Monday, 29 June 2009

Thanks for the music

I drove into work today listening to a medley of - what else? - MJ music as I blasted the air con on an already sweltering morning. Having waded through a wealth of Sunday supplements/pull out special editions all weekend of the rise and fall and further fall of The King of Pop, there is nothing I could say that hasn't already be said.

As I sang along to the addictive 'Beat it' and even did a bit of finger clickin' to 'The way you make me feel' I felt, well... a bit sad. My entire childhood was dancing before my eyes as his music carried me straight back to my friend Mandy's overly pink bedroom where we wore out her Thriller LP. To the first ever all night TV show called 'Rock around the clock' that showed the full 12 minute Thriller video which we recorded, then endlessly watched, trying to perfect our moves to the zombie dance. To '88 when we boarded a bus from Belfast to Cork - naturally the Irish driver got lost and 10 hours later we arrived for the MJ Bad tour, that blew us away. To chasing after cute boys at Xmas discos with plastic mistletoe to 'The way you make me Feel,' to working in a bar in New Zealand that played the 'Scream' video on loop on 24 tvs...and on and on.

Mandy was my best friend from the age of 6. She discovered Michael first, became an obsessed fan immediately and bagsied him as her hero. I liked him, but swore my allegiance to Prince aged 11 after listening to 'Let's go Crazy.' In those days you picked your pop hero and that was it. Lifetime commitment. To this day I love Prince - even watching Purple Rain the morning my son was born. Yes,yes, I know it is shite, but I don't watch it with adult eyes, I'm viewing it as the 12 year old fan, who knows every word - and hell, is proud to admit it. I even like 'Under a Cherry Moon' - how's that for dedication eh?

Anyway, I digress. I realised I wasn't mourning him as such - he seemed to have such a sad old life from start to finish that there was much to pity with that boy/man when he was alive - but I was mourning the passing of my own childhood. In his death, some part of it was gone too. A piece of cultural DNA from my generation. A generation that spawned the greats of music - the likes of whom can't be recreated today - as the way that we embrace music now has altered so radically. Gone are the days when our fav band climbed the charts for that elusive no1 spot, gone is the collective watching of our chart show TOTP, gone is Smash Hits and it's song lyrics and gone the painstaking process of recording snippets of songs on a crackling old VHS machine to create 'pop videos' of our own. There seems an innocence to it all that has been replaced by excessively over priced tours and merchandise - an innocence that we can't reclaim.

So Michael, rest in peace. And thanks for music. It still sounds as fresh as the day you released it. And I still know the moves to Thriller.

No comments: