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Dying: just a stage

2010-06-25 11:31
Hindsight really is 20/20, even through tears. When Busi Mhlongo passed away last week, the last six years of my life flashed before my eyes. My experience of her had defined a big part of my life.

The same thing happened - without the tears - when I realised that Friday 25th June would be the anniversary of Michael Jackson's death. Really? Has it been a whole year?

So I googled him, just to check.

It's always hard to move on - but some people just refuse to. Some of the top results are EHow.com's various guides, including: "How to get over the death of Michael Jackson" and "How to prove that Michael Jackson’s death is a hoax (Part 1)".

And also - get this: "How to connect with Michael Jackson after death."

Taking a cocktail of prescription tranquilizers while playing "Thriller" is not how it’s done, apparently. But I was pleased to see that the article began: SEEK HELP.

"Right on!" I briefly LOLed. But sadly, they didn't mean "call the men in white coats to come take you away and give you blue pills – you’re dangerously nuts". They meant, "pay some woman who reeks of incense, wears too much jewellery and lives in Kalk Bay to indulge your dumbass fantasies." Yes - employ a psychic.

Even if talking to the dead really were possible, I bet that if Michael didn’t want to be besties with you while he was alive, he’s even less interested in you now. If I were him, I’d be hanging out with the cool crowd. "Michael Jackson, Bill Hicks and Malcolm X walk into a bar in the afterlife… and Hemmingway punches them all in the mouth." That sort of thing.

But even if Busi is backstage in heaven just chatting to Spector, while MJ is finally getting naked with a bunch of shaved, underage monkeys, they’ll always have at least one thing in common: They will both live forever through their work. 

Now, here's how they're different: Busi passed away quietly; once the top selling World Music artist, she didn't even win the Lifetime Achievement SAMA she deserved.

Michael was a different story. Do you remember the hysteria?

Fans (and some celebs) took to wearing one white glove, entire offices moonwalked at lunch break, Google nearly crashed as fans searched for more gory details, and weepy moments of silence were broken only by the incessant bounce of "Billie Jean" playing on every radio in the world simultaneously. Remember? ‘Course you do. And it’s still not over.

At Michael Jackson’s funeral, his brother Marlon said "Maybe now, Michael, they will leave you alone." Not likely, it seems. The record companies wouldn't allow it - they're too busy making back all the money he spent on ugly pottery, monkeys and prescription meds.

Busi is different, of course. She's a Twasa. If she wants to chat - she'll call you. Now if you'll excuse me, there's a ringing in my head. It's been there ever since the last World Cup game...

Note: This will be my last column as editor of Channel24.co.za. Annel Malan is taking over as editor, and I'm off for two years voluntary reprogramming at film school in the USA. But I'll be back. Follow me on twitter.com/jeanbarker or jeanbarker.wordpress.com

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