As a daughter of a dj, and an only child, all I had in my young life was lots of my own company and my records. I would wait til mum had gone to work in the school holidays, gather my records around me and plug my mike into my stereo. My record collection in 1983 amounted to a Smash Hits compilation, some of my dads old stock (Earl Klugh, KC and the Sunshine Band, Friends of Mr. Cairo by Jon & Vangelis) and Michael Jacksons Off the Wall and Thriller. Somehow, I got through the hours, and days.
My little radio show, was basically one hour of Michael Jackson, interspersed with letters and replies to Kathy and Claire being read out loud by me, to an audience of woodchip and wool carpet. As I got older, me and my friends would learn Michaels' dance routines off by heart, but it was to take another 15 years before I perfected the moonwalk. More than anything I wanted to see him live, but when the BAD tour came to England, I was laid up in bed with 30 stitches to my leg and only my lifesize poster of Michael Jackson on my door to compensate. I grew up, moved on and Michael and I went our seperate ways musically. I was always keen to hear his new stuff, but I like most people found the controversy surrounding him a little too hard to bear...even after taking it all with a good deal of 'he's just being ironic' or 'thats just the tabloids being stupid'.
Then of course, THOSE stories started to leak out, which were too much to ignore. I will go on record as saying that had I been on a jury in that trial I would have found Michael Jackson innocent. Guilty of being naive certainly, for craving the attention of those he felt akin to certainly, and for being thoroughly taken advantage of by those who knew him best and had the most to gain from bringing down the most adored figure in international popular culture.
Anyone looking at that pale, frail, man knew he was a soul in turmoil, always striving to get away from the hideous childhood memories that haunted him, by building a zoo in his grounds, buying a monkey, or changing his physical appearance to something only his rapidly prospering plastic surgeons recognised. With his music, whatever people say about him, he touched my life as a child, a thousand miles away from another gender, class and colour, with a light and sparkle that nothing else ever did. He inspired a life long love of good pop music in me and infected me with a penchant for accessorising ones' outfit. He showed the world that a guy could dance and still be sexy in a time when boys would just gaze at their shoes. He showed other singers how to do it properly.
In these times of 'do it yourself' music and disposable-churned out daily mp3s by one hit wonders, we are left without the last iconic, genuine superstar. A flame has been extinguished with the death of Michael Joseph Jackson.
Let him rest in peace