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Friday 26 June 2009

Sarah McDermott | 13:36 UK time, Friday, 26 June 2009

From the web team:

The pop star Michael Jackson has died aged 50. Tonight, on Newsnight and a specially scheduled Newsnight Review we'll be looking back at the man, the music and the madness and examining the global reaction to the news of his death. We'll be joined by those that knew him including fellow musician Robin Gibb of The Bee Gees, who paid tribute to Jackson earlier today.

And in a special Newsnight Review at 11pm Kirsty Wark will be joined by guests including Paul Morley and Miranda Sawyer to assess Jackson's life and death, and his influence on pop - from motown to rap. The scheduled Glastonbury coverage will now begin at 11.20pm.

Tomorrow watch out for grime star Dizzee Rascal's Glastonbury set - we've been tipped off that Newsnight might get some kind of mention! For those of you that missed it, you can watch Dizzee's first Newsnight appearance below - when Jeremy Paxman asked him how he felt about Barack Obama being elected as the first black president of the United States.

Do join Kirsty for a thriller of a Newsnight and Newsnight Review from 10.30pm tonight on BBC Two.

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  • Comment number 1.

    OK I'll have a go, Micheal, was a very talented and innovating musician, but also a very, very sad man and an exploited person. And how sad that he died at such a young age, and just before a major tour. Who know's what is the real truth of his life? It shows how children can be damaged by being hot housed, and strongly encouraged to perform, so young. I like his music, but only have about one album. Where will the money go now, his death will be fully exploited by all markets. I just hope the money goes to his children, and they live much more normal lives.

  • Comment number 2.

    glastonbury is for wannabes and middle aged saddos

  • Comment number 3.

    Yet more celebration of celebritism. My guess is that most Newsnight viewers won't care about this. In fact, my guess is that they'll see it as representative of the overall malaise.

  • Comment number 4.

    Somebody called Jackson had a heart attack in America and the world's media has gone mad. I am not impressed by Gordon Brown & David Cameron considering it necessary to pretend that their thoughts are with the Jackson family, nor with the BBC keep mentioning this on serious political programmes. Now Newsnight review are rearranging their program.
    Guess I will leave the tv off for a week.

  • Comment number 5.

    Jesus Christ, Michael Jackson's death does not merit discussion on a programme such as "Newsnight".

    Can we please have some proper news [he says in vain]?

    When all the other loony news programmes have torn up their schedules, how about offering the viewing public, as a public service broadcaster, some choice?

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    In an attempt to keep within the BBC's code I am replacing the item censored with some deletions. I trust not to much of the point is lost:

    Isn't it strange that the BBC will do so much about ####### ####### but when it comes to reporting our ##### killing thousands ################# dissecting them the BBC are happy to ###### such things in the #### cause

  • Comment number 8.

    I thought as a joke NN might do this.

    But they really have

    3,4,5,7 OK

    Ecolizzy-don't really like the music, too soulless. Never uplifted me spiritually.

  • Comment number 9.

    Oh they are saying he died before he was due to play the O2 Millennium Dome.

    Well if he had lost his bottle it would have been a financial disaster for he very big and powerful backers.

    At least now he has died from 'natural causes' the insurance should pay out.

    Later back to windows and walls.


  • Comment number 10.

    this jacko stuff is now becoming a bit of a religion?

    how many people will the bbc send out to the usa to ask for days ' how they are feeling'?

    not news. its predictable twaddle.

    the yapparrazzi will love it.

  • Comment number 11.

    From the top deck. No. 13. Friday, 26 June 2009

    Up there with Caruso, Crosby, Sinatra, Vaughn, Presley, Springfield and Mercury.

    The music will remain, Earth Song above all..

    The coals will be raked and the flames fanned but you can never take away the fact that, wherever he is, hes earnt the company of his peers.

    Sadly his music that was a few months ago being heavily discounted will now go up beyond premium price.

    Such is the way of the world.


  • Comment number 12.

    #4 oldlbportch

    Guess I will leave the tv off for a week.

    Oh boy you were so right! I think it will need to be off for a fortnight. I wonder what's sliding by under our noses with only Michael in the headlines! ; )

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    Watching iplayer when i get back tonight .... none of todays TV ........ or Newsnight ... cant you rise above it ... what about my pension , is it safe!?

  • Comment number 15.

    Yes Will not be viewing NN tonight either.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    Looks like the thought police are out in force tonight

    The Corporate Nazi's will love this, the stock market parasites and their Corporate Multinational Cartel may be able to embezzle the lions share of it. Bad news for the really poor people again, a chance that world food prices will be inflated for the benefit of CMC speculators.

  • Comment number 18.


    Can anyone else hear the sound of digging? As all over the world bad news is being buried.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 19.

    I will be giving newsnight a miss tonight why I have had enough of Mr Jackson for one day

  • Comment number 20.

    Kirsty Wark just began tonight's Newsnight with the ridiculous statement that "Michael Jackson was a musical genius". It seems Newsnight's editor has got caught up in the hype and hysteria surrounding MJ. Jackson was a singer and dancer. His three best-selling albums (Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad) wouldn't have made any such impact without the real "musical genius" behind Jackson, namely Quincy Jones. One does not expect such shoddy reporting or exaggeratations on a programme such as Newsnight. Can we please have some cultural perspective?

  • Comment number 21.

    And I thought Newsnight was the last resort of sane TV viewers.It was until tonight. But I was wrong. The editors of this edition should hang their heads in shame. I just wish Jeremy Paxman would burst into the studio, slam his hand down on the desk and ask Kirsty Wark just what she thinks she is doing. A well-known but troubled pop-star has died. Very sad but there is other news in the world. Get a grip BBC...

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    Well I thought it was a very moving and lovely tribute to Michael Jackson. RIP Michael J.

  • Comment number 24.

    #17 Brossen99

    OK Brossen you put this link which gives a figure of £60 bn.

    Now earlier in the week you replied to this link.

    Now go to the 2nd paragraph. This is from the No10 website, as they will confirm posted in 2006. It refers to a figure given to HMG in 2001.

    Now read it again. No10 has no problem with the content. Therefore they accept it is factually correct. So the £250 bn divided by the 5years gives £50 bn. They have no problem that they had that information in 2001.

    Let us take that £50 billion HMG accept they were given in 2001. Now add 2% compound interest for inflation over 8 years. That is £58.6 bn.

    £1.4 bn out of a projection over 8 years. Assuming HMG haven't rounded to their £60 bn figure.

    If you think about it. You already knew that £60 bn figure you refer to above, because you read the link to the No10 website.

    Now that is a £60 bn cost. Had HMG gone for the project they fully and freely admit to having the proposal for. That would have been a £60 bn benefit to the UK economy by us supplying the solutions to the global ecological challenges. Which if you do the sums on a £1200 bn UK GDP would have meant no economic crisis in the UK.

    Newsnight had the £60 bn figure days before the Government announced it. You read it and can confirm that. A figure HMG had 8 YEARS AGO, which they do not deny or refute.

    Yet NN do a programme on a dead musician who sold albums in the millions, who didn't play at the Millennium Dome. Rather than an expose on the Government throwing away £100 billions on a project they could have had there.

    I think it really does show how seriously the BBC takes the debate on climate change. Neil nine percent is always posting on it. The entire BBC set up only want to present to the public what fits in with the very small content of their media/ political establishment bubble.

    If climate change is the greatest challenge to humanity, as the BBC like to say. They don't take it seriously at all. As to presenting the public with a full balanced perspective. That is way down the line to the promotion of the media/ celebrity / politico/ usual suspects they have talking tat. That is tat, tat, bloody tat.

    I refer back to JJ comment 3 above.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 25.

    #20 tenemos

    Thank you. BBC 24 news was on last night. Some talking head said "Michael was a genius, my God have you seen the moonwalk.

    Was this sending 3 people there and back across the vacuum void of space, landing on an orbiting celestial body and bringing them back alive.

    Turns out it was going backwards for a yard or so on a stage while sliding your feet.

    Genius- Plato, Darwin, Galileo, Shakespeare, Einstein, Kubrik, Buckminster Fuller, Odum, Jay Forrester, Brunel, Cousteau etc etc

    Thanks for bringing up the Quincy Jones bit.

    Michael Jackson-Genius?

    NN as Tenemos said 'get some perspective'

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 26.

    How long before reality of sets in? Robert Maxwell was a hero on his death for .... 24hrs?

  • Comment number 27.

    Talking about singers, I thought I'd share with the other bloggers the product of my sleepless night:

    To Leonard Cohen and Real Men

    There is this man whose name is Cohen
    who writes and sings rather beautiful poems
    me, having tossed and turned all night,
    listened to them with quiet delight

    Be it on love or torture that he sings
    its always somehow truth that it rings
    from the Tower of Songs to the attics in Vienna
    he knows the difference between a man and hyena

    Not him sticking needles in some poor voodoo doll
    thinking in French oh, its all ever so drôle
    keep her awake, make a misery - her plight
    Not him whod rather stand by the light

    Leonard his parents called him at birth
    endowing the boy with unique sort of myrth
    to love and to cherish the most precious man knows
    - at 74 he still fills up the rows

    My feet clad in ice boots, my arms in emotion
    I sometimes express my utter devotion
    to his plights and difficult humanly struggles
    rather than cheap doggedly waggles

    So let everybody know he is my kind of man
    - not a honey or teddy or some other idiotic fallacy
    But the author of treasures, among which democracy

    By the way, Leonard Cohen is to have a couple of concerts in England soon, the information of which is easily obtainable on the internet.

  • Comment number 28.

    Costs of The BeniFIT System outweighs Tax Receipts

    uk Gov, fingers on the pulse/in the till there then

    Bean Counters been counting (when?)

  • Comment number 29.

    Taliban/turdsuban brummie accents/Tattoo's/DNA found in Afghanistan Slaughtering Children and Women and our own Service People.

    What A wonderfull goverMEANt we have (They Really Know what They are Doing) do they?

  • Comment number 30.


    MJ VG earth song (for how long?)

  • Comment number 31.

    tenemos (#20) "His three best-selling albums (Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad) wouldn't have made any such impact without the real "musical genius" behind Jackson, namely Quincy Jones."

    Exactly - just more celebration of whats essentially taking us to the economic brink - i.e. narcissisim peddled as celebritism.

    We saw much the same hyperbole/poor reporting over Lilly Allen on Newsnight Review a while back. She is a good performer, and the songs are catchy, but what annoyed me was listening to paid, allegedly informed, studio guests raving about her true to life lyrics etc without a word said about Greg Kurstin.

    After watching/hearing how the BBC must pay the market-rate if it's to get the best presenters etc (please....), given the new depths which TV has sunk to in recent times, I really do wonder whether they have lost all sense of perspective or whether they're malignantly taking the proverbial, as even the Newsnight reporting seems to be more led by, rather than invetigative of, spin-doctors/propagandists, these days.

    Good reporting stives to be free of melodrama and hyperbole in favour off accurate accounting. The BBC is losing it.

  • Comment number 32.

    Newsnight - What were you thinking?? Mr Jackson's body is only just cold and not even in the ground yet and you wheel out the tired old pretentious pseudo intellectuals who discuss whether or not he is "quintessentially Black or quintessentially White" this was tasteless, boring, unnecessary, self indulgent amateurish rubbish. How the BBC can make programmes like Top Gear and then go and do that beggars belief. Stick to what you are good at - Newsnight sort yourselves out!!

  • Comment number 33.

    31. At 08:28am on 27 Jun 2009, JadedJean wrote:

    ..... Excellent post.

    NN Editorial Team, hope you read and, dare it be said, act?

    Same could be said to the Today programme but as they only seem to read e-mails on the most banal LCD ishooz there is no point in trying to bring it to their attention, .....

    Is there?

  • Comment number 34.

    I am The Stig or am I A Git/s

    Happy Armed Forces Day

  • Comment number 35.

    Just put News on. Emily reporting from the Hollywood Walk of Fame. "What did Michael Jackson mean to you?


    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 36.

    May I just refer back to my post #9.

  • Comment number 37.

    KingCelticLion (#35) Yes, I saw that that too. I don't wish to be unkind, but surely this is not a good move for anyone who expects to be taken seriously as a Newsnight presenter? But maybe it was just a career move?

    I guess BBC producers must do their market research, so are we to conclude that market-forces are driving the BBC to capture/create a different (younger?) audience, i.e. one more fascinated with engineered celebritism than serious (boring?) current events (unless these are pro the Neocon/free-market anarchistic agenda - See Richard Watson's pieces)?

    I know it's trite, but the more I see of TV these days, the more obvious it is to me that it's all just a branch of ab all enveloping consumer industry with consumers not seeing how they're being abused. The more I se the less I want to see of any of it.

    I fear this may go some way towards explaining the Taliban and much else besides. :-(

  • Comment number 38.

    hey Peter Barron!

    for whom else would NN devote an hour?

    would they do that for The Queen? The Pope? The Archbishop of Westminster or a PM?

    Given the news bit is the death then the review is for an arts programme? not a news programme? its bit disturbing NN can be deflected in this way. devoting NR makes sense but not NN.

    so what does that say about the hidden values people think are important.

    Isn't he another victim of the yapparrazzi?

  • Comment number 39.

    Michael Jackson was a worldwide superstar - who on the planet did NOT know him? Whether you liked his music or not, he was the biggest selling star ever, so why shouldn't he have a 1 hour programme devoted to him?

    I'm sure there would be just as much attention if it was the Queen - again she is known worldwide, and highly respected.

    If they did an hour on the Pope/Archbishop of Westminster - I doubt there would be many viewers as it would be a complete turn off. As for a PM - they are on ALL the time - and I doubt anyone would really care about them. Could you really say hand on heart that you would care about Tony Blair?

    If you looked at News 24/Sky News/CNN etc then you would have seen wall to wall coverage of Michael Jackson's death.

  • Comment number 40.

    For the record 'Thriller' was written by an English songwriter, Rodney Lynn "Rod" Temperton (born 1947).

    He is his wiki entry:

    "Rodney Lynn "Rod" Temperton (born 1947[1] in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, England) is an English songwriter, record producer and musician most famous for writing the title track of Michael Jackson's Thriller, the biggest-selling album of all time.

    In 1979, he teamed up with Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson to help conceive what became Jackson's first solo album in four years, and his first full-fledged solo release for Epic Records, entitled Off The Wall. In 1982, Temperton wrote three songs, including the title track, for Jackson's next LP, Thriller."


    Ron Taylor.


  • Comment number 41.


    Mistress76uk (#39) "Michael Jackson was a worldwide superstar - who on the planet did NOT know him? Whether you liked his music or not, he was the biggest selling"

    What you are telling eveyone is that you have bought into celebritism/consumerism/populism which is now the hallmark of liberal-democracy and its economics/morality. But celebrities are invented and marketed as manufactured products in order to make money for others primarily tey arejust vehicles. Look at the attention which Jade Goody got, or the women who were going commando not long go, or look at the covers of no end of repugnant magazines announcing 'I married a woman from hell' etc!.

    It's fabricated. It's not real. Why is it celebrated? Why should it be celebrated? It comes close to celebrating insanity. Why is the market predominantly female?

    Then you finish off by pointing out that other media vendors do it even more! This is just cynical marketing to 'gatherers'.... Look into the prevalence of depression and other mental health problems in females relative to males.

  • Comment number 42.


    You are completely wrong in your post 41.

    Why should he be celebrated? He had an immense musical talent.
    Why should that not be celebrated?

    Everyone since the Romans were here has been celebrated for
    artistic achievements.

    The talent is real, it is not manufactured. It may well be in many
    artists but in Michael Jackson.

    The reason most journalists talk about the strange things in his life and concentrate on the 'celebrity' is because they are are lazy. Not many journalists can play a musical instrument or have the faintest idea of how music is
    written, arranged, produced or recorded.


    Ron Taylor.


  • Comment number 43.

    He was in my opinion not only the most influential black performer of all time, he was probably one of the most important contributors world wide to popular culture.

    His lyrics had a depth, integrity and sincerity. He changed the sound of popular music globally. To many he was more than a performer. He was a leader, an inspiration and a role model to be respected.

    Though because of his lifestyle and the way he conducted his life, at times he was castigated by the media. But in his position I myself would have probably shared some of his eccentricities.

    His death will have left a void. Never again filled by the same love and spirituality, but by aggression, violence, shallow consumerism and a self aggrandising of the ego. A much poorer world without him.

    I will never forget where I was when I heard of his death.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 44.

    SOLZHENISTSYN (#42) "The reason most journalists talk about the strange things in his life and concentrate on the 'celebrity' is because they are are lazy."

    You are joking? celebritism just taps narcissism.

    The reason the media does that is because there's no such thing as bad publicity and it sells copy and adverts. The attention to his odd antics sold more of his records etc. The same goes for Jade Goody, 'Jordan' etc etc. The current fuss in the media will be good for other people's business. It's also cheap TV. There's lots of money to be made out of celebrities, especially recently dead ones.

    No doubt some numbskulls will put that they can do moon-walking down on their C.Vs.

  • Comment number 45.

    Michael Jackson had a good singing voice but not "an immense musical talent". Only people who have listened to nothing but pop music can say that sort of thing. They seem to include the entire panel assembled by Newsnight Review yesterday. How can grown-up people can get so carried away with enthusiasm for childish music sung by a childish man : the word "infantilism" springs to mind.

  • Comment number 46.

    Your MJ special last nite was largely forgettable, apart from the always excellent Stephen Smith's piece. And please, please, please stop inviting Paul Morley on to Review.

  • Comment number 47.


    I'll put you in the lazy journalists pile.

    You obviously know nothing about music production.
    Take a look at the credits on his albums.


    "The reason the media does that is because there's no such thing as bad publicity and it sells copy and adverts."

    I agree with that. That is why they are lazy. It is a cut and paste exercise for
    journalists. To write about something else requires research and time. To be fair to some working in journalism they are no longer given the time to research, even if they want to.

    Ron Taylor


  • Comment number 48.

    #44 JJ

    It's day 96 and Jade has got a new housemate....

    "No doubt some numbskulls will put that they can do moon-walking down on their C.Vs."

    That Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin for a start. You can email NN if you want to ask Buzz a question about it.

    Celebrity culture? Michael Jackson being more famous for moonwalking than Neil and Buzz.

    To infinity and beyond

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 49.

    KCL (#48) "That Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin for a start. You can email NN if you want to ask Buzz a question about it."

    Dear Buzz,

    Did Neil ever feel miffed that Michael Jackson got more attention for moon-walking than you guys? If Neil hadn't done it first, would NASA have had to pay a royalty fee?

    PS. Who was holding the camera when Neil took the first step..?
    PPS. Did you see 'Capricorn One'?

    SOLZHENISTSYN (#47) Don't you think it a bit odd in our ever so universal times, that we don't celebrate any Chinese celebrities (and especially not Chairman Mao!)? What does this tell one about equality and commerce, not to mention the 'cult of personality'?

  • Comment number 50.

    "Don't you think it a bit odd in our ever so universal times, that we don't celebrate any Chinese celebrities (and especially not Chairman Mao!)? What does this tell one about equality and commerce, not to mention the 'cult of personality'?"



    You must be having a bad hair day.

    How many people do you know in the UK who speak Chinese? or French, German, Spanish?

    I suggest that you read THE NEW YORK TIMES occasionally.
    You will find that is less concerned about celebrity or borders
    You will find the NYT a breath of fresh air compared with British newspapers.

    NYT is still driven by standards
    which used to drive the BBC. Entertain, educate.


    ps I do not work for the NYT.


  • Comment number 51.

    SOLZHENISTSYN (#50) ""ps I do not work for the NYT."

    I'm ever so glad to hear it, have you seen the statistics (#5)? I try to keep an eye on the NYT in my vigil for Satanists.

    PS. I think it ever so ethnocentic to discriminate against people who perform in Chinese. I never understood what Michael Jackson was going on about or what the fuss was about. There are lots of Indians in India and many speak English (kind of). They even have a Bollywood and yet most people have only heard of Shilpa Shetty. I sense 'protectionist' celebritism and marketing! - a NYC and California thing - e.g. dream-weaving, name-changing and even shape-shifting - they'll do anything to draw attention to themselves - it's a narcissistic 'infantile-disorder' thing ;-)

  • Comment number 52.

    Solzhenitsyn. I'll put you in the "bears of little brain" and "no experience of really good music" category. What have "music production" and "album credits" to do with the quality of the music. In comparison with the jazz and classical music of his time Michael Jackson's music is fundamentally mediocre.

  • Comment number 53.

    Addendum (#51) They are legion.. ;-)

  • Comment number 54.

    IN ONE

    1) Production

    2) Bass pattern qv Billie Jean

    3) Multi-culturalism and overcoming language difficulties

    Quality that Ecolizzy may approve of as well.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 55.

    tenemos (#20) "Kirsty Wark just began tonight's Newsnight with the ridiculous statement that "Michael Jackson was a musical genius".

    barretter (#52)

    Michael Jackson like J K Rowling = genius because millions of people buy their produce.

    This is the new Liberal-Democractic definition of genius and value. If people do not buy your stuff, you are a 'loser', 'waste-of-space' and will have a lower probability of contributing to the gene-pool.

    Immediate consequence = dysgenic fertility, i.e ever falling standards of intelligence and behaviour, with an increasing inability to discern good value from rubbish :-(

    Ultimate consequence: we all have to learn Chinese and Israel gets very crowded.

  • Comment number 56.

    #43; MJ; "the most influential black performer of all time".

    NAH! Chuck Berry's the MAN!

    Though I did like J5's "Rockin' Robin", "ABC" and "I Want You Back".

  • Comment number 57.

    JadedJean #55

    Perhaps a measure of just how foolish and ignorant the average British consumer has become was the main non-Jackson article on BBC Breakfast news this morning. Apparently everyone is going to have to fork out an extra 500 quid a year on their energy bill just to fund the expansion of wind farms over the next few years.

    This is the type of enforced consumerism the Corporate Nazi's love to see, their own private tax on the population at large. I suppose that its a bit like the BBC license fee ( except its worth every penny if it keeps blogs like this open ) but like with the BBC you can't chose whether you support wind farms or not.

    Wind farms are just the latest green investment scam, totally inefficient and unable to close a single fossil fuel power station as they can't be relied upon for " base load ". If they get to the projected 20% there is a good chance that the grid could collapse leading to power cuts reminiscent of a third world country.

    Its all part of the Corporate Nazi ideology, puppet Brown must continue to create and expand the welfare state for the stock market parasites. By the way it was a " corporate " charity which sprung the news, its primary interest being to get more government funds for house insulation etc.

    Has nobody noticed that the average person needs a cost of living cut if we are to compete in a global economy. We have little or no money left to waste as a nation, then government comes along forcing people to invest in pointless financial black holes.

    Perhaps it is time to start to learn Chinese.

  • Comment number 58.

    - An extra £500.00 per person? That is OBSCENE! What is the point of making electricity using windmills if it is inefficient and expensive? Why not use nuclear technology instead? Not only is it cheap and efficient, it is FAR better for the environment. Look at France. The electricity companies are already making so much money out of us - what happened to de-monopolisation?

  • Comment number 59.

    methinks, too much journalist scapegoating has gone on today -
    don't the scapegoaters have anything interesting to say for themselves rather than moan, moan and moan?
    besides, as Mistress76uk mentions @ 39, Michael Jackson has been an international superstar in more ways than one /with quite a few aspects of his stardom having been analysed by Newsnight last night/
    personally, it's not my kind of music or staging, but his dancing, in my view, was absolutely fantastic!

  • Comment number 60.

    #58 Mistress76uk

    KCL was right about burying bad news under Jackson, just think how many never bothered to switch their TV on this morning thinking the Jackson mourning would still be 100% rolling. Suppose its not as bad as every person, but every every bill all the same, just as " pregnant " No mention of this story on the BBC News web site either for some perhaps convenient reason.

  • Comment number 61.

    Some fascinating comments and observations prompted by Jacko's demise.

    There is no doubt that the immediacy and omnipotence of multimedia has accelerated the cults of personality and celebritism in society, aided by vested commercial interest and ratings chasing by all the media. But it existed even in the days of Music Hall. Understandable that newspapers need pander to the LCD to survive, but not for BBC to so vigorously have pursued dumbing down.

    I was hoping that BBC's future was to be as a subscription service. However, I am now exempt from paying TV licence fee, having grown up in the days of clear diction and unemotional news reading (no Anchormen!) and nonpatronising documentaries, so I have less hesitation in being selective and switching off so much really low-brow BBC stuff.

    My parents were from Deptford and Bethnal Green but eschewed the working class obsession with sport and pop culture, and had the upright piano in the 'drawing room' so I managed to develop a love of good music and praise BBC for maintaining very high standards in their BBC2 and BBC4 programming. I used to play keyboards with some great local musicians in Papua New Guinea and Malawi, and still play 'trad' on a 'gobstick', but prefer playing Chopin and the 'romantics' on the pianoforte.

    As regards celebrities, I recommend the Chinese pianist Lang Lang (his prom appearance last year was soon sold out)and Daniel Barenboim: catch him on Sky Arts 2. Although Barenboim is a citizen of Israel, a recent programme had his young Jewish/Arab orchestra performing Beethoven and Wagner (a known anti-Semitic) which illustrates that (to quote Barrie)we may be apes confused by language, but our differences can be bridged by music.

    We should remember Michael Jackson for this also.

  • Comment number 62.

    So Jacko's family now want a second autopsy.

    Again could I refer back to my post #9 above.

    As regulars will know I was shortlisted to run the Millennium Dome. So have been in the mix from the inside. Notice what time I posted. 3 1/2 hours before NN went on air. I could have been at their Dundee studio in 40 minutes.

    NN would have 24hrs ahead of the curve on this story.

    At the last check the 9th biggest band in the world on sales asked me to be their tour and technical manager. I had other things on. Prior to Greenpeace taking on co-promotion of Glastonbury it was me who advised them on how to go from the fund raising Rainbow Warrior album to a live promotion.

    If I had been asked to run the 50 dates for Jacko at the Dome (which I am more than capable of doing) I would have had a laugh and started a window cleaning round.

    Never ever ever (land) was it going to happen.

    (Brossen thanks for the ref)

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 63.

    #54 Got Moderated

    Let me try again

    Production: So sharp it will take your head off. But stripped down and minimal. More as a platform for the vocals.

    Bass Pattern: In keeping with this blog theme compare with Billie Jean that hadn't even been written.

    Lyrics: Do they stand the test of time, are they relevant still 30 years later?

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 64.

    #64 CL

    Let Me Try Again

    sorry can't help myself

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 65.

    With a NN megamix

    We could mix and mash #64 with #49 JJ above and get here, still conceptualising within the MJ theme

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 66.


    #63 was a pre Billie Jean, can we go to a post Billie Jean pattern.

    But do it with a twist, you hum the bass from Billie Jean.

    Celtic lion

  • Comment number 67.

    Oh Jaded,

    You certainly have an accurate screen name.
    "I never understood what Michael Jackson was going on about or what the fuss was about."

    Then stop blogging about it.


    Not that old chessnut: classical is complicated pop is not.

    I worked for the BBC for twenty years. Escaped in 1992. The year of the long knives. Two years on the The Whistle Test, several years on Omnibus: opera and classical. Worked for the Royal Opera House for two years with young composers on music theatre. Lectured on music and film at Dartington. Co-written and produced four 'pop' songs.

    Michael Jackson was a significant artist. 750 million albums sold.

    I'm out of here now before Jaded starts another diatribe on the Third World.

    Ron Taylor.


  • Comment number 68.


    I remember the first time I heard this. Round someones house they'd just set up their new rack system (not Amstrad wanna be) and the local axe hero turned up. "They speakers are wired the wrong way, the guitar break pans the other way". He said.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 69.


    Well the Jacko fans know the guitarist on the lead break was Eddie Van Halen.

    This from Van Halens debut album VH1. With the master showman Dave Lee Roth on vocals. Running With the Devil, some fancy fast Eddie finger work then a reworking of a Kinks classic.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 70.


    We could go to Robert Johnson

    But could stay mainsteam and follow the thread in the NN megamix. Eventually Dave Lee Roth was replaced by Sammy Hagar in Van Halen. Prior to this Sammy was an established artist in his own right.

    For Brossen, Neil Nine Percent, Barrie and all the climate change debators he's Sammy from 1979. Also for Ecolizzy and her concerns of people flying everywhere and consuming everything.

    No apologies for playing this when you wanted something a bit more sedate. Rockin'.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 71.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 72.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 73.


    "Michael Jackson was a significant artist. 750 million albums sold.

    I'm out of here now before Jaded starts another diatribe on the Third world." Ron Taylor.

    WalMart/ASDA (like Tescos and Sainsburys) is a significant retailer, they sell millions of toilet rolls and other much in demand toot. WalMart/ASDA etc are commercial geniuses. Small businesses/suppliers are losers.

    Is the Middle East part of the Third World? Lloyd George said Britain created their problems for the same reason that the Germans created Russia's in 1917.

    If one despises rapists, is one just a victim of, or suffering from, anti-rapism? Note the distortion of an intensional idiom of propositional attitude (which really is transitive). There often is, as here, something to despise - hence the anti-behaviourism in recent times? It is not a hate-crime to despise bad behaviour, but it is easy to discount the antipathy by discounting the offensive behaviour by playing on the irrationality of the intensional.

    'I pulled the trigger,
    Well I'm blessed,
    He hit my bullet with his chest'.

    P. Geach (commenting on Jerry Fodor's Methodological Solipsism circa 1980).

    KingCelticLion (#62) Leo's narcissism appears to flaring up again. No doubt it's partly a consequence of our predatory liberal-democratic consumerism and topical WhakoJacko talk ? ;-(

  • Comment number 74.


    Can you analyse the music, tell us why you think its significant. Sonically and the quality of voice - can well hear that. But this was a man who seemed obsessed with childish things and it came to over shadow. Ive just read what Paul Theroux (Telegraph) had to say on visiting his home and talking with him on the phone, seems like he was surprised by his "bookish form of expression".

    And Grace Rwaramba a former nanny ;

    "she once called in the singers mother, Katherine, and sister, Janet, to attempt an intervention, trying to persuade the singer to come to terms with his addiction. Instead Jackson turned on her, accusing her of betraying him. " Telegraph

    If true rather telling I thought.

    Please do give us more insight on the musical front.

    And did someone on the NN team or beeb ask you to post on here?

  • Comment number 75.

    # 73 JJ "No doubt it's partly a consequence of our predatory liberal-democratic consumerism....."

    "A few hours later Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, in effect accused the prime minister of mis-managing the public finances. We are confronted with a situation where the scale of deficits is truly extraordinary, he told the Commons Treasury committee. This reflects the scale of the global downturn, but it also reflects the fact that we came into this crisis with fiscal policy on a path that wasnt sustainable.

    "It gets worse. Balls has suggested most of his education budget will be preserved. In that case, according to Chote, the scale of the cuts Labour would have to make for other departments would rise to 13.5% over three years."


    AEG Live and AEG Europe are the promoters of the Michael Jackson concerts at the Millennium Dome. When the Government 'sold' the Dome to AEG. Part of the deal was 'payment' back to the Government (public purse)would be deferred until the venture came into profitability.

    As it stands now AEG have 50 cancelled dates at the Dome. There is some debate as to whether they will be able to fill all if any of those slots.

    The Dome and AEG will not be making any money.If the don't get income they don't make a profit. If they don't make a profit they don't have to pay the Government (us) back.

    Follow the money. Private risk, public and social underwriting. The high risk MJ concerts (as I said were never going to happen) were effectively underwritten by Government, public, your money.

    Now they didn't tell you that on NN.

    Whacko Jacko or Whacko Government?

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 76.

    streetphotobeing (#74) "If true rather telling I thought."

    An icon of celebritism/narcissism. That millions of people celebrate such behaviour is sadly just testament to how bad things have become. I've suggested the distribution of acolytes is related to the 'advancement' of liberal-democracy, which feeds off an 'infantile-disorder' ;-)

  • Comment number 77.


    KingCekticLion (#75) That's more like it!

    As to following the money, if one pushes this underwriting/securitization scam to its limits (see bookhimdano's video-link to Greenspan's grilling) it takes one back to the US Community Reinvestment Act, the 1999 repeal, predatory lending to an ever swelling underclass (of all colours) and explains why 'Education, Education, Education' won't be cut given that it facilitates breeding of high TFR non-discriminating consumers whilst culling potential critics.

    People need to wake up to just how 'evil' this economic system really is, or explain why the above analysis is wrong. People get upset but just go into denial - or worse, defiantly attack the messenger at it threatens their core-constructs. It's supposed to!

    Things are still rather quiet over at stephanomics.....hence NO COMMENT.

  • Comment number 78.

    #77 JJ

    Some have woken up very rich. Follow Michael Jackson, music publishing, Sony, BMG, Simon Cowell etc.

    AEG have already paid MJ 20 million for the concerts. But with whose money?

    Off to do some proper work.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 79.

    streetphotobeing wrote:

    "....did someone on the NN team or beeb ask you to post on here?"


    "If true rather telling I thought".

    I agree. He needed his family and friends to help him not
    guys who were in it purely for the money.


    Although Jackson would have had 48 tracks available to him
    in a recording studio he did not fill them all up with mash
    and crap. Many bands over produce now. They think they have to fill the 48
    as a matter of ... "well if we are paying for them, let's use them ...".

    All of his songs have a stripped back approach with possible the exception
    of EARTH.
    It is all in the arrangements, once you have the lyrics and the chords.

    In answer to the suggestion that classical always out shines pop.
    Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, one of the best musical pieces ever written
    by anyone. It is a simple piece of music. The final Choral Movement is simply
    a variation on five notes. What gives the piece its power is the orchestration / arrangement. A two year old can play the main theme on a piano. Beethoven's genius is in what he left out. The perfect example being the start of his Fifth Symphony.

    The BBC did a radio programme using all the 'first takes' for his Fifth Symphony.
    It was an interesting exercise to see how he got to the simple repeated note with a short pause in between. That is far from what he started with.

    Good pop artists do the same. Lennon / McCartney are prime examples of
    brilliance in composition and arrangement.

    Jackson and his creative team produced records that will last not so much as to
    what they they put into them. The craft and knowledge is to know what to leave out.

    'Less is more' - that is almost a chant in film and music production.

    Beethovens theme: In G major - GG A B B A G F GG A B B AA

    You can teach anyone to play that in a single lesson.


  • Comment number 80.

    Nos 79

    OK thank you for that and I do appreciate it from my little excursions into line drawing - using broken and quality of line to inference shape and form. And in film Antonioni's last scene in The Passenger - a simple but brilliant summation of the whole film. But how do we get from that to deep insight in to the human condition - is it not mature emotional,
    worldly and deep adult interaction experience that brings this great value ?

    You know I watch these child prodigies playing it just seems cringe inducing for me.

    He seems to me unlike Picasso, who, in the articulation of his art looked intend on being calculatedly nonchalant and capricious, forcing it out over/through his technical brilliance but he was never child like. Whereas Jackson wanted to litterally prevent himself from being adult and to any outside observer went right over the edge of acceptable behaviour.

    Its diffcult for me to get over that and find any real depth other than the sonic thrill in his music but am open to hear views on this. Its seems to me we have the delievery method or technique but what is being delivered ? I understand Joni Mitchell or Neil Young - the experience and word articulation is all that.

  • Comment number 81.

    SOLZHENISTSYN (#79) You're back! Did you learn to flounce at the BBC, or is it a quality which they actively recruit for?

    (It's become de rigueur, even Cabinet Ministers are doing it).

    "Without any censorship, in the West fashionable trends of thought and ideas are carefully separated from those which are not fashionable; nothing is forbidden, but what is not fashionable will hardly ever find its way into periodicals or books or be heard in colleges. Legally your researchers are free, but they are conditioned by the fashion of the day. There is no open violence such as in the East; however, a selection dictated by fashion and the need to match mass standards frequently prevent independent-minded people from giving their contribution to public life. There is a dangerous tendency to form a herd, shutting off successful development.

    Should someone ask me whether I would indicate the West such as it is today as a model to my country, frankly I would have to answer negatively. No, I could not recommend your society in its present state as an ideal for the transformation of ours."

    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Harvard, 1978)

    In the end, he couldn't stand it either.

    Michael Jackson was the commercial product of a predatory, degenerating culture.

  • Comment number 82.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 83.

    I am in two camps, I can hear the technical mix and appreciate that view of Solzhenitsyn. But I find it carried nothing. So also agree with street photobeing.

    Got modded last night. But Solzhenitsyn said he had worked on the Whistle Test. Now one of the most outstanding performances on that was by someone who IS playing at Glastonbury, who street photo being mentioned.

    Couldn't find the OGWT video but found this last night.

    The public and media seemed to forget that Jacko was playing at the O2 Arena. A corporate re-branding, did no one remember he was due to play at the Millennium Dome.

    (Jacko + Millennium Dome) x 50 = what did anyone really expect other than what has happened?

  • Comment number 84.

    #81 JJ

    Brilliant quote. Genius.

  • Comment number 85.

    Solzhenitsyn, first you say classical music is complex, pop is simple, so the comparison is unfair.Then you say basically Beethoven is simple, like Lennon and McCartney are simple, and, oh, Michael Jackson is simple too, so he's up there with them. Well, to my ears, he isn't.
    Citing your CV doesn't make Michael Jackson's music interesting, or the product of "an immense talent" when it's plainly nothing of the kind. What did Bach leave out of the Brandenburgs to make them works of genius? How much did John Coltrane simplify "My favourite things" to make it better?

  • Comment number 86.

    Apparently the Newsnight Michael Jackson special and Newsnight Review broadcast on BBC2 on Friday 26th June 2009 are no longer available on i-player for some reason (I thought it was availble for 7 days!). In addition, the Michael Jackson BBC News Special on broadcast at 19.30 on BBC1 on the same day is also no longer available. Have contacted the BBC but not yet received a reply. Any thoughts as to how I can view these programmes? Thanks.

  • Comment number 87.

    sunny1969 (#86) Whilst you're waiting, you could crush some chilli peppers between your thumbs and index fingers and then rubb your eyes.

  • Comment number 88.

    Mr Miliband and his FCO is doing a preditable job of rallying the EU to Israel's cause by proxy.

    Don't just just love how this works? Is it anway wonder Britian gets branded as it does?

  • Comment number 89.


    I thought it was a spoof at first, but I never read the Guardian now so might not have recognised a 'house style'.

  • Comment number 90.

    Blimey, you lot have found a lot to say about Michael Jackson! ; )

  • Comment number 91.

    #90 Ecolizzy

    Well you started it.

  • Comment number 92.

    #91 Ha,ha, Leo perhaps I shouldn't have! ; ) Like Prodigy, his music is good to dance to, but not just to listen to! It was music and movement! : )

  • Comment number 93.

    ecolizzy (#90) "Blimey, you lot have found a lot to say about Michael Jackson! ; )"

    "The nanny told Barak: Fifty performances! I told him . . . what are you doing? He said I signed only for 10. He didnt know what he was signing. He never did.

    He truly was an icon of the times ;-)

  • Comment number 94.

    #94 JJ

    Were you just being ironic/satirical etc. Or have you really confused the President of the United States with Michael Jackson.

    Let me explain one is tall and black and lives in a fantasy world run by businessmen, the other is..

    On a serious note the story emerged about Jackson not knowing how many performances about a month ago. That's when the writing was on the wall.

  • Comment number 95.


    KCL (#94) Every day we see people seeking, and getting, credit for work whch is largely that of others. Some actively pursue this in ignorance (which always strikes me as evidence of narcissism) whilst others endure it as an occupational hazard. The truth is, it is a hazard, and there are far too many in our culture who financially mine what at root amounts to nothing more than an unresolved infantile phase. If we could fix that, we would fix a lot.

  • Comment number 96.

    #81 Jaded_Jean

    The SOLZHENISTSYN quote only works when you put the situation into context for those who may not understand your hideous beliefs.

    You are somebody who sees Hitler (along with the BNP posters and far right irritants) as a solution. I can't recall the exact number of Russians that died but it would be roughly half of todays UK population. So the notion that all good "statists" flock together is risible. Hence the Soviet phrase "fascist pig" and so on - not "dear comrade".

    Meanwhile would any decent person approve of people who incite others to beat up a Romany woman with a five day old child in Belfast, or Holocaust "agnostics" who are too timid to state what they believe?

    Race "realism" is just code for evil.

  • Comment number 97.

    Its curious that people who claim to be so proud of being far right so very rarely actually say that they are. Ask if they are Nazis and they will say "no".

    Break the question down and they revere Hitler, want planned economy and an end to democracy etc etc.

    Many of the posters on this page are the BNP and try to set the agenda of the page via oblique dross.

    Race "realism" is something that they will lecture on - even though they have to know that the science is rubbish. Genetic variation is greater within a race than between races and so there is no basis to racial theories in fact. There are genetic differences but the big picture is that we are all very similar.

    Meanwhile teenagers are induced to acts of racial hatred in Belfast.

    Von Bruun may a name for himself in the US the other day. The American Friend of the BNP killed a security guard at a Holocaust memorial in a senseless and barbaric act.

    These Holocaust "Agnostics" won't turn up at the Djemjanjuk trial in Germany with "facts" that show the Holocaust did not happen. Nobody has ever turned up at a Nazi war crimes trial with such evidence.

    The Cult of The Latter Day Haw Haws is just an emotional addiction to hatred.

  • Comment number 98.

    I hope in the Mumbai report tonight Newsnight will home in on popular and governmental attitudes in India to the situation in Pakistan after Mumbai.

    They are clearly fighting in a fierce battle in Swat and seem to be making progress - but if the Pakistani government looks as though it won't win ....

  • Comment number 99.

    Go1 96

    "Meanwhile would any decent person approve of people who incite others to beat up a Romany woman with a five day old child in Belfast"

    Would any decent person approve of people who rejoice in someone being blinded in one eye or want to see another hanged?

  • Comment number 100.

    'The experts say ministers must make up lost time by investing massively in research and deployment of renewables; creating a more wide-ranging electricity 'supergrid'; and ensuring that coal-fired power stations capture 90% of their carbon emissions by 2020.


    More from Today programme

    One leading member of the society said privately that the government's performance on carbon capture so far had been pathetic - although would agree that criticism should not be confined to the UK. '

    How about getting Ethical Man to put this into context with regard to the projected 2020 shortfall of carbon availability and/or Paul Mason to see whether prices will rise to prohibitive levels for oil and suchlike.

    Should we try to capture carbon or simple love on to renewables with more urgency.


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