“I’m part of you
You’re part of me
There’s nothing said
That cannot be undone”
– Lyrics from I’m Just a Man.
Songwriters: Michael Hutchence, Andrew Farriss
Michael Hutchence. In my opinion, he was one of the greatest rock stars of all time. Indeed, he was among the last true rock stars of his era, right up there with Bono, Billy Idol, Axel Rose and Mick Jagger. He possessed the right amount of magnetism, mystique and recklessness, and his stage presence was unbelievably dynamic. When he strutted out on that stage, the world became a faded memory, swallowed by the charismatic guy crooning a tune and seducing the crowd with the deliberate grind of his hips.
Qualities of a rock star.
Some say Michael was sex-on-a-stick. I couldn’t agree more. Somehow, that man had more sex appeal entwined around his little finger than Brad Pitt starring in Legends of the Fall.
Hold on a second, I’m recalling the female sighs drifting above the cinema during a screening of that flick and I’m thinking that might be a slight exaggeration. Regardless, the man wasn’t ashamed of his sexuality. He owned it and flaunted it accordingly.
He was definitely no prude. I think he must have appreciated the yin and yang between the sexes because let’s face it, he was never short on “yin” company, and he was probably smart enough to nurture those precious connections too.
Yin: the divine female principle of the universe.
Do you ever notice the signs the universe throws your way? Sometimes those signs can be subtle little hints to let you know you are on the right path. Other times, they’re like a freight train smacking you in the face till you laugh like a crazy person and yell at the cosmos to “just stop already”.
Recently, I drove my daughter to her boyfriend’s house before picking up some lunch at the local fish & chip shop. I was literally on the road for about twenty-five minutes during which time I saw “yin” five times.
Five times. What is that?
Maybe its some kind of cosmic prank. Either that, or I think there might be a sudden influx of “yin” infecting car number plates around here. Gets even better. I arrived home to find my other daughter had sketched a picture for me, and low and behold it was the Yin-Yang symbol.
I literally gasped when she waved in front of me.
“Do you like it?” she asked.
“Uh-yeah. It’s beautiful, pussycat.” Slight pause, then: “Why did you draw that?”
Eyes the color of the earth blink up at me with a shrug.
“Because I like it and I wanted to.”
“Do you know what it means?”
Nose crinkle. Cherry lips twist. Eyes narrow over me.
“Nah. I just saw it on some paper in Ashy’s room and I liked it.”
Freight train effect going wild. Go figure. Perhaps Michael is in a position to better understand the motives of divine forces from the realm he currently occupies.
Besides Yin, Yang and all matters strange, whatever that X-factor quality is, Michael Hutchence had it nailed, and it wasn’t because of the way he looked either. It was much, much more than that.
I was fortunate enough to have met Michael after attending one of his shows one night. Before that evening, I’d spent the better part of my teenage years plastering the man over my walls and collecting every piece of media I could get my hands on to add to a chunky scrapbook I’d lovingly created.
Yes, I was the hardcore fan, following him to every event I could, and cursing every woman he dated, Helena Christensen being the exception (Sorry Kylie!). During those hardcore years, I’d even managed a few phone conversations with him along the way.
But when the universe had finally decided it was time for our paths to collide in person, I was past the buckle-at-the-knees fangirl phase and had matured into a young woman who didn’t blink twice when brushing shoulders with celebrities (Clears throat and keeps writing). Or so I had thought. In my defence, the thoughts were valid because I wasn’t a stranger to spotting the odd celeb partying the night away in some VIP area of an Oxford Street Sydney club.
To make a short story even shorter, I completely caved when the moment of truth arrived and I was confronted by him. I could barely manage an audible hello much less answer his questions with anything remotely intelligent. Yep, I was suddenly drowning in a bad case of “fangirl syndrome”, and totally tongue-tied.
That’s a kind way of expressing those moments, but I do commend Michael for his efforts in lingering around, watching me with amusement and trying to engage me in some kind of rational conversation. It was just an epic fail, is all. The fact that he was trailed closely by a group of protective women frowning my way didn’t help the situation either. If looks could kill, I feel sure I wouldn’t have survived that night.
In any case, he was soon piled into the back of a minivan and whisked away with said women in tow, a victorious smile playing on each of their lips as they sashayed into the van after him. Eye roll. Heart plummet. I followed with a barrage of four-letter words as I watched the love of my teenage life slip into the night and vanish without so much as an autograph to my name.
Ah, the things we do. Or not do.
Michael Hutchence was a piece of gold. I learned he was special because although he possessed the above-mentioned rock star qualities, he was also very authentic. There were no airs and graces about him when he was faced with “fangirl fail” me, no traces of arrogance to his nature. In fact, every interaction I’d experienced with him was easy and real – even when I fell short in his presence. That’s what made this man so unique.
I’ll always be grateful for the major part Michael played during my teenage years. He and his band, INXS, provided the backdrop to many adventures, fuzzy fantasies and beautiful moments with treasured friends. I’d listen to him when the world fell from beneath my feet. I’d plug him in my Walkman and sing with him at the beach. He was there when I danced like crazy, and there during the awakening of love in my life. He was so much more than a rock star. He was a way of life, and he was some kind of special.
I write most of this post today, on January 22, 2019, on what would have been Michael’s fifty-ninth birthday. I’d always taken comfort knowing he was out there, walking the earth and doing his thing. Somehow, I’d formed an invisible connection with him that I’d cherished – along with thousands of other women (but who’s counting?). It was a sad day when the world lost him. My heart ached and I cried. He was the kind of man that isn’t easily forgotten. He was the kind that come here to make a difference in the world. Just listen to some of his lyrics and you’ll understand what I mean.
Every now and then, I still miss him. I find the times when I’m falling short, and feeling low are the moments I reach for my earbuds, switch on one of his songs, and submerge myself in his voice. It’s almost twenty-two years after his death and he still has the ability to comfort me.
Michael Hutchence was more than “Just a Man”, he was revolutionary, and the world could use more like him.
Life is fleeting and precious. Embrace your inner rock god and walk the earth with love while you can, and while you’re at it you’d do well to remember that life is not complete without seeing Dogs in Space.
Do you have any memorable celebrity encounters or weird signs from the universe you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about it.
Thanks for reading!