Thursday, June 25, 2009

The man, the myth, the legend.

June 25th 2009

Today we heard the news that we lost the king of pop, Michael Jackson. To sum up how I felt about this news, was devastated. Some may laugh that anyone could cry over someone they didn't know, but the fact is we did know him. Through his songs that have inspired us for over 40 years, we've all grown up around those songs and made us feel things we didn't know we could feel. Michael Jackson was an inspiration to all of us, no matter what you thought about his personal life, I don't think anyone could not think of one song of Michael's they liked.

I can't even remember when I first listened to Michael, as long as I can remember, I was listening to his music and dancing to his songs. I remember the first mixed tape I had was from my uncle of MJ songs, and the first album I ever owned was Michael Jackson - History. To this day I own every album (both original and special edition), dvd, video and box set he's ever brought out. I have his songs countless of times on several CDs. Every album, song, video, movie, video game and god knows what else he's created over the years, was a work of art.

Michael Jackson is one of the greatest performers the world has ever seen. He inspired me to be on the stage. From a young age I wanted to be a singer, and then when I discovered I couldn't sing any longer I knew I still wanted to be up on that stage, and once I found out I was pretty funny, stand up comedy was my way to go. But I still was inspired to be like Michael, and when I think of if I was to ever make it big, I always dream of having a grand entrance like Michael would have.... totally over the top, but with taste.

He was a genius. He made us think about race through songs such as black or white, about love, about equality and caring for others. Songs such as heal the world and we are the world, inspired events such as live aid, helping millions all over the world. His charities feed hungry children and help young children who have been severly burnt.

His music and videos have inspired artists such as Justin Timberlake, Will Young, Usher and many others to be the stars they are today. His music and art will live on through the inspiration of others.

I actually have admit that I became tearful at work when I heard the news, and made a bit of an embarressment of myself in front of a guest. I thought it was silly, but I genuinly feel I've lost a friend or a family member. He's been part of my life for 21 years. Friends, family and colleagues texted, emailed and phoned me to ask if I was ok. I didn't know my obsession or love of Michael was so grand, and I thank those who expressed concern.

Its such a tragedy that a man has been struck down at such a young age, just before he was able to do his final farewell tour. I'm devestated that I never got to see a legend who I'd been waiting my entire life to see! However at the same time, it was good that he went now, at a time he knew he was loved all over the world. He'd sold out 50 dates, with millions of people wanting more. He really had come back and the world and himself knew it. Imagine he had gone 2 years ago when his career and respect was in crumbles. At least he died knowing that he was loved and respected all over the world by millions.

Many people laugh, joke, but people need to remember that he leaves behind 2 parents who have lost a son, 4 brothers and 2 sisters who have lost a dear sibling. He's left behind 3 children; paris, prince and blanket, who have been left orphaned; and not forgetting the millions of fans who have lost their idol. For the most part though, even those who loathed him, actually stopped today and knew something had changed. No one could walk past and laugh it off. Something happened today. I couldn't believe it. The streets were empty. Chicago was silent. People were rushing up to any tv they could find. Guests were coming back in shock.

A friend of mine works in a hotel in florida, she said the guests were opening their windows and playing michael jackson songs into the street. In new york city this evening the streets are filled with people celebrating the life of a man who gave so much.

Its awful that the bad press which surrounded him is still going on, and yet he proved two court battles to be complete lies. He was proven innocent, and left a wreck, but didn't let that stop him. I hope for once the press leave him and his family to grieve this awful time.

As for the concerts; I hope they carry them on as a memorial to a legend. There are all those dancers who are trained for the shows left unemployed, that stage is built, left for the trash, and all that hard work and effort, which could be left for ruins. I hope the creators plan a memorial for all those who have paid good money and possibly arranged flights and hotels to London to see a show, and hope they put on a show as memory to Michael Jackson. They could have great stars and performers such as Justin Timberlake and the likes perform the great songs of the a historic man, and his millions of fans would have somewhere to grieve and remember him. I hope someone decides to do this. After the death of kurt cobain, his concerts continued and were used as a memory to a man who inspired so many, and I hope this is done with MJ.

Michael wrote a song on his Dangerous album called 'Gone too soon', it was used in 1997 also as a memory to Princess Diana and I think the song is appropriate for the loss of our hero himself:

"Gone Too Soon"

Like A Comet
Blazing 'Cross The Evening Sky
Gone Too Soon

Like A Rainbow
Fading In The Twinkling Of An Eye
Gone Too Soon

Shiny And Sparkly
And Splendidly Bright
Here One Day
Gone One Night

Like The Loss Of Sunlight
On A Cloudy Afternoon
Gone Too Soon

Like A Castle
Built Upon A Sandy Beach
Gone Too Soon

Like A Perfect Flower
That Is Just Beyond Your Reach
Gone Too Soon

Born To Amuse, To Inspire, To Delight
Here One Day
Gone One Night

Like A Sunset
Dying With The Rising Of The Moon
Gone Too Soon

Gone Too Soon

Everything about these lyrics are true to this tragedy.

We know that Michael Jackson is dead, but his songs, videos and his genius works of art will live out time.

Rest in peace, Michael Jackson, my idol - the man, the myth - the ultimate legend.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mountain Moma brought me home!

The week began at Residence Inn, a sister property of ours here in Schaumburg. Don't ask why they can't be brothers, I guess feminism has gone crazy. The Residence Inn property is more of an apartment complex than a hotel, and therefore there are very few people coming in and out or checking in. Time ACTUALLY stops at this property. When I thought my night must be nearly over, it was still only 6pm and I had another 5 hours to go. There are only so many times you can refresh your facebook before you want to throw your computer out the window. I would have kept myself busy by tidying or cleaning, but due to the lack of people, there was no mess to be created!

Anyway the second night came, and I pulling my hair out with boredom, and when tapping the desk, my hands went off on their own and went on a wondering around the desk (I'm male), and accidentally clicked the panic button. 5 minutes later, the phone called, it was Schaumburg police and they wanted to know if everything was ok. I explained how much of an idiot I was but it was an accident and everything was ok. The woman on the phone asked that I go and explain that to the officers outside and to make sure my hands were where they could see them. I walk outside where police cars are surrounding the building and armed police were stood there making sure some crazy terrorist wasn't causing trouble. I explained again how silly my wondering hands were and that everything was ok. One of the policeman sent the others away and came in with me and checked everywhere to make sure no one was held hostage. He stayed for another 15 minutes to make sure everything was ok before leaving, which made me put huge faith in the local police... as long as they dont think i was 'the boy who cried wolf' and dont come if theres a real emergency!

So since then, managers and colleagues from all properties have been calling up and just laughing down the phone at me. I'm the talk of the town and will probably never live it down, although I'm only here for another 4 weeks!

The next night I was back at Courtyard, and wasn't complaining about the rush after the Res experience. It was so busy that i scalded my hand in hot water when replenishing the coffee station! Nearly screaming in pain and obviously in pain, a guest stood there and asked for a wake up call. I went over to the phone to set it up, one hand still dripping in hot scalding water, slowling burning away the flesh, the guest just looked at me and said 'I am going to get this wake up call arnt i?'
How inconsiderate can these people be? It wasn't enough that I was withholding physical pain just to set up his wake up call? I swear I could drop dead at the desk, and people would just complain that the service was rubbish. Unbelievable.

Anyway after these dramatic events, I managed to have a couple of days off, where I flew to Washington DC! I met my friend Beverly at the airport, and we wondered into the city centre. We were going to go to the Holocaust Museum but due to the shootings, the museum was shut and therefore we wondered around the city and saw all the sites. We saw the Washington and Lincoln monuments, the Korean, Vietnam and World War II memorials, as well as the White House and Capitol Building.

That evening we drove up to West Virginia where I was staying and spent the evening with friends Marti and Beverly. The next day we got up and explored the town of Shepherdstown, a small hippy town which turns out to be the oldest town in West Virginia. In the afternoon we headed out to the state of Maryland to see the sites of the Civil War. I did very well and didn't once sing 'Country Road!! take me home! to the place I belong! West Virginia, Mountain Moma, take me home, country road!' which I bet Beverly was glad about.

On Saturday we went into DC and managed to finally get to see the Holocaust Museum. It was amazing how many people only came to see where a security guard got shot, rather than actually coming to see the Holocaust Museum. 6 million dead Jews were forgotten for one security guard who wasn't even Jewish. However he was black. I wonder if the old nazi who killed him walked in and thought he'd cover all bases by shooting a black man in a Jewish museum. Too bad he wasn't gay, he would have made all points!

That afternoon we went to the Pride Festival where we saw the parades! Thousands of gays swarmed the streets of Washington to celebrate their sexuality. It was interesting to say the least, with the biggest point trying to get gay marriage in America.
Afterwards we went to a party in a hotel room, I got to be the annoying guest who I usually have to shout at every Saturday night. Its fun to be in the other persons shoes.

On Sunday we went straight down to DC again where we visited the Smithsonian Museum of National American History, followed by a return to the Pride Fest events where they had an open air concert in front of the Capitol Building.
That evening we returned to West Virginia where I spent the evening enjoying my last few hours with Beverly and Marti. We had an amazing few days and wouldn't have been as good without them!

I flew back to Chicago on Monday morning and was back to work that afternoon. I really don't know how all my guests travel and work the way they do, because after a two hour flight I was exhausted! I don't blame them for being so grouchy!!

Back to normality at least for a few weeks. 4 weeks left of work before my last day, and then travelling again before I return to England in 5 weeks time!! I didn't think I'd be upset to leave Schaumburg, not because I haven't enjoyed my time here, because I've met some amazing friends; but I thought I wouldn't be upset as I thought I'd be too excited to see everyone in England, but driving through Schaumburg and seeing the Zurich Towers, knowing that in just a few weeks time it'll be the last time I would be seeing them! A tear came to my eye, and it'll be sad to leave this place which has been home for the last year.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Land of Lincoln

On Sunday, myself, Patrik and Albert took a trip to the Capital of Illinois - Springfield. We took route 66 (even though it technically doesn't still exist unless you take the back roads, its much easier to take route 55 highway), we managed to find the historic route and drove through these very unique villages and town. I think I've been watching too many horror movies, as I was terrified, these towns looked like scenes out of Devils Rejects! I warned Albert not to stop for gas anywhere!

We arrived in Springfield at 9:30am, and for the CAPITAL of a state, I was surprised at how tiny and quiet this apparent city was, but also at how southern the people were, especially seeing it was only a 3 hour drive from Chicago. But don't be put off, Springfield was one of the most friendliest towns I have ever visited, the locals were more than welcoming!

Springfield is famous for the fact that Abraham Lincoln was from here (well actually if your asking he was born in Indiana, but he studied, worked, began his political career and is buried here... but no one likes technicalities), but what amused me about the visit, is that clearly Lincoln is ALL Springfield is famous for. Lincoln, Lincoln, Lincoln. These poor people clanged onto him like a breast feeding child! I didn't want to rub it into their faces that in Chicago, we had Obama.

We visited the Old Capitol Building where we saw where Lincoln worked as Senator of State, his offices and where he lied in state for the people of Illinois to visit after he died. We visited the Lincoln Museum, where we learnt all about, you guessed it... Lincoln!

We took a tour around the Law offices where Lincoln worked as a lawyer for many years before his political career took off; followed by a tour of his house. While the house was exactly how it was when he left it, the law offices over the years had changed, and it turned out they had no idea where he would have actually worked, what building or what his office was like. We were shown around by a local volunteer who was clearly out of retirement looking for something to do, and kept forgetting important facts, and we spent a good half hour waiting for her to remember how the building was designed.... because, sure, thats what we came for. But we couldn't complain, we didn't pay for the tour.

The tour of the house however was very impressive, to see exactly how Lincoln had it. The house was a good standard, 5 bedroom, for a man of that time, he had done very well, seeing he had come from a one bedroom barn in Indiana, he had come a long way (as the tour guide kept reminding us several times), however there wasn't a bathroom. Can you imagine... the president of the united states.... no bathroom! Unbelievable. We had a wonder around the house and had a guided tour of each room; we got to actually touch the banister up the stairs which Lincoln touched... they promoted this by saying this is the closest thing we could get to shaking his hand; I couldn't help think with all this bird flu going about that they wipe that historic aid down with anti-bacterial spray each day. I know this in affect would remove any lincoln remains away from the banister, but my health comes first...

We finished off by stopping off at Lincoln's tomb, and what an impressive monument to the 16th president it was! At 36m high, I was incredibly inspired and decided that I want an even bigger tomb after my death. You walk into the tomb and there's statues of Lincoln on the walk round to the actual grave. We learnt of how some crafty devils once tried to steal the presidents body for ransom, of course that failed as one of their accomplices stitched them right up! How rude.

After an amazing day, we returned to Schaumburg, and I lined my gifts of a Lincoln head statue and Illinois flag up on my desk, and now my desk looks like the presidential desk in the white house, which while we are on it, I'll be visiting in 7 days! Yes 7 days from now I'll be on my mini tour of Washington DC and West Virginia!

'Country Roaaaaad, take me home, to the place I belong! West Virginia, Mountain Momma, Country Roaaaad! Take me home!' - poor Beverly (my tour guide for the week) is going to hate me! I best download that now and get it out of my system before I get there! I wonder if Blue Ridge Mountains are anywhere near Sheperdstown?

In England today (june 4th) its the elections, and I urge anyone reading this to go out and vote anyone but the BNP.

If you need a reason why, watch the following:

These people are going to gain seats if people don't vote against them, and this could be potentially dangerous! I wish I could be there to make the difference myself, but seeing I'm not around myself to stop this fascist party getting into power, I urge those who can to go and vote and keep our country liberal! It never just stops at immigration; it will go on until anyone who doesn't fit into the norm of society to be discriminated against, whether you or your friends are black, asian, jewish or gay (as we're practically a race now... not a choice!). Now while I can't be there to support us all this week, next week I'll be in DC supporting my tribe at my very first Pride Festival!

Diversity won Britains Got Talent, and I was gutted Susan Boyle didn't have a fit and throw a camera at Ant and Dec in a rage! I bet all those people who said they would take her virginity if she won are relieved. Diversity have been called up to perform with Michael Jackson at his summer concerts - this is going to be immense! Also on Michael Jackson news, he's now confirmed a Jackson family reunion concert next summer in Texas! So I'm thinking a tour of the south with a stop off in texas to see the Jackson family blow me away with their musical magic all over again July 2010!

Only 6 weeks left of work in the hotel left! And even after a year, people actually manage to suprise me! The best question ever was asked for me, more annoying than 'Where are you located?' (which is so vague it makes me want to shoot somebody). A guest called down and asked 'Where do I find information?'. I felt like suggesting a library or the internet? But sucked up my comedic response (basically my natural instincts), and asked what sort of information he would like; he replied 'a phone number'. I was assuming a phone number for a local restaurant or a business, but no. He wanted the phone number to John Mayer, who apparently lives in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. I was suddenly the White Pages (which by the way isn't a fascist movement paper, but is like the yellow pages, accept for regular people... i suggest changing the name to neutrally respectful pages). Unbelievable.

Well my dedicated readers, I leave you with some advice today... Vote liberal on June 4th and NEVER work with the public...

C'est la vie x