I don't like Michael Jackson's music. Never have, so I'm not going to start now just because he's dead. I feel sorry for him if his life was as pained and peculiar as the media wanted us to believe; but I don't need to tell any of you that there are an awful lot of people out there with problems worse than being rich and sensitive and having been deprived of a childhood by over-ambitious parents.
His music, as I've said, was always boring to me. Superficial. Obvious. Phoney. In the current climate, of course, saying such things is tantamount to heresy. So be it. Delete my Facebook page if you like. Throw a stone through my window. I'll give you my address if it matters to you that much.
One commentator, soon after Jackson died, made the absurd claim that he was the most important cultural figure of the last two hundred years. Forget Dylan, the Beatles, Dali, Picasso, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Baudelaire, Rimbaud. The fellow who sang "Shake Your Body Down To The Ground" tops them all.
Proof of his importance, apparently, is the 750 million records he has sold across the world.
Proof to me that these days we are confusing importance with popularity. I have been in the living rooms of unsigned folksingers who played and sang better music than Jackson while the red wine flowed and the cigarettes burned. No one will ever hear of them in Singapore or Harare but their achievement stands. And if they are signed one day and make it into the consciousness of the world it's a fair chance that something of the brilliance they once showed will be lost.
That's been happening since Elvis Presley.