Dreams Really Do Come True

love you celine

Tuesday night a dream came true.  I fought back fear and was seated in the O2 arena, listening to what some have deemed the eighth wonder of the world: Celine Dion.  I say fought back my fear due to the recent terror attacks in London. I was debating with myself whether it was selfish of me to go. What if something did happen?  Having children has definitely made me more fearful. More fearful of everything.

I was very uneasy of leaving my children anyway, my youngest is not even 4 months and my eldest is old enough to know that I won’t be home for bedtime cuddles and kisses. Getting to the O2, the security was much more stringent than I remember and despite my earlier protestations my husband and I enjoyed a wonderful meal together prior to entering the actual arena. To be honest, I felt uneasy throughout the night and when we found our seats I couldn’t help but look for the nearest fire exit and wonder how many people could make it out of the arena safely.

It was not long until Celine’s supporting act entered the stage. I had not heard of Veronic DiCaire before but I hope this night was not the last time. She was beyond amazing and although I knew Celine was coming on stage as soon as Veronic completed her set, I was left wanting more. She reminded me a lot of Celine in her looks, the way she spoke (as a French/Canadian she had the exact same accent) and she definitely warmed the arena with her voice and her charm. Commenting on the recent terror attacks, she remarked on the British resilience with such feeling, I was left in tears. She remarked on the need to celebrate music and that was exactly what we did. Terrorism is more than how many people are killed (as heart-breaking as each death is) but how much fear they bring to our lives. They want us to stop living as we do and I am so glad that I refused to let them win.

Excitement was building when the time came for Celine to come on stage.  What seemed to be from out of nowhere she was there.  Although the concert tickets were sold out Celine Dion is able to make you feel she is performing to you only.  She converses with the crowd throughout the show with humour and compassion and you feel she is talking directly to you. It all seemed so natural and unrehearsed. There was no grand display on stage, or grand costume changes. It felt more about being there for one another rather than putting on a show with grand lighting effects.  My husband fortunately brought good seats, however towards the end of the show, Celine broke with protocol and walked off stage, through the crowd and sang the last song from a podium less than 15 feet away from where our seats were. Having an aisle seat meant that Celine walked straight past me. Most people had their phones up to their faces and taking pictures but I wanted to remember that moment.  The moment she looked at me and smiled. The moment I felt that she and I were the only two people in that arena.

She may be thirteen years older than me but I feel I can relate to her on so many levels, as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister. We have both suffered the loss of a loved one through Cancer and know that grief is like the disease itself. You will forever be recovering rather than free from it. As she dedicated the song to the victims of the Manchester and London terror attacks, you could feel and hear the compassion she felt for everyone. 

celine-o2-2017

Celine Dion, despite her ‘diva’ status has no pretence in front of others, there was a moment when she was overcome with emotion during the concert. She is not shy at showing her feelings or at laughing and joking, even at herself. I feel I have walked away from the concert with a new friend. For me she is so relatable on so many levels as a person rather than a product that just happens to sing beautiful music. It was the memories of her singing at the O2 that helped me through soothing a feverish 4 month old to sleep in 33 degree heat while her older sister was crying for me to cuddle her. 

So many people say it is risky meeting your idols and that often our expectations do not meet the reality. Watching Celine at the O2 was reminiscent of seeing my daughter walking behind Elsa in the parade at Disneyland. Elsa spotted her and several times blew her kisses, made a heart and even sent her some magic. The look on my daughter’s face was unforgettable. Now I know how she felt. Reality did not meet expectations, it exceeded them. Not only that but I am determined to keep those feelings safely tucked away for times when I need to draw on them. Like last night.

It just goes to show that you never know the effect you have on people. In a similar fashion, you never know what is going on behind closed doors, behind the smiles that people portray.  That is why we must always be gentler with people, kinder and less inclined to judge them. I had always known that and have tried to put that in practice in my relations with other people, however it was watching Celine that bought it home for me. There is a reason that Celine Dion is as successful as she is, having a good voice is not enough. You need to be likeable. Relatable. Human. That is exactly what she is.

Celine

Opening image: my own

Second image: www.metro.co.uk

Closing image: blastingnews.com

Happy Birthday Mr. Jackson

On this day 53 years ago, the greatest entertainer of all time was born. I have written on several occasions about Michael Jackson but this time I will say very little and let Michael speak proving why indeed he was the greatest entertainer of all time. The following videos, although not by far the complete list, give testimony to his genius, his talent and his rhythm and why he still is the greatest entertainer of all time:

Watching these videos this morning, brought it home once more. This man was pure genius, he transcended age barriers, cultural barriers and race barriers. He made music what it is today and that is what he must be remembered for.

Happy Birthday, Michael Jackson. 


My Scream Out (ft. Michael Jackson)

Thinking about my first piece to start my marathon session of blog writing, I attempted to write on many topics this week but the real inspiration came to me last night while watching an old interview with Michael Jackson.

The footage was recorded on 10th February 1993 with Oprah Winfrey and watching it after many years, I felt goose pimples listening to the then exclusive release of his single: Give In To Me. Like many of his songs and like his scores of fans across the world, I felt he was singing about my life. There was something so powerful in his song and his dance that even seventeen years after the interview and the video aired and what will soon be two years after his death, he is still moving people with his music.

Even after writing about Michael Jackson on three other occasions, I am still amazed at how his music can stay so current, years after its release. Throughout my life, I have resorted to Michael Jackson’s music for comfort and this time is no different. Just as I was thinking of the week ahead, curling up on the sofa and trying to make myself as small as possible, I heard a song that gave me the strength to fight back against my demons. Words that I have listened to throughout today and which now, come Sunday evening I am feeling a little more ready for the onslaught of terrors that I face on Monday mornings.

Now, that is a song that is firmly set in my iPod…

Heroes Making A Way Through the Water

In response to The Metro article paying tribute to the heroes of our modern wars, I want to pay tribute to my very own war hero. I never met my hero, or at least do not remember meeting him. My hero served in the Royal Navy as a minesweeper in WWII on a ship called the HMS Mary Rose. Unfortunately that is all I know of my hero’s story.

I don’t believe a person needs to die to become a hero. A hero is a person who deals with what is ahead of him with grace and without complaint. I don’t know much about my hero’s life before the war, during or even after the war. I don’t even know the sound of his voice, however I do know he was a quiet man and a supporter of Arsenal football team. He was an admirer of my father’s homeland and a teacher to my father himself.

He may not have lost his life in the war, but every year I wear a poppy I wear it for him. Every year I spend a minute in silence, I think of him. WWII has a face to its name, to its memory, to its legacy. My hero returned to civilian life a father to a daughter he didn’t know. He was not only a husband and a father but my grandpa too. I may not know his story of the war, I may not even know the sound of his voice but I am still, after 29 years proud to be his granddaughter.

This Is It: DVD Review

I may run the risk of partiality with this review, however there really was no cause to fault Michael Jackson in this DVD. I first saw this film at the cinema and upon settling among fellow viewers, there was a jovial and upbeat atmosphere in the theatre.

Once Michael Jackson entered into the lens of the camera, an applause erupted, but a sudden silence soon followed.  This was no ordinary film. We had all seen Michael Jackson’s dance videos before and this seemed just as the rest of them. Except it wasn’t.

Michael Jackson was unique. He was unique in his looks; in his thoughts; in his moves; in his sound. Even if you are not a fan, you can not deny this man’s talent or the extent of his popularity. For me this film shows Michael Jackson as the star he has  always been, it is also a gift to his fans. We are given a gift to see Michael during his last days and remember him as he and his fans would like to remember him: on stage, the place he always felt most at home.

This video puts to rest the rumours that he would not be able to live up to our expectations. That he would be unable to deliver. Michael is undeniably thin even shockingly so, yet the dance routines he displayed on This Is It were enough to make one who is young, fit and healthy to struggle, yet Michael breezed through them. To the naked eye his routines were faultless, which not only puts to rest the above rumour but also that of Michael not working with his dancers. To be so in sync with one another surely requires hours of practice and rehearsals.

The humble man comes into play during the rehearsals allowing individuals to shine. To have their time in the spotlight. Yet even during the rehearsals, wearing simple clothes and with no direct instruments accompanying his routine, Michael Jackson still held his own and his stage presence was electrifying. Even though I have followed Michael’s career and his music throughout the years, in watching this film I saw a different side of him. You are allowed a taste of his humour and he genuinely seemed the happiest he has ever been despite his internal anguish.

The story of Michael Jackson may in itself be stranger than fiction, in that the man was an ordinary man in an extraordinary world with an extraordinary talent. I just hope his memory experiences the same as that of Elvis Presley. That even though the man died under questionable circumstances his talent and genius will precede him.

Michael Jackson: Abandoned in his Fame

I know I am a little biased but I must say the man was an absolute genius. Michael Jackson is beyond words. I went to the Michael Jackson exhibition today and have walked away from it in despair to be honest. Despair that a man with such talent and magic led the life he had. Michael Jackson was magic. Walking through the exhibition, seeing his costumes I marvelled at their simplicity. When seeing Michael Jackson on stage, we all were transfixed. Yet, all he ever wore were slacks and t-shirts. It reiterated that he truly was magic. The magic came from within him. He didn’t need to ‘dress’ the magic, it simply came naturally.

Michael Jackson was an innocent soul perhaps to the extent of naivety. Reality as we understand it was a novelty to him. Even now, it seems hard for people to accept Michael Jackson into their own understanding of reality. It is a shame that it is only in death that people are looking beyond the headlines and listening to the music. Recently listening to Candle in the Wind by Elton John (the Marilyn Monroe version) and listening to the words, it could be written for him. He ‘never knew who to turn to when the rains set in’. Even to the end, he never knew who to trust. I just hope now he can trust his talent, his music and his dance to teach us all the Michael Jackson he wanted us to see.

Rest in peace, Michael. Keep Dancing.

The Soundtrack to his Legacy

His life was somewhat unconventional but I wonder who indeed has the right to define convention? I have been watching The Family on Channel 4 and in accordance with my life and set values, what is displayed on my television screen is somewhat unorthodox. I am ashamed to admit I dismissed their choice of living as ‘wrong’ or ‘unacceptable’. However, upon closer viewing I have quickly retracted such opinion. Of course I can not be certain what is acted for the cameras (if anything), but despite this though their chosen way of life works for them and  so who am I to disagree?

Michael Jackson’s death is another event in history during which everyone remembers where they were when they heard the news. No one can deny the effect he has had on world music. He may have seemed childish to some but what he achieved and set out to do was most definitely not childish. He bought together an army of people worldwide under one category: a Michael Jackson fan. He transcended colour, creed, religion even language. But of course, you already knew that.

His music was and continues to be the soundtrack to my life. It is even through a shared enjoyment of his art that I met my husband. No mean feat, particularly as we were then living on opposite sides of the world. I personally owe a lot to Michael Jackson and I am simply a needle in a haystack. To me, Michael Jackson is a symbol of simpler; more innocent times. A time when my only worry and care in the world was what to wear to school the next day. His music was the soundtrack to times of exam worry, times of love, times of break-ups. There are even songs on his track listing that gave me comfort after the loss of my father. The death of Michael Jackson is not only a death of a genius but it is the death of childhood, of innocence. The happier, carefree times of my past do not seem real somehow.

It saddens me that a little girl was brave enough to stand up in front of the world in support of her father, and yet the following day all that could be said was he was not her Daddy. It saddens me now that it seems fashionable to declare yourself a Michael Jackson fan. All the celebrities came out in droves in support of him, but I wonder where were they when he needed them? Why is it that it is only after someone dies that you realise what you once had? Why do we as human beings never learn? Why as human beings do we dismiss those we do not understand? In a way the treatment of Michael Jackson reminds me of times in the history books when people were burnt at the stake simply for being left-handed, for being different, for being unconventional. As an adult, surrounding oneself with children is certainly unconventional but just like in the history books, it quickly turned into a witch hunt and again like in the history books, the hounded did not survive.

Michael Jackson may not have led a conventional and orthodox life. He may not have looked conventional; may not have acted conventional and indeed may not have promoted convention. However, now I hope that his accolades; his achievements; his music; his dance; his children will be the soundtrack to his legacy.