The Reading Room

Michael Jackson

I found out about Michael Jackson’s death in a way that I couldn’t have done ten years ago – a news alert email from the New York Times quoting the AP confirmation. After deciding to wake the household, we huddled around the BBC 24 news coverage for an hour or so. If there was ever an example of Greg Dyke’s description of the “hideously white, hideously middle class” BBC this was it. I’m not sure who was on the BBC 24 graveyard shift – he was one of those interviewers in his early sixties who only ever seems to appear late at night. But he was tear inducingly bad. He knew nothing about Michael Jackson and nothing about music. He made references to how tall he was “Apparently he was a giant of a man” (actually, he was below average height, corrected the interviewee). And there were endless “He truly was the king of pop” banalities. Perhaps, this was generational. He wasn’t of the age to have grown up with Thriller – but with a full quota of resident music experts over at Radio 1 and Radio 2 couldn’t they have found someone better? RB

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