Sunday 12 May 2019

Thought Picnic: About being neither there nor near

Everyone's taking control of me,
Seems that the world's got a role for me …
Michael Jackson – Will You Be There (1993) [Lyrics]
Carried along
It was just 25 years ago when I was given two tickets for the Michael Jackson concert at Wembley Stadium by a friend who I had always helped solved solve computer problems without taking a fee.
The first scheduled concert was cancelled, and we were offered refunds on our tickets, but there was no way I would give up the opportunity to see Michael Jackson. Two weeks later, Michael Jackson did come to London, to Wembley Stadium and that remains the best show ever that I have seen.
For all the controversy that has trailed Michael Jackson, I cannot ignore the musicianship he had, the entertainer he was and the songwriting abilities he had.
Being there
Surfing the net from a Tumblr profile that led to the 1998 impromptu performance of Nessum Dorma by Aretha Franklin in the stead of Luciano Pavarotti at the Grammys and a YouTube random playback of related music and tributes to many, I found myself listening to Jennifer Hudson’s rendition of Will You Be There at the funeral service of Michael Jackson and previous to that was Aretha Franklin playing a piano singing I Will Always Love You at Whitney Houston’s funeral.
It was almost a morbid celebration of amazing talent, yet, on my flight back from South Africa and we’ll cover that in another blog, I only listened to the music of the unfortunately departed, first to Barry White, the Aretha Franklin and closing off with Prince.
I was weary
In the weeks that have passed where phantom blogs have been written in my head but most of my social media engagement has been on Instagram feeding Twitter and Facebook with snippets, thoughts and pictures of my wonderful time with Brian, I have wondered about what would inspire my next blog, the last which was full of premonition and uncertainty.
Eventually, as things fell into place, I realised happiness is not exclusive to the other, it can be personally experienced and enjoyed in the company of those you love as you celebrate it to the world.
I’m only human
Yet, I watch as many Friend requests flood my inbox on Facebook from people I barely know to the many I have literally forgotten or cannot deign to remember, as over three decades of no interaction has interspersed what was a fleeting or tenuous relationship at best. Sometimes, I agonise about whether I need to explain myself, the choices I have made that in terms would be radically different from those others have made.
Considering the fact that I could both be nonconformist and rebellious. Strike that! At the risk of repeating myself ad nauseam, my life is uniquely mine, it shadows no one else’s, it finds an example in the broader expression of our humanity. I will play my own chosen role, not one someone else has arrogated to themselves to decide for me out of the need to satisfy some aim, tradition, custom or any other creed. Then, I find some who seek to enter my affairs and begin to control events having never appreciated anything about who I am, what I am, where I am, what my storied existence has been.
You were not there
Let’s put it in the context of the words of the song, nobody has any influence or control whatsoever, if you were not there when the chips were down, the storm raged, hope was literally extinguished, and life seemed to hold no purpose. I have bitten my tongue when what I should have said is, “Mind your own business.”
However, let me assure those who need that assurance, what you see is true and I reviewed my profile on Facebook the other day. “I thought and concluded, do not presume you know me, this is really not a biography, it is guidance.”

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