As a child growing up in the 1980s there were two legendary music stars who really stood out from the crowd. They were Michael Jackson and Madonna.
My brother was the Michael Jackson fan who went for those albums. I was the Madonna fan (go figure!!!)
To this day I like both artists’ music. A lot.
I had a ‘close encounter’ with Michael Jackson in 2002. Seems like a long time ago and indeed it was.
I was working with Henrietta (who is the longest follower of this blog and the prior three incarnations of it) at a high level consulting firm in central London. I had a junior job and spent much of my time at that company in various adminny / cover type roles. I have good memories of that job and the people there.
Anyway. We had a very senior MP who was also a senior partner in the company. Household name, perfectly nice (though her PAs would call her ‘extremely high maintenance’). She had been exceptionally high up in government and was still extremely well connected as you’d imagine.
Well, it was a long hot summer, work was quiet and Parliament was on summer recess. She asked us if we’d like a guided tour of the Palace of Westminster. Not to be conducted by her, but another MP. Was to be a bit of a private, ‘behind the scenes’ tour, something an ordinary tourist couldn’t do. Seeing it as an excuse to get out of the office I opted to go, as did a few colleagues.
It was interesting in its own right as I had never entered the hallowed home of British politics before. And the Palace of Westminster is quite something, very impressive both inside and out. Reeks of power – old and new. So we had a decent guided tour. We were even taken up Big Ben and were able to stand behind the clock face itself which was quite fun. The most almighty din when the bell chimes, but you would expect that.
Anyway. Towards the end of the tour we were being shown something or other, it was either the House of Commons or of Lords, I forget which. We were walking along and bumped into what I can only describe as a ‘rather vibrant small party’ of people being given their own VIP tour of the Palace. Only, this wasn’t any ordinary group of people or of VIPs – this group consisted of Michael Jackson (sans the hat or face mask), David Blaine, Uri Geller, Patti Boulaye and the former exciled King of Yugoslavia. We all, quite literally, did a double take.
And because we were being shown around by an MP – and because there were virtually no MPs in the House as Parliament was on recess – MJ’s VIP tour guide insisted on MJ talking to the MP showing us round. So they chatted. For about 5 minutes. No crowds, no mass security. His party of a dozen people and our party of about 8 people, standing together as a group. I don’t think I’ve ever been that dumbfounded before or since. And I had to try soooooooo hard to stop staring. Was quite amazing (and yes, he did look v weird up close).
The 5 minutes passed and then each party went its separate way. A memorable occasion.