A JFK moment, but with Michael Jackson


Everyone from my past generation, or the generation before that, bangs on about where they were and what they were doing when JFK got shot.  Where were you when JFK got shot?

You know where I was?  I wasn’t even bloody born.  But when Michael Jackson died?  The King (oh and he was the King) of pop, when he died – I know where I was:

June, 2009.  London was going through a heat-wave and it was sizzling.  The heat swelled far into the evening, yeah it was that kind of heat and I was upstairs, in my bedroom, laying on my queen-size bed with two windows open to try and allow the breeze, if any, to come through from the ever-roaring Leyton High Road below.

I got a call from my friend Akila, oh my good friend Akila.

“Emma, mate, I know this is random but you gotta check something for me.”

Yeah, sure what’s up?  Are you okay?

“Listen, yeah, this bloke just came up to me outside the takeway..”

Cue me bursting out with laughter; Akila another kebab seriously??

“Shut up mate and just listen yeah!  I can eat what I like yeah, but anyway… he said Michael Jackson’s dead, is it true?  I mean I know he could be some psycho or drugged up weirdo but he swore down man, sweared on his life.”

I turned on my TV and sure enough the news headlines read MICHAEL JACKSON DEAD.  Shiiiit.

“Noo way, I can’t believe it man.  He was my idol as a kid, seriously Emma, how did he die?  Does it say?  What are they saying?”

Unconfirmed reports, his body had already been taken into hospital and all I could see on the news was the frantic camera shots from the news channel’s helicopter pointing down on a hospital, birds-eye view with a crowd of people surrounding a particular wing of it.

Ending my call with Akila I ran downstairs to inform my housemate Robin, sat just in his boxers and a vest top, watching the same news channel.  We looked at each and in a burst of disbelief blurted out simultaneously “Have you seen?  Can you believe?  Michael Jackson is DEAD!”  Only a few months before we were sat in the living room opposite, on our laptops, trying to get tickets for his comeback show at the o2.

There was one thing to do – and that was to call our other housemate Dan.

Dan, when he answered, sounded drunk and cheerful.  “Helloooo, how ya doing?”

Dan mate, have you checked the news!?

Dan was down the beach with a group of his friends at the time, tucking into a few cans of beer or cider.  I heard the drunken jeers in the background, sounded like he was having a good time.  So I laid down the news.

“No fucking way.”

After getting his head around the truth, which after alcohol consumption takes a little longer than normal, he then told all of his surrounding friends who echoed pretty much the same reaction and sentence he had to me.

In no time at all, his friends were calling out to passerby’s the news that Michael Jackson, probably the greatest popstar that’s ever lived and breathed, has died.  One bloke walking his dog actually stopped and asked if it was true, I was told later.

Mental.  And it was for a few fair days, even weeks after that, the world was in shock.  When I walked into the newsagents the next day his face, that famous face, was splashed over every front page and the rain was so torrential outside I had to stick the paper I brought up my jumper to keep it from getting wet.

JFK being assassinated was shocking and it always will be.  But the JFK moment of my generation, our generation, has got to be where you were and what you were doing when you heard Michael Jackson died.  No argument.


2 Comments on “A JFK moment, but with Michael Jackson”

  1. corlista1 says:

    Great post. It was a moment I’ll never forget and I lived through JFK who I adored as a young girl. Same with Diana. But Michael’s death?? Never have been able to accept it and still miss him…. a lot.


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