Posts tagged: King Of Pop

Sunday 1st November 2009

November already? The penultimate month of the year? 2009 nearly down? Well it is a year I am actually looking forward to seeing the back of for many reasons. Perhaps a little too early for a review of the year or even rant of the year. I will save for that sometime next month. Today was the day I finally went to London to see This Is It. My review shortly but first a quick roundup of the weekends activities.

Saturday was not too bad, got up watched television, had some breakfast. Bummed around online for a short time before the North London Derby. I watched episode six of FlashForward but my parents wanted to talk, so I was playing little attention to the dialogue and will have to re-watch the episode in full later this week. Most likely during the day so there are no interruptions. Then it was down to the business of playing our deadliest rivals. I was actually nervous, particularly after throwing away at 4-2 lead last year. However, my nerves were settled before half time. What a game! What a result! Barry had predicted in a comment on my Facebook status that Fabregas would have a blinder, I just did not think a run like Maradona in the 1986 World Cup!

On Friday night I had wanted to catch FlashForward but my sister, Julie wanted to watch Transformers, so I threw it on via the Xbox. I have seen the movie twice (once at the cinema, then again at IMAX). I have then also seen parts as screen on Sky and skipped to my favourite parts on the computer. We started the showing around 10pm and it finished around 12:15am, including breaks to get ice cream. The movie was as great as ever and I had a sudden urge to watch the sequel there and then. I will be patient and wait for the trilogy DVD box set (hopefully by then I will be buying on BluRay!)

Pav got his iPhone last Tuesday (27th) and had to send me a photograph of him reading my blog. It was an historic moment in our friendship. Ever since I have known him, over eleven (yes eleven) years we have always both had Nokia handsets. Usually the same models. It all began back in 1998 when we both had the amazing 6110. Perhaps still one of the best mobile phones I have ever learnt. It was until October last year when we both owned a N73 before my upgrade to my current E65. However, we were still with the same brand. Recently, following a test drive on the iPhone through a friend, Pav had his heart set on one and upgrade last week. While I agree that the phone has a few benefits, I still believe it is more of a fashion accessory than a decent mobile device. Although I have tried to make my phone more of a personal organiser (to sync with Outlook) I never put enough information in the PIM to make it worth while. All I need on a phone in reality is wireless connectivity and I have that with the E65 and it is great to be able to check my mail while in the lounge. (Well until Santa brings me a netbook!) Thank you but I will be sticking with the Finnish manufacturer for the rest of my life. If I was to switch, which is extremely unlikely, it would be a HTC device with Android!

T3G:2 on iPhone 3GS

I got back to the house around 19:20 just in time to watch Harry Hill’s TV Burp. Excellent as always, this is just the warm up act for The X Factor. I have to be honest, I now just look forward to JEdward’s peformance to see how crinch worthy it can be. Afterwards we watch the new Impressionist show on BBC1 which was very good. I then retired to my room to get on with some things. For some unknown reason I suddenly was enthused with energy and got various tasks completed including updating the blog and organising various other geeky things. I finally went to bed around 3am, knowing I had to be up relatively early on Sunday for my day out.

I got up around 9am during breakfast, I watched Smooth Criminal (it was being shown on one of the music channels). As my Mum was awake, I showed her the trailer (below) via the XBox to show her what I was going to be watching that evening. She was surprised at how well he moved for someone just a few years younger than her. I bummed around online before getting ready. I was listening to non-stop Michael Jackson on the Squeezebox! I eventually had a shower around 11.30am before heading out just after midday. My plan was to get into London for around 2pm and meet up at Paddington station. I knew I would make it in plenty of time, I just did not know my friend would be nearly thirty minutes late but never mind. I parked my car at the station, got my ticket from the one “Time Machine” that was working and then headed for the platform. I missed the 12:36 by a minute. If I had run, I would have made it but I was not in a hurry. Just as I got up to platform three, the train pulled away. Never mind, my next pressure issue was the fact that the seal for one of my ear phones was missing. While not a major problem, it annoyed me because I had fixed the earphones the previous evening. I looked around for the seal and then came to the conclusion that I had just left it on my desk in my room. The next train was at 12:55, I had a while to wait and listened to my mp3 player, I had charged and added new songs yesterday. These include Britney Spears – “3″ and Whatcha Say by Jason Derulo.

I got to 13:58 as I walked onto the Paddington Concourse. I had a little wait but kept listening to my music before finally meeting up with my friend. We had a drink in Starbucks at the station before heading to the O2. We headed to the ticket machine to collect our tickets but the machine was out of paper, I assume. So we had to head upstairs, queue with people wanting jumbo popcorn and then get tickets. As they had already been issued (according to the computer). I had to wait for a manager (who looked about 17) to come over and sign off the reprinted tickets which were then finally issued. We then headed off for a late lunch. The Haha restuarant was right opposite the entrance to The Michael Jackson Exhibition. There was quite a queue outside, so we got some food and thought if we had time we would pop in and look around. The film showing was not until 19:30, so we had plenty of time on our hands. In the restaurant they were playing back to back MJ! It was the perfect atmosphere for a Michael Jackson day!

An Asian couple were sitting the other side of the restaurant next to us and my friend asked if the exhibition was worth going to see (the giveaway was the official exhbition bag the girl had sitting by her). They recommended it but said it would take two hours to go around because it was so busy. We would be able to squeeze it in, if the waitres was quick processing our bill.

Our tickets were printed at 17:37 and we headed straight in pretty much after we were cleared by the Chinese man at the door. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. We watched a shortfilm with strobe lighting before going through to the actual exhbition itself. It was amazing with some really interesting facts and artifacts. The original recording contract signed with Motown Records and signed in May 1970 by Joseph Jackson. There was even the hand written lyrics by Michael for Beat It! The most touching and perhaps most emotional to see were his designed costumes for the concerts. Brand new outfits for all his big numbers, Beat It, Billie Jean and Smooth Criminal. Unfortunately no photography is allowed at the exhibition but more reason for you to come down to the O2 and see for yourself. (Although some people have been able to sneak a few pictures and upload them to FlickR)

There was a cabinent with all his awards, Guiness World Records, American Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, there could have been more but only a handful have been selected by the estate, including the odd Grammy! You can view some behind the scenes photographs and updates on their official Facebook page. The final part, was details of the shows. Copies of all the different versions of the tickets had been framed and placed on a wall at the last room. I wondered for a split second how it would have been holding those tickets for 18th July 2009. There was a mock up of the stage in a model. MJ had even wanted a video of Vincent Price played during the Thriller performance. There was a book of condolscenes or rather several books which I signed (once I found a working pen) and left my personal note to the King Of Pop). The final article was the world famous sequened white glove. We then headed for the exit and the souviner shop. This perhaps hurt, all the merchadise that would have been sold during the concerts was now being re-used in his memory. Many people will say that this is just sheer profiteering out of a dead artist’s legacy. To a certain extent I agree but when it is someone so important and so significant, it is not about the money. It is about having a memory and perhaps even buying a piece of the magic. While a younger me, may have been tempted to buy a t-shirt, bag or hat, there was no need. I had the movie to look forward to, I had the memory of him and the music. Plus, I had the memories of his visit to Earls Court almost exactly three years earlier.

It only took us an hour to get around, it was not that busy, being quite well into a Sunday evening, most people would have come first thing and now be on their journeys home. We had a good hour to kill before the movie and went for a walk outside before taking a seat on the comfy sofa’s outside screen eleven. Slowly a large queue formed, with some forty minutes to go before the movie started. We could hear some of the MJ classics playing in the auditorium and I felt a bit of a buzz when I heard Human Nature. I remember getting home from work and watching the trailer on YouTube. I instantly updated both my Facebook and Twitter feeds with one of Michael’s lines. I had been looking forward to this precise moment for months and was glad I had been persuaded to come all the way to London’s O2 (the world’s best venue apparently!) rather than go to see it at Reading, even if I would have seen it sooner, it was well worth the wait and the company.

We eventually were allowed in at around 19:20 and I found seats perfectly in the middle, although a few rows higher would have imroved the view but only slightly. I was all set, phone was off. Then Asteroid came on. This was definiately going to be it.

It was an amazing concert movie. I loved every second, it was a pleasure and an honour to watch a musical genius still wanting to push the barriers of what is possible with a stage show. Even at sixty percent, the King Of Pop was still at the top of his game, saving his voice for the actual concerts, his moves were as mesmerising as ever. He was at times out dancing his backing dancer, most of whom you would imagine were half his age! The shelf life for a dancer is around 27/28, so for Michael Jackson to still be able to pull off his signature moves and keep up the stamina to perform such an elaborate show would have wowed the fans and even the sceptics. Highlights for me, were Human Nature (most of which has already been used in a TV spot for the movie trailer) Beat It, Smooth Criminal and even Billie Jean. The performance of Beat It (my favourite MJ track, but I am sure you knew that already) was absolutely breath taking. The new jacket was going to be set alight at the end of what would have been a memorable showcase. Michael was forever the showman and to see his ideas, even in this rather raw, rough cut format was great. I loved the intro scene to Smooth Criminal with Humphrey Bogart chasing and shooting at Michael before he smashes through a window! In 3D that would have been something else. I could keep writing about this movie but I do not want to spoil it for anyone who is yet to venture to the cinema. Plus my words are nothing in comparison to the watching the movie for yourself. Trust me, better to watch it now at the cinema, it will not be the same on DVD when it is released next year (even if you have a 50″ plasma television like my best friend Dave). If I had one critisim of the movie, it would be that I would have wanted some of the more recent material included. There is a few seconds of Speechless (perhaps my favourite song from the Invicible album) at the outset. I am just trying to picture how Unbreakable or You Rock My World could have been performed. It would have been out of this world. During the closing credits, I wondered what could have been and felt empty. The concert would have been taking place just a few feet away behind the screen I was watching. The greatest concert ever – the world is never going to get to see!

Saturday 18th July 2009

This blog has become a very large burden. I think having a blog is fine, if you live a rather empty life, as you can then dedicate a great deal of time on it’s upkeep. However, when you are running around like me (more so this summer than ever before). It is difficult to find the time to sit down and blog, let alone remember exactly what you were doing, thinking and listening to a week, two, three or more ago. I will try and do my best. As you read this, I have already fallen some two weeks behind and it may be well into August before I truly catch up with myself. I will therefore keep the ‘catch up’ as brief but enlightening as possible.

Last week, was very busy with me spending only three of the five week nights actually in. While that not may seen many nights out (two on the bounce) to many of you out there, you have to appreciate that I keep my party time for the weekends. It is rare for me to leave the flat on a school night. On Monday I watched Michael Jackson – The Last Days on More4, as I had been busy on Sunday evening (12th) with the server install with MightyMouse, when it had been screened for the first time on Channel 4. (With hindsight it did not matter, as it was repeated regularly across the Channel 4 network for the week) Although I should have been updating the blog and Pav would regard it as a wasted hour. On Tuesday I had another night in, as usual but made very little progress with the blog or anything for that matter. On Wednesday evening I went over to see my friend Clive and help him with his website. On Thursday evening, I was catching up with old work colleagues in Maidenhead and Cookham. We went for a drink at Bolters Lock and a curry at the Cookham Tandoori. It was great to catch up with them, the last time I had seen them was in March. The last and only other time I had been to this restaurant was back on Wednesday 15th June 2005. (How do I remember the date so well? That evening, when I got back from the night out, I ordered my computer from Overclockers). Friday night, last night became the first night in and I needed the rest. It was good to have time to myself and I have major minor plans for the weekend (if that oxymoron even makes sense to you). I made a list and actually plan to get most of it completed.

The weekend though it empty, there is a big whole were Saturday night should be. I should be back in Wycombe at the this precise moment, planning my outfit and bouncing off the walls. I would then head into Central London in the early afternoon in preparation for the concert at the O2. Okay, I understand it was not to be, but hearing all about the production, The Dome Project and the puppets as zombies for Thriller, that were planned. I think the director, Kenny summed it up, in an interview when he said, “We are having a blast!”. It would have been the greatest show on earth, I have no doubt. Once again, I am left with the music and the thoughts of what could have been and tears that I will never be able to ‘undo’ my biggest regret and that will live with me forever.

Friday 17th July 2009

Every story has a beginning. Every adventure has a starting point. Mine begins way back in 1986. 31st March 1986 to be precise. The location is Lane End, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. Little did I know at the time, how this one moment would make such a significant impact on the rest of my life. It is a good thing, therefore that my Dad arranged for the whole event to be filmed. Secondly it is also a good thing that the elders (my Aunty I believe) allowed for a change in the music which enabled this moment of sheer musical magic to happen.

I have not seen this video for a while, several years in fact. Although it used to be play regularly during my younger years going through primary school. My Mum and Dad would need little excuse to put on the VHS, which by now was showing it’s age. The last time I watched it was when my Dad had had the VHS converted to DVD and we watched it together as a family and remembered how much a wonderful party it had been all those years ago.

Fast forward some twenty years and my MJ moments occurred on a regular basis. There was actually a long journey from February 2003 to June 2005 and finally November 2006. The fans out there among you will already recognise the significance of the month and year but for the rest of you, I am going to explain and point you in the direction of the archives for you to read more if you so wish.

There had been a big build up to the documentary but most of it had passed me by until perhaps a week or so before, when I started to see preview clips. The fact that I was working in Bedford and commuting from High Wycombe every day, meant I had very little time in the evenings to watch much television. The one which was shown was of Michael in his studio with Martin, showing him how to moonwalk and explaining how he came up with the melody or back beat for Billie Jean. I remember watching the documentary with my whole family that evening. I was disappointed with Martin Bashir, I expected better from him. Michael even said to the award winning journalist, “Your better than this”. This being some of the gutter press questioning and speculation that Bashir had decided to sensationalise the story for his own agenda.

In my final year at University, I was sharing a house with Nav and Paul, both big MJ fans. It was in late October 2003, that I heard One More Chance for the first time and Paul, actually let me know he had been released to radio and sent me the mp3 of the song played on German radio (there was still the DJ speaking in German over the intro). It was released in November, and throughout that time I mention the release of Number Ones and the arrest and subsequent trial. My dreams of the greatest comeback in entertainment history, were shattered but I was willing to stay the course.

In my first job after university, I was changing over the laptop for a lawyer (as I had been doing for most of the summer and early autumn 2004). I was intrigued by a little paper and signature that this Japanese lawyer had placed to the side of her computer screen on the wall. It took a while to register, if you had been there you would have noticed the penny drop. I first noticed Sony Corporation and then realised, it was the signature of one Michael Joseph Jackson. A moment from some time ago, but a keep safe if there was ever such a word. Although I had been tempted to grab a photo with my camera photo (a 6210, if I recall at the time). It would never had done the moment justice, so I decided to keep the whole affair as a memory and not even mention it on my blog.

I had two interviews in December 2004. I came home from Reading to get some food before heading out for interview number two. VH1 were playing Michael Jackson, read the full story of the final day of Immortals Week from Friday 3rd December 2004.

For Christmas 2004, my lovely sisters got me Michael Jackson – The Ultimate Collection. I recall, coming home one Friday night and putting on the concert DVD and listening to the finale featuring Man In The Mirror. Anika text me to comment on how the spins are just mesmerizing. I had actually been prompted into finding out about the greatest hits collection by my old house mate, Paul early December. It was the single, We’ve Had Enough, a protest at the Iraq war, which would lead me to discover unreleased material was about to surface.

In January 2005, the documentary Wacko About Jacko aired on Channel 4. I got home from work on Tuesday 5th January in time to catch the show and watched it in great anticipation, even if I hated the title. The programme would be like a skeleton key for me, opening the door to many of UK fans and various forums. Most of these friends remain to this day and have only become stronger over the course of recent weeks.

My involvement with the other fans became regular and I wrote, perhaps my best ever blog post on Monday 13th June 2005. A rather bland Monday, turned out to being a moment of justice and HIStory. At the time, I wrote the blog, literally moments after the event had unfolded on rolling television news networks and it was heart warming to know that I knew people out there, standing and cheering outside the court house. I was with them in spirit.

On Sunday 2nd October 2005, I went to see Arsenal play Birmingham in the League (we won, one nil, thanks to a late goal from Robin Van Persie) at Highbury. Afterwards, instead of heading directly home, as you would have expected, I headed to Picadilly Circus to my first MJ event. Anika had arranged with other fans to raise money for the Katrina victims via the Red Cross. The plan was to have MJ fans come down to show their support, while impersonators performed under the bright neon lights of London’s West End. On a side note, I had discovered a Gooner blog via Technorati weeks prior to this event and actually e-mailed the blogger. Little did I know that Terry was both an Arsenal fan but also a very big fan of the King Of Pop, I would meet him for the second time at the event and then subsequently at future events and Arsenal games. I never uploaded the photographs from the event at the time for some unknown reason. Having dug them off the archives (i.e. my 320gig portable hard drive, well not very portable when you consider old IDE caddy drives). So here, they finally are!

Seany, Anika &

On Saturday 22nd October 2005 the item was returned. The Moonwalker had returned home, after spending over six years out in the wilderness. I lent Pav my VHS original copy of MJ’s one and only movie blockbuster and did not see it again from 1999 until that fateful day in late autumn. I personally thought it had disappeared into the garage forever.

In late August 2006, I was one of the lucky people to see the first ever performance of Thriller Live. Yes, although it is now a common stable of the West End, it all started way back in 2006! I went to the show with my friend Victoria, herself a very big Jackson fan. Although we have lost touch in recent years, we went to several MJ related events together. My favourite moment from the show, organised and arranged by Adrian Grant (whom I met at Anika’s birthday party the previous September) was when they had children and full gospel choir, perform Speechless from the album Invincible.

A dream came true in November 2006, when I finally saw the man for himself at The World Music Awards in Earls Court. As with all MJ related events, it was a roller coaster ride, from start from finish. Would he be appearing, as there had been rumours for the the show the previous year but MJ had not turned up. At one point I had a free ticket to the event, which was revoked hours later. I then lost out on the official online ballot of free tickets but arranged to go with Victoria. She let me down, litterally at the door, so I had to scramble a ticket from Holly while in the queue outside the arena around 3pm. It would be way after 8pm by the time we were allowed inside. Was it worth the wait? You bet, I would have waited twice as long.

I met Mutaza at my first MJ event and we kept in touch via forums, MySpace and Hotmail (now MSN Live Mail). He explained that he was staring in a music video for The Mitchell Brothers in late September 2007. He had previously also starred in the Sugababes video, About You Now as a chef (on screen for less than ten seconds) in the preceeding few weeks.

On Valentine’s Day, last year I finally owned the biggest selling album of all time. It had taken me a while but I had finally bought, arguably, Michael Jackson’s greatest master piece. As I listend to the album on the drive home, I began to appreciate perhaps for the first time, the achievement of this man as a solo artist. A colleague stated that the ‘masses are asses’, to explain away the popular appeal of the album. I tend to disagree, it was a special defining moment in the history of all music. I strongly believe that for that moment, we were all Michael Jackson fans, just some prefer not to admit that now.

Fast forward to March this year and the frenzy returned and this time, there was some substance to all the rumours. The minute it flashed up on BBC News, I had to call Kish and speak to him. I recall the image of Michael appearing at The O2 Arena to make his comeback announcement on Sky News and even spotting Kish in the crowd! This Was It!

I finish with not my own words but the words from a Guardian journalist, who perhaps puts together how I felt between March and late June this year. The return of one of the largest pop stars in the world, at the most popular arena in the world; Come on, how can it not be the biggest event of the year?

Friday 26th June 2009

I had kept my emotions in check for the majority of the day, the whole working day in fact. Even when I had seen the newspaper headlines on the stand in the Tesco Metro, Northbrook Street. However, as I left the office at 17:04, this afternoon I received a heartfelt message from my fifteen year old teenage sister, Julie. She had sent the text 13:38, “Andrew B(baa), did u heard about MJ? Sorry Andrew baiya :)”. I could not hold it in anymore, I had been as strong I could and a tear fell down my cheek. It was just those simple ten words that have me in a flood of tears as I write up this blog post on platform two, Newbury train station at 21:50. I have made the spontaneous decision to go into Central London, to be with other MJ fans and to be with some of the dearest friends I have. While I begin my journey into London, I thought it would be an ideal moment to write down my feelings.

It was a normal Thursday evening, I got off the computer just after 10pm and put on the TV, as I do every week night to watch the news. Instead of being healthy and eating my yogurt (a new regime for evenings) I was eating dark chocolate (which I should not have been doing). George Alagiah was presenting instead of Huw. That was perhaps the only thing out of the ordinary for a usual Thursday evening, there was no sign that my evening was about to be thrown onto it’s head. There was breaking news that Michael had been rushed to a hospital. I called Preeti to let her know and she too put on the rolling news channels. The signs were not good. I put on Sky News and watched this and switched between this and CNN. CNN were being far more cautious than Sky News. They were reporting that TMZ web site were reporting that Michael Jackson had died. I refused to believe it. I did not want to believe the dream had died.

There was a glimmer of hope for a moment, when Sky report that MJ was in a coma but surrounded by his family at UCLA Medical Centre, Los Angeles. I cared little for the O2 residency at that moment, I just wanted my idol to be safe. The moment of hope was shattered a little later. Preeti called back, it had been confirmed that MJ had passed. I was still hoping it was all wrong, but the ticker soon changed to breaking news, “SINGER MICHAEL JACKSON HAS DIED OF CARDIAC ARREST”. I did not know what to do. I rang Kish at 22:51, he was distraught and lost for words. We spent a few minutes on the phone, but it was the conversation of people whom had just lost something and the phone call had distracted them from finding it. I watched as much rolling television news as I could stomach. I retired to my bedroom and put on FiveLive. Good to hear a more positive atmosphere, with fans (young and old calling in) with news fed in occasionally, rather than the over sensationalised television (even the Beeb sometimes gets lost). Richard Bacon was very good, keeping the tone warm and heartfelt but also at the same time delivering the facts in between loving memories from the fans (some mild, some diehard). It was, I have to say a perfect way to present a radio show at this difficult time.

Emotionally you can appreciate I was all over the place and I just wanted to go to sleep listening to my Zen but it was only then I discovered that I did not have Human Nature on my mp3 player. I had to jump onto the computer to transfer it over. Although it was tempting to go online and start reading the blogs, the news articles and the tweets but I resisted. I had no need for the information overload and the speculation. I wanted to be alone with my memories and the music (the most important legacy). I transferred the song over, got back into bed and found the strength to switch off the radio, even though I wanted a to keep listening in the hope that the news would change. The penny drop moment was when Richard came back to confirm officially that the BBC had verified the story. I called Terry, he was on his way back from another MJ fan. They had been getting their t-shirts ready for the O2 gigs. He was not really able to speak and I felt bad for putting him on the spot but I wanted to connect with my network of MJ fans. I felt a little isolated so far away in Newbury. It was 11:50pm.

Do we truly appreciate music in this disposable digital age? Probably not but it is amazing how the meaning behind a song can change after certain events in your life. I have always liked Human Nature but only fell in love with it once again as recently as 2003. Jason Nevins sampled Jackson’s track on “I’m in Heaven”, which featured vocals by Holly James. While this was climbing the charts, a local radio station played Human Nature and I remembered how great the was back in the mid 1980s and still sounded fresh, some twenty years later. I switched off the radio, put on the song and the memories came flooding back. Also a little realisation that I would not be hearing the voice sing any thing or anything live. I broke into tears and for a few moments was lost in myself, in the surrealness of the event.

I could not sleep, even though I tried. I tried to block it all out, pretend it was not actually happening but I could not. I put the radio back on and listen to the rest of the Richard Bacon show. Nav was interviewed, the impersonator I had seen perform at MJ events in recent years. The show ended with One Day In Your Life, perfect way to end such an emotionally charged radio show. I listened to Up All Night with Dotun Adebayo MBE and he sounded as shocked as the rest of the country. Although he quickly gained some composure to bring us facts then some commentary and analysis. However, I slowly drift off to sleep.

I woke up to a headache on Friday morning, I think it was due to the dark chocolate I had been eating the night before way past 9pm. It took a while for me to then piece together the events of the previous evening, the phone calls, the rolling news networks, the radio discussion and perhaps most importantly the music. Had it all been a really bad nightmare from hell? I wanted to believe it so much but I was wrong, BBC Breakfast was covering the story and I did not feel like breakfast but had some food in any case, knowing that I needed energy to face a difficult day in the office. It was dull overcast and grey outside, perhaps even God knew today was not a day for sunshine. This was perhaps the first time since I have moved to Newbury and definitely the first time in several years I just did not like the thought of going to work. Suppose it was much easier than the difficulty I would have faced in my previous office, there would have been the jokes which I could have taken but I think I would have come to blows with a few people disputing MJ’s legacy.

Was it really that bad? No but it was hard to concentrate on work, sales figures, splicing and dicing the sources, did it all truly really matter? No of course not. My idol, my inspiration, my friend had gone and I felt a strange sense of loneliness which is very difficult to describe. It was as if a member of my family had passed away. That is no exaggeration, and I still feel the same way. Even though I only briefly saw him in November 2006, it is a memory that will stay with me for the rest of my life and I will cherish every song, every recorded performance. More than this, I have made so many great friends through Michael and have so memories I have shared with them. Those I will come back to another time, right now the emotions are just too raw.

After work you would think that I would be more than happy to escape back to the flat, put on Thriller 25 (if I had a CD stereo, suppose I could use my PC). I actually went to the pub for a few drinks with colleagues. It was Friday night after all, plus it was Nikki’s birthday this weekend. Preeti then called to explain she was at the station, so I left the bar to go and meet up with her. I had received an e-mail during the day that The Standard (formerly the Evening Standard) had produced a special MJ Tribute magazine and although I had e-mailed Preeti to get the paper if she could, she had missed my e-mail, having already left the office by the time I sent it across. However, she had purchased three newspapers for me. Although I had originally considered going straight back to the flat, we headed back The Pig & Paper. We stayed for a drink before heading back to the flat, I had wanted to catch the MJ Special on BBC News but we missed it and arrived just in time for Eastenders. The soap included a last minute additional scene which mentioned the passing of the Pop Legend. I know they were under the pressure of time but I would have liked a greater input from more of the cast, particularly the younger black kids (Theo?). They did also have Thriller playing in the Queen Vic, although it is unknown whether that just pure coincidently or pre-planned. Afterwards, I put on the various music channels which were all showing MJ videos. Remember The Time came on. I thought of my sister’s text message and I burst into tears.

What was I going to do all night? Watch MJ videos, cry and think of what could have been? No, I was going to do something, I was not going to have the same regrets I had for many things relating to Michael Jackson. I called Kish and I asked where he was. The O2 Arena but heading to Trafalgar Square, my other MJ fan Terry was there. I was going to go to London, to join the fans and show my respect. It was 9:04pm, it was going to be a long night.

Newbury - the Journey begins

So we left a sunny Newbury and walked to the train station. It was a calm, sunny summar evening. Emotionally I was all over the place but contacting fans along the way. Anika was not coming out, as she could barely stand up but would be going out during the weekend. I left a message for Holly in Edinburgh but could not get through to Michaela (on both the numbers I had for her). It was 9.50pm, as we waited on Platform 2 for the next train ending to London. Most people were ready for a night out, or a weekend away in London. I was lost. We boarded the train and took a seat, I started to scribble down some blog notes, some of which I am trying to read now to write this post. In end I ran of words, it was too soon to be able to put down a coherent set of feelings on paper. We pulled into Paddington at 10.42pm and I called Kish. He was at Trafalgar Square and would wait for us there. When we got to to the famous landmark, it was quite a scene.

Underneath Nelson’s Column, a hundred, perhaps more MJ fans had gathered. Most were singing along to classics played out on wildly underpowered stereo speakers. It was a very strange experience. I had been to MJ events in the past but the turnout and voice and spirit of the people. No, not the people, the fans. Although a great deal of the passing Friday night public had come just to witness the spectacular event. I am not sure how I felt, I am not sure if I was ready to be celebrating Michael’s music, although I know, looking down from heaven that is what he would have wanted me to do as a fan. I feel I have the rest of my life to enjoy his music, the music videoes, those magical moments. For me, this time, these initial twenty four hours are all about respecting the life we have lost. Life is just an insignificant word to use, spirit, inspiration and mentor. There are very few artists that you can listen to any time, any place and they can instantly change your mood, make you feel better and get you tapping your feet. I kept calling Kish but it went straight to voicemail. There was no point leaving a message, I kept trying. We walked around to see the other memorials and vigils taking place. On the steps outside The National Gallery many fans were sat in small groups, with photographs, placards and candles. It was a strange scence. However, at last the sense of lose was present for me. Reading websites, watching rolling television news and listening to the radio, still the news is remote, not truly real. Also factor in that this terrible event occurred all those miles on the other side of continent. For the first time, I came to the realisation that Michael was gone, I could not really deny it any longer. We walked up the steps to entrance to the National Gallery. There were a group of lads on inline skates. It reminded me of a scene from the Bad music video, when one of the group skates backwards (obviusly in late 1980s in old fashioned rollerskates). There was a large shrine on the railings to the right of the Gallery entrance. A young black girl, was just completely distraught, her hand covering her face, to mask the tears and the pain. Next to her, several photographs and lit candles. Preeti took several photographs as I went to look at the messages on both the wall and on the railing. The shrine had gathered quite an audience. I was glad to be here but it still did not feel real.

The FansWe Love U, MJ
Broken for MJ

We wondered into Leicester Square, in the hunt for water. The journey had taken it’s toll and it was late into Friday night. For many people, it was your average Friday Night in the West End. The restaurants and bars were busy. A long queue to get into Oxygen. We walked around to the cashpoint and then headed back to Trafalgar Square via a newsagents to get some water. Throughout this time I was trying to call Kish but it kept going direct to voicemail. In the end I gave up meeting up with any of my friends, even though I saw Obi in the crowd underneath Nelson’s Column. I spotted a few fans I recognised from previous events but knew perhaps more from their profile pictures on the forums (or signatures). Maybe it was the shock and the fact that my feelings were still raw but I did not know how to react. Was it good to celebrate MJ so soon after his passing or should this be a time for deep reflection? I was not too sure, there was plenty of time for the music, I just felt it was a time for perhaps, to take a step back and appreciate for once the complete body of work, the complete package. I have been around to notice moments such as this. The death of Princess Diana being the most recent and similar in scale, although I was out of the country (in India) at the time of her death, so only saw the images beamed back across satelite on BBC World. The feelings are different when it is your idol, your hero, your superstar. It was frustrating not to be able to meet up with my friends but it was not to be. We spent a great deal of time walking around and reading the tributes and watching the dancing and singing. At times it felt like a dream, like I was outside of my body, watching myself watch the scene. It is difficult to explain but I had a sense that I was not really there.

Tribute to MJ 3MJ Miss U

It was getting late but there were few signs of the crowd dying down. The police had arrived by now and were surveying the area, with a riot van pulling up onto the Square outside the Gallery. One of the reasons for treking down from West Berkshire was to get a sense of perspective. This was real, this had happened I had to deal with it, but even so I still had not come to terms with the death. Sure, I agree that this moment will be forever marked in history and it is bigger than me, the fans in London, the fans around the world. It is a moment that defines an entire generation. My parents had Elvis and the generation after had Lennon, I now have Michael Jackson. I was able to keep my emotions in place, perhaps because it was a celebration and a realise that this one human being (he was only a human being I need to state that clearly) did so much, was a tortured soul but still gave his all for the fans.

It was this point in the evening, 23:21 I called Aniyah (I had tried her old number previously and got through to voicemail and left a message, which she would never pick up). It was great to hear from her, she has been one of my closest MJ fans (not geographically because she lives in Plymouth and we have yet to meet up) but I got to know her through the forums and the Wings ballad – Keeping The Dream Alive. I had, in fact, inspired or rather spured Aniyah (at the time Anne Marie) to start writing her first blog. (Been removed long ago but will need to find a link to her latest blog, which I believe is on MySpace). It was great to be able to make contact with a fan whom I had known for several years. We were both emotional and she wished she could be in Central London like me and I told her I was thinking of her and would report back every little detail on this blog. We stayed around for a little while longer, the crowd underneath Nelson sang along to Beat It and They Don’t Care About Us. It was rather fitting I thought but I still could not put a finger on the atmosphere, did it feel right? I suppose because this is my first time dealing with the grief of such a major influence on my life, it is difficult to comprehend because you never thought the day would come?

Around midnight we decided to head back home, it was late and I would be able to get to Reading and then catch a taxi back to Newbury. Preeti kept snapping photographs on the journey back (although of course, her stop was Hayes and Harlington). You can view the rest of her FlickR set over on, FlickR of course. I eventually got back to my flat at 2.30am and completely shattered feel asleep. Tomorrow was going to be a difficult day but I had redeem a little loneliness in my heart and shared in the sorrow and joy with the other fans in London.

Michael Joseph Jackson was the soundtrack to my life and I will do everything in my power, to ensure he continues to be that power influence, not just in this life but in the next. If there was any need for evidence of the King Of Pop’s everlasting precence look at the photograph below. A girl, perhaps as young as eight, trying to mimick her hero. Similar to the text message from my sister, Julie which is how I opened this blog post. She never really knew of the King Of Pop as us children of the 70s and 80s did. Older brother constantly playing the music videos and CDs gave her a little idea of the magic, but living something second hand is just not the same. The legacy is the music and the beat goes on forever.

mini Jackson

Thursday 25th June 2009

Friday 17th November 2006

I was a man on a mission. That was the description from one of my colleagues on the helpdesk, quite early on Wednesday morning. It was true and I knew there was so much to be done before 12 o’clock bell would ring. I could not sleep, I was just far too excited. On the day, my feelings were mixed. Yet I had little time to focus on the events of the evening. I had to concentrate on work and all the tasks that needed to be done before I was allowed to leave. It was not exactly a race against time, but I was under a little pressure to get laptops loaded for testing and SD cards loaded with software. I got there in the end, squeezing in a database backup for a contract developer two minutes before midday. One of my colleagues had given me a CD he had burnt, to listen in the car. However I cannot explain this story without giving the full back story. Sorry but it will be worth going off on this tangent.

Back in April I was at a client site, spending three nights and four days rolling out the latest version of our bespoke software. I mentioned briefly then my colleague coming to pick me up in his 51 plate, blue BMW 3 series. Well, he was listening to an oldies album he had burnt full of classics. There were some great smooth chilled out songs from the 1980s and early 1990s and I sat back while he hummed along to the songs. It took me nearly half the year to finally be given a CD to listen to. The ‘oldies’ as he referred to it was a separate album to his contemporarily entitled, ‘Nice Jamz’. As I rushed to my car, parked outside the main gate, the buzz was starting to catch up with me. I was tempted to listen to one of my own albums. There was only one artistic I was going to listen to. However, I put on my colleagues CD-R instead, going for pot luck. I was not to know what the first track would be. I half expected the CD to be another Mp3 album, but it had only be burnt as compact disc audio. As I pulled off at quite a speed from the main drive. The first track came on. I could not believe it. Was this just a matter of sheer coincidence? Only a handful of people in the company knew I had the afternoon off and fewer knew where I was going and I assume even less knew which living legend would be making an appearance. I was amazed, surprised by this moment. Here I was driving home and although I could have listened to any of my own albums (with countless MJ tracks dotted around), I had opted to listen to my colleagues own compilation and the first track was, ‘Don’t Stop Until You Get Enough’. I smiled as I sped off onto the bypass home.

It was 12:20pm as I pulled onto my drive, with Beat It blaring at high volume. The adrenalin rush had begun and I did not expect to come down from this high for at least another twelve hours. Rushing inside I started to get ready. Being a perfectionist on this day, I already had all my clothes ready, Oyster card, Extra Mints and other essentials. I also had a pre-written note. A few lines I had written on Tuesday night, explaining to my family where I had gone. No one in my family knew I was going to the awards ceremony, even though a few of them are regularly readers of this blog. After getting changed, grabbing my things, I headed out of the door, rushing to make sure I caught my train on time. Originally I thought I would catch the 1.20pm train, giving me enough time to get back home, get ready and then drive into town. Being ahead of schedule, gave me time to take some deep breathes. The traffic going into Wycombe was slow. The inside lane on Marlow Hill was closed as they undertook some repairs, but all I saw was one pick up truck and no actual workmen, but then that is hardly a surprise. I pulled up at High Wycombe station and was able to quickly find a spot, even though there was a sign that the car park was full and cone stopping cars from entering. It was just a few minutes before 1pm as I bought my tickets and boarded the train waiting on platform one. The ticket master said I had less than a minute before the train would leave, so I ran and jumped on board, taking a seat on the left hand side. I was bored and decided to text a few people to pass the time. I text Pinky from the forum and was surprised that she had been queuing since 6.30am at Earls Court and was about to be let in. Almost five hours before the show begins. Crazy. I was concerned that I would have a rubbish view of the stage now but that was the least of my worries. I had to wait for Michaela to get my ticket. Thankfully thirty one minutes after my train departed from my home town, I got the call. I got the confirmation that my ticket had been collected from the box office. I could rest easy. It was actually a case of lull myself into a false sense of security.

Arriving at Marylebone, I headed for the tube and took the journey as follows. Took one stop down the road to Baker Street. Here I picked up the Circle line southbound (or is that westbound?) I know I could have jumped off earlier but I waited until Gloucester Road to disembark from my tube train. I then went across to the opposite platform and waited for the next train going west. It was a Piccadilly train and I got off at the next stop. Earls Court. I was here. Well yes and no. I came out of the wrong exit (not the first time) so was lost. No question I was lost and did not know where the arena was. Not a major issue. I would just call my friend and find out where they were so I could meet them. To my shock, they informed me they were in Harrods, a corner shop the other side of town. Not a million miles away but I knew that we had to queue to get a decent view of the stage and this was suicidal. The complete professional I am, I did not let my true feelings come across on the phone. I let my friend do the grovelling. They would meet me by the side entrance within the hour. I checked my watch. It was 14:17. To rub salt into the wound she said I should go to McDonalds. (I did not get the chance to to explain that I have not been to that fast food chain in over two years. Well not to buy food for myself anyway.) You can try and imagine how I was feeling. Here I was, in the heart of West London, hours away from seeing the return of the greatest entertainer the world as ever seen and I had no ticket. I was not really that concerned because I knew that my friend would pull through and arrive on time. Anyhow I had a more pressing issue to deal with. I had to find the venue. There were a big group of security guards wearing bright yellow ShowSec jackets milling around. I was tempted to ask them where Earls Court was but did not want to look like a complete fool. Instead I followed the road signs and walked around to the rear entrance. However, there appeared to be some show about Dubai property on in the conference centre, so I carried on walking to the main vehicle entrance at the rear and asked the security guard at the gate directions to the World Music Awards. He pointed me back in the direction I had come but said I should walk around the side entrance. Walking back, I was directed to the main box office. There was already quite a big queue, but rather than this being a queue for the standing audience, it was just for ticket collection. I walked back to the area, which was labelled for all those with standing tickets. There were a few diehard fans queuing but only a handful. It was coming up to 3pm. I then walked back to the Box Office and waited, calling my friend but their phone was off. Waiting around, looking for any fans I recognised. Then I saw Terry in the distance. Or rather I saw his blue Arsenal top. I walked over and was glad to be with friends again and not look like some loner. Terry had just arrived and I did not reserve my excitement. With him were Diane and Tibsy. We started talking and preparing ourselves for what was just around the corner, literally. This was the relative calm before the storm. Further friends arrived, adding to the surreal atmosphere. This was my first MJ event with other fans, with Michael actually making an appearance. I had by now made good friends with several members of the UK fan community, all stemming from a documentary I watched on Channel 4 back in early January 2005. I was looking forward to the entire awards show and of course the magic moment of Michael being presented with the Diamond Award. However there was one minor issue. It was getting closer to the time to be let in and I still had not ticket. My friend was not answering her phone. I had to make a decision, I had to make it soon. We were queuing now and luckily quite near the front. Doors would open at 5.30pm as it clearly stated on those that had their tickets out. The time must have been around 3.30pm. Tibsy had a friend, Holly who had a ticket going spare. I had to take it. I could not wait for my friend to come back and find me. Even if they did, they would be way behind in the queue. With a ticket in my possession, I calmed down. Or rather was less agitated and now just full of pure excitement. It was getting colder and the few hours that had already passed by started to catch up with me. I bounced up and down on the spot to warm myself up but with little of the desired affect. It was then I recognised a face in the crowd, on the wrong side of the railings.

Sudhir was there, talking to his friend across the barrier. I squeezed by some other people and said hello. He was waiting for the others. Anika was already inside, along with Pinky. The long queue was compacted down and split up. With these instructions we thought it would not be long before we would go in but it was not the case. Sudhir jumped the barrier when the security guards were not watching and I helped his friend with her Heat Crossword, getting three of the handful of words remaining. A few minutes later, we were let in, one at a time, our tickets checked and given a flourest venue wristband. I thought it would only be a matter of time before we were inside, after all the show was scheduled to start at 7pm. Little did I know there was another two hour and fifteen odd minute wait ahead of us. It was getting cold and the wind was picking up. However the entertainment came in the form of some guys standing directly behind us. Firstly they kept asking for Lempsip, as it was so cold! (This became the running joke for the rest of the time we were in the queue). Then they started using the name of Jackson’s solo albums to describe how they felt outstand on a frosty autumn evening. For example, “Let us in, it is Dangerous out here…” “Will you please get us Off The Wall” “We are not Invincible, let us in!” and the opening lines, “It’s close to midnight…” (of course it was not but that is how it felt) Okay maybe you had to be there. In any case, there were moments that I was laughing so much that I forgot about the elements. I was content with the thought that in short time, I would be in the same room as a musical legend.

While these guys were our entertainment in the queue, they also provided me with a fascinating insight into the perfect professionally of the King of Pop. I overheard one of them tell the other the following story. When Michael had turned up to see rehearsals, he had asked for them to continue but not looked at any of them on the stage. In fact he was facing away from the stage and focused on the music. He could ‘hear’ when any of the performers missed a step. Wow! Just imagine having that kind of ear for music and dance. It was a thought that stuck with me for the rest of the night. Genius.

At quarter to the hour, 8pm that is, we were let in and I rushed through the second barrier and queued by the main entrance. We were warned by the security to relax. How can you relax when you are about to come face to face with one of your children heroes? I was held up at the front of the queue, as Terry and the rest of the gang went through. After a wait for a minute I was let in and I rushed up the stairs, only for a security guard to open the door and warn me to take it easy. Step aside, can’t you see I’m on pure adrenalin. After being padded down by yet another security guard I went through to a female security woman. She asked for my ticket, and tried to scan it through a bar code. It failed the first time, even though I had passed her by. She called me back a few steps and I waited for her to scan it through and she then threw it into a big transparent plastic bag. Gone was my small momentum of the day. (Thankfully Tibsy had taken a photo with his camera, while we had waited in line.) I rushed up some more stairs right behind Terry. I was once again warned by a security guard not to run, he said if fell flat on my face it would be fun for him but not for me, he muttered, with no emotion in his voice. We walked to towards the stage and our wrist tags were checked. We headed to the left of the stage and I snapped some pictures on my Nokia 6230 camera phone.

World Music AwardsWorld Music Awards

We had been pre-warned that only camera phones would be allowed inside, but to my shock people had bulky digital cameras, even camcorders. Why were they allowed in? I was disappointed for a while, wishing I had brought my digital camera. Then I considered it again, another thing to carry and potentially lose. And why fight with dozens of others to get a good view, when I can just look up instead of waving a hand around in the direction of those on stage. Plus I would always be able to get pictures from someone else. Tibsy had followed us in, but gone to the far left of the stage. I called him and stuck my hand up in the air and he found me. He was disappointed with our spot on the floor. I could understand, we did have a guy of nearly seven foot standing towards the right. He wanted to head over to the main VIP area and look out for celebrities. He asked me twice but pondering I turned him down and stayed in my place with Terry and the rest of the gang. I did not want to walk over there and get a rubbish view of the stage. Even if there were some “celebrities” near by. There was only one person I was here to see.

We were in, and there was that eerie semi silence before the show would kick off. The buzz of the audience talking, the director making final adjustments, the camera crew taking some final test shots, with simple background music filling in any holes. It is difficult to put into words how I felt. Sure we were an hour late, but I was in the arena, I was here. I had made it. The show was about to begin, the lights dimmed and you could see the shadowy silhouette of Miss Beyoncé Knowles walk across behind the screen to the top of the main stairway. Then we waited. And we waited some more. There was a technical fault of some kind. It would prove to be the trend for the rest of the evening. I could go into the details but I would rather not focus on what went wrong and concentrate on the most important aspects. The performances.

A quick run down of which artists performed and the songs they sang. Beyoncé opened with Deja Vu, Andrea Bocelli gave a wonderful rendition of Can’t Help Falling In Love With You featured on his new album, Amore. Beyoncé returned to perform Irreplaceable, the best track on her album B-Day. There was a performance by Kate Meula, Enya came on to perform It’s In The Rain.

We were all hoping that MJ would be performing Thriller with Chris Brown but after a fifteen minute delay (it felt much longer, trust me) only Chris Brown appeared in the famous red outfit. His performance was amazing a great re-creation of the music video. This just warmed the crowd for the main event. Beyoncé came to present Michael with the Diamond Award. It was a strange moment for me, for a split few seconds as I saw Michael appear up the stairs I was lost in the moment. Was I really here? Was I really in the same room as this legend? The same artist, whose music I have listened to more than any other persons (Last FM statistics do not lie). It is difficult to describe in the words when you finally meet (okay I am stretching the use of the adjective, but you understand what I mean) someone in the realm of Michael Jackson. There are superstars, there are A list movie stars and then a whole light year beyond that is this living legend. I am running out of superlatives to use. The moment he appeared on the balcony will stay with me for the rest of my life. A magic moment and then you hear the rest of the crowd go absolutely crazy. I joined in with the chorus of “Michael, Michael!” at the top of my voice.

There have been many things I have discussed on this blog over the past four years. However a few topics tend to remain constant. Arsenal, football in general, blockbuster movies, computing and other geeky stuff and finally Michael Jackson. To say he has been an inspiration would be an understatement. He has influenced, via his music alone, many of the best entries. Just take a look through the archives and you will see clear evidence of the journey. The journey, which began many years ago but was only documented from February 2003 with the screening of the Living With Michael Jackson documentary. To that wonderful day in mid June last year when the jury finally gave their verdict. During the many months between these two significant points in my life, one thought, one image kept me going. I would listen in the late evening to FiveLive as they reported daily outside the courtroom in Santa Barbara. The return, the comeback. I am not talking about just another album, another media appearance, another interview on a talkshow. I am talking about the greatest comeback in the history of entertainment. Things have moved on so much over those three years, since Martin Bashir made that controversial documentary. I now had a whole network of MJ fans and access to forums, but more than this thanks to another documentary on Channel 4, I know people who were there, inside and outside the court, showing their solidarity. I also have the privilege to now call them my friends.

So here I was, the other side of that dark tunnel, at the moment I and many millions more had dreamed of. Some feared that it would never happen and I must admit at times, I too questioned my faith. How could a human being brought down in this way with such lies and deception ever face the public again? Why would he ever want to? Michael Jackson is unlike any other person. To quote the beautiful lines from Speechless, “helpless and hopeless that is how I feel in side, nothings real but all is possible, if God is on my side”. Michael makes the impossible nothing.

People will say that he only sang two lines from We Are The World, when he appeared on stage for the finale. Just as the media reported when I listened to FiveLive when I eventually got home around 1am. They have missed the point. They do not see the bigger picture. This was Michael telling the world, I’m still here and prepare yourselves. He is back in the studio and working on his new album. As much as I would like him to tour again, I know that may not be possible. New material is critical. Proof, (as if it ever was still needed) that he still has the talent, the genius, the magic that has made him the King Of Pop.

Michael threw his jacket into the crowd and this fan was lucky enough to grab a strip of the inside. Now this picture might look strange but trust me, the fabric smelt of an orange perfume. Hate to use a tired cliché, but I will do anyway. Is this the sweet smell of success? [Image courtesy of MJJ-Europe]

Piece of HIStory

Wednesday 15th November 2006

Saturday 15th February 2003

I would normally apologise profusely for my lack of updates to my website. However, I will not. It will take far too much time, and there is so much I have to tell you. So much has been going on in my world, and the world around us that there is no time for the formal dignitaries. Instead, let us jump straight to the topics….

Michael Jackson revealing to the world, his lifestyle as one of the richest pop stars in the world. Being a big fan of the ‘King of Pop’, I was at first, moved by the story as it unfolded on ITV1 on Monday 3rd February. Referencing his early years, as his ‘childhood’, I feel is unjust. He lives a lifestyle, the rest of us can only dream of, but at what price did he achieve this success? With his father, pushing the five sons, into making sure each performance was ‘perfect’. But you feeling of sympathy, or rather empathy takes a dramatic change when you carefully note his behaviour with children, his own and others. I’m a strong believer that when you have already been massacred in the press for ‘alleged’ child abuse, you do not put yourself in a similar position ever again. Because, as always, once bitten twice shy! It becomes very easy then for the ‘gutter press’ to assassinate our fallen hero, but perhaps to a certain extent his is responsible for creating this aura around himself! How can I use the adjective, hero? Well, it may be difficult for us in the Western world to understand but Michael Jackson is in a small group of individual whom have the ability to touch the hearts and souls of billions of people around the world. In India, my motherland, you find it difficult to find words to describe how such icons are worshipped by these peasants, who have nothing. They have no aspirations, they have no desire to move up in the world, their lives are molded for them, and they do their best to get on with the life they have been given.

No matter what you say about Michael Jackson, you cannot dispute pure talent and genius. The world shall never see such a human being capable, of floating on the stage, and moving in such away that it appears that he is walking on water……

Football – Champions League resumes after the winter break this week! Looking forward to it with great anticipation now, especially since Arsenal, have recently been playing some sexy football. Top of the Premiership, and only this afternoon knocking arch title rivals, Manchester United out of the FA Cup. The least said about England’s diabolical performance against Australia at Upton Park on Wednesday 11th February. We were lucky to get away with result that did little to flatter the English pride, already quite hurt by defeats in other sports. So is this final nail in the coffin? England, who gave the world – football, rugby, tennis and cricket, find they are no longer masters of the sports they created?

A big belated Birthday to my dear friend, Sippy! He turned 23 on 13th February! I’m sorry I forgot about it mate, forgive me? Check out his his website www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~c00sb/ (version two currently under construction!)

On Wednesday 12th February 2002, I made the 45 minute journey from the Kempston office over to Stevenage. I was doing so, quite late in the day, and it was
3.30pm by the time I was in my car and on my way. Instead of listening to one of my MP3 CDs (that still sounds amazing!) I decided to listen to Chris Moyles, as this was an irregular time for me to be listening and I could try and discover what the quality of the programming was at the beginning of the show, rather than the end. To my amazing, he played a song from a female group. My mind suddenly came alert to the sound. This sound was very unique, unique to a particular group. They have been missing from our radio waves for far too long! The group are of course, the fabulous RnB/Garage trio – Mis-Teeq Their new single, Scandalous, isn’t released until March and is from their forthcoming album “Eye Candy“.

I quickly went around some websites yesterday, trying to find news on the girls. The official site, is the usual record label financed flash extravaganza, with the stereotypical content taking backseat to the images of the girls. A band is built on this ‘image’ and therefore its exploited at every possible opportunity.

One of the better fan sites is by Steve Bevis. Please check this out, as it gets the balance between information and news just right to deliver the Unofficial Mis-Teeq! Link removed, site closed November 2003.

Life is GREAT! Actually it’s fantastic, I never thought I would feel the way I do, at this time of year. I suppose, the challenged enforced upon me, has been met with ambitious dedication… and so we face the next challenge that shall fall upon us…

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