I Used To Love Him: Michael Jackson (AKA Teenage Idol)

Michael-michael-jackson-32789327-846-944
“Hey spider, you’ve got a Michael Jackson stuck to your butt…”

Who did you idolise as a teenager? Did you go crazy for the Beatles? Ga-ga over Duran Duran? In love with Justin Bieber? Did you think Elvis was the livin’ end? Via The Daily Post (January 11th 2016)

Justin Bieber? How young do you think I am?! (*Fluffs hair*).

It’s been quite a pressured week, so I’m taking time out to do a blog prompt because sometimes I like to seek inspiration rather than think for myself, alright? So sue me.

Obviously this week we very suddenly and shockingly lost a true legend in the shape of Bowie, and the world is still reeling. I haven’t seen this much widespread grief since Diana (or the person I’m about to wax lyrical about) and it’s incredibly sad.

It’s made me think on and off about heroes growing up, personal influences and how they mould us as young people and how we carry them into adulthood, like pretty, shiny talismans (men?).

I was obsessed with Micheal Jackson from a very early age. Like OBSESSED. Every video, album, film starring my boy – I was all over it. My Mum made me a ‘Bad’ birthday cake and there were MJ themed parties. I even convinced the girl next door, who was terribly uncool and ate only oranges and peanut butter, that I was named after my hero.

“Michael can be a girl’s name too, you know” is what I’d haughtily respond when she questioned me. I wish my name had been Michael to be honest but alas, my parents were not major fans themselves nor mind readers.

I would lie in bed at night with my Walkman plugged in, lip syncing the Vincent Price bit at the end of Thriller to myself. I knew all the words to Liberian Girl.

Man in the Mirror actually did make me look inside myself and ponder if I really needed to change. I decided the answer was no, I was only ten and perfect as far as I could see. 

Alas, my hero did some heinous things that caused his shine to all but extinguish. I won’t rehash those things here, nor will I deny them because I believe the accusations are true. There’s no defense and no amount of love for a former idol, who carried you through the awkward years into adulthood, that can excuse what he’s done.

My hero was messed up and then he messed up very badly. I think even before he died I’d forced myself to move on because good people don’t hurt the vulnerable, they don’t hurt anybody, even if they themselves seem vulnerable and childlike.

My ultimate hero wasn’t going to be a bad man even if he was Michael Jackson, King of my Heart. The first man I ever loved who wasn’t my father.

I can’t remember how I processed all that but I must of because by the time he died I was very sad but accepting. It had seemed only a matter of time, judging by his frail outward appearance and rumours of drug abuse. And again, how could I forgive him?

I still feel sad for the loss and that I’ve never felt the way I did about him since, about anyone. No more idols for me.

Actors and Musicians I like very much, sure but nobody I’ll ever pretend to be named after.

I Used To Love Him #1: Kiefer Sutherland

Where have all the cowboys gone?
Where have all the cowboys gone?

I was reminded this morning of my gargantuan crush on Kiefer Sutherland back when I was still a kid. It all but evaporated the minute he (allegedly) cheated on Julia Roberts back in the early nineties, but until I decided he was no longer worthy of my love, I was obsessed.

Looking back I think I fell for him in The Lost Boys, aged just ten (Me, not him, obvs). His character wasn’t exactly heart-throb material, being an evil vampire an’ all but I liked him all the same. A year later came Young Guns and suddenly, something was stirring within me.

I’m confident it wasn’t sexual desire, though maybe subconsciously as I broke through into early adolescence, but I wasn’t really thinking in those terms then. I can’t explain what it was but it was there and so were the posters on my bedroom walls.

Cheer up guys
Cheer up guys, you’re supposed to be in love

It was with to my dismay that he got together with, and subsequently engaged to nineties sweetheart, Ms Roberts. I was pretty in love with her too to be fair; that hair was so naturally gorgeous, her smile so wide that how could I not be under her spell too?

I wanted to be her and since I was head over heels for Kiefer, I accepted the union because, frankly, what more could I do? My childish heart quickly grasped the reality of being 13 and unlikely to ever meet and steal him for myself.

In 1991 they were due to marry in a lavish ceremony, according to People magazine, and a great article from that year I just found online. Although, having read it back I wonder if I’ve distorted my version of events.

Did Kiefer cheat with a stripper on his Stag night as I had been lead to believe, or did I imagine it? Or was Julia the naughty one, leaving the country pretty sharpish with Jason Patric on her arm, having just shattered Sutherland’s heart? (And who can really blame her?).

Who knows what went on back there in the heady nineties? All I know now is perhaps I should have heard Kiefer out; not reacted so strongly to a piece of celebrity gossip that could very well have been completely made up.

If only I’d had the wisdom I have now, back then, eh? Maybe he’d still be on my wall and in my heart.

Then again: Freeway, Eye for an Eye and The Vanishing – perhaps not.