I am sitting in a beach cafe in Terrigal, north of Sydney, trying to process the news that not has only Michael Jackson, but Farah Fawcett has died too. This is one of those moments that you know you will always remember where you were when you first heard the news. People are coming and going in the cafe saying, ‘have you heard?’ The surprise is palpable. I am stuck in a trance with time irrevocably lost as I try to process a degree of shock.
In the same way we all felt when Princess Diana died, hearing this news about Michael Jackson, I feel like I have lost someone I knew, without actually knowing them. He had such a tremendous impact on my life.
Like every other person my age I grew up listening to Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five. I grew up watching his dance videos and practicing all the moves in front of my TV, getting carpet burn as my feet slid across the floor. I had my first dances to his slow songs – and my first kisses. I cried to his slow songs as I experienced my first heart breaks and laughed to his songs as I experienced my first growing up joys.
I danced because of that man. And his sister Janet. It is that simple. And because of his inspiration to dance I felt the rhythm of not just the dance, but the rhythm of life in my body. His music was the sound track to my life and my memories.
His life may have been wrong in so many, many ways, but in many, many other ways it was right. This isn’t to condone any his wrongs. It’s just, as someone wisely said today, he flew as low as he flew high. He was made and he was broken. And like everything else in his life, the world watched and listened.
Probably for the first time in his life since he was about 6 years old he is going to experience some real peace now and I hope that that peace extends to his family and friends.His light maybe gone but he was a candle that lit millions and long may that light burn.