The whole ‘where were you and what were you doing when you first heard….’ etc etc

…which people already seem to be doing over Michael Jackson.

People only seem to talk about this when someone famous karks it – there doesn’t seem so much talk about other momentous events, like, for example, the fall of the Berlin Wall (which affected me quite deeply at the time, much more so than the death of any celebrity ever did).

Spinning the memory dial back, I remember Elvis dying, because it was the first I’d ever heard of the guy – I’d just turned 13 and although I remember ‘Suspicious Minds’ vividly from around the time I started school the name of the singer never really registered.

I was milking cows when I first heard John Lennon was shot. Dad was ill with leptospirosis and I was doing the evening milking with Grandpa. ‘Mind Games’ was on the radio and I remember thinking that was an unusual tune for 1ZB to be playing during drivetime. Then Mark Bennett came on and said Lennon had been killed.

Princess Di? This will sound horrible to some people, but when I first heard she had been injured in a car accident (it wasn’t clear she was dead at that point) my first reaction was ‘Brilliant – I wonder what spin-meister came up with that idea’. A cynical blackhearted journalist’s response, maybe, but the more I saw of her the more I thought she was a spoilt and manipulative little tart. (Not a fan of Charles either – I think he’s a drip).

Went for a run, came back and flicked on the teev and they said she was dead. Felt a little bit guilty about my earlier reaction – I think its wrong to celebrate or even mock the death of anyone, unless they’re in the Stalin/Hitler category. The ensuring global emotional spasm though seemed to be to be a symptom of a deep underlying mental illness.

Similarly with the Michael Jackson overkill. Shame the guy is dead, and all, but the widespread level of emotional identification there seems to be with people this famous strikes me as perhaps the most psychologically unhealthy aspects of our age – for the famed one as well as for those who adore the famed one.

So..on a lighter note – Armstrong and Miller’s take on the “where were you/what were you doing when your heard JFK was shot?”
WARNING – its fairly rude.

One thought on “The whole ‘where were you and what were you doing when you first heard….’ etc etc

  1. Don't remember Elvis – do remember being at my best friend's (on the way to Brownies I think) when one of the Kennedy's was shot.

    Agree about the strange emotional identification with dead celebrities. Not sure what it says about modern life but I don't think it's healthy.


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