Review of by Nigel Collett, Signal 8 Press, Hong Kong, 2014.
by British author Nigel Collett is the first biography of Hong Kong superstar Leslie Cheung Kwok-Wing to appear in English. Collett spent 10 years researching and writing this book and in the introduction Collette characterizes it as “the brief and provisional story of his [Cheung’s] life” and an “attempt to understand Leslie’s achievement and the cause of his death.” The book is described as “a first step in bringing Leslie to the notice of the English-speaking world.” (15-16)
[if !supportEmptyParas] The actual book is something rather different from the author’s description. Those unfamiliar with Leslie Cheung, especially outside of Asia, will hardly gain much insight into why Cheung is held in such high esteem in Hong Kong and throughout Asia, a superstar not only in film but likewise in popular music. Because family and friends of Leslie Cheung declined Collett’s requests for interviews, he relied almost exclusively on previously released information in the form of published articles and interviews, musical recordings, and video recordings. Collett, however, utilizes anonymous sources that raises a number of troubling methodological and ethical issues.
[if !supportEmptyParas] A number of fatal flaws are evident in the approach Collett adopted in this biography. He is almost entirely uncritical in his use of published sources despite the fact that it is well-known Leslie Cheung was not always well-loved or treated even-handedly by the Hong Kong media. There is also the issue of Leslie’s own statements made in interviews by this often hostile press. To say Leslie he had an adversarial relationship with many in the Hong Kong media is not to overstate the case. An opportunity was missed to delve more deeply into the complex dance that Leslie performed with an intrusive and often adversarial media throughout his career. To understand why there are so many contradictions in Leslie’s statements to the press, especially about his private life over the years requires a more serious and sustained examination of this issue than is found in this book. Collett mostly ascribes Leslie’s contradictory statements to an attempt to disguise his homosexuality from the press. While there certainly is a kernel of truth to this, it is evident that more is behind many of Cheung’s pronouncements to the press. This is a major issue since it concerns Cheung’s self-presentation to the public and begs for a much deeper analysis than Collett provides.
[if !supportEmptyParas] Collett also displays a troubling tendency to try and force Leslie Cheung into the role of tortured gay man. A great deal of attention is paid to Leslie’s adolescence and early adulthood, just the period of time that Leslie worked hardest to keep veiled from prying eyes. This is the period about which we have the sketchiest information and when Collett relies heavily on his anonymous sources for information about Leslie’s sexual orientation and private life. As we are never told who these informants are, it is impossible to judge not only the veracity of their statements about this murky period in Leslie’s life, but also to know if they have an agenda where Leslie is concerned. Because Leslie was so good-looking, popular successful and eventually quite wealthy, he inspired a certain amount of jealousy in Hong Kong. Not everyone who calls himself Leslie’s friend is necessarily what he appears to be.
[if !supportEmptyParas] A second problem encountered in Collett’s treatment of Leslie’s sexual orientation is more fundamental. Collett appears to view sexual orientation in binary terms, i.e., straight or gay (at least where Leslie is concerned). The fact that Leslie had romantic and even sexual relationships with women, and proposed to at least one of his girlfriends during this period of time is dismissed by Collett. He views Leslie during this period of his life as a deeply tortured homosexual trying to act in accordance with the norms of a heterosexual society. In many ways Collett wants to define Leslie primarily by his sexual orientation, attributing much of his greatness as a performer as well as the debilitating mental illness at the end of his life that led to his suicide to his homosexuality. Collett as a gay man raised in England in the 1960s and 70s had his own personal experiences related to that sexual orientation. But he is all too ready to transfer his own experiences onto Leslie, who was born in a later era and in a very different culture and family, as if they are universal and equally applicable to all gay men.
[if !supportEmptyParas] The only statement Leslie made to the press specifically about his sexual orientation was to the American film critic Roger Corliss in a 2000 interview for Time Magazine. In that interview Leslie described himself as bisexual. Collett dismisses Leslie’s statement as another example of his inability to be honest with the press and public about his true sexual orientation. But by 2000 Leslie had been in a long-term relationship with another man for close to 20 years. This fact was by then well-known to both the press and general public in Hong Kong. Leslie had nothing to gain or lose by not being honest at this point in his career. Rather than examining why Leslie might have made this statement at this time, to this individual, for this English-language foreign-based publication, Collett simply dismisses it and moves on. Leslie displayed an amazing ability to perform gender on stage and screen. Rather than presenting a binary, black and white, straight or gay image of gender and sexuality, Leslie treated it in performance as a continuum from one pole (straight) to the opposite pole (gay) with a great deal of gray area between that combines features of both genders. He appeared to delight in positioning himself in ever shifting places along this spectrum. Sadly, such an analysis of Cheung’s treatment of gender is not to be found in Collett’s book.
[if !supportEmptyParas] Collett’s biography of Leslie Cheung is basically merely a detailed chronicling of Leslie’s life presented year by year, month by month, week by week, and event by event. A brief synopsis (unfortunately not always accurate) of every movie and documented tour Leslie made is included. Very quickly it becomes a numbing catalog of details, each treated with equal importance. In the midst of so much undifferentiated information, Cheung’s greatness as a performer gets lost. Rather than placing Leslie’s film roles in the larger context of Hong Kong cinema in its golden age in the 1980s and 90s, we merely get synopses of the films one after another. There is a lot of description, but painfully little analysis.
[if !supportEmptyParas] When we come to Leslie’s musical career, the treatment is even more disappointing. There is little discussion of the broad outlines of Cantopop and no real in-depth analysis of how Leslie revolutionized the recording industry in the 1980s. Similarly, there is precious little analysis of his staged musical shows, only more repetitive description. Cheung’s musical career, every bit as influential and perhaps even more popular with audiences than his film career, is precisely the area that Westerners know the least about. In fact, most Western audiences don’t even know that Leslie was a singer and mesmerizing live performer, and that he was the premier male musical icon of his era! This is another huge missed opportunity if this book is genuinely aimed at Western audiences. Collett is also inaccurate in saying that many of Leslie’s CDs are no longer in print. In fact, all of the Universal/Access Music CDs were reissued in a boxed set in 2011 and more have been reissued as individual discs since then.
[if !supportEmptyParas] Collett also does little with the music videos that Leslie starred in and sometimes wrote and directed from 1996 onwards. Many of them are more like short art house films than they are standard music videos, and these videos in which Leslie’s creative hand are so evident clearly demonstrate Leslie’s approach to music and film. Collett does not appear to have studied them closely at all and even conflates two different videos, for the songs “I” and “Big Heat,” into one! Similar odd mistakes are also evident in Collett’s descriptions of the musical shows (that are well-documented on DVD even now and readily available 10 years after Cheung’s death). It is a shame that Collett didn’t examine the abundant available primary sources with greater care.
[if !supportEmptyParas] Additional potentially fruitful areas of inquiry are also regretable absent from Collett’s book. Leslie Cheung was a new type of iconic superstar in Hong Kong. It would be very helpful to discuss Leslie in terms of his celebrity and the celebrity culture that both created Leslie the icon, and that Leslie the artist helped to redefine. A great deal of work has been done in academic circles on the subject of celebrity and it would be interesting to see what Leslie Cheung could contribute to this topic.
[if !supportEmptyParas] This also brings up the question of fans and fandom, again an area that is very important in discussing the life and after-life of Leslie Cheung. Collett interviews one fan, Amanda Lee, who first met Leslie when she was 8 years old in 1980 and was a volunteer with his fan organization until it was disbanded in 1989. But he plumbs her primarily for factual data about Leslie and does not appear to have questioned her about the fan experience during Leslie’s superstar icon phase. There is also the fundamental issue of the role of fans in the perpetuation and reshaping of Cheung’s legacy after his death. In many ways, this continual reshaping of Cheung’s life and legacy by fans presents those newly encountering Leslie Cheung with a different experience from what fans had during his lifetime. With Leslie’s explosive growth in popularity among certain segments of the population in Mainland China in recent years, we are currently witnessing another major reshaping of Leslie’s legacy. Finally, there is also the issue of Leslie now being the primary representative of some almost mythic golden age of Hong Kong from the 1970s until 2003. This era is now commonly seen to have come to a close with the SARS epidemic and the deaths of Leslie Cheung (in April )and Anita Mui (in December) of that year. So much added meaning now resides in the figure of Leslie Cheung for many citizens of Hong Kong, yet Collett never explores any of these critical issues around Cheung’s constantly developing legacy.
[if !supportEmptyParas] Collett set out wanting to write an intimate tell-all biography of Leslie Cheung, especially as regards his private life and sexual orientation. For reasons that remain unarticulated, those who knew Leslie declined to cooperate with the author. Collett gleaned what information he could from printed sources and a few anonymous informants, determined to follow the agenda he had set out for himself. But in his determination to produce such a work, he has missed the wealth of information about Leslie Cheung that is begging for exposition and analysis. Instead of taking on this challenge, Collett chose to take the easy path of simply providing a chronology of Cheung’s life and work. This information is already readily available in English on several fan sites, which Collett himself heavily utilizes in his chronicle of the Life and Times of Leslie Cheung. Any trained scholar (as Collettt claims to be) knows that pet ideas and preconceived notions about a research topic often need to be reshaped or even relinquished in the face of what the research actually uncovers.. Rather than using the primary and secondary sources to develop his thesis, Collett seems to have approached his topic with hard and fast preconceived notions of who and what Leslie Cheung was. Instead of analyzing his source material in a way that might illuminate the issues he was attempting to explore in all their complexity, Collett simply minimizes and even dismisses information that doesn’t support his agenda, or tries to recast the facts by engaging in excessive supposition and risky extrapolation. In the end, this biography cannot be recommended as either a fair and representative picture of Leslie Cheung or as a well-written example of biography in general. The life, career, and after-life of Leslie Cheung is a marvelous topic for scholars and future biographers. Sadly, such a biography will have to waif for another author to write it..
ReImagine Leslie Cheung was not only a double album release, it was also a one-night concert in Hong Kong. March 1, 2012, Cantopop artists who had contributed to the album, and some who had not, performed a selection of works featured on the album before a live audience. This concert was filmed, paired with the studio recording, and distributed as a boxed set comprising 2 CDs and 2 DVDs. Taking the performers out of the studio and putting them on stage before a live audience allowed some artists to shine, while the shortcomings of others were magnified by the live setting. I am not well versed on the multitude of Cantopop performers active in Hong Kong today. I am familiar with about 20 artists, generally the most popular veterans of the Cantopop scene, the "stars," if you will. A number of the artists who participated in the ReImagine project were unfamiliar to me and, truth be told, there may be good reasons for that. Those previously unknown to me generally are lesser talents who do not command the same attention and respect as the stars. Like popular music everywhere, many aspire to be stars, but only a handful possess what it takes to truly reach the top echelons of the profession.I could catalog many essential qualities that separate the stars from the rest, but I think one fundamental distinction will serve here. There are singers and there are performers. Singers approach a song as music--a melody--first and foremost. They sing words, but often they do not "deliver" the song through its lyrics. Performers, on the other hand, focus on communicating something through the performance of the song. They are not content with simply singing the musical notes and words on the printed page. These are merely a starting point for sharing something much richer with an audience. A performer is always aware of the audience and seeking to make a connection with it. Many mere singers have finer vocal instruments in terms of pitch, timbre, range, etc. than some of the stars. But whose who are simply singers do not deliver the emotional immediacy and excitement or rivet the attention of the audience the way a charismatic performer can. A performer draws the audience in and captivates them, while a singer merely sings at and for an audience, but there isn't much emotional connection. A fine voice alone is not enough.One of the things that was most remarkable about Leslie Cheung was his riveting performances, both on stage and in studio recordings. His voice is a living thing possessing a thousand colors, each one of his performances is worthy of Sheherazade and her 1,0001 tales of wonder and imagination. Music and lyrics are vehicles for creating an entire richly nuanced world for the audience. Leslie never just delivered a melody and lyrics, he always invited the listener into a world that he created, a world he wanted the audience to experience alongside him as he fashioned it through performance.Faced with such a legacy, it is not surprising that many of the performers in the ReImagine concert fall far short of the bar set by Leslie Cheung. He is destined to be remembered as one of the greatest, if not the greatest performer in Cantopop history. Those who fared best were the talented top-tier performers who have forged their own signature style and polished their stage presentation. Those who suffered in comparison were those who didn't bring as much to the table in terms of talent and experience, though it wasn't just a question of experience. One seasoned veteran, Prudence Liew, performed "Left, Right Hand" in a histrionic manner worthy of a Las Vegas review that was truly cringe-worthy. Other singers whose performances didn't convince were Stephanie Che, who merely went through the motions in "Die as Dreaming, Live as Drunk." Perhaps she thinks her deadpan monotone delivery is cool. It is not, it is boring. Keeva Mak shouldn't have been put into a gender-bending lesbian-esque number with her weak voice that breaks on every other note and her timid performance style. Shame on the producer for tormenting Keeva (and the rest of us) with this unwise attempt at kink that only makes the viewer want to see Leslie's over-the-top gay boys night out music video 100 more times rather than be insulted by poor Keeva's embarrassing performance.Robyn and Kendy should stay on the coffee house circuit, which is about the only place one would want to see their cutesy two girls with accoustic guitars and tiny, tiny voices that won't stay in tune shtick. At 17 can't come out of hiatus fast enough. Against that gold standard, Robyn and Kendy are an embarrassment. Alex Lam should join them at the coffee house. His father may be a Cantopop legend, but Alex performs in a manner that is so small and internal, you keep looking at the stage trying to find the performer. I wonder who was passed over to include Alex in this project? But the lowest of low points has to be Kay Tse's vain attempt to perform Leslie's signature song, "I". The little girl voice, combined with the jazzy arrangement, works against the message of the song. In many ways "I" was Leslie's coming out song. He wrote the melody and asked the lyricist, Lam Jik, to start the song with the line, "I am what I am," from . Given its source, it is pretty clear what the intention of that line is. Hearing Kay Tse deliver the line as a virginal ingenue goes beyond subverting the message of the original version of the song. Again, it is very hard to know what the intention of Alvin Leong was in his selection of this song with this arrangement for Kay.Even a Cantopop veteran can get into hot water trying too hard to reinterpret Leslie when that interpretation is highly mannered and frankly irritating. I know many in Hong Kong consider Eason Chan to be the current king of Cantopop. For five years now, I have been trying to figure out why. His performance at the Reimagine concert did nothing to dispel the mystery. Eason's rendition (I am being kind, I could have chosen a much harsher word) of "The Coldest Day" begins on video with Eason wearing a typically bizarre Eason Chan outfit (black cap with large pompom and dark glasses) singing the song acapella. Perhaps taking to heart Leslie's attention to lyrics, Eason sings each phrase painfully slowly, punctuated by what feels like an interminable pause between each line. He continues in this highly mannered and irritating fashion for several minutes. Just when you feel like you can't stand anymore and are reaching for the fast forward button on the remote, the orchestra swells and Eason pops up on stage via the center stage elevator to sing the song at a frisky tempo with a great deal of emoting. At the end, the audience applauds enthusiastically and I am left once again to wonder what it is about this performer that strikes such a chord with contemporary Hong Kong audiences.But not all of the performances were as disappointing or mystifying as those just enumerated. Karen Mok delivers a fine version of "Little Star". She had a close and tender friendship with Leslie, whom she calls Uncle Leslie during her testimonial at the end of the song. Neither Kelly Chan nor Sandy Lam were able to perform live, but did perform via a taped performance played during the concert. Kelly perhaps comes closest to capturing Leslie's vocal delivery in "The Four Seasons". It is all and all a charming, fresh vocal performance that enchants and captivates. The same is true for Sandy Lam, who knew Leslie for many years and collaborated with him on a hit song and music video. Her version of "Passing By Dragonfly" is beautifully reinterpreted in a manner that stays true to the feeling of the song as Leslie performed it, but personalizes it in the manner of a Sandy Lam song. Both Kelly and Sandy turn in very satisfying performances.Anthony Wong collaborated with Leslie Cheung on an entire album project, the EP. Like Leslie, Anthony displays a sensitivity to language and a high degree of engagement with the lyrics when he performs. Trained in stagecraft and acting with the avant-garde theater group Zuni Icosahedron, Anthony typically combines words, music, stage, and audience in his engaging, engrossing, and sometimes electrifying performances. Here the scope is more limited, but he still draws the audience into the performance and has the added advantage of performing with Leslie's voice as part of the vocal track. The audience recognizes what a marvelous performance they have just experienced and show their appreciation with warm applause.Another standout is Hins Cheung. I was familiar with the name, but not his work. Watching his rendition of "Red," and "Missing You," I discovered a new Cantopop performer who really impresses me. The man has some pipes and performs the R&B arrangement with style, passion, and precision. He knows how to connect with an audience and used costuming and gesture to enhance his impressive performance. The man is a major on stage, with a stage presence every bit as commanding as a leading tenor performing at La Scala. Video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blAwhVmDUIk&feature=relmfuBut the biggest surprises of the night were the performers I had never seen and only two I had heard of before. The producer of the DVD wisely grouped these artists together in a block. The Chung Brothers began the set. They are two brothers who perform blues-tinged gospel music and are better known to the Christian music set than to your average Cantopop fan. But they turn in an effortless, tasty blues version of "Without Love." One brother sings and the other plays harmonica. The song swings and is a delight. The performance is light, gentle, and free of pretension. My only regret is that the Chung Brothers were not included in the studio recording.Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooH5GpZbwGI&feature=relmfuAfter a colorless performance by Alex Lam of a fascinating arrangement of "Blamefully Beautiful," the vocal duo Swing takes to the stage. I had no idea who Swing was, but was immediately won over by their energy, infectious charisma, sweet harmonies, and spot-on musical interpretation. Looking at the program booklet, I see that one of the members of Swing is Eric Kwok who is also listed as composer of "Love in Houston," the song Swing performed. Their reinterpretation of the song is 180 degrees from Leslie's original but, since the composer of the song is one-half of Swing, and the arrangement is such a satisfying new take on that composition, it was one of the great revelations of the ReImigine Leslie Cheung project.Video: http://youtu.be/tbZM68Z_kFsAn even more radical reinterpretation of one of Leslie's hits from the 1990s was turned in by the rock band Mr. Electric guitars, bass, and drums play an intro that sounds nothing like anything heard on a Leslie Cheung album. Then the singer sings the first verse accompanied only by a driving bass and drums. It takes a few seconds to even recognize the song as "Blamefully Beautiful." But the real surprise comes with the chorus, which is given a full driving rock treatment. This version is virtually unrecognizable from Leslie's original version, but it works on so many levels, infusing the composition with new energy and a new sound. Truly this is the most successful and exciting re-imagining of Leslie's music in the show.Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dV09rleV7AM&feature=relmfuNext the band is joined by Swing and Alex Lam for a blistering rendition of "Big Heat," again in a raucous arrangement that puts a totally different spin on the composition.Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-IxsfaQMrY&feature=relmfuHacken Lee is trotted out at the end to wrestle with a horribly over-orchestrated, cacophonous, arrangement of that most beautiful of songs, "Bewildered." The original version and its accompanying music video are subtle and restrained. Leslie's preference seems to have been for clean, stripped-down arrangements that wouldn't overpower his voice. All of that has been thrown out in the new arrangement which has as many instruments playing as loudly as possible as they can for most of the song. Hacken Lee is at the mercy of the ill-chosen arrangement and his performance suffers accordingly. Things improve slightly with "Wind is Blowing," but Hacken has such a different way of singing from Leslie, which is quite apparent as the arrangement of this song sticks fairly close to the version Leslie performed throughout his career, that it is hard not to prefer Leslie's iconic reinterpretation of the Japanese classic. This isn't a style of music that allows Hacken to shine, it seems.After two hours of highs and lows, the concert finally comes to an end with a group rendition of that Cantopop standard that Leslie passionately embraced, "Star." Perhaps unwisely the song starts with a video montage from the Passion Tour DVD and Leslie singing "Star" in voice over. Once again, you get to hear and see all of the elements that made Leslie such a special performer. Within only a few notes, the performance has drawn in the captivated listener. But then Leslie's voice ends and the singers at the concert begin singing a line or two in turn. The contrast to what we have just heard is almost painful. Universal Music's experiment in "updating" Leslie's hits from the 1990s for the 2010s is drawing to a close. Perhaps Universal hopes that this project will give a shot in the arm to its current stable of performers. Or perhaps the hope is that at least some of these performances will trigger a curiosity about the original Leslie Cheung versions of these songs. Certainly Leslie Cheung fans would rather listen to his renditions of these songs than most of the reinterpretations presented here by Universal Music. By placing Leslie Cheung and his music alongside these contemporary versions, the gulf between what Leslie achieved and the current state of Cantopop music is sobering. A handful of artists are up to the task of creating vital and viable versions of the original hits. For the rest, those failed attempts will soon fade from the public consciousness and will in no way take away any of the luster from the Leslie Cheung originals.Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9BXc54jh6k
2012, a tribute concert to the late Leslie Cheung was held in Hong Kong under
the title “Reimagine Leslie Cheung”. It was directed by Lam Jik (Lin Xi), who was one of Leslie’s favorite lyricists from the mid-1990s until
his death, and Alvin Leong, who produced much of Leslie’s music from the late 1980s until his death in 2003. Universal Music, which released Leslie’s music from this era, was a sponsor of the program and artists invited to participate in the
recording session and live performance are, or have been, attached to Universal
Music. This talent pool was adequate for the task at hand, though the “God of
Song,” Jacky Cheung, was noticeably absent. It would have been intriguing to
see what he could have done with one of Leslie’s songs. A studio recording of 18 reworked songs was made first, and the live concert came some time later. The Reimagine Leslie
Cheung release includes 2 CDs of the studio recordings and 2 DVDs of the live
performance. In addition to all of the artists who participated in the studio
recordings, the live show features additional artists and some songs that were
not recorded for the CD set. Notable additions to the program are Anthony Wong,
who collaborated on an EP with Leslie in 2002 under the title “Crossover,” and the
Chung Brothers, popular Hong Kong Gospel artists. Universal made sure that its most
popular artists were included in some way in the event.
The final result, both studio recording and live show, is mixed and reflects the strengths and challenges that characterize the Cantopop
music business in Hong Kong today.[if gte mso 9]>
StartFragment[if !supportEmptyParas]It must be admitted that the intent of the project was laudable: reintroduce Hong Kong and Chinese fans to some of Leslie Cheung's most musically creative and pioneering recordings, and update them for contemporary tastes and talents. The quality of this corpus of songs, Leslie's performance of them, and the exceptional original arrangements truly are hard to equal, and it is almost inconceivable that they will be surpassed except by another exceptional musical talent. The bar was set very high from the start by selecting such stellar material that is well-known in masterful original versions. Expectations were understandably high on the part of Leslie Cheung's fans and a certain amount of trepidation is felt by any fan when confronted with any re-working or even straight-ahead cover of songs associated with the beloved superstar. I must admit that I am a huge fan of Leslie's music, and in particular recordings from the era covered in the Re-Imagining Leslie Cheung project. For that reason, it really is impossible for me to be entirely impartial. I must also admit that with the exception of a few artists, I am not a fan of Cantopop music, especially not in its current incarnation. That said, there are some truely bright spots in this undertaking, a lot of middling efforts, and only a few performances and arrangements that would have been better left off the album or out of the concert. Another way to look at this project is as a gauge of the current state of Cantopop, which rests on the laurels of its mature stars and tries desperately to find the next "big thing" to keep the money flowing and the fans interested in its younger artists.
Studio recording and live performance are very different animals. It is well known that artists who sound great in the studio may not be the strongest or most interesting performers on stage, while some artists seem unable to capture the charisma and creative spark of their live shows in the sterile conditions of the studio. Also with modern studio technology, it isn’t that hard to take a mediocre talent and produce a recording that sounds great. For that reason, analysis of the studio recordings will focus much more on Alvin Leong’s arrangements than on the performances themselves. The review of the live concert will look more closely at the actual performances by the artists and what they were able (or not able) to bring to the stage in their reinterpretation of Leslie’s songs.
It must be a daunting task for any Hong Kong singer to be asked to cover a song closely associated with Leslie Cheung. His voice and delivery were unique and gave each song a rarified quality that no other singer has been able to duplicate. The arranger, Alvin Leong, realizing this tried to craft arrangements that are very different from the original recordings. It is evident on the Reimagining recordings and concert that any time the arrangement approximates the Leslie Cheung original, unless the singer has a strong and distinct voice and delivery style, the the new version suffers in comparison with the original. Artists able to hold their own, both with the new arrangements and by comparison with Leslie were veterans such as George Lam (who relies now on years of experience and artistry to compensate for an extremely diminished voice), Eason Chan, and Kelly Chen. Hins Cheung took “Red” and ran with it, making the song his own in the R&B arrangement he was given. For whatever reason, Sandy Lam’s version of “Passing By Dragonfly,” while charming enough, still makes one wish for Leslie's original. The new version is over-orchestrated and over-produced and becomes nothing short of a cacophony by the final chorus. Returning to Leslie’s version is like a drink of cool, refreshing spring water after an overly-sweet soft drink. Karen Mok’s voice lacks the vocal range and intensity needed to convince with her version of “Love Stealing,” although the new arrangement is quite alluring. The seductive element in Leslie’s original cannot be found in Karen’s rather sweet version despite the fact that she played the object of Leslie’s obsession in the original music video.
[if !supportEmptyParas] [endif]Video:http://www.myspace.com/video/vid/4096753New versions that radically depart from the originals but are totally convincing include Swing’s rendition of “Love in Houston” and Mr.’s “Blamefully Beautiful”. Swing’s version is notable for the decidedly up tempo and swinging delivery that is not implied in the original recording. But since one-half of Swing is Eric Kwok, who penned the original composition, Swing’s version may in fact be closer to the composer’s original conception. The case of Mr. is particularly interesting. Mr. is a Hong Kong pop rock band and has truly re-imagined one of Leslie’s signature songs, “Blamefully Beautiful,” as a furious rock anthem. The arrangement is out of left field, yet adds such an interesting dimension to the song that it is easily the stand-out studio and live number. The energy, freshness, and originality evident in this version are like a shot in the arm and show that Cantopop isn’t entirely moribund.
There are several differences between the studio album and the live performance. Neither Anthony Wong nor the Chung Brothers participated in the studio recording, but both give stand-out live performances. For a number of years now Anthony has been performing “So Close, So Far” live accompanied by an audio track featuring Leslie’s voice, and this is what he performed at the Reimagine Leslie Cheung show. It would have been a real treat if Anthony had covered another one of Leslie’s songs as he is one of Hong Kong’s best at re-imaging the work of other artists. But I also cannot see him taking someone else’s vision and arrangement and performing it. Anthony and his team of musical associates at People Mountain People Sea are old hands at crafting radical reworkings of well-known hits, beautifully illustrated by 1997’s "People Mountain People Sea" album, in a haunting reworking of Faye Wong’s “Undercurrents” used in Stanley Kwan’s film “Hold You Tight,” a marvelous album of Joseph Koo songs titled “Tomorrow’s Song,” and 2011’s concert of Joseph Koo compositions marvelously recast, reworked, and reimagined.
Overall, it must be admitted that the rearrangements of Leslie’s songs are not entirely successful. They tend to be dense and busy, and are often mixed in a way that can obscures the vocal line. Compare any version on the Reimagine Leslie album with Leslie's original and you will be struck by how clean, precise, and controlled the arrangements are on those original recordings. They leaves plenty of space to fully appreciate how beautifully Leslie articulated each and every word he sang and a world of emotion can be savored in every utterance giving even the simplest vocal line a complex array of feelings. Leslie imbued not only every line, but each syllable with shape, dimension, and an emotional cast. He tended to sing in a relaxed even delicate manner despite the richness of emotion expressed in his voice. Singing from the heart is perhaps the secret to Leslie’s ability to move his listeners, regardless of how many times they have heard a particular song. Of all of the singers on the Reimagine Leslie Cheung album, Kelly Chen comes the closest to capturing the delicacy and precision of Leslie’s delivery. She brings a genuine sweetness to “Four Seasons” that is totally appropriate for this song.
Some of the arrangements are intriguing, at least in part. The beginning of “Love and Honor Oneself” performed by Kary Ng is quite fascinating, with the vocal sounding like the singer is singing the languid R&B-ish intro into a telephone. But once the song shifts into “normal” mode, it becomes much more ordinary. Something similar happens with the haunting and lovely introduction to “Loneliness is Harmful” sung by Alex Lam. Yet once Alex gets to the first chorus, his flat delivery drains any interest out of the number. Reimagining “Red” as an R&B song for Hins Cheung was brilliant. Hins gives it his all and delivers a flamboyant, emotion-packed performance that stands as a viable alternative to Leslie’s tango-inflected original.
Some artists were not well served by the song they were given. It takes a singer the caliber of a Jacky Cheung to sing Leslie’s iconic song “Chase”. For whatever reason, Alvin Leong decided to stay very close to the original arrangement and asked Eric Suen to perform it. Eric did not manage to pull it off. Listening to his version is like listening to American Idol contestants take on iconic pop numbers made famous by music superstars. The wisdom of having Kay Tse sing “I” with all the sweetness and innocence of a teenager should also be questioned. This was Leslie’s song of self-affirmation in the face of gossip and years of criticism, especially around his sexual orientation. In many ways, the song is a response to those years of rumor, innuendo, and tabloid speculation. In the voice of an ingénue, the song loses most of its power. It is a song of maturity, not the innocence of youth. Among all of the breathy little-girl voices (even heard in mature singers in their 40s!) was Stephanie Che with her dark alto. “Die as Dreaming, Live as Drunk” was selected for her to sing, but the rather wooden delivery dooms this song. Then there is the case of a good singer being ambushed by the arrangement. Hacken Lee has a great voice but he was not well-served by the arrangement for “Dreaming of the Inner River” which had him singing loudly the entire song to compete with the overly ornate orchestration. Again, a comparison with Leslie’s original provides a stark contrast. Leslie’s dynamic contrasts and precise rhythmic delivery makes the original a masterpiece. Hacken Lee should be sad that such a rich song was reduced to so little in the hands of the arranger.
Overall, the Reimagine Leslie Cheung studio recordings are a disappointment. The arrangements are over-stuffed, too densely orchestrated, and have too little dynamic contrast. Compared to the original versions, there is much less of musical interest in these performances than the originals. Even in the hands of good singers, it was an uphill battle to shine in these new arrangements. There is also the handicap of being restricted to Universal’s stable of performers. A common complaint heard about current Cantopop singers is that they don’t have the voices, charisma, or music ability of earlier generations of performers. If this album is any testament to the current state of Cantopop music, I would say that these criticism are, sadly, all too often not wide of the mark. Perhaps those who are not ardent fans of Leslie Cheung, or younger fans who are not very familiar with the originals will find a great deal of enjoyment in these studio recordings. For the rest of us: we always have Leslie Cheung’s inimitable originals.
(to be continued)
Part 2 will review the DVD of the live concert in Hong Kong on March 1, 2012
Anthony Wong Yiu Ming's first album in three years is titled 拂一身還滿 (inadequately rendered into English as "Also Brush a Full" by translate.google.com). Aimed squarely at the Mandarin market (primarily the Mainland), it features 13 compositions: four in Cantonese and nine in Mandarin. Let me say at the outset, I do not understand much Cantonese (especially the tricky lyrics of most Anthony Wong songs) and no Mandarin. On-line translation programs do not produce any workable translations of the lyrics, and generally yield total gibberish. So I was faced with a conundrum: how to review an album whose lyrics I cannot understand? Using Google's translation program, I have been able to glean enough from Chinese reviews of the album posted on-line to see that the lyrics are important--in fact very important--with Chinese reviewers focused almost exclusively on the album's lyrics. But it is precisely the lyrics of the songs that are totally beyond my grasp. Noting this obvious limitation, I am going to discuss the physical object of the CD package (a work of art in its own right) and the music contained inside. Even with my experience of this release limited to the purely musical and visual, it was a rich and rewarding one. Anthony Wong has a 25 year proven track record of producing music of the highest quality and of presenting this music in releases and stage shows that consistently challenge those who engage with his work. This latest studio work is no exception.It should be said at the outset that 拂一身還滿 is a proper album, and not simply a collection of individual MP3s ready for download. A great deal of thought has gone into the sequencing of the songs and various musical bridges between numbers. The suite of studio photographs on the the front and back cover and booklet of lyrics are high concept and beautifully executed. These images are created by combining fragments of Anthony Wong shot from different vantage points to produce images that contain multiple view points within a single frame. They are Cubist in concept, certainly, but also share a fundamental characteristic of Chinese landscape painting in that there is no single perspective point and the viewer is invited to delve into different features of the landscape (or, in this instance photograph) independent of the composition as a whole. This deconstruction of the whole into fragments is also characteristic of the music on this album and one has the impression that the artwork was created to be a visual metaphor for what is contained on the CD. Continuing the analogies between the album and Chinese visual aesthetics, in many ways the musical organization of the album is akin to a Chinese garden, where the visitor moves along a path and scenes unfold in a progression of space and time. Just as no cul-de-sac or dead-end is permitted in any garden space, and pathways always seem to continue in forward motion, so too the album has a noticeable flow from one song to the next. Similar to the experience of a visitor to a Chinese garden who is never allowed to see the panoramic whole of the garden at the outset but only experiences it in a carefully designed sequence of the hidden, the peeking and the revealed, the album presents various "vistas," charming glimpses, and distinctive sensual experiences for the listener. Musically, the album can be divided into three distinct sections. It begins with an opening sequence of three slow to mid-tempo songs with minimal electronic effects. These songs (two in Mandarin and one in Cantonese) hark back to some of the gentler, more lyrical strains of Wong's earlier work. Video: http://youtu.be/rP1gh9xFtqwTagged onto the end of the third number (汕尾以南 South of Shanwei) is an eerie electronic ending that functions as a bridge between the first section and the second section, which has danceable, up-tempo numbers that make much greater use of electronic instrumentation and effects, giving these songs a decidedly "club" feel. First single
Video: http://video.sina.com.cn/v/b/61056994-1733976784.htmlThe songs in this section exhibit a variety of different approaches in the use of electronic instrumentation and all have a distinct "electronica" feel. The seventh cut, (四大發明 Four Great Inventions), has a decidedly Brazilian flavor, with a samba beat in the drum line. This number has a particularly interesting arrangement; as if to challenge the Chinese fixation on lyrics at the expense of the music, 四大發明 has a single short verse that is repeated over and over again. Wong's voice is heavily processed at times and, unlike traditional pop music where the voice typically dominates the mix, here the voice has the same weight as any other instrument and could really be said to be just one more instrument. Sometimes the voice is even so distorted it has musical but no lyric significance.Video: http://youtu.be/2GLIJSB-rQIThe third distinct group of songs on the album features three numbers composed for "The Forbidden City," a production presented by Zuni Icosahedron for the 2009 Architecture is Art Festival . Musically, these numbers are the real standouts of the album. "The Forbidden City" focused on the architectural and dynastic history of the Forbidden City in Beijing. Wong portrayed a raven figure who is an observer of this history. The fact that these songs are the work of a single composer and were performed by one character in a stage production gives them a coherent, unified style, even though they are written in a variety of musical idioms. Perhaps, because this stage production also featured a Kun opera singer performing in that musical idiom, the three songs composed for Wong have a more classical (both Western and Chinese) feel, though they are still clearly pop music in the way they are performed. In these compositions, the emphasis is on Wong's singing and these songs beautifully showcase his clear, almost angelic upper register and precise delivery style. That a man of almost 50 should still possess such a beautiful, delicate and pure upper register is truly amazing. In these gorgeous songs Wong takes the listener from the earth to the heavens and back again, riding on his amazingly expressive and crystalline tone. His precise enunciation and exact placement of pitch also are important elements that are fundamental in producing of these gorgeous vocal tracks.Video: http://youtu.be/6-4HbZjTRHkPromo for Zuni Forbidden City show
Video: http://youtu.be/C2Oetu4FW0IOne of the glories of pop music sung in Cantonese--as opposed to Mandarin--is the way in which, in the hands of a skillful lyricist and composer, the sounds of the words divorced from their meaning can be incredibly rhythmic, musical and expressive.Video: http://youtu.be/BMnDouBFETMHearing songs performed in both Cantonese and Mandarin on this album, the difference in the sounds of the two languages is quite striking. Cantonese has many words that begin with hard consonants that can be arranged in highly musical, rhythmic, and even percussive sequences. Mandarin, with its many more initial soft consonants and elided double vowel combinations has a much less percussive quality, and I find it less interesting to listen to for its sounds alone. A well-written Cantonese pop song can alternate passages of rhythmic singing featuring hard-hitting consonants with legato passages that emphasize softer initial consonants and long vowels that can be a joy to listen to, even divorced from any linguistic meaning.Anthony Wong is famous in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China for songs that challenge listeners with their lyrics and musical innovation. But he deserves to be equally famous for his gorgeous music, highly inventive covers, and unique and bewitching way of singing. Singing in Cantonese and focusing on Chinese markets has limited his exposure in Europe and North America, which is a shame since he has been making some of the best music anywhere in the world for the past 25 years. This latest album is another chapter in a marvelous musical legacy that deserves to be as well-known outside of Greater China as within. Although the lyric content of his work is not readily available to those who do not understand colloquial Cantonese (and, to a lesser extent Mandarin), his work more than stands on the strength of the music alone. How much more amazing must Anthony Wong's music be when the lyrics are intelligible! But perhaps it is the strength of so much of his lyric content that has distracted listeners over the years from the vocal ability of this artist and the arresting quality of the compositions and their inventive arrangements. This latest studio release from Anthony Wong is another brilliant example of a restless artist producing highly personal work of the highest calibre. Wong is a true Hong Kong original bridging East and West, mixing Cantopop and Chinese traditional styles with Anglo-American music of various genres with a dash of Continental techno added as piquant seasoning. Anthony Wong is a man of many facets, musically and artistically, and 拂一身還滿 is a highly personal expression of Wong's current wide-ranging interests. A thinking man's singer who can bring a tear to your eye with the sheer beauty of his voice, but who can just as easily get you up on your feet dancing to one of his exuberant up tempo songs, Anthony Wong is Hong Kong's most interesting performer whose releases always exceed expectations. This latest album is no exception. Excellent and highly recommended.黃耀明 2011 國 ､粵語大碟 [ 拂一身還滿 ] 冠軍歌 : 絕色 (粵) 特別推介 : 下流(國), 小心許願 其他好歌包括 : 車路士的男孩 / 飛飛飛 (大紫禁城 II ) (國) 01. 第二次青春 (國) 02. 車路士的男孩(featuring 普普樂團) (粵) 03. 汕尾以南 (國) 04. 下流 (國) 05. 小心許願 (粵) 06. 紅眼症 (粵) 07. 四大發明 (國) 08. 拂了一身還滿 (國) 09. 最大的宮殿 (大紫禁城 I) (國) 10. 飛飛飛 (大紫禁城 II) (國) 11. 燕子飛 (大紫禁城 III) (國) 12. 絕色 (粵) 13. 切爾西的女孩 (featuring 普普樂團) (國) Anthony Wong 2011 Mandarin, Cantonese album [also brush a full]
01 second youth (M)
02 Chelsea Boys (featuring Pop Orchestra) (C)
03 south of Shanwei (M)
04 downstream (M)
05 carefully Wish (C)
06 red-eye syndrome (C)
07 Four Great Inventions (M)
08 had a brush is also full of (M)
09 Maximum Palace (Forbidden City I) (M)
10 take flight (The Forbidden City II) (M)
11. Yanzi Fei (The Forbidden City III) (M)
12 stunning (C)
13 Chelsea Girl (featuring Pop Orchestra) (M)
This final blog on fan videos has a little bit of everything. There is a radio interview with Leslie provided with appropriate illustrations by a fan. An Anthony Wong Yiu Ming song is turned into a fan tribute to Leslie by way of Saint-Exupery. A Japanese fan created cartoons depicting many of Leslie's greatest roles and stage performances, featuring a fan in a very special role. And finally, to end this series on fan videos, a beautiful tribute video in which a fan not only edited the video, but also recorded the song for it. English-speaking fans prize the interviews that Leslie gave in English. In support of a Mainland Chinese film, , in which Leslie played a Communist revolutionary during the Guomindang regime in China, he gave a rare radio interview that, exceptionally, was in English. A fan from England, Jackie, took a recording of this interview and added appropriate photos and video to illustrate Leslie's words.Video: http://youtu.be/dTufqVxY0YYAnthony Wong Yiu Ming recorded a song, "The Little Prince". A fan created a video that was illustrated with both pictures from an illustrated version of Antoine de Saint-Exupery's classic by the same name and images of Leslie Cheung. For many fans, Leslie is their "little prince".Video: http://youtu.be/J-dIo7rvgAsA fan, who appears to hail from Japan, has created two highly inventive and possibly unique videos illustrated with hand-drawn cartoons featuring Leslie Cheung and a toddler who appears to be a stand-in for a female fan (the artist?). These are among the most delightful works of fan art and display tremendous creativity. They are a fitting tribute to an artist the calibre of Leslie.Video: http://youtu.be/SXojpACajPIVideo: http://youtu.be/AAgBiuagGZ4Finally, a touching tribute by a fan who not only created the video, but also sang the song featured in it. For many fans the expression, "Leslie Forever," that frames the video window perfectly describes how they feel about Leslie, even eight years after he has left us.Video: http://youtu.be/Jzt7U4OC-eA
Fans of Leslie Cheung's movies fall into two basic categories: those who are fans of Leslie as a singer and an actor, and those who are fans of Leslie solely as an actor. In fact, many in the West have no idea that Leslie was as big a singing star as he was an actor. I think it can be argued that Leslie Cheung was one of the greatest and most popular Cantopop performers who ever lived. While he also turned in many great performances as an actor, he did not redefine the history of Hong Kong cinema in quite the same way he did the history of Cantopop. An actor is much more dependent on the script and director, not to mention the myriad other individuals who contribute their talents to a film, to leave such an indelible mark on the history of film. For this reason, a number of the fan videos featuring Leslie that I have watched seem to have been created by fans of the director, in particular Wong Kar Wai, more than they were specifically fans of Leslie. That said, Leslie figures prominently in three of Wong's seminal films, so he figures prominently in many of these director-focused fan vids. A number of different approaches are evident in these videos. Some of them are set to the music of one or more of Leslie's songs. Others use Western music that, nevertheless, adds an interesting dimension through the juxtaposition of images and sound. Some videos focus on a single movie, while others bring together clips from various movies that are edited to display particular qualities of Leslie's performances.Here is a thematic video set to Leslie's 1996 song, "Red," featuring clips from films that span his entire career, from in 1982 to in 2000.Video:http://youtu.be/c5HUKlh8FAoThe next video is from , in which Leslie played a competitive marksman who became a psychotic killer. The soundtrack is one of Leslie's own songs.
Video: http://youtu.be/EBpjA0_XQPgThe next video also features scenes from , but the soundtrack is Kane's "Shot of a Gun." Video: http://youtu.be/-Sbpk_vgn-QOne of my favorite movie fan videos profiles "Leslie in Action" and is set to an infectious Goldfrap tune.Video: http://youtu.be/niYyLdrAQ7oLeslie's masterful performance in Wong Kar Wai's art house classic, , has inspired many fans of Leslie and/or the film to create some wonderful videos.First, a compilation of clips from the film edited to go with Leslie singing "Boulevard of Broken Dreams."Video: http://youtu.be/dXTkBCRkySAThe second video of is set, perhaps surprisingly, to a song by Jeff Buckley.Video: http://youtu.be/yMVIsz-gRX4The music of Berlin indie band, The Whitest Boy Alive, paired with clips from . In places, the editing brilliantly injects the energy of the music into the images.Video:http://youtu.be/4Sixh4p1kWAAnd, finally, the beautiful film, , featuring one of Leslie's most transcendent roles, set to the music of The Guess Who's "Glamour Boy." A fitting tribute to one of Asia's most glamorous and talented actors and singers.Video:http://youtu.be/m9gl3iguSC0
Just as religions have holy days and nations have national holidays that punctuate the year and give shape, color and a communal identity to the faithful or citizenry, so too fans of Leslie Cheung have two major dates that are the focus of the fan year. The first is April first. It was on April 1, 2003 that Leslie Cheung took his own life. For many fans, it is one of the saddest days of their lives, the day their beloved Gor Gor left this earth. Suddenly the words of Don MacLean's "American Pie," the song that Leslie performed at the singing contest that launched his entertainment career, seemed prophetic. The words of the refrain sadly proclaim : "the day the music died" (in reference to the death of Buddy Holly). For Leslie's fans, April 1, 2003 is the darkest, cruelest and saddest day of the year. The other date fans commemorate is September 12, which is Leslie's birthday. Each year there are public events in Hong Kong and other cities with active fan groups to commemorate the joy of Leslie's birth, mixed with the bitterness of knowing that Leslie will never celebrate his birthday again with fans, friends, and family. He will never hear our well-wishes nor smile at the tributes and gifts his fans have prepared for him. Even in our brightest celebration of his life and legacy, there is always a hint of sadness, as April 1 casts its shadow even over such a joyous event as Leslie's birthday.Fans have found many ways to commemorate Leslie around these two events. Various tribute videos are produced, commemorating the fans' devotion to Leslie, and featuring favorite songs, slide shows of beloved images, and video montages commemorating favorite moments from his films, music videos and live performances. Some of the videos focus on fan messages, others focus on some special quality Leslie manifested that especially touched the video maker. I have chosen among literally hundreds of such videos to share some of my personal favorites. Some I like because of the authentic fan devotion they display, touching in its sincerity. Others are virtual masterpieces of video editing that forcefully communicate something of the great beauty and artistry Leslie displayed throughout his career. I leave you with seven very different examples of the fans' love and devotion to the memory, works and life of Leslie Cheung.Video: http://youtu.be/2dTaYiNM-B0This next video features recorded messages by fans for Leslie on his birthday. Video: http://youtu.be/vHfDcVbl0vwMany videos celebrate Leslie's beauty, but this next video is a bit different. Here is how the creator describes the video: ""Video: http://youtu.be/0GBrCa5NdyYLeslie's physical beauty was celebrated not only by fans and filmmakers, but also by many photographers. In 2010, Red Mission in Hong Kong put together an exhibition of photographs (many unpublished) and original art work that displayed various facets of Leslie throughout his career. Many fans visited the exhibition and there are several video records, such as the following video.Video: http://youtu.be/slvA5KgPqLoI have found many, many videos celebrating Leslie's iconic physical beauty. The next video is especially well-edited, with a mix of footage of Leslie at a photo shoot, performing on stage, backstage (I'm sure the make-up artist never forgot those nights during the Passion Tour when she applied bronzer to Leslie's body ), a public appearance and press conference. All amply demonstrate the grace, poise and elegance that Leslie so effortlessly projected.Video: http://youtu.be/B-lMyxdviR4Other fans have created videos focusing on different aspects of Leslie entertainment career. The next video commemorates his 30 years in show business and amounts to a video professional bio.Video: http://youtu.be/sIMugLXrUGAA tradition has been established by fans since Leslie's death to commemorate him every 4-01 with videos filled with fans messages. The messages are brief, but sincere, accompanied by one or more of Leslie's songs. This is an opportunity for fans to express their deeply-felt emotions: gratitude, devotion, sadness, grief and love. Even the most positive remembrances have a melancholy and bittersweet quality, for the sense of what we have lost tinges any fan's remembrance of Leslie.Video: http://youtu.be/bopxUA7Tbn4For many outside of Asia, Leslie will be forever remembered for his films. The next video ends with a slide show with one iconic image after another, illustrating many of Leslie's most important film roles.Video: http://youtu.be/VDoMQiN7RRo
In addition to songs on the first album, fans over the years have created music videos for songs on other albums that did not originally have professionally produced music videos. Perhaps no album has generated more fan videos than Leslie's final studio album, which was released posthumously. The songs on this album are quite evocative and represent some of the best music that Leslie composed, as well as featuring fine songs by other composers. The lyrics speak to fans and are written in such a way that many of the songs can sustain various interpretations. (This has permitted rather divergent English translations of some of the songs.)A particularly beautiful video has been created for the song "Red Butterfly" (Hung Woo Dip).Music composed by: Leslie; lyrics written by: Chow Lai-Mau##紅蝴蝶紅蝴蝶曲：張國榮 詞：周禮茂 編：
請不必相認 如你看到我 是運是命
請關起眼睛 如你聽見我 心底哭聲
請收起吃驚 靜靜睡吧 不必慰藉
曾要我意決 並沒話別 走得不轟烈
由過去細節 逐日逐月 似殞落紅葉
愛 一早變飛灰 灰 飛了未心領神嫌br>悔 最後自已的反悔
(傷心 繼續 巡迴)
(傷心 繼續 巡迴)
(傷心 繼續 巡迴)
Repeat * *
我恨 蝴蝶 未配If you had loved me a tiny little bitplease, there is no need for us to greet each otherIf you see me, my luck or my fateplease close your eyesIf you hear the crying in the bottom of my heartplease retrieve your shockJust quietly sleep, no need to comfort me,making me fall in love againI was once made to decide, there were no words of farewellthe departure wasn't extravagant enoughFrom the little details in the past, day by day, month by monthit is like the falling of red leaves#Difficult to escape from having a whole body covered in bloodtransforming into a red butterflyRegret that I had not been more heartless than you(Regret that I had not been more heartless than winter) X2Love--long ago became flying ashesashes--gone flying away, the heart and mind never connectedRegret--regretting myself at the end(Regret--the kind of regret that you don't let go even until death) X3Heart--collapsed(sadness continues to parade) X2.3If you're apologetic to me there is no need to say muchThe lights get blown out firstCome to me again and say, all feelings are over,there is no longer any remnant songs in this love(Repeat ##)Butterfly just cannot match upVideo: http://youtu.be/UlGjKT4n-UIAnother beautiful song is "A thousand type of pretties, a hundred kind of beauties" (Chin Giu Baak Mei)Music composed by: CY Kwong, Lyrics written by: Lam Chik千嬌百美每個轉角也有 剎那天地
卻太眼利 望盡日落大道 亦未放棄
前面白裡泛紅 紫裡泛藍 我還想揀
他 有幾多億個他 誰都只不過霧中花
千嬌百美 躍上滑下 難認得他 能幻想嗎
我和某 某和某 某流過的汗
哪裡滓?靋鴘 看 我以兩臂撒網
撒過對岸 在二十萬日內 慢慢結網
Repeat * *
我和某 某和某 某調過的味已夠我完全忘掉你At every corner there is an instant paradiseEvery step is the ultimate land, slowly exploring the secretsI thought this and that were already the most exotic sexinessbut I realized that it still wasn'tI have seen the most beautiful of this worldbut my eyes were too sharp, I have seen all sunsets down the road,but still haven't given upI still have tens and hundreds and thousands of unexplored destinations,how will I have the strength to resist (the temptation)?#Look, even pretties are only to be given one quick glanceup front there are red in white, blue in purple--I still want to choosemaybe I have chosen him; but its not necessarily that I want to have himthe fireworks behind the window display;get a full glance of the beautiful sceneriesHim--how many billions of "him" does he have?Everybody is only a flower in the fog after all.A thousand pretties, a hundred beauties, jumping up, sliding downdifficult to recognize himcan I still fantasize?One will always have some kind of a past, how will there be disappointmentnew waves overcoming the old waves, there just isn't time to look closelyThe sweat that I and somebody, somebody and somebody once shed--how will they still retain their same shapeLook, I used my two arms to cast out the net,cast it over to the other side of the shorewithin 200,000 days, slowly knit the nethow many arms have my tears flown throughUntil where this wandering will be completed(repeat ##)I have seen so much that I will soon suffocateHave seen through the heaven and earthWish I could dream day and night, be in paradise until the endThe scents that I and somebody, somebody and somebody once mixedare already enough to let me completely forget youVideo: http://youtu.be/WQ9fcFKpSOAA favorite song of foreign fans has been Leslie's cover of the English-language song "Tonight and Forever." Since it was released without an accompanying music video, a fan who liked this song created a suitable video for it.Video: http://youtu.be/0bhpVriSDUoOther wonderful videos have been created to publicize public fan events, like this video a group of Shanghai fans produced to publicize their 9-12-10 event.Video: http://youtu.be/hAuWnHDkI7oSomething that fans have celebrated about Leslie is his tremendous sex appeal, both in his musical performances and in his film roles. Here are two examples that beautifully capture this notable quality, which Leslie seemed able to project effortlessly whenever he was playing to an audience.Video: http://youtu.be/htusVxTefUoLest we think Leslie appealed only to a mainstream female fan base, this next video celebrates a more "queer" stage persona that Leslie created for his 1997 World Tour.Video: http://youtu.be/veay8XKlkMg
Fans of Leslie Cheung have found many ways to commemorate and express their love and devotion for the star. But, especially with the rise of YouTube and similar populist video sharing sites, one of the primary media employed as been the short-form video. There are hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of fan-produced videos that have been shared on public websites, forums, fan pages and other similar places on the world wide web. These videos are shared again and again on social networking sites like Facebook and other equivalent sites in China. I want to examine here some of the most significant types of videos that have been created and discuss them as a means by which Leslie's artistic legacy is explored and commented upon by fans. Many different images of Leslie are projected in these videos, derived primarily from his film and stage performances. But many of these video creations also draw on a huge corpus of still images, interviews and even original fan art. This fan activity not only perpetuates the canonical image of Cheung that he projected through his films and music (including music videos), but extends it further by juxtaposing this imagery with new visual and musical associations. New thematic avenues are also explored by some of these videos that renew and even expand themes expressed by Cheung in his creative opus. Leslie Cheung has amassed a huge fan following that shows no signs of diminishing even 8 years after his tragic death. Many Cantopop performers have expressed their admiration for Leslie, and increasingly the younger generation of singers are including tributes to Leslie that directly associate their tribute with an original performance by Leslie. In a 2010 concert, Chilam not only sang one of Leslie's songs, but he mimicked Leslie's gestures immortalized on the video release of the Farewell Concert, with a video of Leslie projected on the large screen behind Chilam during his tribute performance. It is interesting to note that Chilam is dwarfed by the image of Leslie that dominates the stage.Video: http://http://youtu.be/Taf_vLHhctEHere is Leslie's performance as captured in the 1999 Farewell Concert video.Video: http://youtu.be/syf70-YxlEoChilam and other performers from HK, and even recently Korea, are declaring themselves Leslie's musical heirs by their tributes that so closely copy Leslie's classic performances.In the realm of fans who are not professional performers, more than a few karaoke tributes of fans performing one of Leslie's songs can be found on the internet.Video: http://youtu.be/aSqnaO0XNz8One important function of fan-produced videos has been to salvage material that was never commercially released, but is of considerable interest to any fan.A demo recording of Leslie Cheung performing the melody of "Red," one of the iconic songs associated with Leslie, has been made into a music video that juxtaposes images of the official music video and live performances of this song with the demo recording.Video: http://youtu.be/qMmzBlhGHmYEven more significant is the recuperation of audio and video from the 903 Concert. Although this performance seems to have been professionally recorded and filmed, nothing of it was ever released beyond a few video clips associated with an official music video for a studio recording. But an audio recording of the 903 Concert has been passed from fan to fan for a number of years now, and audio from this bootleg recording has been used for a music video that incorporates some 903 footage I have never seen in any official video. A video like this takes on an almost archival quality--preserving and disseminating material that does not have the benefit of an official release.Video: http://youtu.be/5bdOvYO8ZiYOther videos have been created for songs that were recorded early in Leslie's career, before the advent of the MTV-type music video. A number of these songs have been illustrated with a montage of scenes from some of Leslie's earliest films and television series. This recording of "We Are All Alone" is paired with scenes from the 1982 film "Teenage Dreamers" (aka "Lemon Soda"). Video: http://youtu.be/IjlsPXhp3Y4
In Memoriam Leslie Cheung 1956-2003 Our Leslie, beautiful like a flower. I love you today and always-- a part of my heart beats for you alone, tonight a ...Read more
|Favorite Faves||Leslie Cheung, Camaron de la Isla, Fernando Otero, Astor Piazzolla, Wong Kar Wai|
|Favorite Books||3, 000 Years of Chinese Painting, poetry of Lee Yung-Li, the novels of Henry James, too many art history and flamenco books to mention|
|Favorite Movies||Happy Together, Viva Erotica, Chinese Ghost Story, Hero, Cabaret, Persuasion, Talk to Her, Sex and Lucia, classic Hollywood films from the 30s and 40s|
|Favorite Music||Flamenco, Leslie Cheung, Baroque, Anthony Wong Yiu Ming, Daniel Lanois, Javier Garcia, Celia Cruz, Ricardo Arjona, Chambao|
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