By Hans Ebert


We have all known how it’s worked for decades. Forget about the con that’s always been Canto Pop, which has nothing to do with talent, but everything to do with stylists, hairdressers, the casting couch, corrupt radio, music company and television executives, and a fawning Chinese entertainment media in the pockets of the usual fat cats who refuse to believe that they cannot take it with them and have never known how much is enough. Canto-Pop is not only a disgrace to Hong Kong, to music-and Muzak- it should be investigated by the ICAC as palms have and continue to be greased. It’s appalling that the crooks involved have been able to get away with so much for so long.


While Canto-Pop is where the big money corruption has always been, there’s always the usual coterie of promoters and booking agents who’ve been squirrelling away money for decades by booking the same old tired acts into five-star hotel lounges. Either this group of has-beens or those much younger, but replicated into the older models with their repertoire of old school, uncool schmaltz.

How do they continue to getaway with selling such self-indulgent flatulence and mediocrity with such a regularity? Firstly, those in hotels responsible for approving these acts hardly know the wants and needs of their customers, let alone music. They’re putty in the hands of seasoned flim flam people who have been around for so long, they’re now part of the furniture. Are, again, palms being greased? What do you think?


Sitting at a hotel lounge in Melbourne recently, what was amazing to absorb was the quality of the musicianship performing ‘live’. Yes, they perform covers, but they’re not two bit copycats. They’re hugely original with their re-arrangements, they can actually sing and play, and they’re unpretentious twentysomethings not forced to dress like Liza Minelli or Cher as this is what those working as a team in booking “cabaret” and lounge acts into these Hong Kong venues believe to be “sophisticated” and needed in a five-star venue. Rubbish. It’s corny, it’s schmaltz and it’s so old school that, like Canto-pop, this type of entertainment has no place in this decade. Yet, it’s been allowed to continue. It’s all part of getting away with conning those too weak and dumb to see those being a big fish in a very small pond. And it’s a con that’s stunk to high heaven for too long. Enough is enough.


To all these booking agents, hotel food and beverage managers, and especially many of the Hong Kong-based foreign and local “artists” who have been getting away with peddling mediocrity for so long, because there’s no one else, the gig- and gigs- might be finally up. Wait: They are up.




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Apart from the fresh, talented, young- and inexpensive- musical talent from all points Australia, original talent from Scandinavia are looking at making their homes by performing the Asian circuit. They’ve heard the mediocrity being booked, and with money too tight to mention in their various homelands, they and a new breed of international booking agents have seen the opportunities for their artists in Macau, Shenzhen, Shanghai and, of course, Hong Kong. And not a minute too soon. Take note, you five-star hotels.


Investors and new venues are in place, and very soon, game changers will arrive, create a huge paradigm shift, and, by so doing, reveal those in Hong Kong who have issued work visas and passports for very average talent, and finally reveal all those who can talk the talk, but stumble when they walk with real talent and, therefore, need to resort to hiding on social media and trying to throw shade on those who know all about them- all their dirty little secrets and the reasons for their faked out names and insecurities. Time’s up for all these fakers, fakirs and shuck and jive merchants who need to be brought down from being legends in their own lunchtime.