Too hot for Michael Jackson


Thank God that bloody heatwave’s over. We frecklers don’t really do heat, and we certainly don’t do sun. Heat makes us look pink and useless; sun makes us shriek and run for the shade, unless it’s over 28 degrees, in which case it’s more of a groan and despairing trudge.

My walk to work takes me past some of the railway lines feeding into London Bridge, Charing Cross and Waterloo, and the arches are home to all manner of funny little businesses: car repairs, taxi firms, greasy spoons and theatres, all crammed into the catacombs. Usually I hurry past those dark cave mouths but over the last week I’ve peered longingly into their cool, damp, musty-smelling depths. Home, I think to myself. Where the unnatural things live, the things that don’t like the light. Me.

The heat hopelessness was underlined last Saturday when I had to come into the office. Our building is very keen on its green policies – fully support that, yes – but it means no aircon at the weekends. No one else was in so I stripped off to T-shirt and knickers to await the incoming stories and then had to explain myself (‘I’m not watching porn’) to the bureau chief who unexpectedly pitched up to interview Quincy Jones.

Quincy Jones was part of the reason I was in work, in fact, because we were doing a special Michael Jackson commemorative edition of the magazine and had 36 hours to turn it round. I have nothing to add to the whole Jacko hoopla: I’m not a fan, I don’t like his music and I can’t stand his voice. Never have.

But I spotted something that made me roar. The Guardian had a double-page strip of quotes from A-list brown-nosers, all guffing on about Michael’s brilliance and how blessed we were to have enjoyed his gifts, so cruelly snatched away, blah blah.

But through all the I-can’t-stop-crying crap cut an unmistakable bourbon-and-gaspers voice: Liza Minnelli. I was irritatedly waiting for another flatulent blurb, but nearly cheered when I read on. “I’m sure when the autopsy comes, all hell’s going to break loose,” said Liza, who should know whereof she speaks. “So thank God we’re celebrating him now.” That’s how crazy this is. Liza Minelli is the voice of sanity. I love her.


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