I wanted to marry Michael Jackson

37-1993

<– Little Ange with my first love on the wall.

The first short story I ever wrote, and read aloud, was called ‘Michael Jackson and the Magic Hat’. I was in Year 3. Besides the magic hat, there was mystery, romance and intrigue. My best friends in Year 3 – Genna and Rebecca – both messaged me first thing yesterday morning. As did my sister, and many other people who shared MJ with me throughout my childhood.

I remember my MJ love being sparked by the ‘Remember the Time‘ film clip. I’d heard about him before this – little Robbie in kindergarten used to sing ‘Bad’, grab his crotch and do the moonwalk – but the love clicked in watching a cheeky, golden, beautiful, mysterious man running away from Eddie Murphy’s Egyptian king in the ‘Remember the Time’ film clip.rtt

From then on, all my childhood memories are tied in with Michael. My sister, my friends and I would watch Moonwalker and Thriller on VHS. We would sing ‘Man in the Mirror’ and ‘Heal the World’ into hairbrushes and onto cassette tapes (still have them). We would also film ourselves singing all sorts of songs – I remember particularly when my sister and I put on backwards caps and drew on moustaches and beards to act out ‘The Girl is Mine’. That video is still in existence too, and it’s hilarious. I remember the intense feeling of jealousy I had for the one little girl who sings at the end of ‘Heal the World’. In fact, I was so in love with Michael I was jealous of the children who got to spend time at Neverland (yes, the sick kids).

I was heartbroken both times Michael was accused of child abuse. The first time, I was still pretty young, and I just knew he wouldn’t do something like that. I could already see he was strange and sad – complex, with a dark past, making up for his childhood. He was playful and silly, perhaps. Children slept in his bed, I’m sure. But he would never hurt anyone. I still believe this. And it helped that Macauley Culkin stuck up for him. I believe his heart was pure and good, and he was also vulnerable. He crumbled, both physically and emotionally, in the years after those accusations. I also remember truly feeling jealous when he married, both Lisa Marie, and the Australian woman. I was completely astounded to see his milky, soft-looking body in the ‘You Are Not Alone’ film clip, with Lisa Marie.

mj-youngThere are things I always believed about him. I learnt through reading books on him, watching documentaries, interviews (oh, the Oprah one, such memories), and through that TV movie about his whole family. I believe he had his first nose job because he looked in the mirror and saw his father. After that, he did become addicted. He was running from some part of himself and of the past. I believe his skin began to turn white due to a pigment disease. But he chose to go the whole way. The song ‘Black or White’I love for the way it intentionally says ‘who cares? Black or white, we’re all people’. I heard the bandaids and gloves etc. were because of patches of black skin he still had. I believe much of this was aesthetics too, though – he had his own individual ideas of beauty: vaudeville and early silent movies, female movie stars (like Judy Garland, Elizabeth Taylor – a lifelong friend), the noir/gangster aesthetic, and others. He constructed himself to a degree, but some things went askew. It’s funny – I found the black Michael after the white one. And I found all ‘Michaels’ attractive. I still do. Through many of his songs, and through his charity work, generosity, and admissions about his own vulnerabilities etc. Michael also taught me so much about compassion and empathy. He could be this funny, sexy rebellious star and at the same time an open and kind-hearted person.mjjj

In 1995 my family went on a trip to the USA. The memories of this are a culmination of so many things that shaped my life back then. I saw the killer whales at Seaworld in Florida (after falling in love with Keiko, the star of Free Willy). We went to Disneyworld. I saw one of the real shoes Judy Garland wore in The Wizard of Oz, a movie I watched every day when I was very young. And in Las Vegas, I laid eyes on one of Michael’s sparkly gloves. Years later I got up close to one of his jackets at a Hard Rock Cafe. This is the closest I ever came to him. I would literally cry sometimes when I watched live footage, because I wanted to be there. When he toured, I was too young to go. I have been hoping for many years I would still get my chance…

I have always defended him to people. That role will continue in his death, I suppose. It’s just going to be a whole lot sadder now as rumours fly, and people are nasty, and he can no longer speak for himself. I think about his children, and how hard it is going to be for them. In my teens, after another obsession (which I’m not ready to speak of!), I had a heavy metal/rap phase, and then slowly found my tastes in 70s rock and other stuff 60s-80s – the stuff I generally listen to now. But throughout it all, Michael was still my man. At parties everyone would get pissed off at me because I’d try and put on ‘Thriller’ or ‘Beat It’ or ‘Billie Jean’ when they wanted Britney Spears, Eminem, Korn, trance music… anything else!

My sister and I made up a dance to ‘Ghosts’ when we were about 12 and 10, maybe a bit older. Years later, after a lot of drinks and a very green-tasting cake, we looked at each other and decided we must see if we could remember it. In front of the horrified faces of our partners at the time, we proceeded to do the full dance! And next weekend, when I head away for a small break and will be seeing my sister, I think we should do it again, in his honour. Sh’mon!

sd5Another thing I noticed is the unconscious influence my childhood obsession with Michael has had on other aspects of my life. These aspects include my taste in men (and women), and fashions that I’m drawn to. I am always drawn to people who are thin and have long dark hair. I love to wear black and white outfits (like all through the Bad/Dangerous era). I am always drawn to pants, jackets and boots with buckles. I like to have dark hair and wear eyeliner. I find this fascinating because for quite a few years I didn’t notice where these tastes had come from – until I watched the ‘Bad’ film clip again, and realised just how much effect he’d had on me.

Besides everything I’ve mentioned, I will always love his smile. His smile and eyes always looked the same, no matter how much the face around them changed. The right word for his smile is sweet. He was complex – both shy and small, and a superhuman performer – far larger than life. His career is phenomenal – the songs are fun, powerful, sad, meaningful, memorable. My favourites include (but are not limited to) ‘Remember the Time’ (as mentioned), ‘Stranger in Moscow’, ‘Earth Song’, ‘Human Nature’ (I once had a dream with this song in it and the feeeling of it was so powerful I’ll never forget it), ‘History’ (and the fantastic remix from the Blood on the Dance Floor album), ‘Speed Demon’ (which I blogged so recently), ‘Bad’, ‘Beat It’, ‘Thriller’, ‘Dirty Diana’, ‘Dangerous’, ‘Smooth Criminal’, ‘Black or White’, ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’ and ‘Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough’. And here’s a clip of one of the best performances he ever did (and the one where he has to pull the plug on Slash) at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards:

So, I am deeply saddened by his death. It is the death of a brilliant, eccentric, sweet man and artist, and also the death of one of my childhood dreams – a very potent one. I’m so grateful to have his music. RIP Michael Joseph Jackson. King of Pop forever! Hee hee! Ow!

14 thoughts on “I wanted to marry Michael Jackson

  1. I too loved him as much as you. As much as you can someone who exists as an enigma; unreachable, beautiful in often indescribable ways, magnificient in complexity. I also shared your jealousies! There must be thousands upon thousands of us…
    Rest in Peace Michael, you will be truly missed.

  2. Beautiful post Angela. I have such memories of dancing and singing to MJ with my sister.
    (And there’s still no other song that gets me in ‘the mood’ like Dirty Diana!)
    Dance is one of my passions. It’s the art form that truly speaks to me, which, for a writer, might be a bit odd, but dance brings me to tears like none of the others arts do and, for me, MJ was and probably always will be, the best dancer I’ve ever seen.
    RIP Michael.

  3. Speaking as a non fan Angela – this has always been the performance of his I most remember (though I always remember the moonwalk going for a lot longer!)

  4. Grog – that was a pivotal performance in his career. The first public moonwalk, I think? Thanks for that.

    I was still in shock yesterday, I teared up on and off all day but there was still a wall. Well, It’s just come down tonight. I’m sobbing like a little kid. He’s really gone 😦 Thanks all for reading this and commenting. It means a lot to me! xox

  5. Yep Ange – I was 11 at the time, and you couldn’t really avoid the moonwalk at any high school disco for the next 2-3 years!

    I also remember staying up to watch the 1984 Grammys when he won a record 8 Awards (oddly though he missed out on song of the year – “Every Breath You Take” won)

    In the US itunes he now has 42 of the top 100 singles, and the top 9 selling albums (he has the top 16 albums on Amazon). That’s pretty hard to even credit. For someone who stopped caring about his music after Bad, I still gotta say that is an incredible achievment.

  6. On my blog I am a tad incredulous about all the sales, but that is the amazing thing about music isn’t it?

    Here was a guy who was such a recluse, who hardly made a public statement ever, and yet because his music was part of so many people’s indiviudal soundtracks, there is a desire to revisit the music and recall that period of your life when you listend (and relistened) to the songs.

    My favourite tracks? Dirty Diana and Human Nature.

    It’s easy to be cyncial of people who (like you Ange) are pretty shattered at the moment. But I’d say most of us have musicians who for whatever illogical reason feel a connection with.

    So put on the CDs and let the emotions go Ange!

  7. Yes, I just read your blog post. I think a lot of the sales would be just from people hearing some of the songs on the radio again and remembering the time in their life when they did listen to that album. And they realise they want to revisit that.

    Dirty Diana is such a sexy song. I agree with Simonne’s comment on that. And yeah, Human Nature a real big one for me.

    I can see how people would be cynical of the fans and their grief. Especially if they just didn’t ever click with his music, or saw him from the outside and as the tabloids reported him, the way many did. I also think some people have a point on the media saturation – it’s unbelievable. I couldn’t even handle going near the TV or even the internet for too long yesterday because it was the same things over and over. I will just grieve in my own way, and know I’m sharing that feeling of loss with millions of people who felt as passionately about him as children and/or adults.

  8. I wouldn’t call myself a Michael Jackson fan, despite a brief period of childhood adoration, but this post still got me all teary!
    The outpouring of media coverage and global grief is testimony to his career. And I am finding myself amazed at his songs and dance moves – ones that I never knew existed, and ones that are half-buried memories. Thankyou for contributing to this awareness!

  9. We kind of grew up with him, didn’t? I really don’t feel like I need to watch the TV specials about him, I already know, I watched him and liked the art. The other stuff?? A mixture of tall poppy and fame. Seriously, who would want to be famous anymore?
    I am not sure about the media comparisons and with so much being said, it is the imperfections with people like Elvis and Kurt Cobain (the other demi-god of my life) that makes them human.

  10. beautifully written.. my sentiments exactly…

    I have been so eager for the new tour I even thought (or hoped if you like) that this whole death scheme was part of a brilliant PR project and all through the memorial service i wondered what kind of a come back he was mischievously planning to make.. Either he was going to enter the scene from the back of a curtain singing to some meaningful song or come out from the coffin with thriller. I cannot describe the disappointment I felt when Paris started to cry, which made me believe that he really was gone. Surely, a lot of people would be resentful for using death as PR, but i would so prefer that he was messing with us.. I sometimes still believe ( make believe rather..) that he couldn’t take it and hated the idea of the new tour -what with him hating tours – and ran away for good.. I guess that’s what denial is, but so be it :’ )…

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