Well fancy seeing you here...

Hello and welcome to the rambling rollercoaster of useless ponderings, strung together in what the internet calls a "blog," and the voices call a waste of everyone elses time.

Please check your sanity at the door (along with your dignity, logic, principles, good taste and prejudices against daftness.)

"I am here to seduce you into a love of life; to help you to become a little more poetic; to help you die to the mundane and to the ordinary so that the extraordinary explodes in your life." -Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Non-Recyclable

The last few days have been rather strange ones, not least because of The Most Widely Reported Death Since Jesus’. The difference being that I don’t think Michael Jackson will come back and snog a hooker. Much as I think you must all be growing weary of this particular topic, my ego refuses to allow me to post this entry without making some reference to it, for posterity’s sake. If (when) this blog is discovered as the next big thing, it would be remiss of me to make no mention of the demise of such a high-profile celebrity. Michael Jackson was, after all, as well loved by his fans as he was ridiculed by his critics – and his talent had an undeniable effect on the careers of artists and musicians worldwide, which will be felt long into the future.

The reality of his death was – as we are all aware – conversely surreal, and as shocking and dramatic as was his life. The first reports I saw came as I logged online Friday 25th June, and the little Twitter-feed that is plugged into my internet browser alerted me that at 9:47pm LA-based celebrity Lawyer-turned-reporter Harvey Levin was claiming that Michael Jackson had been rushed to hospital following a suspected cardiac arrest. Clicking through links to TMZ.com's initial reports I wondered how much truth there was in the rumour, and posted to the link to a couple of Jacko-fan friends. In those alerts I, and many others, sceptically questioned the seriousness of his condition – thinking it a stunt that would get him out of completing what had, for many weeks, seemed an increasingly-unlikely tour.

Soon the news on every station was broadcasting nothing but shots of UCLA Medical Centre where it was believed he had been taken by ambulance. Aerial shots of his Holmby Hills home were cut with images of the devoted coterie of fans (and equally-dutiful pack of journalists) who had begun to gather outside of the hospital.

In this dawning age of instantly-available international media, having access to official news agencies like BBC News, Sky, and CNN – as well as the barrage of information being delivered via social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and MSN – meant that it was hardly necessary to Google the situation for clarity. It felt as though there was no other news; no other tragedy or sensation on the collective mind of mankind.

Of course, for those away from such a high intensity of electronic trappings, their blissful ignorance was being slowly interrupted by unbelievable texts and seemingly-prank phone-calls. Earlier that day, a friend of mine had text to say she was out giving a friend a driving lesson, and I’d replied informing her – rather bluntly – that Farrah Fawcett had died. At the time that was the lead news story, though had not been deemed worthy of the incessant coverage granted to Michael’s death a few hours later. Of course, because I had broken the news to her in such a cavalier manner when one of Charlie’s Angels claimed her wings for real, there was a healthy suspicion in her response when I also sent her the equally emotionally-bereft text; “Michael Jackson’s dead.” Eventually I convinced her I wasn’t joking, and they pulled over to watch the story unfold online (god bless smartphones). Similarly, the news had by then begun to filter through to the few who remained unaware that the King of Pop was potentially no-more.

I say potentially because at that point the news coverage still sounded like the opening credits of BBC drama Life On Mars, where the main character Sam Tyler narrates “Am I dead? In a coma? Or back in time?” For none of the stations seemed to know which was applicable – though I don’t think time-travel was seriously considered by anyone but FoxNews. When the reports of his death did begin to trickle in, first from TMZ and then via the LA Times, it still felt like a soap-opera, not a genuine tragedy. He was Michael Jackson for goodness’ sake. Michael Jackson doesn’t die. I imagine people felt the same way when Elvis perished, and I remember people sharing a similar shock and disbelief when Princess Diana’s accident was reported. Some news stories are just too big to absorb at the same speed with which they are reported.

Of course, it isn’t unheard of for a man with chronic poor health, a notoriously stressful life, and history of drug (and possibly alcohol) abuse to die from a heart-attack aged 50. The reason it seemed so unexpected is, as a friend said soon after the confirmation of his death came through, because none of us thought of Jackson as a 50 year old man. He was described as a hero, a joke, an inspiration, and a pop-cultural icon – but as a generously-middle-aged man? Never.

It has yet to be seen what form of memorial Michael’s family will choose, and thus still unclear how the world will commemorate the man who influenced so many. In the coming weeks we will undoubtedly discover more bizarre details about the hidden life of a man who was, regardless of success, both grandiosely eccentric and meekly introverted in equal conflicting measure.



The first intriguing bit of “gossip” of which I had been previously unaware, comes from the vicarious email newsletter ‘PopBitch’ who raided their archives to re-release the report that:

Macaulay comes good! Was Jacko saved by Culkin sperm?
MacCaulay Culkin's testimony that Michael Jackson had never fiddled with him went a long way to persuading the jury that Gavin Arvizo's story couldn't be trusted. But we hear from a source in Santa Maria that Macaulay didn't want to testify until the judge ruled that he could not be asked any questions about whether he was the real sperm donor for Paris Jackson... Michael's blonde, fair-skinned daughter.


Despite my ghoulish curiosity, I do feel for the family, and in particular his children, whose futures are now far less certain (if more conducive to stability) than ever before. His youngest child, carried by a surrogate, has mother listed as “none” on his birth records – and the other children have had very limited contact with their mother Debbie Rowe. Their grandmother Katherine Jackson has been granted temporary custody, but as with all high-profile cases, it is bound to be anything but a smooth transition for them, as anyone who feels able to “stake a claim” begins to enter the spotlight.

Whilst I don’t believe it deserves the amount of coverage it has received, and irrespective of fan or foe, I think many of us feel that the last chapter of the Michael Jackson story will be one of the most interesting.

No comments: