I was sad to hear of the death of Michael Jackson yesterday. In my eyes he was a very talented performer.....it is simply not enough to describe him as a singer/dancer. He was an amazing performer. Crotch-clutching aside , that is!
But there was another side to Michael Jackson. The scandal and his odd behaviours. I feel like a fraud writing this post about him. I can't in all honesty go all out and do a tribute Post to him. Besides the strange, weirdo behaviours that earned him the nickname "Wacko Jacko" there's also the child molestation accusations. Hmmm.... worrying. I know he was cleared of all charges, but there never seems to be smoke without fire. He became the perennial Peter Pan, changed his skin colour ( or sufered from Vitiligo??) and had plastic surgery. He never had what could be termed a typical childhood due to his successful stage career. And then he revealed that he'd been sexually abused as a child by his father. Now that's the bit that gets me. It is a proven fact that a high proportion of people who have been sexually abused as children go on to sexually abuse children themselves when they become adults. We, in Ireland know that only too well, given the recent revellations of our own Ryan Report.
Michael Jackson had three children himself, brought into this world in what seems to me to be strange circumstances. These children are now being cared for by their mother Debbie Rowe until "arrangements" are made?? What the hell is that about?? Makes you wonder even more about the "arrangements" made when they were born. I believe the truth about Michael Jackson and his behaviours around children will be revealed through his own children, in time.
I was upset about our recent Ryan Report and my post Shameful Ireland... was a result of this. I do not understand the perpetrators in that report and I absolutely make no excuses for their behaviours, their own childhood experiences notwithstanding.
Yet, here I am writing about Michael Jackson. And that's why I feel like a fraud. So how can I write this?
The only way I can is to wear two hats.
Hey, THAT I can do .... in spades! Sure don't I ( and you too) wear at least ten hats every day! Piece of cake!
So, I'm now swapping my Michael the Personal Hat for Michael the Performer Hat. That's not a huge stretch of the imagination. His Producer said as much yesterday. The personal Michael who was shy and very polite and the performer Michael were two different people, according to him. This is the only way I can proceed.
You see Michael the Performer had a huge influence on us dancers in the 80's. Just so you understand a little about me, dancing was a huge part of my life. I'm not by any means claiming to be the best dancer but it was what I spent a large part of my life doing in the 80's and early 90's. For about 15 years we did show after show, after show. We did Tops of the Towns, musicals etc. We were always rehearsing for something or other, and going to dance classes. At one stage I remember rehearsing for 3 shows at the same time!
So, it's safe to say that any dance artist at that time had a big influence on us as dancers, and on the choreographers we worked with. And we had some brilliant choreographers. Two in particular stand out. Oh, boy did they work us hard! Not a beat of any song was left unaccounted for! We used Michael's songs a lot...and Janet Jackson's. They had such fabulous, beaty dance music.
As dancers we soaked up any dance shows and videos we could get access to. That was quite limiting then. MTV was the only music channel and VCR's were barely invented. We didn't even have one at home! I remember when the Thriller music video was released. It was a huge event. It was to be shown on MTV at midnight! We all made sure we were home by then and stayed glued to the TV, and we were absolutely mesmorised by it. It was truly history in the making. This was not just a singer... dancing. This was a music video. There was a singer... a story and a huge dance sequence. It was a mini-production. It influenced the way other artists released their videos.... right up to the present day.
I remember going to see his Bad concert in approx 1987. It was a truly memorable and amazing show. I went with my best friend. We had basic tickets but as we got their early and there was no-one policing the seated area, we got fabulous seats very close to the stage! Not that we used them we were dancing so much.... but we had a great view and it was an amazing show. Fabulous experience. Actually, I also remember that we hung around Jury's Hotel in Cork as that's where he was staying! When a member of his entourage passed by we tried, in vain, to get an autograph!! God love us! But we did see a relatively young pat Kenny there along with some other RTE heads! That made up for the lack of an autograph .... NOT!!
As for his music videos, my favourite has to be Smooth Criminal. Whilst Thriller was amazing, Smooth Criminal was so classy.... all the guys with hats.... dancing as one.... fabulous. Then, whilst surfing YouTube I came across Dangerous from a live show. From this you can see the influence he has to the present day. Just look at the Flawless performance in the finals of Britains Got Talent and you'll see what I mean. You can even see it in Diversity's performance....... though this performance brings it to a whole other dimension! I hope to test this theory of mine when I go to to see the Britains Got Talent roadshow next Tuesday in the O2 Arena, Dublin!!
So, whilst I lament the passing of Michael the Performer, the passing of Michael the Personal makes me feel..... sad. For all concerned.