Plus: Ricky Gervais’s After Life is a wasted opportunity
Halfway through the first part of Channel 4’s extraordinary documentary Leaving Neverland (Thursdays), I flicked through the comments on social media in order to gauge the global reaction. Surely, I thought, Michael Jackson’s reputation will never recover from these bombshell revelations.
If you sat, squirming, though Dan Reed’s excruciatingly prurient documentary you’ll know what I mean. Lots of those who didn’t have been justifying their decision to ignore it with excuses like ‘Yeah, but we knew this already. Michael Jackson was a paedo. It’s hardly news, is it?’ But this strikes me as glib and dishonest.
Michael Jackson nearly killed me once. It was a dark and stormy night and I was motorcycling back on the M4 to London having been sent to cover one of his excruciating “Heal the World” concerts in Cardiff, when all of a sudden I was blown by a gust of wind across the rainswept carriageway into the path of a mighty pantechnicon.
“Ohmygod!” I remember thinking to myself in those slow-motion seconds. “Is it really my fate to be killed in so cruel and random a way? Not after a concert by Radiohead or Led Zeppelin but by the pop star I loathe more than any in the world: Whacko bloody Jacko!”
Yes, I know it’s sad that that the poor, troubled man has gone so young. But do please let’s get a sense of perspective. Sure, he was nimble on his pins. Sure, that werewolf video was really quite scary for its time. Sure, he sold millions of records. But the fact still remains that the self- styled “King of Pop” was responsible for some of the most excruciatingly dreadful music in history.
And some of the worst lyrics too. “Sunshine. Moonshine. Good Times. Boogie”. Why on Earth would anyone ever have thought to have blamed such very odd things for anything? “I’m bad. I’m really, really bad.” No you’re not. You’re a wuss. “Heal the world. Make it a better place for you and for me.” No! Please!
The first time I encountered him I would have been about 10. That was when my mother bought a soppy single called One Day in Your Life.