26 December, 2016

Merry Christmas, George

I'm torn about what to write today.  Sentimental, and perhaps a tad foofie as it sounds, I am a true believer in taking the holiday season, whether yours is Hanukkah or Diwali or, as in my case, Christmas, as an opportunity, a reminder to look on the bright side, to feel close to family, and celebrate the love you feel for those close to you.

Merry Christmas everyone.  Let that be first and foremost.

But I also feel compelled to write a eulogy for a good artist.  George Michal was found dead today.  Ah, 2016...  Is there anything you won't do?  Honestly this has been a great year for me, but in every non-selfish regard...  Oh jeeze oh man...

I won't lie or suck up or pretend.  I do not like R&B music.  (I have no problem with you if you do, but there it is.)  But I had to respect George Michal.  Not only did he write his own lyrics, but there's a real poetry to them, and a poignance.  "Guilty feet have got no rhythm" is as good a line as they come.  Not only that, but he was an amazing singer.  Little known fact:  I sing and play guitar.  I'm no George Michal, and I don't claim to be.  I claim to know a great singer when I hear one.  I know how difficult certain things are, and how impressive.  For instance, to keep that kind of resonance in your voice, and tonality, when flowing in and out of a falsetto is an incredible skill, and I can think of precious few singers who can manage it, let alone while also being a great poet.  Bottom line:  George Michal was an artist.

But I don't want to dissect him like a lab rat.  It's not the point.  The point isn't even that it's sad when people die.  People lose loved ones.  To claim that losing an artist is worse is downright wrong.  But that said, we all feel sad when we lose someone, and losing an artist we feel close to is its own kind of tragedy.

And more than that, in George Michal people didn't feel close to your average arrogant diva.  They felt close to a genuinely kind and decent man.  I always liked the cut of his jib in interviews, and maintaining that kindness, humanity, and grip on reality in the throws of that level of fame is always something that has impressed me, even if its also addled by a lot of emotional and/or substance abuse problems.  I'd even go so far as to say I admire it.  And it, too, means something to people.

In the likes of George Michal, or David Bowie or Alan Rickman or any of the other multitude we've lost recently, people have felt like they've lost a friend, and a good one.

Now did I reach the heart of the matter or did I digress?  Is this a eulogy or a merry Christmas?  I thought I'd have figured it out by now, but I'm still not sure.

I suppose the point is that we need reminders, on occasion, of the joys of life, and I dare say the meaning of life.  Because whatever the latter is, it is not to be found in sorrow over strangers, or in politics.  It is to be found in the reality around us.  2016 was not great for many of us.  Most of my friends had signs on their facebook feeds like:

Giant Meteor 2016 campaign button

But I suppose my point is that our love of family and our friendships trump (some pun intended) any of our fears.  Some people don't have the fortune of feeling close to others.  Flying Spaghetti Monster knows I've been there.  So those of us who are so lucky, let's extend the hand of friendship to someone instead of worrying about the future, or the past.  And for our own sakes, let's focus on the now, and enjoy that which we have instead of that which we've lost or that which we fear.

Now, I choose a picture of him looking happy as an older man, because that's who he was when he died, and good on him getting so far.

George Michael has sparked rumours he's retiring after shutting down ...

R.I.P. George Michal.

Merry Christmas from China Holidays

Merry Christmas everyone.

Death and love seem so opposite, but they aren't.  The affection we feel is tied to our loss.  George Michal brought many of us joy, so let's send him holiday thanks.  Play one of his songs and dance with a friend or loved one.  I can think of no better way to honour Christmas or his memory.

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