Friday, 26 June 2009

Friday Night Blog: Michael Jackson 1958-2009

And so the "King of Pop" is no longer with us. On the eve of a record-breaking and unprecedented 50-night residency at the O2 Arena, Michael Jackson died of a massive heart attack.

Now, while I agree that this is a terribly sad thing, I have to admit I'm totally bemused by the outpouring of grief for a man who, let's be honest, was more than a little bit, well, strange...

Certainly he was a man of prestigious talent and ability, but I think the emphasis is definitely on the word "was". He passed his peak nearly twenty years ago and since that time it's been all downhill. Yes, he was fantastic - the Thriller and Bad albums are solid-gold classics, and the work he did with his brothers in the Jackson Five are among Motown's greatest treasures. But that was then. In the last two decades, all we've really had are glimmers of a star that burned out long ago - a couple of greatest hits collections and an under-performing "comeback" album.

The O2 would have been the last-chance saloon for a man besieged by rumour, burdened with crippling debts, a man more infamous than famous in the last few years.

The rumours, and eventual confirmation, of his death nearly broke the internet. Google thought it was under siege as thousands of people searched for "Michael Jackson". Twitter crashed (again) and numerous gossip websites went off-line for periods. If nothing else, his death has created more interest in him than has been seen for ages.

Jackson was a man who fascinated and intriuged us all. His side-show lifestyle demonstrated an eccentricity that beggared belief - if your average person tried to live the way Jackson did then they would probably have been sectioned long ago! The man is obviously not totally to blame for the way he was - his unnatural upbringing was a major factor in this and a life lived in the public glare is bound to send you a bit weird.

I feel truly sad for the loss of one of the planet's greatest entertainers, but I'm amazed and appalled by the mass grief that has been reported in the media. I don't believe that "the music died". I can't join in the celebration of his music, because I've never bought any of it, and don't want to (especially if people are trying to get the dire "Man in the Mirror" into the charts again (come on, there are dozens of Jackson songs that are infinitely better...) The upside is that maybe, just maybe, his children have got a better chance of a "normal" childhood without the presence of their father.

If he is truly dead... (The cynical part of my brain thinks this could be an elaborate ruse to escape from his debts and his freakish lifestyle, and he's actaully on his way to a place somewhere in Saudi...)

Anyway, Mr Michael Jackson. You were a unique person, and a truly talented individual. We salute you and your loss is a thing of great sadness. Rest in peace.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm bored of the whole thing already, he's dead, his music will be played on radio stations for the next few days, his album sales will rocket, people will spot him all over the world sparking rumours he is still alive then his music will stop being played, people will only download the songs they like, then as it all goes quiet again, they'll be a tribute concert to celebrate his life, the Jackson 5 will reform with Janet in Michael's role for one night only, which will turn into a world tour and an album of never before heard songs will be released. And you thought you were a cynic Mr Stevens! Sulshy.

Saturday, June 27, 2009 1:41:00 AM  

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