MJ in my favourite stage of his life -- the looks, music, everything
Michael Jackson (MJ)
The news of Michael Jackson's death has pushed me out of my inactive mode on this blog. He is one of my all-time favourite musicians. I was around 10 when I first heard his 'Beat It', 'Thriller' and 'Billie Jean'...and my father got the newly released 'Thriller' video and its making, for my sis and me. We watched it nearly everyday until we had the whole thing by heart -- the steps, the moves, the songs (we blabbered most of the words thanks to his style of singing), the dialogues...even the details of the make up, as he was a werewolf in that, and agonised over his chemistry with 'that girl' who had acted with him in 'Thriller'.
The 'Thriller' link, a must-watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Xs9OQHpwDE
I was really upset at the news of his death this morning, much to most people's surprise. I cannot say why I am so upset. It may be because I associate MJ with some great memories. He enriched my musical inclinations. He along with 'Wham' was 'up there' at one point for me, both literally and figuratively. Their posters were all over the walls at home.
I am going to list out the memories I have in connection with MJ...as a tribute to this awesome performer who is no more. I actually harboured secret hopes of attending one of his concerts somewhere in the world...sigh.
- I got my own room around the 'Beat It' song period -- small room no doubt, but my 'own' nevertheless. Own room with own tape recorder so I could listen to my own music. A lot of it MJ.
- I would listen to him religiously, so much so that my 80 year old grandad in the next room decided he needed to know what the fuss was all about and borrowed the Michael jackson tape from me. This was a typical, religious thaathaa who performed 2-3 hour long poojais every day! He seemed to quite enjoy it and only returned it after ten days or so when I made him!
- For a time, everyday after school, I would watch 'Thriller' with utmost fascination. Like a ritual.
- That was the first time I ever heard of a werewolf and my sis and I are were thereafter inspired to watch the 'adult film' titled an american werewolf in London which in turn, had inspired MJ to make 'Thriller'.
- I had fun entertaining my sis with the steps from the 'Thriller' video. No doubt, even the thought of this will entertain all now;)
- At that point MJ with his trademark crotch-clutching moves never struck me as vulgar. It was just a unique thing he did. Thankfully, I considered it inimitable so never tried it.
- I did try his moonwalk and it looked like nothing on earth...hey, after all, it was the moonwalk, heh heh. I think I fell a few times trying it since the floor and my footwear had to be slippery for me to accomplish a moonwalk. My older sis, the only privileged audience-member no doubt, was kept thoroughly mesmerised by my antics.
- When MJ performed Billi Jean on stage, it was fantastic. Truly one of the best stage performances I have ever seen. I still like it.
- Sadly, at ten and just above, hailing from Tamilnadu and based in the South of India, it was rather difficult for me to make out the words of his songs, which limited my rendering these numbers anywhere. His gasps, rasps and weird little breaths and noises, hoots, etc. in his songs required an extraordinary amount of guts to even try and imitate! BUT, it was super fun singing my versions of his words.
- It bothered me greatly that I felt he sounded girlish. And strangely, although I knew he was a guy and I was crazy about his music, I never had a crush on him in the romantic way. (I had way too many crushes back then!) I had a huge MJ fixation alright, but I guess he was too thin and too non-masculine-sounding for any romance!*sniff*
- The actual music in his songs even today is simply fabulous.
- His obsession with colour, black or white, never bothered me. I simply did not care since his music and performances were above colour. So, literally, I must tell him: it don't matter if you're black or white. However, I must say I preferred him black anyday.:-) It suited him so well.
- I had a poster of MJ's gifted to me by my Dad who adopted the if-you-can't-beat-'em, join 'em way, since he was the one who would bring us the latest music from all over the world and therefore the reason for the MJ craze in our home. This poster was not a very flattering one and my sis who was never a sucker for obsession as I am, simply refused to let me put it up in 'our' room. (Read: 'her' room -- one of the reasons I moved out into my own smaller room, hmph. The poster-decisions were all hers!)) . I did not want to put it up in my new room for what reason I forget... oh, yes, the poster was simply too LARGE, and so, I put it up in our bathroom, the one shared by my mom, sis and me. It was fixed with some new, then-latest, extremely effective adhesive blobs right opposite 'the throne', so that MJ would look down on us as we downloaded you-know-what-on-the-pot(!). My mom would get extremely annoyed and frustrated every time she went to the loo saying 'he makes me uncomfortable'. :-). When we finally decided to take it off after some years(!), I ended up giving it away to one highly grateful-to-the-point-of-tears, crazy-about-MJ classmate called Gina, whose claim to fame in school WAS being MAD about Michael Jackson. Hey Gina, wherever you are (I hardly knew you I know!), I wonder if even you are this moved today with MJ gone. If you are still an MJ fan, let me raise a glass in toast with you then...to MJ!
- At that point (early teens, etc.) when I saw any live concerts of his on TV, I would be amazed at the hysteria amongst the audience. Girls weeping, others clutching at their heads (even men), throwing off clothes, etc. I never understood that as I was too young. Frighteningly, I understand it now. Mob mentality catches on, I guess!
- In the song 'We are the World' (USA for Africa), he was easily the most interesting singer. Loved his parts. A very 'fervent' singer. Really felt his music. That was his specialty. Not to forget to mention his superb dancing skills.
'Billie Jean' video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VASYhabHkM Don't miss the moonwalk!
I don't think any of my friends 'got' MJ like I did then. I think Gina and I (I was more understated!) were the only ones in our class at school who really liked him so much. I guess the Tamil/Indian imitations of MJ's antics including Prabhu Deva, put people off! Ha ha.
Me, I still regularly listen to his numbers...
The scary case against him was indeed scary...but since he was acquitted, I am going with his innocence!Amazing what music can do for you and to you. My favourites of his songs are Thriller, Beat It, Billie Jean, The way you make me feel, Girl is Mine, Bad, Wanna Be Startin' Something, and Ben, One Day in your life, Rockin' Robin when MJ was a kid, and many more.
May the King of Pop's soul rest in peace ...or perhaps even be reincarnated for some even better music if possible. That would suit us MJ fans just fine.