Remember The Time

To some, he’s the centre of their lives; their religion. To others, he was simply a man whose persona history has embellished. He came to Earth, to teach us the ways of love and peace – we can all quote a parable or two about turning the other cheek or showing kindness to others.

He had a brotherhood of disciples, but I bet you can’t name them all. He’s probably one of the most recognised men in the whole world, even people in far away lands would know his face or his name. Some picture him as a white man, although historical accuracy would dictate that his skin was much darker.

He eventually left us and ascended to heaven, although of course people claim to see him all the time. Some say he visits them personally, others just see his face in a piece of toast or whatever.

Of course, I’m talking about Michael Jackson.


Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Say what you will about Jackson (except that – and you know what I mean) the man was a cultural icon that touched us all (NO).

Our parents probably remember him a bit differently. Like a butterfly, Michael went through several distinct phases of maturity and metamorphosis. I’m too young to remember the Jackson Five, although of course I know their songs – I’m a great lover of Motown.

The other boys watch as their careers fly off into the distance.

The other boys watch as their careers fly off into the distance.

In fact, I know a great many more Motown songs than I do Michael Jackson. Only the big hits, really. And to be honest I never understood a bloody word he said. But he was always so damn enthusiastic with his incoherent splutterings you just couldn’t help but be swept up in it. In the eighties and nineties, a lot of his songs had very overt, positive themes.

It was a very patronising time, really. We had the Turtles telling us not to do drugs. We had Rod, Jane & Freddy tellling us to say ‘no’ to strangers (regardless of how many sweets they had in their van). And we had Jacko telling us to end racism and write to Gorbachev asking him nicely to end the Cold War.

"We will bury you" "Please buy Tetris"

“We will bury you. Oh, please buy Tetris, you capitalist dogs.”

I know I was only a little ‘un at the time, but take it from me, I knew what the Cold War was. I knew we were one Rocky movie away from fifty tonnes of atom bomb dropping on our heads. My mum made me watch a PSA-style cartoon about surviving the nuclear holocaust. It scared the shit out of me.

Anyway, I think anybody born in the 70s or 80s has at least a couple Michael Jackson songs etched permanently into their brain. My favourites are Beat It, Black or White and Man in the Mirror. Others like Billie Jean and Smooth Criminal are nice, but don’t come with the heavy-handed moral that I was accustomed to being fed by the likes of He-Man.

I was aware that Michael Jackson was going to be in a movie, Moonwalker. I often got it confused with Moonraker at the time, although the Bond film is only slightly less stupid. I didn’t get around to seeing it until recently (well, ten years ago), but more on that in a bit.


I did get around to playing the game, though! It was quite a big deal. Michael had a thing for Sega, there were always pictures of him playing a Megadrive or whatever in the magazines, and there were rumours that he had something to do with the music in Sonic.


Moonwalker hit the Megadrive and Master System in 1990 and had you playing as Michael and rescuing bound and gagged children (stop it!) from criminals. It was pretty playable, but repetitive.  The best bit was doing the special attack and having all the goons dance along with you. Oh, and you could turn into a killer robot and blow people away.


Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker

I’ve never done drugs. Nor have I ever gone back in time. Watching this film, however, is an experience that can only be duplicated by doing these things in tandem.

It’s mostly bits and pieces from music videos. Some of these are mundane, like Dirty Diana. Others are an acid trip through hell, like Leave Me Alone. There’s also a loose narrative that seems to have Jackson being hounded by Joe Pesci and his machine gun-toting thugs. Oh yeah, and Michael is a Transformer now – he turns into a Lancia Stratos and burns rubber to a thirties speakeasy where he’s arranged to meet some children. He goes inside and has a bit of a dance while his child accomplices are left alone outside to watch and get kidnapped.
Jackson goes nuts with a tommy gun and moonwalks outside to track down the drug lord that took the kids. You can tell Pesci is your typical dealer because he has his own personal army of stormtroopers and a secret base. His plan is to inject kids with The Drugs in order to turn them into addicts. What a buffoon – any drug lord knows that the under-12 demographic lack the disposable income to afford heroin!

Anyway, it all goes tits up for him because Michael turns into an even bigger Transformer, complete with an arsenal of weapons, and blows the place to shit. He transforms one last time into a spaceship and goes up and away into the inky blackness of space from whence he came.

Only marginally more terrifying than the real thing.

Only marginally more terrifying than the real thing.

~ FIN ~

Well, that just about sums it up. I’m not a Jackson fan, really, but he just was too big a deal to ignore. He was a bit weird, but damn he could dance! And I think we need more people like him; he used his fame to try and change the world for the better, and I hope that he really believed what he was singing about.

So remember to beat it if someone challenges you to a knife fight, remember that it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white, and you can heal the world if you start with the man in the mirror!


“All the goons”


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