It wasn’t a message I was expecting to pop up on my phone on Christmas Day evening. I’m talking about the untimely death of George Michael at the age of 53.
What a year 2016 has been for the passing of famous people. For me, George’s death ranks up there with Prince and David Bowie. People who went far too soon.
It’s only when you hear the news that you reflect on how important their music has been through your life and you do feel a loss and a sadness.
I loved Wham! as a child. Those pop hits perfectly defined the early ’80s.
From Club Tropicana to Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, their energy and optimism made us realise we could enjoy life to the full and not feel guilty like maybe our parents did.
I remember feeling very grown-up at 14 listening to George’s 1987 album Faith with tracks like I Want Your Sex and Father Figure.
By the time the excellent 1990 album Listen Without Prejudice Volume 1 had come out, I had left school, started work and was riding my mum’s Honda Melody scooter. Yes, I too had ‘Freedom’.
You see, the music of these artists forms the soundtrack to your life. That’s why they’re important to you.
By the time George released his Older album in 1996, I was a radio presenter on Power FM and playing his tracks a lot.
This year will be remembered for the death of many of our favourite stars. From the world of entertainment, we’ve lost Victoria Wood and Ronnie Corbett this year, plus Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher only this week.
Giants of sport such as Muhammad Ali and footballer Johan Cruyff also left us.
All over social media people are lambasting the year and many are saying they cannot wait for it to end.
Yes, it’s been sad to lose so many well-known and well-loved people.
But I say come on now, get a grip. It hasn’t been that bad.
Singer James Blunt summed it up nicely on Twitter, saying: ‘If you thought 2016 was bad, I’m releasing an album in 2017.’
So don’t be too hard on 2016. Don’t forget that in 2017 we have more Brexit and President Trump to look forward to...
I BET SHE’LL SOON WONDER HOW SHE EVER COPED WITHOUT IT
I want you to imagine the expression on the actor’s face on EastEnders when the ‘duff duffs’ appear at the end of the episode.
Got it? Disbelief, shock, fear, maybe a little anger.
Well, that’s the expression of my wife when she opened her present on Christmas morning.
Now I thought I’d hit the jackpot. The perfect, thoughtful present for her.
She cannot function until she’s had her first cup of tea and, with two young children, that happens late morning.
So I got her a Teasmade. It’s a modern, contemporary design and will look good next to the bed.
Maybe she would have preferred something that sparkles, but I bet in a month’s time she will wonder how she ever coped without it!
WHEN I DO GO FOR A RUN, IT WILL REGISTER ON THE RICHTER SCALE
Please, no more food! Christmas Eve lunch started with ‘nibbles’ which filled me up, then was followed by our traditional pate and cheeses after the kids went to bed.
I woke on Christmas morning still feeling stuffed.
After a full English, we then enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the in-law’s. Boy, my tummy was bursting.
Then it was Christmas Day part two on the Isle of Wight on Boxing Day.
I decided not to eat on Tuesday in case I turned into Monty Python’s Mr Creosote.
But then I saw the amount of food left in the fridge...
I’m starting to pine for my trainers and a good run along the seafront.
I reckon you’ll know when I do go for that run as it will no doubt register on the Richter scale!