Wednesday 8th July 2009

An emotional and hectic week but on the plus side only four days in the office as I have tomorrow off. I shall pick up from Monday, I got an e-mail from my sister that she was going to be at a meeting in Newbury, at The Chequers Hotel. She asked if she could crash over on Tuesday night and of course I replied that it was not a problem. Monday passed by without much fanfare, it was a usual day for me in the office and at home.

Tuesday on the other hand was going to be an emotional day and I was looking forward to getting home promptly at 5pm, after a very stressful day in the office. I got in time to tune in live coverage from Sky News. The coverage on Sky News was blanket, whereas BBC News filtered in and out from the correspondent in LA at the Staples Centre. I kept Sky News on but was appalled at the lack of knowledge. I am not a big fan of Kay Burley even if she is a big Arsenal fan. She got the order of the Quincy Jones produced trilogy wrong. According to her script it was Thriller, Off The Wall and Bad. How could such a basic mistake be made? Then the presenter reporting from the entrance to the Staples Centre went and said that his “opinion” was that most of Michael Jackson’s material was very dated. Fine, your opinion chap but not necessary minutes before the singer’s memorial. I thought the news was suppose to represent fact and balanced analysis and not personal opinion. When the memorial did start, it was thirty minutes late, I switched over to BBC2. I did not want fancy news tickers getting in the way of my viewing.

This was not how it was supposed to be, but the news that Michael’s casket was to be on the stage made me very sad indeed but in a way brought some closure to the events of the past twelve days.

The Beeb coverage was presented by or rather voiced by Trevor Nelson and Paul Gambaccini. While the commentary from Trev was borderline acceptable, I found some of Paul’s comments just in bad taste. No wonder there were 302 complaints logged. The event did not really need commentary, or little more than perhaps someone explaining who people were (those not speaking or singing but shown in the audience). I was frankly very disappointed with the BBC, because their coverage to these world wide, historic events is usually the best in the world. In years to come, they may use it for one of the BBC News Channel trails, where were you when you found out the King was gone?

My sister arrived thirty minutes into the service and the emotions did get lost in part for the rest of the show. When John Mayer appeared, I said to Samantha that perhaps he would do Human Nature (my favourite slow MJ song) and sure enough, after I returned from the kitchen with food, he was playing the opening bars on his guitar. Excellent rendition, nice to be heard on a different instrument and it was great to get the backing vocals in as well. Perfect. Well I suppose perfect in the circumstances, I was hoping that Michael would have sung the song during his comeback tour and it is most likely that it would have been on the set list. For a while, as the song played I was in a day dream of what might have been.

I am quite open to admit that at points I was in tears and felt a great deal of pain. Perhaps the greatest when Jermaine came on stage to perform Smile and when Michael’s daughter made (what Paul Gambaccini described as) her “world debut”. It had been a moving few hours and I do not think the whole event will actually sink in for several months. Rev. Al Sharpton was the character who got a standing ovation for his eulogy. He said some poignant things about Michael and what he had to deal with in his life. The comment from Trev was that this “guy doesn’t need a microphone” and it was true, he was projecting his voice through the centre with no need for electrical amplification but I think that just added to the impact of his profound words.

I have been a daze ever since I heard the news, not being able to believe what was unfolding before I very eyes that Thursday evening. At times having to remind myself that Michael was really gone. But in the next moment not being able to comprehend such a thing. The fact that I was three weeks away from seeing him perform in concert makes the emotions raw and the emptiness more hallow. I had been looking forward to the event since they were announced in March. As a fan the events have been overwhelming and at times I have hoped I would wake up from this nightmare. I was glad my sister was here to witness with me the final public goodbye to the King Of Pop.

The rest of the event was touching, particularly Usher’s performance and the finale which would have been used as such in the This Is It tour. It was great but how difficult it could have been with Michael there, cheering on the audience to get to their feet and join in. The atmosphere was completely the opposite. I enjoyed Jennifer Hudson’s performance, a young woman touched by tradegy in her own right. When it was all over, there was a sense of longing from my heart. It is difficult to explain. So many unanswered questions, so many unexplained rumours and half truths. There was some closure, but if my heart was only half settled my mind was still racing. I let the thoughts drift away, just as the tears fell town my cheeks watching the Jackson family on stage and Michael’s children live infront of an audience of billions. I summarised how I felt in a tweet but even that perhaps was not enough!

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