News & Insights 10 March 2009

The King & I…

Michael Jackson's house is actually bigger than thisHere’s the news – Michael Jackson is coming to London. No, not to dangle infants out of hotel windows, shop for priceless Ming vases or anything batty like that. He’s coming here to perform. That’s right – ten shows at the O2 Arena in July of this year. 

I am very excited. Michael Jackson is one of my favourite artists of all time and, although in recent years he has morphed into a character of the most riveting strangeness, he remains pop music’s greatest achievement.

Who knows whether he’ll actually be any good but, as my fine friend Ben pointed out to me on the phone but half an hour ago, “Smooth Criminal” done half-arsed will still be FREAKING SWEET. Let’s just hope we can get tickets.

I’ll be interested to see if this prompts a renaissance in the UK’s love affair with Michael Jackson and, more importantly, whether it will ultimately help shift the focus of his legacy back towards the music and away from the scandal. MJ is a nutcase in the fabled mould of the great Victorian eccentric – reclusive, enormously wealthy, gloriously weird. Back in the late 1800s, such eccentricity was actually celebrated. Now we slap a straitjacket on it and call it “mentally disturbed” – or worse, as in the King Of Pop’s case, we collectively condemn it for appalling and fantastical crimes with, seemingly, the sole purpose of selling newspapers. 

What I mean to say is that Michael Jackson may be as mad as a box of badgers but that doesn’t necessarily make him a pervert. We have an grossly unattractive tendency towards iconoclasm in this country, owing to the strange belief that because we make celebrities famous it’s our prerogative to lay waste to their careers – we giveth, and we taketh away (Matthew, XXVI: 4). This has been created by the media and is a total falsehood. You wouldn’t tell a stonemason that, if he failed to build your house to your satisfaction, you were entitled to stone him to death. That’s just bonkers.

Anyhow, before I lose myself yet further down the road of shamelessly defending the reputation of one of my musical heroes, I’ll simply say this – shamawwwwwwwwwwn people!! And I’ll see you at the O2.

Chris Lightyear

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