Saturday, 27 June 2009

Michael Jackson

Song Of The Week LXIII - Michael Jackson - Man In The Mirror:

I wonder how many blog posts are out there written about Michael Jackson and his sudden, unexpected death.

I heard the news and felt the shock. Sometimes you feel as though some people are going to live forever. The fact one day they will die is a concept you can't even begin to grapple with.
I watched the news, read the reports, saw the pictures but somehow you still expect that they'll turn round and tell you it's actually not real.

As a child I idolised Michael Jackson, I was a real fan. My best friend and I collected everything we could find about him, I had folder upon folder of newspaper & magazine clippings and dreamed that one day I'd see him perform live, that I'd get to be one of the girls that why always showed on TV in the throngs desperate to see him.
We went to see Moonwalker at the cinema so many times we got to know all the lines and sat in the back row singing along, being asked by the ushers how many times we'd seen it. I'm actually not sure of the number.

When the allegations hit, huge numbers of his fans stuck by him. I don't think those die hard fans ever believed he was capable of the terrible things he was accused of.
There was something about Michael, they called him Peter Pan, but to my mind he really had never grown up. He seemed barely to have progressed beyond adolescence in his mind.
Being in the spotlight for 45 years of your life has to take its toll.
Adults are a judgemental bunch and children so much less so. I really felt as though he chose to have a large part of his life around children for the freedom it gave him to be himself.
I remember an interview he did with Oprah, they had shots of a cinema he had built, which had hospital beds so that sick children could come, have fun and be cared for.
It never struck me as the behaviour of a man who would wish to cause children harm.
For those who chose to ignore his complete acquittal of the allegations made against him I feel a little pity, that they choose to believe the worst about people, I only hope that if they were ever placed in the same situation the world is kinder to them.
To loosely quote one of Michael's friends interviewed on the news; "I hope history will be kinder to Michael than contemporary media".

I remember, many years ago, when River Phoenix died I felt a profound sense of loss. I couldn't explain how I felt this grief for someone I didn't know. For someone who existed for me only on a screen or through the words in a magazine, but it was there and it was real.
I knew that I was not alone in that grief but it wasn't until I found a magazine article by someone explaining the reasons they felt a grief for this movie star that I really understood my own.
They ended the article by saying:
"We wondered how anyone could comprehend the grief we felt. How could they understand when he belonged to our generation. We understood because River spoke our language, voiced our worries and fears about our future. Only in the years to come will they realise how much he meant to us - a symbol of both our frustrations and hopes. Like his name suggested, he rose from the ashes of obscurity and flew in the face of public opinion with a poetic grace that matched the rhythm of the times."

Michael Jackson was a part of my childhood, my formative years, I practiced my terrible singing, I wanted to make a change, I wanted a pet chimp to be my best friend. I did feel almost as though I knew him, I felt his shyness and maybe I appreciated his eccentricity, knowing I carried my own with me.

I feel a deep sadness about his death. I feel for his family and his children who must now feel so bereft.
There's little to say that hasn't already been said, but what a real loss to the world of music too. He might not have released anything for a long time, but his catalogue stands up, as someone said, his World Record Album sales for Thriller will never be topped. So much is sold online now that that number of real world sales will just never be beaten.
That's one hell of a legacy.

I am to be found regularly joking about my age, about getting old, but then when someone just 16 years older than you are, dies, suddenly you appreciate how young you are. 50 is no age to die. I'm not sure what IS the right age, only that at 50 you expect to have decade upon decade left in front of you.

So, I join in with all those other grieving fans and people who felt like they knew him, who grew up with his music, those who
don't care a jot that you couldn't put him in the pigeonhole marked 'normal' and those that will miss the opportunity to know what he had left to show us.

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