Some might say, that middle-aged men – like the classic cars they often drive – should understandably expect to experience a gradual slowing down of youthful performance.

It is, after all, part of the natural ageing process and any bloke experiencing the many symptoms of the misleadingly named “male menopause”, should just roll with it. However, in extreme cases this transition can be accompanied by depression, irritability and an increase in drinking habits.

To these tortured men, fat redistribution and hot flushes are not a jocular matter but a devastating blow to delicate self-esteem.

“Pigsy”, a fictional character in Chinese popular culture.

In desperation men can often behave out of character and the most common responses are the wearing of inappropriately youthful clothing, a desire to ride poorly engineered US motorcycles and the destructive lure of a younger woman.

There is however an alternative to these pathways and its guaranteed effectiveness relies on the fact that all blokes fall into two distinct categories. Those who were in an angst-ridden teenage band and those who wish they had been.

The solution I’m talking about is the purchase of an acoustic guitar. Whether the patient is rediscovering or reinventing his youth, a guitar will soothe away all those feelings of low self-worth and falling testosterone levels. Men absorbed in such midlife junctures feel that they cast no shadow and don’t react well to cognitive behaviour therapy, anti-depressants or even a friendly chat.

But give him an “axe” and an Oasis songbook and hey now, he’ll be grinning like an endorphin-fuelled George Formby desperate to play his repertoire of three-chord ditties to anyone who will listen.

As the success of this treatment spreads, more and more middle-aged men can be seen walking purposefully around Hong Kong carrying bulking flight cases, either on their way to a performance or simply reluctant to leave their instrument at home in case of an emotional emergency.

Having developed their inner awareness they don’t look back in anger but instead ease the pain of any troubling memories of their lost youth through the template of verse chorus, verse chorus, fade.

Given our city’s geography and demographic we may be facing a champagne supernova of such born-again performers and with little public space for them to self-medicate, the Government will be forced to get involved.

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department should therefore recruit this army of potbellied middle-aged buskers and imitating the artistic aesthetic of Las Ramblas in Barcelona, use them to entertain the tourists on the waterfront.

In the temporary absence of the Avenue of Stars what could be more engaging than a bunch of inappropriately clad 40-year-olds banging out the songs of their youth for beer tokens?

Picture the scene, as mainland Chinese visitors, stuffed full of dim sum and more sea-cucumber than you could point a hairy crab at, digest their dinner with an evening promenade along the harbour, listening to a harmony of acoustic chord-bashing.

And as they toss their loose change towards the feet of these crisis-ridden minstrels they may even be heard to ask “And what’s a Wonderwall anyway?”

Iain Lafferty

Iain Lafferty has lived in Hong Kong for the last ten years and is a teacher of mathematics at KGV School. He is a father of two children, both made in China, and a resident and advocate of Sai Kung. In addition, he is a recreational writer and regularly contributes his opinions on everything to anyone who will listen, or not. He occasionally visits Hong Kong Island but often gets lost.