seems to perfectly capture that 1967 zeitgeist, while at the same time sounding like echoes of the other luminaries of the day. 邯郸学步 or earnest innovation? Within the a few months they’d all go their separate ways.
Listening to them this morning I’m thankful for their efforts regardless of how they spent the rest of their lives. They anointed my morning. Thankful as well, for the brave people of Hong Kong, who are demanding more against even greater odds.
 Hándānxuébù: to copy the way they walk in Handan (idiom) / slavishly copying others, one risks becoming a caricature