The Poppy

As a child I heard many stories about the war, every year silver haired veterans would stand by a wreath alongside the Queen at a ceremony each November in London. As a child I didn’t really like watching the ceremony due to the sadness etched on everyone’s face, it was a time where the TV was switched very quickly to a more child orientated programme.
My attitude changed whilst working in Westminster a few years ago, we were asked if we wanted to walk down to the memorial and partake in the ceremony I said yes, I mean what harm could it be. What was interesting was just that very year my father had told me that my Grandfather had fought in the 1st world war, he was a Commonwealth solider that was drafted from the Caribbean to fight in the Somme. Suddenly it became all to real for me, I decided to go to the ceremony not only for my grandfather but for all those young men who had given their lives for Queen and Country.
It was a week day and I remember taking the short walk to the Cenotaph a large crowd had gathered many where the silver haired veterans that I had seen on the TV I looked closely in the crown and I saw much older frail gentlemen some being minded by their carers. I watched in awe at these old frail men many of whom were in their last years or maybe months of life, they had manged to make their way to the memorial to remember the harrowing ordeal of the war, I am sure as they waited memories of their friends whom had lost their lives, maybe even the sounds of the sirens, the many injured, and the dead came flooding back, I assumed that the much older men were from the first world war

These brave men whom fought for a Country that is now …today ‘broken’ , I thought of my own Grandfather whom went to war proud, for a Queen and Country he had never been to, a country where eventually his son and grandchildren would settle. A country that is bitter towards his son and grandchildren and often wants them to leave and ‘go back to their own country’, a country that is intolerant of Mass immigration, a country where bullets often fly, crack needles litter the street, people are out of work..he fought strong and hard and lost his eye to the country his children now called home the country paved with that imaginary Gold.
My thoughts were broken by a wail in the crowd, I looked to see the frail old man in his wheelchair crying uncontrollably, crying with pain, and heartache, crying from the memories of the war. The minute silence had begun and all that could be heard was this old man, whom once had dreams, aspirations to make sure Britain was free……Thank you Veterans
Thank you Grandad
And Thank you Old man with dreams of a free word.

The man in the mirror

 I had a strange feeling on 25th June 2009 I remember coming home from work , feeling ‘weird’ getting a phone call with some upsetting news and sitting on front of the television thinking its a strange old day. Four hours later news of Michael Jackson being rushed to hospital broke……I started to feel numb….news was buzzing, Internet chatrooms were on overload people were wondering was this true I for one could not comprehend let alone expect ‘Dead’ and Micheal Jackson EVER being in the same sentence, however yes those words were in the same sentence and it was very true.

A classic, “where were you when”moment, many people asked this question regarding John F Kennedy, Elvis, even Princess Diana, well ….I was in bed. It was as if one of our own had passed, people were ringing each other passing the news, people who had long stopped liking him as an artist were all saddened, Michael was gone.

 I had always liked Michael Jackson you could say that I was a fan my first memories were at aged 3 watching the ‘can you feel it’ video by the Jacksons. A year later I sat in awe watching ‘Billy Jean’ and Michael stepping on the pavements, lighting them up with every choreographed step. I tried in vain to light up Streatham High Road ….but it didn’t happen.

Bad era was when I really became a fan, the rest was history until I got to secondary school and found that it was ‘uncool’ to be a fan of someone with plastic surgery. I began to dislike him because I felt that he didn’t want to be true to himself it was hard for me because I was going through puberty/life changes and really not wanting to be me, apparently MJ didn’t either he was able to change his face many couldn’t.

I had a friend at school who was a lifelong fan of Michael Jackson, through his troubles she stood firm she loved him. Many of our classmates and myself ridiculed her but she didn’t care, secretly I admired her for her loyalty something I had long since lost. Nonetheless I called her on the 26th June I left my condolences on Facebook, she responded by saying that she new I was a MJ secret fan, I laughed ..I suppose she was right.

You see, it was plain to see that Michael Jackson touched many peoples lives even those who don’t want to admit it. From the parents who grew up with ‘little Michael Jackson’, the cool older brothers or sisters who loved his ‘off the wall era’ or his Jheri Curled Billy Jean look. The thirty somethings that grew up with Bad and dangerous or the emotional fan who cried at his concerts. He touched us all…the man in the mirror

Rest in peace Micheal