All I wanna say is that YOU don’t really care about US

2017 July 1

It’s Thursday 25th June. Most people are in Glastonbury. The rest of us are drinking away the unusually sizzling summer’s eve (we’re in Manchester). Sitting outside Trof, dwindling over summer plans of escaping this city desert, something far more exciting materialises.

“Michael Jackson is dead.”

What?

“Michael Jackson is dead.”

WHAT?

Fast forward 20mins and we’re downstairs writhing around to ‘Dirty Diana’, ‘Blame It On The Boogie’, ‘Earth Song’ and the like. Yes. A whole Michael Jackson “tribute party”. Nothing but the ‘King of Pop’ for the rest of the night – A guilty pleasure for most, a wonderful, quite blatant excuse for others.

But tonight we do not mourn for the legend himself. That has not sunk in yet. As far as we know, he isn’t really dead. Or at least, not any more so than he already has been. Tonight we mourn instead for all the millions of fans who have been waiting twelve years for his return. TWELVE YEARS.

His much anticipated come back, the deeply ironic entitled “This Is It” tour announced on the 5th March, was due to take place at London’s O2 Arena – a 50-concert residency scheduled to open July 13th. The news triggered a virtual skirmish, with 360, 000 people registering applications before the ticket office even opened. On sale the following day, around £52 million worth of tickets were bought and the concert sold out at a box office record pace.

Fans who bought their tickets to the shows directly should be able to get full refunds and credit card companies do offer some level of protection. But what of those who bought theirs through other vendors, who chanced upon last minute competitions or astronomical ebay bids? What was last week’s or even yesterday’s (June 24th) stroke of luck this evening has become a painful, costly thump.

And what of the company behind Jackson’s return, Los Angeles-based entertainment promoters AEG Live, who have already invested between £12 and £25 million into the tour. Not only faced with paying back the face value of some 750, 000 tickets sold, the company now has to fill its 20, 000-seat O2 venue for 50 nights last minute in Jackson’s stead.

Now nearly a week on from the icon’s untimely(?) death the media-machine has exhausted its tributes, exhuming instead old favourites: scandal and scepticism. Whether accidental, inevitable or suspicious, Michael Jackson’s death on Thursday 25th June was a tragedy on many levels. He will be missed. Maybe even resented. He has left behind him a legacy and a mess in equal measure.

Holly Dicker