Monday December 26, 2016
His Last Christmas! You have been loved, George Michael.
George Michael was the first international music artist that I consciously followed, idolized and loved. The kind of love that led me to collect every single song of his, including his obscure singles that very few people would have heard.
My cousin sister introduced me to George Michael and I hold her in high esteem for this. She, back then, was a mad fan of George and also imagined (swore!) that one of her school crushes looked like him.
George Michael was first artist of whom I had a poster in my room, during my college-going years. Yes, it was the usual poster that everyone else had too – the one from Faith.
The first cassette I bought with my first salary was Older. I still remember buying 2 cassettes, one for myself and another for my cousin sister, in Chennai, when it was just released, in 1996.
The first website I ever built, in 1998, on Geocities, was a really tacky (in retrospect) fansite for George. It was a clumsy and really stupid looking website that had content copied from a range of other sources and even more tacky GIFs and a couple of George Michael photos. In 1998, given the internet speed in my college computer ‘lab’, it was a massive task and took me about a month or more to build that silly website!
George was the first artist where I searched long and hard for every one of his songs, including rare and obscure singles that very few people, besides his hardcore fans, would have heard. I still have mp3s of 52 rare singles that I have gathered across the past 2 decades… they are George singing with another artist, or solo on stage.
The first ‘Western’ song that I learnt to sing on my own (inside my head, in the shower) fully was George’s Kissing A Fool (Faith). I did it the old fashioned way – listening to it, and writing down the lyrics alongside because we didn’t have lyrics websites back then.
George and his music was an integral part of my growing up, albeit later, when I was in college. I don’t think that’s ever going to change – that’s a time vault safely stored in my head, till I perhaps grow older and lose my memory.
To me, GM, for the longest time meant George Michael, not Good Morning (one of the effects of working in offices long enough). I actually feel listless today, after hearing the news of his passing away. To feel this listlessness for a person I have never met and only heard is what fandom is made of.
One of my bucket list items was to see/hear George Michael live and I don’t think he was ever planning an India concert at all. Now, that’s definitely not going to happen, so that’s one item from my bucket list scratched out. All I can now do is play his songs more often at home and in my car.