How strange to realise that in the past couple of hours I've heard more Michael Jackson songs than at any other time in my life. I recognise the strange figure of the recent court case against him, and the cheerful child with the prodigious talent and the absurd costumes - so where did the other appearances go? And now, of course, I realise that the cheerfulness on stage was the product of a deprived childhood - deprived of childhood itself.
And in between? All the other stuff that filled my life, I suppose - other music, performing, bringing up a family, teaching, demonstrating, public speaking - and very little room for anything that wasn't my kind of music. But I can remember the effect the star had on the kids I taught - and their amusement at my not knowing why anyone would wear only one glove.
And I suppose what I think of is Elvis, whom I loved from the first movie I was allowed to go to on my own, with friends, without an adult. The movie was King Creole, and I was eleven. I moved on when Elvis changed into the fat freak of the rhinestone suits, but when he died, also too early, I remembered the young singer in denims who first showed my generation what sexy meant. I can still sing all the words of some Elvis numbers, but tonight I realised I couldn't have identified a single song of Michael Jackson's.