Hong Kong Sevens

Move over Psy, it’s Julie Andrews’ style

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 March, 2013, 5:53pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 March, 2013, 1:06pm

If the world were a logical place, men would ride sidesaddle . . . and maybe they wouldn’t do a horsey dance that’s taken the world by storm. On December 21 last year – the day the Mayan calendar predicted the world was going to end – Gangnam Style became the first ever song to have 1 billion views on YouTube. There might be a message in there somewhere – the musical world has been reborn, or died.

Now the horsey dance has over 1.3 million views on YouTube. No wonder it was parodied in several versions, including “Hey, chips and gravy, Aussie battler style” for Australia Day on January 26.

Gangnam is a flashy nouveau riche area of Seoul, established by those who rode the wave of the property boom and didn’t wipe out. Granted, there aren’t a lot of horses in the heart of Seoul, even if Gangnam is said to be Korea’s answer to Rodeo Drive. Some say the song takes a satirical look at the new flash brash cash and is thumbing its nose at it.

Psy looks like Asia’s Austin Powers, making him a sure thing as a Hong Kong Sevens hit. Apparently, he’s even compared himself to Mr Shagadelic himself.

Even if you’d rather rub tin foil on your dental fillings than listen to K-pop, Psy has shown It’s OK to dance to K-pop, even if it’s cheesy. Cheesy is good at the Sevens. (It’s even acceptable to dance with a cheese on your head). 

There’ll be plenty of versions of Psy in the South Stand next weekend, resplendent in shiny jacket with black trim, Ray Bans, bow-tie and helmet-textured hairdo.

In recent years, there have been flocks of Black Swans, Nacho Libres with their underpants on the outside and Kung Fu pandas aplenty, swarms of blue Avatars waving their tail and packs of Borats in fluoro green mankinis. One group of Australian surfers who braved these skimpy bits of fluoro green dental floss proved wax had uses beyond surfboards.

This year, apart from hundreds emulating the 35-year-old Psy,  also in sartorial splendour will be James Bonds and Rock of  Ages impersonators.

The Sevens has always been about life imitating art, or life irritating art. Sevens dress-ups look to the Oscars for their inspiration. One box this year that’s entirely for charity, called Mission Possible, will take that theme further, with red carpet channelling the Oscar. Some guests will be dressed in full-tilt Hollywood glamour.

Beyond Gangnam, at the other end of the spectrum, everyone from 14 months to 104 can do the dance-in-your-seat moves to Sweet Caroline, which always gets an airing on Saturday afternoon. This year, at 14:34:30, to be precise.

Sweet Caroline was originally played in 2006 by Sevens stadium DJ Simon Southgate, a Neil Diamond freak. He and Dave Williams (AKA Willo) showed 40,000 fans the way to “Amawillo" eight times at the Sevens, although Southgate says he got his idea for Sweet Caroline from a movie about the Boston Red Sox, Fever Pitch (also known as The Perfect Catch in Hong Kong), as it was the team’s theme song. A few years ago, Neil Diamond sent a “Hello Hong Kong Sevens” video message to the crowd.Last year, in a South China Morning Post article about Sevens song requests and predictions, someone suggested The Lonely Goatherd from The Sound of Music.

This year, it’s on their play list, lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo. An amazing 40,000 people may be yodelling in their seats, even if lederhosen and dirndls were not their chosen sevens outfit de rigeur. 

I can’t think of any sporting event in the world where this has happened. Goatherd could become a new Hong Kong Sevens classic like We Are The Champions, We Will Rock You and Tub Thumping.

The song has a weird mystique; part escapism, part nostalgia of childhood memories – it’s comfort food in the musical form. And there’s something about The Sound of Music that seems to get even the most hetero men dancing like Julie Andrews in the Austrian hills. It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for many a man to wear a dress made out of curtains if it was in the name of a Sevens alter ego that was guaranteed the matching musical accompaniment. YouTube anyone?

Gangnam Style and Lonely Goatherd, the trends might have started 50 years apart, but both get people moving. The Sevens music is all about songs that people like: Sweet Child of Mine, Who let the Dogs Out, Voodoo Child, Hey Baby – and riding the wave of songs that have rocked the year since last March.

If you want to send musical requests to the Sevens stadium DJs, or give your feedback on the music, go to the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union’s Facebook page.