Oh, fer kee-reist!

firesticksSo another celebrity dies and people go ape-shit. I dunno. I am just not a celebrity worshiper in general. Aside from having a serious crush on Mighty Mouse when I was three years old, that is.

Do I like Michael Jackson’s music? Hmmm. Well, I remember his earliest music best. The stuff he did with The Jackson Five when he was about 10 years old or whatever. I didn’t turn off the radio when The Jackson Five came on but then I didn’t turn off the radio when The Archies came on either. When you lived in an isolated northern backwater like I thought Sault Ste. Siberia was back in the 60s when I was a foolish young teenager, you listened to anything remotely resembling rock ‘n’ roll on the radio. And you darn well enjoyed it. Why? Because more often than not, the local AM radio station was playing some twangy old country crap or What a friend we have in Jesus. I think they played rock ‘n’ roll in the evening but it was incessantly interrupted by news, weather, and ads. A constant stream of raucous jingles. “Let’s go to Tempo. The price is low at Tempo”. “Hamm’s Beer, refreshing Hamm’s beer”. If you were alive in the 60s, you know those sorts of ads. Or the entire show would be completely pre-empted for a Tigers game (baseball fans, I do love you but).

I have very eclectic taste in music. Nowadays I don’t even mind some of that twangy old country crap in the right situation. I can recognize when someone has talent and I admit that I’ve enjoyed hearing snippets of Mr. Jackson’s music on NPR since his death. But y’all, he was just another aging pop star. A kind of creepy one at that. Another pop star who was thrust into the spotlight before he was old enough to know how to handle his stardom. Who grew up into a person with some strange habits and fetishes. In the height of the Thriller era of his career, I was a moom and probably knew him best by his appearance on the tabloids at the checkout during my all too frequent milk runs.

Mr. Jackson may have had some talent (and a huge pile of folks underneath him to support his super-stardom) but I don’t think I am going to miss him much. I am thinking of a celebrity whom I do admire. His name is Sir James Galway. Ever hear of him? He is a world-reknowned flute player. I’d like to call myself a flute player too except that it has been a while since I have dragged out the old instrument and actually, uh, played it. For all I know, I probably sound like a rusty old froghorn these days.

But why do I admire Sir Galway? Well, Sir James is worthy of my admiration first and foremost because he is a very talented flute player. But it goes beyond that. Because Sir James has not forgotten all of the hard work that got him where he is and the teachers and other folks who helped him out along the way. He takes it a step further and gives back some of himself and his talent to his fans. He runs an email group where he answers questions about the flute and his career and encourages discussions. He invites list members to visit him backstage at his concerts. He has even been known to occasionally ask the group for help with some issue he is having with his playing. Yes. The great James Galway asking other, presumably lesser, flute players for their help. This is a person at the top of the heap in the world of classical music and still he is aware that there are more things to learn. He doesn’t know it all. This is a person that I admire. Note that I said “admire”. I haven’t gone ape-shit over him.

Sir James is alive and kicking and I am out on a limb trying to compare a classical musician with a pop music super-star. But I can’t help comparing them anyway. I sympathize with all of those who actually knew and loved Mr. Jackson. He had a family and friends and *children*. He was young. 50 is the new 30, don’tcha know. And it takes all kinds of people to make the world go ’round. It would be pretty boring if we were all like Sir James. Or me, for that matter. On-line banking functional design specifications, anyone? Yeah.

I just hope that all of the fans who are so publicly mourning Mr. Jackson will get over it soon and pour their energy into something more constructive. And Mighty Mouse, why have you left me and where have you gone?

4 Responses to “Oh, fer kee-reist!”

  1. Marquis Says:

    And what about Farah? Nearly contemporary to you boys want to know. I know a close personal, let’s say friend, who could have filled that red swimsuit. At least she was the same height and weight.

  2. Kathy Farnell Says:

    Mighty Mouse Has not left you. He is somewhere near you because Mr. Trouble is down in the Smokies.

  3. Margaret Says:

    I loved his music and am always kind of freaked out when someone I grew up with dies. He was younger than I am by several years!! (but not in the pink of condition like I am–ha ha)

  4. grandmothertrucker Says:

    They always die in three’s ya know. Ed McMahon, Farrah and Jacskson. Now, they guy who does the Oxy Clean Commercials died too, but I don’t think that counts one of the “three” do you?