Thursday, 25 June 2009

Michael Jackson

Another RIP post, fuck.

Any words I may write will be drowned out not merely by size but by strength. Almost everyone in the world will have something to say, and most of them will say it. The scale of this is so far beyond the things I habitually blog about that in any other circumstances it would be almost comic. But in this case it carries more the authentic air of tragedy; for all that his life was so much part of the age of celebrity, with which he shared his childhood and which he did so much to push to its current level, it has the sense of tragedy in the deeper, historic sense, not the sense of merely losing a fucking football match - for so long now, and precisely because of what he had been, it had seemed to be heading this way (he was probably still in his 30s when I first started thinking he wouldn't last long into his 50s).

So no doubt it will seem a morality tale, proof that - if you let it - celebrity will get you. And let us not pretend, as we have with so many others, that we particularly respected what he became towards the end. But why was there still so much excitement about the 02 Arena shows, even though he hadn't toured for over a decade and, when our heads finally defeated our hearts, we all doubted he could get through it? Someone who can still, so late on, create so much anticipation - against all logical sense - must have made people feel, however momentarily, however falsely when we woke up in the morning, that anything was possible. And that, we can be sure, he did. Ignore, for the moment, all the rap remixes and "have you seen my childhood?" and the endless compilations. They were all part of the long road that could only end in this.

Within 24 hours we will all obviously be sick of this comparison point, but as the NME said in August 1977 over its cover picture of the Elvis of half a lifetime earlier, remember him this way. And be, perhaps, more grateful for the mundanity of your own life. But be grateful too that what you have just heard existed.

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