I Never Liked WHAM! but…

Rewinding back to 1984, I was 14 going on 15 in Year 9 at school. I never liked WHAM! and definitely NEVER bought an album or single and especially NEVER wore a WHAM! T-Shirt. Indeed, it never crossed my mind. How embarrassing!

Yet, although I was anything but a George Michael’s fan, I still felt a deep shock when I heard the news…even sadness.

Why was it so? Why did I even care? I didn’t know the man. Wasn’t a fan.

Do I have some weird fatal attraction towards dead celebs?

I don’t think so. Indeed, I don’t even watch the news much anymore.

However, what with the Christmas break and Sydney experiencing heat wave conditions, I’ve been hibernating in front of the TV a bit while writing. I also call this recuperating from the stress of Christmas past and a busy year.

This naturally meant that I not only heard that George Michael had passed away, but much of the media follow-up and it drew me into its orbit.

Well, I was genuinely sorry to hear that the man had died at 53. Not because he was George Michael, but because he was human. Had hopes and dreams and they were cut short. Moreover, when you’re talking about someone with such immense musical talent and influence, even I think about what might have been. After all, we’ve all moved forward since WHAM! and 1984.

Or, have we?

Although my memories are rather hazy, George Michael’s death took me straight back to 1984. It was like I’d just boarded a time machine and was back in my old school uniform, wearing my old (or should I say young) skin. We were all writing notes in class and I’m not talking about class notes. There were much more important things to discuss. I clearly remember two of my fans were crazed, obsessive WHAM! fans. One adored George and the other one was equally “in love” with Andy. These friends were joined at the hip just like Kath & Kim. They were so into WHAM! that it was almost fused into their DNA.  They had WHAM! on everything. I love WHAM! scrawled all over their pencil cases, folders and their cassettes playing in their Walkmen. You get the drift. WHAM! had become a disease…not terminal but still a disease.

Yet, over the years, somehow WHAM! songs have crept into my psyche  and I’ve even found myself singing along to the car radio. Shock horror! I even knew all the words. Not that I’ve ever been a fan, but WHAM! was like that. It somehow became a part of me without my knowledge, awareness or consent.

How do these things happen?

Then, George Michael died this week. I didn’t even know the man. Yet, there’s media coverage everywhere and you don’t even need to go looking for grief, fuel for grief and stories to change your impressions of the man. They’re knocking on every door you’ve got. Indeed, I found out about his incredible anonymous acts of generosity and how he didn’t come out for some time, because he didn’t want his mum to worry about the horrors of AIDS. Sure, there were less noble moments, but I began to feel humbled, apologetic and even a tad ashamed. We judge celebrities on the scantiest of information, if you could even call it that, and are so damn sure of our opinions. I didn’t think twice.

Indeed, it reminds me of an Elton song: Candle in the Wind.

Yes, we didn’t know George Michael either.

So, George I’m sorry.

Meanwhile, I’m firing my time machine back up again. This time, we’re off to 1977 when my uncle took my brother and I to see Star Wars. Star Wars at the movies. That was when we first met R2D2, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. Not that I went crazy over it, but I still remember going to that movie and that my uncle took me. I was 8 years old. That was so many lifetimes and goodness knows how many versions ago and I’m now taking my kids to see it.

However, that wasn’t why I was sad when Carrie Fisher passed away.

Again, it was because she was human and no mother should ever have to bury their own child and tragically, Debbie Reynolds didn’t. She had a stroke planning her daughter’s funeral, overwhelmed by grief. They might have know fame and been Hollywood royalty but they were mother and daughter first…family.

14 thoughts on “I Never Liked WHAM! but…

  1. Tails Around the Ranch

    Fan or not, the sheer energy of Wham! and Mr. Michael’s subsequent foray as a single artist was fairly undeniable. With the passing of Ms. Fisher and her mum, you just cannot deny 2016 has been such a pit of a year. So much loss, so much political acrimony the world over. I pray 2017 is a kinder, gentler year. We all need a break.

  2. New Journey

    I was a young 27 in 1984….and moving to Wham….I loved George Michaels music….I have to say I bought his album Faith…..one of my favorites….he died way to young, along with the many others we lost in 2016….Carrie Fisher and her mum….makes me question whether I would live through one my children’s unexpected deaths, God forbid – I am knocking on wood and I am also turning quickly clockwise to take back what I wrote………loosing my sister just about killed me back in 2006….I am not sure what got me thought that dark time….I am hoping that 2017 brings us all joy, happiness and whatever the hell else we want!!!!! LOL Happy New YearXXXkat

  3. Rowena Post author

    From what I remember of WHAM! there was a real joie de vivre about it. Party time. I now like his songs. The group of friends I had back then were fairly serious and I studied pretty hard then. All changed when I turned 16-17.
    My Mum lost her sister at 36 over 30 years ago now. It was awful and I remember the whole family sinking into such a deep despair and sorrow. You know the type which wraps you up like a blanket and takes you deep underwater until you can’t breathe and yet somehow you find your way back to the surface to gasp those breaths to survive.
    We’ll leave all of that behind us in 2017. Now that I have a clean, organized fridge and kitchen table, all will be well . Hmm…who am I kidding?!! If trouble comes my way, I’m going to shoot it point blank with my son’s nerf gun. Can’t get arrested for that! xx Ro

  4. Rowena Post author

    WE do need a break. 2017 was pretty good for me, especially since October but world politics hasn’t been good what with Brexit, Trump and ongoing terrorism. It would be great if some of that cleared up this year!
    xx Ro

  5. New Journey

    Death of a family member can certainly pull you down where no one should ever want to go….when I lost my sister I never thought I was going to survive it…sound crazy but she would show up and talk to me, let me know she was okay and never meant to leave us…she was my older sister and died suddenly, she coughed so hard her airway closed and she choked to death….in the house by herself…..in 2006….took me years to come back from it…she has since left me and I no longer get to see her lingering around..whether it was in my mind or her spirit was her, it was very comforting to have her close for awhile, I can understand what you mother went through…..tough times…but yes 2017 is here…and with it a fresh outlook on life, and nothing like a clean fridge, (which by the way mine just had a muck out too) and a clean table to start the new year out right!!! and I am pretty sure nerf guns are allowed…LOL xxxxkat

  6. amommasview

    We lost some good ones in 2016. I think the fact is that we all grew up with them being around. Playing their music, singing their songs or watching them in movies. In a way they always seem so indestructible. As if nothing could ever touch them, break them. And then we realize that they can be broken and they are vulnerable just like we are. Maybe that too is why it hurts when our idols pass away. It reminds us of our own vulnerability…

  7. Rowena Post author

    It’s certainly an interesting topic which has been discussed a lot lately.
    While some of these people have come and gone, I was watching David Attenburgh on TV the other day and noticed how his voice has been with me since childhood. That’s a very long time.

  8. Rowena Post author

    I’m so sorry for your loss. So sudden and difficult to understand.
    Today’s achievement was taking the dogs to the beach for a walk and I’m trying to find the oomph to do my violin practice. This new year’s stuff is hard work. We’re also going to Tasmania and getting houseminders in. Needing a huge, revolutionary cleanup.
    xx Ro

  9. New Journey

    That sounds like fun….traveling in Alaska was a big undertaking..LOL you had to fly or ferry to the mainland then get on another little ferry to get to the island the airport is on…LOL then fly out…..I didn’t make any new year resolutions, I never made any of my last years come to fruition so, why live in more guilt…LOL I used to time myself when I did house work…made it into a game…LOL amazing at what you can get done in 15 minutes…lol kat

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