Thursday, July 02, 2009

In Death, He Is Bigger Than Life

Over the past few days, I have spent a lot of time listening to MJ's songs, watching his videos, reading about him. The last time I must have been this focussed on him was probably when I was 9 or 10. One thing is certain, the more I listen and the more I see, the more of my childhood I remember. And I believe this is the reason that Michael Jackson will be legendary, he is part of our childhood. We feel his loss stronger than other generations as it feels as if this is the death of our childhood. And he will live forever because he is so connected to so many of us in a way that has never occured for later generations.

I was reading the Wikipedia entry on MJ yesterday, and suddenly I remembered! In 1986 (I was 2), there was a 3D 'cinema' (more like a tiny tent) at Sathutu Uyana. The first and last time I ever went to Sathutu Uyana was to watch a movie in this 3D cinema. I remember quite vividly Michael Jackson flying out of the screen at me, and me being petrified and crying and my parents having to leave the cinema. Up till this day, when I drive past that part of the park, I look at it and remember this occasion. The Wikipedia entry made it clear - the movie I was so frightened by was 'Captain EO' - MJ's 3D movie venture which somehow found its way to little Sathutu Uyana in Sri Lanka. So my earliest memory of MJ was when I was 2.

We have moved houses several times since I was 10, so most of my things are packed up in boxes. When I googled the album covers of Bad and Dangerous, I realised not only did I own these albums but I had the biggest poster of Bad (above picture) in my room, when I was 7 or 8. And it was this picture that was my first crush. Looking back at all his 'looks', I believe MJ was at his most 'stud'liest then. I remember arguing with my mother when I was around the same age, that Michael Jackson is and forever will be the 'King of Pop' as Elvis was the 'King of Rock and Roll'. Somehow this tag was less from studying of musical theory but more from wanting to create a musical kingdom where Madonna, incidentally was classified as my 'Queen of Pop'.

When I was around 9, I remember expressing to a friend who was older than me that I was in love with MJ and she telling me that he was around 30 years older to me. And soon afterwards, I remember being heartbroken as he married Lisa Marie Preistley.

Back in the day, we did not have cable nor internet. MTV and VH1 was something watched during summer holidays abroad. My mother had the great intellect to videorecord tapes of MTV UK for me so that I could watch (the same videos repeatedly) once I return to Sri Lanka. So in these videos that I watched for countless hours in my childhood was 'Thriller' (I was scared of that one and chose many a times to fast forward through the zombies), 'They Don't Really Care About Us' (I banged the table with much gusto), 'Black or White' (Very cool those changing faces), 'Remember the Time' (the Queen is so beautiful!), 'The Way You Make Me Feel' (what was he doing?!) and several others. Re-watching them now brings back memories of my old house, my old tv room, and the innocence of that time.

My friendships when I moved to a new school were cultivated through the similar tastes in music. We all loved Michael Jackson, for many of us he was our first crush. The boys loved him more than the girls did, but I loved him as much as the boys did so there! a connection to make friends with these smelly creatures. That have cooties. We danced to his songs at parties, I danced to his songs at home, I belted out 'You Are Not Alone' for the neighbours to complain. The 'Earth Song' brought tears to my now teenage eyes.

I moved to university and 'Billie Jean' was the craze, even after all those years. The number of nights, we rocked the dance floor to this song. With the wrong guy after the wrong drink. Driving in the car with an ex, 'Liberian Girl' plays on his CD player and he mentions how it reminds him of me. (I don't know why but hey so gullible!). Watched the Martin Bashir interviews whilst at university, tuning in without fail for the first and second installments and seethed with anger at Bashir for making a mockery of MJ.

NEVER for ONCE believe MJ did anything dispicable and wrong as he was accused of.

Yes, there are times - many a times - in my childhood and whilst growing up, that Michael Jackson returned to the background. As more hip and better looking artistes appealed to our growing levels of hormones. Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys replaced Michael Jackson's Bad poster. Walkman played songs of Britney Spears or Boyzone. Yes, there were people who imitated MJ, who loved him WAY more than I did but that does not mean I loved him any less. As harsh as it sounds, if my teen idol Nick Carter were to drop dead tomorrow, I doubt I'd shed a tear. (Yes, thats harsh but its true.)

But Michael Jackson remained, time and time again he returned to the forefront of my life, and never once left it. My tears over the past few days are for him. Who marked my life's many occasions with his presence, allowed me to understand and truly love music, allowed me the opportunity to create links with others through our mutual love of him, allowed me to enjoy my best nights dancing to his music. My tears are for the icon that made my life so beautiful with his creativity.

And, ironically, I know I am not alone in these feelings. I just wish Michael was alive to see how much we loved him. And that we only failed to show it whilst he was alive simply because thats our human way. We fail to show the people in our lives everyday how much we love them, so how was it easier to show him - who was going through trials and tribulations so many miles away. However, I know that his last concert bookings would have shown him. That no matter what the press through at him, what the money mongering heathens accused him of, the fact that 10 concert dates were increased to 50 FULLY SOLD OUT concert dates meant that his fans still ADORED him.

Your life made our lives beautiful.

You will live forever in our memories and hearts.

Rest in Peace.


Stephanie Jung said...

Lovely thoughts. I keep thinking on his death, too, and how it might have meant alot to this lonely man to know how many people really did make some of their best memories to his music.

Rine said...

so true stephanie. what broke my heart was that he may not have known how much he was/is loved.