I had been scanning the BBC News web site regularly throughout the working day. In fact, it was borderline obsessive. There was no real news, so I carried on with my working day. Midway through the afternoon, I contemplated in my thoughts, how much this was just an average Monday. The phones were not busy, but the list of jobs I had to complete were growing at an alarming rate. Yet, somehow I persevered and got through. 6pm sharp I was out of the door, in the car and heading home. When I got home, the signs continued that it was the beginning to another tedious week, my Vodafone mobile bill was lying on my bed, having been left by my Mum.
My evenings after Eastenders are spent on the computer, usually chatting online, reading blogs or posting on forums. Way after 9pm, there was a different feeling in the air, I just sensed it. Talking to my friends, a few joked that the verdict would be announced as soon as today, rather than tomorrow or later in the week. I was surprised by this and rushed across to FireFox and hit the home icon. Up came the screen I had been secretly anticipating all day at work. ‘Verdict in Jackson trial expected’. I took a step back on my chair and switched on my stereo, permanently tuned into Five Live and there was nothing. How did I feel at this exact moment? A strange aora came over me, as I became to realise, something was about to happen. For once again, the moment was going to be bigger than me and live on in history. I rushed off my computer, abandoning my online friends and headed for the living room. For the first time in ages, I confiscated the Sky remote from my Mum and switched over to BBC News 24. I was just in time, the final jigsaw on the media entitled, ‘trial of the century’ was about to be put in place.
I caught the action (sorry, this sounds like a review for a film, rather than a defendant arrival for the verdict) just as the SUV’s left Neverland and a helicopter tracked their every move on the grainy California highways and byways. The motorcade was driving in perfect precision, with the exact same distance between the four vehicles. (You may not have noticed, if you were listing to the rather negative and bland BBC commentary.) The fallen idol returns to hear his fate, it was gripping stuff and I was on the edge of my seat, not knowing exactly what the final outcome would be.
Glued to the TV, just like on September 11th 2001, this time the feelings ran deep. This time it was personal, because they were trying to bring down my hero. The man whose music I had grown up with, dance to, cried to and even partied to. His future, the future of his children, his family all hang in the balance. Some thousand dedicated fans had made the journey across to Santa Barbara and were waiting for this day for the past few weeks. I knew two of them there, perhaps more from the forums I frequent. The motor cade pulled into the court house car park. This was business. Even my Mum was glued to the television now.
While the other family members came out, I looked out for when and how Michael would be making his final court appearance. As he came out of the car, you saw Tom rushed up and chase hands with all the family members. Then, with umbrella open, they made their short walk into the court. The soft tab on his back from his lawyer, gave me some reassurance. It was a brief rest bite, as my heart started pounding at excessive speeds. Enough of the circus, down to business, the voices of the fans were drowned out as the BBC footage switched to see Michael make his final pass through security. It was nearly 10pm, so I gave the main television back in the hands of my grateful Mother and headed back to my room. It was here, that I picked up several conversations that I had just dropped some thirty minutes before. Switching on my television, I noted Huw, giving some background to fill in the time before the clerk would read out the verdict. Talking to my friend Nav, I found him have a sudden change of heart. He was with me, he wanted Jackson found innocent. Something I had believed all along, but it was at this witching hour, that my friend had suddenly changed his mind. For once last time, I opened up Win Amp and played Human Nature, drowning out Huw and the scenes from Santa Barbara. I lost myself for several minutes in the song, ignoring my friend, who had thousands of things on his mind. Meanwhile, I was also opening up Windows Notepad and making some brief notes for this blog entry. There was so much emotion, so much energy going through me, I had to record the vital pieces of information. The images changed on my television and I hit the mute button. The verdict was about to be announced. I held my breath.
My hand fell to my chest as I tried to measure just how quickly my heart was racing. What did destiny, or fate have in store? The images will stay with me forever, of the fans lined up, like rioters behind a barricade, with posters, hats, and silver gloves. The image of the lady, letting doves out into the blue sky, will remind me of the day. The day in history. As each count was read out, you heard the cheer of the fans, ‘Not Guilty’. Another dove was let free. With every passing moment, my heart sank down in relief. Justice had prevailed.
Today was the most important part, not what happens tomorrow, next year or in the next five. Sure, I long for the return of my idol to the top of the charts, to the level of popularity that everyone loves Michael. While some say, he will never relive the glory days, I feel there is potential for this one man (yes, he is just a man) make one of the biggest comebacks in entertainment history. If surrounded by the right people, they could put together an beautiful package which sees new material, a new tour, combined with some special collaborations. Anything is possible.
Wrong for me to take the limelight out of the significance of this evening. This is the turning point and we will never forget this day. It will be something that your grandchildren will ask you about, when only the legacy remains of the man, they once called the King of Pop. I was on drugs, I was full of energy and really wanted to write this entry, then and there. Yet, it would not have made sense and would have given little insight to the roller coaster ride of a fan. The television went off and the focus returned to the most important aspect of Michael, the music. Anne, a major MJ fan, recommended Unbreakable, which I duly played at high volume. Then I needed to be taken back. I needed to be taken back to October 2003, when I heard the latest song for the first time. It was special then, but oh so sweet, pure, even innocent now. One More Chance. I remember my house mate Paul playing it none stop for over a week, I remember, my other house mate Nav listening to constantly on his laptop. Special times. Magic memories forever in my mind. I melted away, realising that this one person had given me so much. You cannot over state, that this one person was the soundtrack of our lives, as we grew up, took those first steps and learned to dance, like a Smooth Criminal. Perhaps something more appropriate to listen to would be, “Man In A Mirror”, but for me, there is only song that brings together the artist in a few minutes. The chorus, of question, with the only one answer, Human Nature.
22:18, I received a text message from a friend. The news flash was unnecessary, for I knew the content myself. It was the thought. Thanks Anita. I just wish it had be coming from another.