music. Making Food. Making conversation. Making friends.
Sometimes all at once
was in his house in LA one time. A table was set for eight. He had me
chopping stuff. Without much warning ten extra people came in the door.
I panicked. Michael didn’t. He laughed, welcomed them in, as I
started redistributing the lettuce.
Suddenly a blind girl was singing, Michael was playing and his spirit
filled the house. Like he’d willed it to. Like it has all this
Michael the magnet. The fulcrum. No sweat – somehow it would all
be OK, and it always was. Your hair is in tufts and Michael just smiles.
And smiles. And plays. And we fed the five thousand.
friends, food, music.
Those were the instruments. He was the conductor.
It’s like there was an orchestra inside him and he led us from
a question to an idea, from the kitchen to the harpsichord.
Always something to show you, something to listen to, something to talk
Like the newspaper said yesterday –
“a monumental ego but with total humility”.
He had the social conscience and he had fun.
He was a grown up and a child.
Who else would have conducted a three hour concert of his music with
no interval and be ready for more as we earthlings ran to the bathroom.
was working with Michael a couple of weeks ago as he scored a silent
film I had brought to him.
A familiar scene. The film is playing on two screens. Time codes and
flashing lights. It had started on a love scene. Michael is curved over
the keyboard, lost in a slow and luscious melody, and I am wondering
if I should point out that the bad guy came in the room three minutes
It’ll be alright.
need the Michael’s like we need air and water. It’s hard
to trap them in words on a page. They don’t make judgements, are
never cynical – they are a force. They surround us, enfold us
and make a haphazard, sensual sense of the world. Our panic, their calm.
Our collisions, their lightness. All spirit – like a breeze..
Small wonder his work touched millions.
Lucky us to be able to say we knew him. And if that is the beginning
of the long song of celebration, of the determination to live our lives
as well he lived his, maybe this is the chorus.
Mr Tambourine Man. Play a song for me.
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to.
Hey! Mr Tambourine Man. Play a song for me.
In the jingle jangle morning we’ll come following you.
Rickman. November 22nd 2003
to my son Michael
he said, “has always been the language I speak best”
And now we lay his mortal remains to rest
So ends a half century of a musical adventure
Which we know will surely continue in his absentia
For music, the food of love is never done
Though Michael’s loss, alas, is music minus one
His legacy to his beloved family and friends
Is the ‘joie de vivre’ that will never end
The product of his passionate and creative mind
With a lifetime pursuit of service to mankind
We will grieve and miss you, my dear son
But you shall be praised and remembered by everyone.
apologies to Edna St Vincent Millay)
Down, down into the dust and the grave
Gently he goes, the handsome, the tender, the kind
Quietly he goes, the intelligent, the witty, the brave
We know, but we do not approve
And we are not resigned
No we are not resigned, Michael, and we pledge to carry on your struggle
to teach the language of music to undeserved and underprivileged children
throughout the land.
Kamen. November 22nd 2003