LUNCHING WITH BHASKAR MENON  1
(Source: ASME)

Having a lunch or dinner with Bhaskar Menon is a joy, an experience, an inspiration and an education.

After all, here is the only Asian to ever run a major music company- EMI Music- and after some booking kerfuffle, we’re finally at the Golden Leaf of the Conrad having a stream of consciousness conversation about Joe Smith, Mo Ostin, Norah, Blue Note, Bruce Lundvall, Al Cory, Allan Klein, Dark Side Of The Moon, Capitol Records, Steve Wynn, Vegas and Kenny Rogers, Warners, the first recording session he set up at Abbey Road Studios with the only Producer free that day to record some unknown band called the Beatles- George Martin- when George (Harrison) Met Ravi (Shankar) and, for one of the few times in my life, I shut the fuck up and listen.

LUNCHING WITH BHASKAR MENON  2
(Source: Funny Junk)

I am listening to the history of contemporary music from someone who was THERE and part of it all and who made ground-breaking events like The Concert For Bangladesh actually happen.

LUNCHING WITH BHASKAR MENON  3
(Source: Amazonaws)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ei6VyjlgxZU

This is not some name-dropper who one meets way too frequently today. Bhaskar Menon was one of those legends who helped create an entire industry- an industry that, today, is tottering and rocking and reeling, but not in the way Mr Chuckles Berry sang about.

Bhaskar is a friend and a scholar and a gentleman and wants to know about my fragmented family, horse racing turnover and the government, racing and entertainment, the love that was then, the lust that was in-between, the love that is now and relationships that have soured. I am humbled.

And this is key: Being humbled enough that the past and this gentleman’s experiences inspire you and give thought to where music- and one’s life- is going today- and which could be nowhere and everywhere.

It’s what you make of it all and finally kicking out the strays with their half-baked idea that bring you no returns and build a wall around you to keep the scavengers out.

If it means burning some bridges, so be it. Many bridges to cross can be an unnecessary burden especially with extra baggage to carry.

Bhaskar Menon is not some music executive living in the past.

His universe today comprises work for UNESCO; he has a great grasp of politics and business, where corruption fits right in the middle and with still an interest in the music industry- but with a distant and sad disinterest.

After all, where are today’s answer to the Ertegun brothers, or Mo Ostin or any of the real music executives?

Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day
(Source: The Guardian)

Only the forever young and vital Chris Blackwell remains and thank gawd for that.

Chris Blackwell still has the inspiration to create something unique with business partner Simon Fuller-two different generations of music men who, I am hoping, will create new opportunities for all the great unknown artists after years of empty promises by those living on past glories and finally being seen as charlatans and wankers.

LUNCHING WITH BHASKAR MENON  5
(Source: Illuminutti)

It make one also think how great a paradigm shift there’s been and how this shift has to do with a lack of leaders with that entrepreneurial spirit and an industry weakened by fragmentation and stagnation.

Who’s there today to steer this runaway train? Lucien Grainge? LA Reid? And where’s Doug Morris and Clive Davis these days? Have they finally left the building with Elvis? And will Vivendi rethink the offer and sell Universal Music to Softbank? These offers never go away- not really- and there are so many deals hammered out in so many boardrooms.

LUNCHING WITH BHASKAR MENON  6
(Source: Bill Board)

The music died a long time ago and whatever the art once was is now a series of celebrity meltdowns by cartoon characters like Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Kei$ha, Gaga, the ghost of Michael Jackson and the comical thought of Simon Cowell as a baby daddy. Even his Publicist Max Clifford could not have thought of such a comedy of errors.

LUNCHING WITH BHASKAR MENON  7
(Source: Hollywood Life)

Meanwhile, in Asia, the same old, same old music industry merry-go-round gets older and more senile and creaks along with Spanky and the Gang continuing to speak to themselves, make the usual nickel and dime “digital deals” thinking this is progress.

LUNCHING WITH BHASKAR MENON  8
(Source: NY Times)

Still on the merry-go-round, this one from Warner has joined Sony whereas the person from Sony has joined Universal, the regional offices are rife with politics as there is nothing else to do whereas others on the periphery who have been trying to “save” the music industry wonder what new rabbit to pull out of that much-used hat. But the rabbit is dead.

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(Source: Dungeonsndigressions)

Thanks for lunch, Bhaskar and reminding me of life’s priorities.

LUNCHING WITH BHASKAR MENON  10
(Source: The Prospect)