I had to do this. I'm sorry to anyone who's sick of this already, but I had to.
During primary school, my best friend and my brother's best friend were coincidentally also brothers- Harry and Sam Skinner. Quite often, we would invite Harry and Sam over for sleepovers. We would come up to our bedroom and hang out. Not long after, one of us would insert the cassette of Michael Jackson's "Dangerous" in our mini hi-fi which had the crappiest tiny speakers, turn off the main light, switch on a couple of lamps, and proceed to dance our asses off.
I loved those days.
The weird video for "Leave me Alone". The "Moonwalker" movie. The "Moonwalker" videogame! That camera trick in "Smooth Criminal". The claymation in "Speed Demon". The giant statue along the Thames to celebrate the launch of "HiStory". The concert where he descended to the stage in a space suit to perform "Man in the Mirror". That's Michael Jackson.
Recently I shared this sleepover-dancing anecdote with my good friend Aaron, and he told me he had virtually the same childhood experience with his friend Greg. We were both very excited to find we had such a quirky bond. For us and millions of others, Michael Jackson literally shaped our musical experience as we grew up. I love music anyway - I don't think I could happily live without it. But to this day I still thoroughly enjoy the energy, passion, and variation of Michael Jackson's music.
Watching the news last night, hearing he had been rushed to hospital, I was slightly fearful but considering his age, not overly concerned. I flicked over to BBC24 anyway. As time went on it was more and more obvious what had happened, but somehow, even now, reading the words
MICHAEL JACKSON IS DEAD
is one of the most unreal sentences I have ever read. It seems almost impossible to me that someone with such stage presence, vitality and talent could just stop existing. To be honest I'm not that upset- I didn't know him, he was at the end of the day a performer who I was (am) a great fan of. It's just...really weird. His music is still there, but the man himself isn't. It just doesn't make sense to me, and I don't know why.
I didn't feel this way when James Brown or Ray Charles passed away. I'm a big fan of their music, but it seemed more acceptable that they should pass- perhaps because of the age difference, or perhaps because I didn't grow up with them, who can say?
Whether or not his forthcoming UK tour would have been a renaissance or swan song is a moot point now. His music from the past stands forever, and I think anyone who makes jokes about a dead man is a disrespectful moron, and I fully anticipate that karma will one day deal with them sufficiently. Regardless of what happened in his personal life, he is dead, and that much at least should be respected. I would have hoped in death all that nonsense can finally stop.
I know it's a monumental occasion, but in a few days I'm sure we will find there are other news stories occuring in the world. In such times of global conflict, I would at least hope so.
I'm not going to be too cliche as to post an original MJ song, but just enough to maintain my cheesiness - a cover instead.
I am very, very thankful for Michael Jackson.