Marcus Berkmann

Hitting the mark

Marcus Berkmann on Michael Jackson

Marcus Berkmann on Michael Jackson

It seems hard to believe, but on 29 August Michael Jackson will be 50 years old. Maybe fortunately in this case, the music industry doesn’t really go a bundle on 50th birthdays: I believe there’s another half-hearted greatest hits coming out, but that’s about it. How will Jacko celebrate? I think we can all imagine him alone in one of his vast decaying houses, Charles Foster Kane crossed with Miss Havisham, playing his Nintendo all day and pausing from time to time to pick up the latest nose and stick it back on. If George Orwell was right, he will have the face he deserves — surely a punishment far greater than any crime he committed. All that money, all that success, and what was the point of any of it?

Madonna, of course, is celebrating her forthcoming 50th in a more traditional manner: by getting divorced. She hits the mark on 16 August, which she’ll no doubt spend at home with her children and favourite lawyers. It’s no small matter, this 50 thing. I am two years away from mine, and, as so many of my friends seem to be slightly older and more decrepit than me, I have already been to a few 50th birthday parties and am looking forward to behaving like a deranged teenager at several more. Forget all this nonsense about 50 being the new 40, or even the new 35: 50 is 50, which is to say 15 on the inside, and make sure you smash every mirror in the house. Either you have achieved what you were going to achieve, or you haven’t, and if you’re lucky you don’t care any more anyway. If you are a pop star, though, the chances are that you achieved what you were going to achieve so long ago that it must seem like a different person who achieved it.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in