Speak to any Los Angeles taxi driver, Starbucks barista, hotel valet or Police Officer and they’ll tell you – Michael Jackson’s death is good for business.
America in recession … What recession?
I counted at least 140 TV crews camped on risers outside the Los Angeles Staples Centre – that doesn’t include the scores of reporters, producers and technicians, all there to cover for the world MJ’s death.
The economics of death. One of the best stories around was that of an Australian couple from Wollongong. Sarah Varley and Jason Leussink were staying in a Sydney hotel last weekend celebrating Sarah’s 36th birthday, watching television in bed they entered the Jackson Memorial lottery online from an I-Phone. 30 hours later and last minute Qantas tickets, they were on their way to Los Angeles doing their bit to stimulate the U.S. Economy.
Since his death – Jackson’s albums have topped the music charts, generating millions for his estate and various record companies. Outside the Staples Centre Police Officers on overtime pay seemed to number as many fans – three thousand in all. The message of the day was … “If you didn’t have a blue or gold wrist band – you weren’t getting close.” Four million dollars U.S. and counting was the last estimate to police and run the event.
Looking back, the Jackson Memorial Service was nice – not too flashy, dignified – the performers wanted to be there, not there to use it as a vehicle to be scene.
For all of Jackson’s unusual past behaviour and weirdness – the Memorial Service left you in the end with the impression of a man fiercely loved by his family, whose image had finally been restored post-child molestation allegations and hush money.
Like John F. Kennedy Jr in 1963 saluting the coffin of his assassinated President Father … an image itched into history will be Michael Jackson 11 year old daughter Paris, telling the world … “Ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father anyone could imagine and I just wanted to say I love him.” It made young Paris human – a normal little girl caught in an abnormal upbringing. One can only imagine the record executives hanging around the edges, hoping she can sing.
But in the end – my final impression of Michael Jackson’s Memorial Service was
watching a Mexican/American immigrant, a woman in her mid-30’s wandering around the media compound collection empty plastic water bottles. She would later cash them in for five cents each. As the taxi driver said – ‘Jackson death is good for business’.