Another one bites the dust

1997 looks like being a truly bad year for celebrities; the Dead Pools must have been working overtime, especially over the past few months. I blame Princess Diana, for triggering a wave of copycat terminations. Mother Teresa, Jeffrey Bernard, John Denver, and now Michael Hutchence, joining the list of rock ‘n’ roll suicides — at least pending the outcome of the coroner’s report. However, at least no-one can mutter about unfulfilled potential in this case, since INXS’s last hit was years ago — Hutchence’s funeral was the biggest crowd he’d pulled in quite some time. And there’s been no polite period of mourning before the Hutchence jokes started to fly. Tuesday morning, and the following landed on my desk:

What’s the difference between Michael Hutchence and Manchester United?
United can still play Giggs.

But it remains the ultimate publicity stunt, guaranteed to revive the most flagging of career, at least briefly — for any publicity is good publicity, more or less (though I think Gary Glitter may have overstepped the mark a little). Even I must confess to having pulled out the one INXS album I possess, and putting it on — perhaps in some ghoulish attempt to see if there was a subliminal message in there. [Of course, it could be in there, backwards masked, but that’s a problem with CDs, that they don’t really lend themselves to such things — unlike record players, which needed no more than your finger, and an absolute disregard for the state of your stylus] Hmmm, does ‘Suicide Blonde’ indicate anything? God knows, when you can make out about one word in six.

His wake was, admittedly, a kind of who’s who of Antipodean tottie, and I almost expected Kylie Minogue and Paula Yates to engage in a hair-pulling catfight in the middle of the floor. [Ok, make that “hoped”] And for all his faults, Hutchence was a rock ‘n’ roll star. None of this clean-living, sandal-wearing, rain-forest saving nonsense favoured by the new generation of pop stars (Liam and Noel Gallagher excepted — though the size of their egos negates any praise due). It’s hard to imagine, say, Baby Spice hanging herself with a black belt. Er, actually, it’s not, but that probably counts as some kind of hopeful wish fulfillment, alongside thoughts about their tour bus crashing into an enclosure of ravenous panthers.

But perhaps it’s not so hard to understand. You wake up and suddenly realise that a) you have a daughter called Heavenly Hirani Tiger Lily, and b) you gave up Helena Christiansen for Paula Yates. Given that, who can blame Mr.Hutchence for taking his own life…