畢加索與羅文 Picasso & Roman Tam

星期六下午,跟朋友到沙田文化博物館參觀畢加索展覽。展覽之盛大,全香港都知,五十二件來自巴黎國立畢加索博物館的珍寶首次巡迴亞洲,去過臺灣,大陸,現在來到香港,為法國五月藝術節二十週年的重頭戲。

展覽內容我已在<南華早報>報道過多次,不再重複。但展覽的情況究竟是如何?

Docent Soline said that the "monster"
stabbing the man in the bath is
actually Olga, Picasso's first wife
我們一行四人幸有來自法國的嚮導帶領,才不致迷失於人潮當中。展館內迫爆的情況,大可跟旺角一較高下。前擁後繼,如沒有嚮導帶著我們左穿右插,根本乜都唔會睇到。我平日盡可能都唔會去旺角,因我太害怕人多的地方,但至少多走兩步,都總可找到一、兩個角落 take a break;但在沙田的博物館內,前面是人,轉個頭也是人, 我看到的好像是一片被一層紗布 cover 著的人海,隱約見到不同的人的面孔被分割出來不同的部份。如果畢加索在此,這裡肯定會是他的天堂,因為他會找到不少 Cubism 的 inspiration,但他畫出來的不會是像魔鬼般的首任妻子舞蹈家Olga,而是目光空洞,眼耳口鼻一模一樣但四散的港男港女。

Le Dejeuner sur l'Herbe after Manet
If Picasso lives in today's HK,
he could've been jailed for copying
"copyrighted" materials! 
甜美的嚮導用她那帶有迷人法國口音的英語用心地介紹畢加索的生平,作畫風格,及作品與歐洲近代史的關連。正當我們留心上堂之時,忽覺四週都是人 -- 原來不知不覺間,有一大批人已跟在我們後面偷聽!雖然說的不是國家機密,喂!但唔該唔好跟到連我哋幾個都推到後邊好嗎?有幾個中女死命要走在我們前面,我要強行拉著我的朋友才不致被迫到後面!這位嚮導是我們專誠邀約的!分享不是問題,但唔該尊重少少,到外國的博物館參觀也經常遇到有docent tour,但我一定絶對唔會硬要偷聽,也不會死跟,因為這樣實在太失禮了。有個中女迫到企喺我前面不特只,仲要問問題!咁你叫法國美女答你好唔答你好?我向嚮導望了一眼,但她很有禮貌,回答了其他人的問題,當下兩國國民質素高下立見!該中女說得一口流利英語,問的問題也不是 nonsensical,看似讀過一兩年書,但點解都仲要咁失禮?唔通中國人真係比較適合去耕田?其實這樣推論可能有點錯,因為有份抽水提問的還有一位貌似印度人操印度回音的男子,唯一我想到,是否這兩大文明古國的近代子民都因為戰火洗禮或政權鬥爭而 suffer from 一個無法修復的文化斷層?印度情況我不大了解,但中國肯定有一個文化真空期,要不然看畢加索展覽也不會遇到這等有點學識但零修養的中女!不過與此同時我第一次 -- 也是唯一一次 -- 覺得曾蔭權無做錯,做乜要同你班流氓一齊迫?死人都運用特權叫博物館早點開門,好叫自己安安樂樂地欣賞畢加索的大作。世界就是這麼的不公平,總有些人是普通人,有些人是VIP,有些更是永遠也高攀不了的VVVIP,你沒有權complain也不必要動氣,安於天命,快樂的簡單的做人便好了。
Which woman do you prefer?
But apparently Picasso wanted them all! 

終於看過了 Dora Maar 和 Marie-Terese Walter 的畫像,一冷一暖,一和藹一激烈,再加上 Olga, 畢加索其實跟賭王有得 fight!不過畢加索就沒有那麼聰明,藝術家沒有商家佬的頭腦,不懂評估風險,想做就去做,要不然畢加索可選幾個 manageable 的女人,盡享齊人之福,不必要用畫筆去抒發周旋諸位個性獨特的烈女之痛苦。

好不容易我們才挨過人迫人的導賞,法國美女在講解完最後一幅作品後我們拍掌連聲道謝,但後面的打完齋唔要和尚,抽完水上完免費堂就鳥獸散,剛才問問題問得興起的中女也逃之夭夭,沒有人說過一句唔該或多謝。我當下覺得無地自容,試想想法國美女展覽完畢回到家鄕後會怎麼跟她的朋友說?什麼發展文化,搞西九、文化局,十二五計劃、六中全會要全速發展文化創意產業,算罷啦!應該首先全國--包括香港--推行禮貌運動。


經歷完畢加索展覽的醜陋,我們一行四人帶法國美女往地下餐廳吃些茶點,順便多謝她的細心講解,點知這間連茶餐廳不如嘅嘢(對不起,實在叫不了它做餐廳)比剛才的人羣更失禮。安排座位已糊裡糊塗,咖啡極度難飲,三文治沒有 toast,熱食 menu 複雜得根本唔會有人想睇,廚房跟 dining area 極其近,往廁所的通道極其 disgusting, 正常的 museum cafe (well, 我說的是我有幸參觀過的歐美 museum) 肯定不會有這樣恐怖的狀況!我又不禁在想,法國美女把這些看在眼底內會怎麼想。

本來我們想再看一次畢加索,但人實在多得太恐怖,我們往上一層展覽廳看羅文。

印象中看過有關羅文回顧展的廣告,但傳媒報道跟畢加索那海陸空全方位的盛況實在差天共地。

細心比較下,羅文回顧展比畢加索展覽的製作更有心思。展覽進場處是金碧輝煌的 title 《獅子山下‧掌聲響起‧羅文》,對羅文極度尊敬之餘也配合羅文的 glamour。展覽盡是羅文身平的介紹,所得過的金唱片,白金唱片,獎項等。正當我在留心細讀展覽敘述時,忽然聽到遠處傳來羅文及甄妮金曲《問誰領風騷》的音樂,我的腳步不由自主的往音樂源頭走過去,原來展覽廳中央設置了特大銀幕,不停的播放羅文的MV和過往的 live performances。正呀!由電視的武俠劇經典主題曲如《小李飛刀》,《射鵰英雄傳》的雄偉,到鬼馬的《心裡有個迷》,《激光中》和《波斯貓》的妖艷前衛,羅文響亮的聲線實在無人能及,作為新移民,香港七、八十年代的自由創意成就了羅文的舞台傳奇,也多得當年的金牌曲詞創作組合黃霑和顧嘉輝,寫了不少羅文金曲,留下香港樂壇光輝一頁。其實我曾經懷疑 Bjork 有聽過香港電視武俠劇的經典金曲,她某些歌的編曲跟顧嘉輝寫的有點相似。

Let's imagine me doing a duet of
《問誰領風騷》with Roman Tam!  
我站在大銀幕前駐足觀看不知多久,興奮莫名,只差一點就手舞足蹈。看過了羅文的片段,轉個頭原來是羅文的舞台表演服裝展覽,我興奮得嘩了一聲!太精彩了!每一件都是經典,那孔雀羽毛斗篷,金光閃閃的衣裳,原來我最喜歡的 style 都盡在這裡!

但最精彩又最有心思的是大會設置了歌衫的 replica 讓觀眾試穿,拍照留念。我當然不會放過此難得機會,一嘗扮歌星滋味,縱然只是影張相都好。

畢加索無疑是偉大的畫家,改變了西方視覺藝術的發展,有幸於香港觀賞其名作顧然是美事,而香港也應該有多一點世界級的現代及當代藝術的博物館展覽 -- 不是 art fair -- 來提升大眾的文化水平。但羅文的金曲才是真正的長住在我心裡,畢竟我是香港人,香港文化才是我的根。




Roman Tam and Jenny Tseng duet live Who's the Champion from 1987:



Roman Tam and Anita Mui duet live Within the Laser 1994 (too bad they are no longer with us):



One Saturday afternoon, the four of us went to check out the Pablo Picasso exhibition at Shatin's Heritage Museum. The exhibition, featuring 52 works of art by the Spanish modern master from Paris' Musee National Picasso, has already toured Taiwan and mainland China, and finally it landed Hong Kong about a month ago.

The blockbuster highlight for the 20th Le French May has been grabbing newspaper headlines here. I have reported about the exhibition quite a few times in the South China Morning Post, so I'm not detailing the content of the show. But there were some strange discoveries at the exhibition that I'd like to share.

Docent Soline said that the "monster"
stabbing the man in the bath is
actually Olga, Picasso's first wife
Upon arrival, I realised how lucky we were to have arranged a docent tour, otherwise it would've been impossible to see anything. It was jam-packed like Mongkok. No! It was worse! People were literally everywhere, rubbing shoulders against each other at that tiny exhibition hall. Had we not have a docent leading us through the crowd, we could've seen absolutely nothing except the blurry and fragmented images of human faces surrounding us. But it seemed that all of a sudden, I realised how cubism worked! And if Picasso were present in this exhibition hall, I could totally understand how this maniac could be turned into his cubism inspirations. But I'm not sure how the blend faces of skinny “Kong boys and Kong girls” would inspire him to paint something as colourful as his imagination of his first wife, ballerina Olga. 

While I was totally mesmerised by the sweet French docent Soline who patiently introduced us to the works in her charming French accent, it suddenly dawned on me that we were surrounded by a big group of followers – those who also wanted a docent tour but apparently did not or could not arrange one.

Le Dejeuner sur l'Herbe after Manet
If Picasso lives in today's HK,
he could've been jailed for copying
"copyrighted" materials! 
At first I didn't mind being tailed at all, after all everyone has the right to knowledge and I wouldn't mind sharing. But things didn't seem to go right after a while – we were elbowed out of our way by these free riders, got pushed to the back while we were supposed to be the authentic members of this docent tour that we specially arranged.

A couple of mid-aged women kept standing in front of us as if they were the front row guests of a fashion show. They weren't Anna Wintour for Christ's sake! My friends and I had to hold on to each other in order not to get lost in the crowd.

Just why Hong Kong people have such an appalling manner at museum??? I suppose docent tours are very common in museums everywhere. But when I would never ever squeeze myself into a group that I did not belong to. It's simply impolite! It's like, I only go to a party I have RSVPed. Gate-crashing is not my style. 

But apparently that did not occur to be problem to that particular crowd at the Hong Kong Picasso exhibition. Some even went further to raise questions to the docent. I glared at the mid-age woman, and then turned back to the docent. She was put in this awkward position of not knowing whether to answer questions from the people who weren't really her responsibility.

Nevertheless, the French docent was polite enough to take the questions. But that immediate showed the gap between the cultured French and the barbaric Hongkongers. It was utterly embarrassing. I wonder what the French docent would think or tell her friends when she returns to France! 

WHY?? Judging from the no nonsense questions raised, these intruders appeared to be educated, but how come their manner was of no match with their education level? Are Chinese people born to be barbaric and better suited to be farmers? Is that in our DNA? And for the first time ever, I sympathised with what Donald Tsang did – he had every reason to order the museum staff to open earlier just for himself, so that he could enjoy the exhibition in private, without having to deal with such a moronic crowd like we did.

But then didn't it mirror the behaviour of the exhibition spectators? Just like their leader now nicknamed as “Cheap Tsang”, who milked five-star hotel accommodation, free rides on private jets and free Michelin three-star meals out of his “friends”, the people he governs are freeloaders just like Cheap Tsang himself!

Which woman do you prefer?
But apparently Picasso wanted them all! 
Finally we reached the famed portraits of Dora Maar and Marie-Therese Walter, the two lovers that Picasso had at the same time. Docent told us that judging from the colours and the presentation of the portraits, Picasso was said to have contrasting feelings for the two women of completely opposite characters – Maar obviously had a strong personality that Picasso might have found her difficult to deal with, but at the same time attractive; Walter, on the other hand, gave Picasso a warm and calm feeling that a man would need for shelter. Together with the jealous ballerina Olga, Picasso was probably just like casino mogul Stanley Ho, who has four wives [one deceased]. But the difference between them is that, Picasso did not have the mind of a businessman, who is good at assessing risks and finding the best and most profitable return in any investment. But then if Picasso shared the mind of Ho's, Picasso might have had “manageable” lovers and he wouldn't have left the world with these great paintings in which the artist had to use as a tool to release his complicated emotions.

Finally we made it to the end of the docent tour. Our group gave a round of applause to the sweet French docent who still managed to give us an informative guided tour to the exhibition despite the crowd.

But those free riders simply vanished the second when the tour ended – NO ONE said a thank you to Soline, not even those who raised questions annoyingly during the tour. It was a relief that the nightmare was over, but the whole experience was embarrassing – just why are Chinese people so impolite and ill-mannered despite they were educated? Culture has never been on such a high national agenda in China [and Hong Kong], which vowed to cultivate cultural and creative industries to strengthen the country's soft power blah blah. But just how is this possible when the quality of citizens are so low? Before learning how to run, they should start from crawling – launch a nationwide courtesy campaign first before talking about taking the world with cultural soft power!

To express our gratitude, we took the French docent to the museum cafe at the ground floor for some snacks. But my God! That was another high point of embarrassment! The thing [sorry it did not deserve to be called a restaurant or cafe] was worse than any of the Cha Chaan Tang I've ever been to in my life – the seating arrangements were confusing, the menu was extremely limited, the coffee was disgusting, no toasted sandwiches were served, and what was more, the dining area was very close to the corridor leading to the kitchen and toilet, and it was super filthy there! Just have you ever visited a museum [I'm talking about museums in Europe and New York] equipped with such a poorly managed cafe? Museum cafes are supposed to be great hang out spots, but there, that one at Heritage Museum in Shatin...I so wanted to dig a hole in the ground and hide myself there. And God knows what kind of impression that gives the French girl!

We wanted to head back to the Picasso exhibition but we gave up seeing the long queue waiting to get in. So we moved one floor up to check out the Roman Tam retrospective.

Surprisingly, the Roman Tam exhibition was so much more creatively curated than the Picasso exhibition. Perhaps with Picasso, there were these standard arrangements set by the Picasso museum in Paris. But with Roman Tam, the curating team must have been given a free hand to put together the show creatively.

Upon the entrance was the grand title in shiny gold colour – a great respectable colour that perfectly suited the late Tam's stage glamour. The exhibition told the life story of Tam in details, from his early life as a new immigrant from mainland China, taking up odd jobs from working at a tailor shop to office assistant at a bank, to his rise to fame as one of the greatest singers of our times with his distinctive silvery voice characterised with strength and clearness and images considered as very avant-garde by the standard of the conservative Chinese society of Hong Kong. On display was his many awards – platinum and gold discs, best singer awards and tribute awards he earned over the years.

While I was indulging myself studying the exhibits, I heard familiar music ringing from afar – it was Maan Shui Ling Fung So [Who is the Champion], the theme song from one of those wuxia TV series classics back in the 80s. I couldn't help but tracing the source of the music and then, behind that exhibition wall, there was this gigantic screen showing all the footages from Tam's best days. OMG! I loved loved loved those old videos! They also demonstrated Tam's versatile vocal range – from the powerful wuxia genre to the sensual and glamorous Persian Cat. The unbeatable team of composer Joseph Koo and late lyrics master James Wong wrote a number of great songs for Tam, and many of them have now become the greatest cultural treasure of Hong Kong. In fact, I have wondered if Bjork has ever listened to the wuxia genre songs composed by Koo, because some of the musical arrangements in Bjork's songs strike a chord with those Canto-pop classics by Koo.

Let's imagine me doing a duet of
《問誰領風騷》with Roman Tam!  
Just as I thought I had already experienced the greatest climax of the exhibition, I turned around and 
discovered something even better – the costumes! Another OMG here. I couldn't letting out a mild “wah” upon seeing those extravagant outfits that I've been dying to wear! The classic cape of peacock feather, the glittering sequined cape in blinding gold, the awesome shades Tam wore in the MV of Within the Laser! Suddenly I realised perhaps my love for glamour was all inspired by Tam's performances I saw when I was a child!

And the best, and most fun of all, was that replicas of some of the costumes were made available for spectators to try them on and take pictures with the cardboard Tam! A round of applause for the LCSD team who really put thoughts into curating the exhibition – and I could feel the team's affection for Tam. Seriously it was even more fun than the Harry Potter exhibition I saw in Sydney! And of course I wouldn't miss the chance of getting glammed up and posing as a Canto-pop star, even just for a photo.

Picasso was undeniably one of the greatest artists who changed the course of Western art history, and it was important for this kind of world class museum show to be staged in Hong Kong, so that general public who don't get the chance to travel can learn about the world's great art from museum exhibitions, not art fairs. But it was Tam's classics that will always stay close to my heart. At the end of the day, I'm a Hongkonger, and Hong Kong culture is where my roots are.

[Note: video clips of Roman Tam's live performances at the top of the English entry]

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