I think I am morphing into nothing more than a television critic; a sad reflection on life, today. Perhaps, just mine. Regardless, I am selective – well, my assignated Sky package tends to do that unaided, repeatedly informing me that I must upgrade if I wish to view said programme. No thank you. An old recording of ‘The Gilmore Girls’, ‘The Good Life’ or ‘To The Manor Born’ are absolutely fine; telling, certainly, but absolutely fine. George Michael, however, superseded all three last night.
2016 seemed to be the year of the survival of the fittest. They dropped like flies, so many icons of my childhood and formative years. George Michael, however, departed this world on Christmas Day … as if my favourite festive song were not poignant enough. Somehow, it seemed fitting. We were in Austria, when we heard the news; we could have been in that wonderful video. Something I won’t forget.
I wasn’t a fan of George Michael – or his music – in his latter years. He seemed so angry. Gone was the infectious joie de vivre associated with Wham and the early days; gone was the smile, the fun, the hair … and the optimism. What happened? Life. An immense talent, the fun he had with Wham, in the early 80s, was clear to see but the enthusiasm was to be engulfed in fame and his life seemed to ebb out of his control. His struggle with his sexuality seemed to bring with it a darkness; no longer smiling and blonde, he became swarthy and guarded, dark glasses shading him from the world. That voice, those songs … he had achieved what he set out to do. His music brought him enormous wealth and fame but robbed him of life, really.
Wham is symbolic of the great optimism and joie de vivre in my life, and that of our friends, in the early 80s. We were all starting out, getting married, full of hope. Fast forward to reality and I doubt, for many of those friends, it is as they imagined. Ironically, I met one of them, yesterday, with the documentary fresh in my mind. She and her husband were a big part of our lives, back then, and I always think of them when I hear Wham. Our lives have taken very different paths and they appear to have ‘everything’ but she reminded me that ‘everything’ is not for me. Great wealth, multiple houses … what happened to being a friend?
‘You’re losin’ all your highs and lows
Ain’t if funny how the feeling goes away …’
George Michael’s music shall live on forever, as will the sadness of his life. Everyone has a favourite Wham song. Mine is, without doubt, ‘Last Christmas’. However, ‘A Different Corner’ is perfection: beautiful, haunting, tragic … it says it all. As the old footage rolled, behind the credits, there could have been no more fitting song – or ending.
‘Take me back in time, maybe I can forget
Turn a different corner and we never would have met …
If I could, I would, I swear … ‘
‘A Different Corner’, George Michael.
This is Trish, signing off.