It’s been a strange year and, for many of us, a sad one with the loss of what seems like so many of our great entertainers and musical artists. The news of George Michael’s early death seemed to me to be a very sad end for someone who offered so much.
I was no big fan of his, but like Bowie and Prince, he formed part of my formative years, creating songs that will stay with me until I go the same way.
I vividly remember my excitement one Christmas in the early 80s, unwrapping the Fantastic album that Santa had left me. It was a cheese-fest of pure pop, but I loved it. Only this summer, on a walking holiday in Bulgaria, I was delighted to entertain/frighten the other walkers with a rather drunken rendition of ‘Wham Rap’. The Brits abroad, eh? I even managed to record it as part of an audio diary mash-up so my fellow walkers can enjoy the experience over and over, the lucky things.
My second abiding memory prompted by this week’s sad news was of me and a friend, dancing in a barn somewhere in deepest, darkest Somerset – I don’t remember the exact location – at a young Farmer’s disco. Fuelled by scrumpy, we were no doubt hopeful that our hot moves to ‘Wake me up before you go-go’ would be so uncannily like George and Andrew that we would have young farmers’ daughters flocking. I don’t remember much else, which clearly signifies that our ‘young guns’ went unfired that night.
I think, if I’m honest, the loss of these legends is a reminder of our own mortality – people we grew up with moving on and we know we won’t be so far behind them. Best make the most of it then.