I switched on the TV. Jackson was still alive on BBC News 24, where they seemed to be reporting he was in hospital following a heart attack. That wasn’t good enough, so I flicked over to Sky News, which tends to blab stuff out while the Beeb drags its feet tediously checking the facts. He was bound to be dead on Sky. But he wasn’t; he was possibly in a coma. In desperation, I turned to Fox. They would already be attempting to communicate with him via the spirit realm, surely. But they weren’t. If anything, they were being more cautious than the Beeb. Boo.
Back to Sky, which was now reporting that a website was announcing his death. That’d do for now. I beamed a few texts out: “Michael Jackson apparently dead”. “Piss off” came the reply. It was my own fault. I’d texted a few weeks earlier to say Huw Edwards had just vomited live on the news.
Confirmation of his death gradually spread across the news networks, but the main terrestrial channels were still obliviously broadcasting their scheduled programmes. ITV won the newsflash race, diving straight in after Trial and Retribution. Alastair Stewart abruptly shouted “MICHAEL JACKSON HAS DIED” down the lens like a man standing on the shoreline trying to get the attention of someone on the deck of a passing ferry during gale-force winds. Fair enough. Whenever I hear the phrase, “And now a special news report”, I automatically start scanning the room for blunt objects to club myself to death with in case they’re about to announce nuclear war. Since this wasn’t the apocalypse, but an unexpected celebrity death – sad, but not worth killing yourself with a paperweight over – Stewart was right to blurt it out as fast as he could.
I have no further comment to make. I ♥ Charlie Brooker.