Winter chills, boogie nights and dark side of the moon
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.johnatkinsongrimshaw.org Double act: Yorkshire’s Mick Jackson, with copies of both records and Stateside Michael, picture...