The very first time I snuck into a club at the age of 12, this was the song thumping its beat on the dance-floor. I'd say it was the tender age of 12, but character witness's at the time would testify otherwise.
I remember the day like I remember the faces of the clubbers like I remember what I wore that very first time; but most of all I remember the beat pulsing through me and making my body move in ways I thought only water was allowed to flow. That day defined for me the power and ability of music.
Last week when I heard Michael Jackson had died, a part of me I reserved solely for visits of nostalgia died a sudden death too. Almost every song he ever sang reminded me of a time and a place I could plot as a beacon on the chart of my youth. No doubt this is the very reason so many across the world felt a personal loss at his passing.
The red jacket with 20 zippers and no pockets that I begged my mom to buy for me to wear to a friends house party; I refused to go without it, and she never did buy it for me. Her version of a win-win situation.
Sure in retrospect I may be glad I hadnt got the jacket after all, since joy is momentary but pictures last a lifetime, but I recall the moment thanks to Michael like it was just last night.
Having my ears boxed for attempting the moonwalk after coming back from a Sunday soccer game, still wearing my dirty boots, still trying valiantly even after the wooden floor had been visibly scratched after just being polished that morning. My sister laughed with glee; at first I thought it was due to my having accomplished said moonwalk, only to painfully realise it was due to my mom going back to the kitchen to change the feather-duster for a rolling pin as her weapon of choice. Fight!
Watching the look on my grans face turn from delight to horror as I mimicked Michaels crotch-grabbing dance move. She laughed and clapped and clutched her hands with delight and heaved her bosom in laughter until I grabbed my crotch and gyrated less than 3 feet in front of her. I never did see it coming. Sure I saw the look of horror, but I just assumed she'd swallowed her dentures from all the laughing and giggling. She gave me a back-hand Serena Williams would be so proud of. As I lay there crumpled in a heap of pain, my mom walked in wondering why "The Way You MaKe Me Feel" was playing in the background while her son clutched his crotch and groaned while Gran stood towering above him, shaking violently. You try explaining that one!
Or the time Mrs Pather, our english grammar teacher, gave us the task of writing a speech on any song we chose. Why we liked it, why it inspired us, why it lifted our spirits... you know, the usual personal motivation mamjo-jambo. So I chose "Dirty Diana". In hindsight I think it would be beneficial if one studied the lyrics before embarking on such a task, else you could find yourself defending your position that the song was written for Lady Diana who was dirty in the most royal sense of the word, No disrespect to either Diana Ross or Lady Di. My defence is simply the innocence/ ignorance of youth.
This evening Princess Sabreen and I were watching Michaels "Keep It In The Closet" video when it dawned on me that she would never be so lucky to see the greatest showman perform live on stage, ever. It saddened me that I would never have the opportunity to take her to her first Michael Jackson concert, something I just imagined would always be a possibility even if I lived to be 100.
I must surely have been born in the most memorable and exciting generation, to have witnessed all that I have, and lived through all that I did.
I havent the faintest clue what the future holds, neither for me nor the generations that follow, but the end of Michael Jackson is undoubtably the end of a magical era.
Your music will have my feet tapping for many years to come, and the memories they invoke will be eternal.
Thank you for "Heal The World"... thank you for "Rock With You"... thank you for "Beat It"...
Born To Amuse, To Inspire, To Delight
Here One Day
Gone One Night
Like A Sunset
Dying With The Rising Of The Moon
Gone Too Soon
Thank you Michael, wherever you are.