Win­ter chills, boo­gie nights and dark side of the moon

Halifax Courier - - News - Pauline Hawkins email: [email protected]­i­fax­

HE got it wrong, did Michael Jack­son, when he told us in his 1978 song to Blame it on the Boo­gie.

Don’t blame it on the sun­shine, he said. Don’t blame it on the moon­light. Don’t blame it on the good times... It’s sur­pris­ing re­ally, be­cause Michael was from York­shire and you’d have thought he would have known bet­ter.

You didn’t know Michael Jack­son was born and brought up in Pon­te­fract? And that he’s alive and well and liv­ing in Ger­many?

It’s true. But the man who wrote the song Blame it on the Boo­gie was not the late Wacko - al­though the Jack­sons did have a smash hit with the song - but Mick Jack­son, a Tyke who later made his home else­where in Europe.

The rea­son this catchy disco song has been buzzing around my head for the past week is be­cause of a train of thought that stretches 238,000 miles. To the moon.

For the past few weeks, its bale­ful stare has fol­lowed me. Now I know how lu­natics feel.

As I have crunched across the snow-packed pave­ments its sil­ver gaze has held me in its thrall. Morn­ing and night, it has peered down through the stark, bony trees. Now I know how John Atkin­son Grimshaw felt.

Like Mick Jack­son, he was from York­shire and had a thing about moon­light. His eerie paint­ings of il­lu­mi­nated Vic­to­rian land­scapes also held a fas­ci­na­tion for me some years ago. It has re­turned, now I live where the serene, lu­nar face is framed by Atkin­son Grimshaw-es­que wood­land.

And I blame the moon. And the align­ment of the plan­ets that re­sulted in the first to­tal lu­nar eclipse to oc­cur on the win­ter sol­stice for nearly 400 years.

They are to blame for the bit­ing frosts we have en­dured, for the seem­ingly never-end­ing mi­nus reg­is­ter on my car’s tem­per­a­ture gauge and the travel chaos that thou­sands of peo­ple have en­dured over the fes­tive get­away pe­riod.

In Fe­bru­ary this year, Chan­nel 4 screened a pro­gramme called The Other Michael Jack­son, in which Mick’s son Sam Peter Jack- son, born in the year the song was a hit, trav­elled to his fa­ther’s farm in Ger­many to find out what went on be­hind the scenes when the two ver­sions went head to head in the charts. A great pro­gramme, by all ac­counts, but it missed the key point.

The boo­gie was blame­less and we have all been misled by an other-worldly body that, un­like the dis­cos of the 1970s, has no at­mos­phere.

Song man: Mick Jack­son in the 1970s and Moon­light Sonata: A Lane in Head­in­g­ley, by John Atkin­son Grimshaw, pic­ture cour­tesy www.johnatkin­songrimsha­ Dou­ble act: York­shire’s Mick Jack­son, with copies of both records and State­side Michael, pic­ture...

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