I guess the death of Michael Jackson has been a major news story all around the world. I have to confess that his music never really did it for me - well, the really early Jackson 5 stuff maybe, you know, "I want you back" & "ABC".
But I do have a story of a personal encounter with Michael Jackson. For six months he was my landlord. Really.
After finishing at Wycliffe, I didn't get ordained straight away. For a little while I stayed in colege, and then I house sat for Branse & Barbara Burbridge in Marston, and then I worked for HMV for a while. I got notice that there was a house for rent in Oxford, 104 Marlborough Road, 3 bedrooms, and the guy who was letting it out was looking to sort it quickly. I had two friends, Chas & Andy who were also looking, so we spoke & agreed to look together. I rang the contact number, and was told to go on a certain day and the landlord himself would show me the house as he had strict rules.
The landlord himself was Michael Jackson.
No entourage. No weirdness. No big deal. Very softly spoken. Wearing black. This was 1994. We agreed a rent, a deposit, and I was given a contact number and a document to sign so that I was the person responsible for the house, and I alone met Michael. Chas & Andy never saw him. He came once more during the six months I lived there before being ordained: a daytime call. To make sure we were keeping the place clean. I think he rang the day before & I was in a frenzy for hours making the place spotless!
The photo is the front room of that house. The night before I left to come to Wales, with a group of friends who prayed with me.
Oh - not that Michael Jackson. This one was a lovely Irish guy, and chaplain of Christ Church. You didn't really think...???