Tag Archive for 'Neverland Ranch'

Pour Some Out For Michael Jackson

After Joe Jackson beat his small children into stardom, before “Jesus Juice” and sordid sleepovers at Neverland Ranch with cancer kids, there was a the “moonwalk” and a sequined glove. I had the glove. I had the jacket. I had both jackets: “Thriller” and “Beat It.”

I bought them at Chess King. I wore them. I was a kid. Get off my back.

Thinking back now I actually wonder which had a larger audience.

The original…

Or Michael’s…

He didn’t seem nearly nearly as fucked up when I was a kid. Maybe he wasn’t.

I remember watching him moonwalk for the first time live and it changed my life forever. I learned the move on the linoleum kitchen floor 10 minutes later and knew then that I wanted to be a star.

I wanted to be black and adopt children from all over the world. None of this ever happened, but when I told my godmother, Aunt Joan, from Liverpool this (the one who introduced me to “The Young Ones” and “Ab Fab” and made my entire family get up before sunrise to watch the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Di) she was certain I’d lost my mind. My biggest defender could no longer fight the good fight.

This woman had survived the German Blitzkrieg, cowering in high school gymnasiums, with her hands on her head, waiting for the sky to fall, only to live to see her cherished godson grow up to emulate a black man who spoke like a woman and was gradually turning himself white.

She called him a “freak” which only made me like him more. Because she was a freak, a brash, foul-mouthed old Brit who vowed to never become an American citizen out of loyalty to her country and the queen, took every opportunity to call somebody out on their bullshit and wielded her madness like a sword.

In the fourth grade St. Barbara’s School talent show I performed “Thriller” on the gymnasium stage, complete with a twenty-person monster cast, dry ice fog, hand-painted gravestones, and as my co-star, the only girl in my school who had the closest thing to an afro, Michelle Caruthers.

She was hot. She nailed it. I only missed one move and we frenched out by the bike racks after the curtain closed.

The only thing that kept us from first prize was Jeff and Kevin Malas’ half-assed, lip-synched, pentagram and leather-laden rendition of “Looks That Kill.” Though it was after their performance that I decided I wanted to become Nikki Sixx, remain white, have sex with big haired strippers, not get them pregnant, not adopt children, do cocaine, shoot heroine, pose for pictures wearing nothing more than fresh pig blood, crash fancy cars and - oh yeah - play in heavy metal band.

But that’s another post and a short time before Run D.M.C. really took over which is a whole different story altogether.

When I heard the news today my heart dropped, but my sadness was soon followed with that lightning quick “Who gives a shit? The guy was a fucking child molester,” moment I’m sure we all had. Didn’t he touch the kid from “E.T.” inappropriately? Or was that one of the Cory’s? Anyway…

It’s always a struggle to separate the art from the man, though I’ve often preached it should be so. At least this Michael had the balls to wear his weirdness on his sleeve. I’m a man. I talk like a woman. I’m black. I’m white — pet monkeys — llamas — Slash — Peter Pan…

Come to think of it two of the priests at St. Barbara’s were later defrocked due to charges of child molestation and they wore, you know, collars and capes and shit. So don’t judge a book by it’s cover.

Anyway, so I met the weirdo when I was 22 in Chicago when I was waiting tables part time at Planet Hollywood to pay for film school. Yeah, I said it. Planet-fucking-Hollywood.

That’s right. Nobody else would give me a job. I’d never waited tables before and it’s a hell of a lot easier to pay for college by conning tourists and show-off shitbag Hollywood stars into signing checks with inflated tips by adding ugly t-shirts and baseball hats to their bill than it to chip away at a five figure debt slinging crew necks at The Gap.

So I come in for pre-shift and the manager tells us to wait downstairs in the break room. We’re having a special “celebrity visitor” in that morning and apparently this person thinks they’re too good to witness the scraggly commoner college kids setting tables and filling up the ice machine.

Actually it probably wasn’t delivered in such a tight ass tone. Working at Planet Hollywood Chicago was a 24-hour party. No joke.

Nearly everybody that worked there was on drugs. People did coke in the bathroom regularly, in the manager’s office occasionally, and I tripped my way through my last table of the night on more than one occasion.

So the manager comes back down and tells us that there’s a change of plans. The visitor wants us upstairs now. Apparently our celebrity visitor wants to get a genuine feel of what the restaurant’s like when it’s up and running.

So we go upstairs and start setting up, the restaurant is empty and there are only a few of us working because it’s a lunch shift on an off day — and there he is, MICHAEL-FUCKING-JACKSON!

He’s like thirty feet from me. I act like I don’t care. I’m setting the tables in my section and is he coming towards me… he is… right towards me. He looks like a dead person. And I’m not saying this to be shitty. Ask anybody I know that knows this story. This is what I’ve always said about that day. He looked like he was made up for a casket, caked with base and rail thin.

He comes up and points to one of the nearby memorabilia cases and asks me something, but I can’t hear him. He speaks in whispers, like a nervous child. So I turn to the case to read the plaque to see, you know, what it says, if it’s the original from the movie. Whatever it was, a “Terminator” or a “Predator” or whatever, and I get this overwhelming sense that he’s closing in on me, but I don’t look back. I don’t want to scare him. Like I said a sneeze could blow this guy over.

And then I feel it. His gloved finger tickles the back of my neck… ever so slightly. But was it a tickle or a graze? At this point I can’t be sure. But that’s nothing.

As I’m making the decision to confront what’s already become a very uncomfortable situation with Michael Jackson, I feel now, what is unmistakably a pair of lips where the glove just was. So overcome with a world of emotion, some of it fascination, but most of it fear, finally I turn and…

I’m totally kidding. But he did ask me if this movie thing, this “Terminator” or the “Predator” or whatever, was the original and then he just started walking towards other cases asking me questions I couldn’t hear, which forced me to walk close enough to him so that I could lean in and hear him, and become his sort of personal tour guide, which was as creepy as it was cool. Like I said he looked like he’d woken up that morning at a funeral parlor.

And now he really is dead. I’m still freaking out.

So at the end of the day (channeling Brody Jenner) I guess he was just a weird dude who made great music, sang and danced better than most people, liked animals and toys a little more than some people, sold tons of records, was “Beatles” famous, molested children and spent the majority of his life getting plastic surgeries that would eventually carve his face out to look like some sort of elderly crackhead Pinocchio.

Whacky yes, but no reason to not pour some out…