Monday, June 29, 2009



I open the door flip flops in my hand because, clearly, tonight is the night when I have decided to give myself a foot infection. I am not exactly drunk, but I might agree that tipsy would be the appropriate word to use. Although Arsenal Fan, who is at Glastonbury, has been texting me all evening about what he is doing, and, obviously I am not there and have been in Brixton instead, I have had a rather wonderful evening. Such is my state of mind currently, I probably wouldn't have swapped it for Glastonbury. Maybe. And this is adding to my general Pimms-Vodka-Comedy triangle of wanting to come in and dance around the living room -

"Have you heard the news?"

Director Boy's voice comes down the stairs the moment I close the door. I know that Andy Murray is through to the third round, which, let me be honest, is my favourite form of news currently. The fact that I do not know there is news of any other sort to be aware of would probably suggest that I am missing out on something.

"No" I say, taking my time over the stairs because, well, y'know.

"Michael Jackson's died".

It is fair to say that this is not what I expected to hear. I round the corner and enter the living room where, ever 21st century consumers, BBC rolling news plays in one corner, and twitter in the other.

And it would seem - it is true. Some how the news sobers me entirely because I know this is one of those 'where were you?' moments. Me, I'm going to have to say slightly tipsy, incubating a foot infection, on the stairs of a flat in Streatham.

I sit down, compelled by some force I cannot rationalise, to watch. Though I know there is nothing more to be said.

Because I buy into this world. I buy into icons and music and fans and fame. I buy into everything that made this man great and made him terrible. More than that I buy into the ability of a song to make you smile, to make you cry, to define a moment of your life in a way nothing else ever quite does. Of the power of one man or woman on stage to make you understand all that cannot be understood any other way. And though I am too young to remember the Michael Jackson of the eighties (and, yes, as a child of Britpop I delighted in that Jarvis Cocker moment) it has not stopped his music, his videos, his dance routines, bleeding into my life and my memories.

And as I sit I realise I cannot fight the aching sadness that it should end like this.

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