Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a very special blog post today. Put your hands together for my very first guest blogger. Marissa Gomez has been my best friend and partner in crime since secondary school, so I figure she was the ideal person to make history with my first guest blog. I asked her to write about someone creative who inspired her, and she sure did, so enjoy. Be sure to check out her own blog at Marissa's Space http://marissaamandagomez.spaces.live.com/

Marissa A. Gomez

As I sat and watched the memorial service today of Michael Jackson the “King of Pop” I was still incredulous. Surely this was a gimmick for his upcoming concert. Surely he’d rise out of the casket, jump out and proceed to moonwalk to a huge standing ovation and a sigh of relief. I mean, it would be just the exact kind of showmanship that I’d expect from a man who epitomized the word. He popularised the “moonwalk” for Pete’s sake (and I bet Neil Armstrong is still wishing he had done that when he landed on the moon in July ’69). Michael created the Video Movie as it were; before “Thriller” videos were kept short and had a run time fit to be aired on TV. This man created HISTORY! Surely he can’t be dead!

But alas, the tears shed by his family members, his kids, and his friends were all too real. Truly an icon has passed away and we, the fans have to cope with this reality and cling to our memories.

I remember fondly that “Thriller” was my introduction to a vinyl record. I was 4 years-old when it was released in November 1982 and I could not get enough of the infectious songs, the beat and the lyrics. I learnt every song Side A to Side B (yes harken back to the days when LP’s had “sides”, so when one was done you had to go to the turntable and flip it over. The CD ruined that bit of fun surely!). Then in 1983 when he released the almost 14 minute video for the song, I along with the rest of the world and whatever aliens were out there in the galaxy picking up the MTV feed, well we all went wild. That was off the hook and at the time just about the most innovative thing we had ever seen! There was no turning back after that. His popularity escalated along with my love for him. I used to grab my dad’s motorcycle riding glove and jacket and put on the album and go dancing round the house to his music (I think we all did it as kids). Then just when I thought the man had done all he could do to impress me in my tender years he pulled the “moonwalk” out during a performance of “Billy Jean” at a Motown Television Special in March 1983. I remember thinking that that was the coolest and craziest thing I had ever seen. I wanted to marry the man then and there. I couldn’t get enough of him.

I followed his career as his music and fame grew and as I grew with him. Truly he provided the soundtrack to my formative years. He reinvented himself and his music and unlike some other artistes who started their career in the 70’s, he was able to keep up and adapt to the changing music scene. He seemed to know what we wanted even before we ourselves knew. As I heard someone express during an interview the other day – there are brands and then there was Michael Jackson. MJ was a brand and was as recognizable as the shape of the coca-cola bottles are throughout the universe.

I admit I also felt a little sad for the guy. I don’t know who among us would have grown up ‘normal’ if they had grown up under a microscope as he did. He was unable to go anywhere without being mobbed. His quest for stardom had come at a cost.

Sure, things got a little awry for him later on – the crazy plastic surgery, the crazy pets, the crazy marriages and couplings, the crazy antics (dangling his kid over a balcony for one), those crazy child molestation charges and the bankruptcy rumours that arose out of them. But I can’t remember him for any of that. I remember him as an artiste – a stellar one at that. I remember him as a philanthropist who supported dozens of charities and causes, AIDS, children, ending world hunger and world conservation being at the top of the list. I put all the ‘weirdness’ and ‘crazy’ antics aside and continued to love the man who co-wrote, “We Are the World”, and wrote “Heal The World”, and “The Earth Song”. I continued to admire the man who sang with such emotion, feeling and poignancy at age 5 and continued to do so throughout his life. I was constantly awed by his concerts and performances and wondered what he would possibly do next to eclipse the last.

So when on June 25th 2009 I heard that he had passed away I cried. I felt I had lost a friend who had been with me since I was born – and truly he had been. On my way home from the office that night I pulled out the 25th Special Anniversary edition CD of “Thriller” – ironically the ONLY ORIGINAL CD I had in the car that afternoon which I had put there some weeks before to play for my 5 year-old niece who had become a huge fan, like me, when she saw the “Thriller” video a year ago (again just re-emphasizing the fact that the man’s appeal spanned generations). I blasted it at full volume, singing along and got all teary-eyed again when “Human Nature” started to play.

And so today on 7th July, 2009, I still sit disbelieving that this icon is dead. This must have been how my mother felt when she heard that her childhood mega hero Elvis was dead. I cried again, and shamelessly so when I viewed the memorial service. I’ll probably continue to be a little sad when I hear “Gone too Soon” played or “Man In the Mirror”. But I will also smile when I think back on me as a kid, twirling round the room, with a glove and my dad’s jacket on trying to do the moonwalk to Billy Jean. I’ll smile as I remember his legacy, his music, his talent, his dance moves, his style (who else but Michael could popularize sequined socks and the wearing of one glove?), his videos, and his charitable works.

But somewhere, deep down inside, I still say that my icon is not dead. He’s off on the island that Elvis, Tupac, Biggie Smalls, Aaliyah and Princess Di are on, sipping on some juice, doing the moonwalk and having a good laugh. But wherever he is, I hope that he’s finally found the peace and quiet that evaded him for most of his life. R.I.P. Michael.

I'm Starting With The Man In
The Mirror
I'm Asking Him To Change
His Ways
And No Message Could Have
Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World
A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself, And
Then Make A Change


Bazz said...

I wish the haters and the people who took him for granted could read this blog to understand why so many people mourn his passing and rejoice in his music, his honesty and his unbelievable talent.

mackenzie said...

Thanks a lot Bazz. I wrote from the heart.

D Salts Man said...

Pretty good writing Marissa. Its nice to see thru the eyes of another person. MJ is surely not dead as he will forever live on in the hearts, heads and souls of most of the people on this planet.

gerard said...

Lovely piece Marissa. Only one thing though, all respect to them but I don't think Tupac, Biggie and Princess Di could be on the same island. No offense intended to anyone.....