Monday, 13 July 2009

Hot town, summer in the city… and the Death of Michael Jackson

Summer has finally arrived in London, and with it all the dustiness, mugginess and general filthiness associated with 8,000,000 people working, moving, living, breathing in such close proximity to each other with the additional frisson of 30 + degrees centigrade. Needless to say, public transport is somewhat similar to the fate suffered by the arch-heretics of the 6th circle of hell in Dante’s Inferno (Canto IX, 110-123 in case you’re wondering). Not quite the transport of delight that Transport for London is hoping for...

And with summer comes rude boys in East London who are charging around in their souped-up Ford Fiestas with rhythmic noise blasting out from their rather impressive car speakers.

Apparently, the youth of today call this music and I believe this is part of either
a) the run up to some kind of clash to determine who is the more dominant male in the group, à la rutting stags,
in order to advance to

b) A modern sort of preamble to a mating ritual, à la cooing, horny pigeons

without fear of interference from another competitor.

However, as a certain Mr M. Jackson has left this terrestrial sphere for a circle hopefully somewhere well after the Inferno’s final canto, in commemoration of his passing the streets of Hackney, Bethnal Green and Shoreditch are filled with Doppler-effect renditions of Thriller, Bad, Don’t Stop ‘til you get Enough and - in the case of one rather tragic young man who may have lost the plot somewhat in his attempt to attain cool, hip, groovy Alpha-Male status amongst his particular tribe of youths - ABC.
But he can be safe in the knowledge he shall never plummet to the depths of social tragedy as one rather buff young man I spotted driving a BMW convertible down Bethnal Green Road… with Celine Dion on at a worryingly high volume.

He was either a man very, very secure in his masculinity and possibly packing something more powerful than a peashooter should anybody question his choice of music or genuinely thought this incongruous combination of buffness, Ms Dion and not the slightest hint of campness and would actually reel him in a chicky babe or two. Oh dear.

This sort of primal behaviour totally lacking in self-awareness and irony almost sends one straight back to the archival documents in despair at humanity, if they weren’t also full of youths trying to pull young ladies by various similar acts of peacockery and just outright cockery. I wonder what sort of a world we would be living in today if you’d got Michael Jackson on a mandolin in the 15th C? Might these youths of old placed him on a gondola and asked him to belt out a classic disco tune or two as they cruised down the Grand Canal? Might a similarly bemused scholar wearing their equivalent of bifocals have shaken their head and penned a social commentary not unlike this one?


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