For 12 magical years I traveled to see Michael Jackson, never thinking what I did was special or amazing, it was just something I did. It didn't start as a journey, it wasn't planned. It just happened.All my life, I've just had this burning need to see Michael Jackson.
I started off going to see Michael Jackson on my own, and just somehow along the way met other fans doing the same thing.One minute you going about your everyday life, shopping or at home and then you check your phone and OOOOMMMMGGGGG!!
For one crazy week about once a year, Michael Jackson would come to Europe for a public appearance, ie an Award Show or similar event. And when he did, we would drop our normal lives and live in this crazy mad bubble world.
Michael Jackson knew how to play the game of publicity very well. He knew how to work the system. He knew that by letting fans know his location , ie the hotel he was staying at, then the event or award show would gain instant free publicity He knew how to get into the papers by not doing very much and by him being in the papers would raise the profile of whatever he was promoting at that time. That's how it worked, and deep inside us we knew we were being used for free PR, but at the time, it didn't matter to us.
It would start by his travel details being leaked to certain fans or by him allowing himself to be papped at an airport. Then by word of mouth, through text and phone calls, the news would circulate around the fan community.Whenever he traveled to Europe, for a public event, he would always stay at the same hotel, for example in London, there were 3 or 4 hotels within a mile which he has stayed out.Once word went around that Michael Jackson was on his way to London, we would head into central London, and go to these hotels.
There was always the same group of fans there, many of us who only ever met each other when Michael Jackson was in town.It was like a small community, year after year, the same faces, the same pattern of events. All of us at one time had been "newbies" who started off with a burning desire to see Michael Jackson. Many of us started off on our own, and learned the unspoken rules about how things were done.Outside the hotel, we learned from those who had done this before. We learned that to get close to Michael Jackson you had to get his attention and stand out, but we also learned that to get close to Michael you also had to gain the trust of his security. We learned that the media were to be shunned and avoided, we learned that keeping Michael safe was the most import thing, even if it meant we might not see or get close to him. We found out what NOT to do when Michael was out and about, ie jumping barriers or banging on the car windows. We found out when Michael wanted us around and when he didn't We found that above all, not to give up and that having patience will in the end make everything worthwhile.
We fiercely protected Michael and his whereabouts from the media and general public, but at the same time, we knew when it was ok to to tell people or the media what he was doing. Many times, to help pass the time we would give PAPS or tv crews wrong information, just to get them away from Michael. For me, those trips were like a lesson in the school of life. I learned to stand up for what I believed in and not to care what people thought. I learned tolerance and understanding of different cultures and races, as being outside the hotels everyone was the same, just there to see Michael. I learned how far to push my body and spirit, I learned not to give up when things seem impossible. I found out more about myself going to see Michael, than in any other aspect of my life.
Now looking back, we thought it would last forever. We always thought there would be a next time, whether that was in a few months or next year. Many people don't understand us or why we went to see Michael. They call us stalkers, they say we were a danger to Michael, they say we didn't respect Michael's privacy. All I can say to those is, what would you have done, if you had been told that Michael is staying at XXXXX Hotel, 5 miles away, and fans have been meeting him , and giving him presents. Look deep in your heart and answer, would you have have said, oh that's nice and not thought anything more, or would you have tried to get to that place and be part of it too?
March 2001, Lanesborough Hotel, London, Oxford Union Speech, MJ DAY 10 fan party
June 2002, London , Sony Demo, Killer Thriller fan Party, Exeter Football club speech
November 2002, Berlin Germany, Adalon Hotel, Bambi Awards
January 2004, Santa Maria, Neverland, California
March/April 2005 Santa Maria, Neverland, California
November 2006, Hemple Hotel, London, World Music Awards
March 2007 Carlton Towers Hotel London
May 2007 Royal Garden Hotel, London
March 2009 Lanesborgh Hotel London, This Is It concerts Press Conference