It seems that the French courts, that eternal bastion of sanity and commonsense, have decided to award 5 Michael Jackson fans (is this all of them?) a symbolic payment of 1 Euro each to recompense them for the “emotional damage” caused when Michael Jackson’s pet quack, Conrad Murray, caused his master’s death by blowpiping one too many anaesthetic pills down Mr Jackson’s falsetto oesophagus. Apparently a total of 34 Michael Jackson fans (OK, that must surely be all of them?) had actually sued Murray but the Orleans Court ruled that only 5 of them had sufficiently evidenced proven emotional suffering to deserve a pay-out. Presumably the other 29 were considered legally insensate to their own irrelevant sense of grief or were – shock horror – considered to be merely cashing in on the fact that they happened to own an original beaten up copy of Off The Wall.
Apparently the 5 successful claimants had proven their case “with the help of witness statements and medical certificates." Basically their friends and GPs had signed an affidavit to the effect that these people were “deeply sad”.
Their lawyer, Emmanuel Ludot, said: "As far as I know this is the first time in the world that the notion of emotional damage in connection with a pop star has been recognised."
It is clear to me that this is going to set a dangerous precedent - one that I mean to take every advantage of.
Personally I would like to sue Michael Jackson (or rather his estate) for having to watch him leg-snap his way through an utterly cringe-making performance of Earth Song during some UK award ceremony a few years back. The fact I can’t even remember the name of the ceremony is testament to how upset I am about it all. This is what happens when you suffer true emotional trauma. Your mind buries things and tries to forget. But I am haunted by waking dreams of Michael "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" Jackson hugging lots of children whose dress code appears to be “impoverished chic” and only the Messianic appearance of Jarvis Cocker ever brings the nightmare to an end.
I’d also like to sue Michael Jackson for the entire Bad album because, well, it was very very bad but I daresay they’ll use the old “does what it says on the tin” argument against me and, yeah, I’d have to admit I probably should have seen it coming. Caveat emptor and all that.
But I’m now wondering if I could perhaps throw this compensation thing even wider. I mean, why stop at pop stars? I’d like to sue Dave Lee Travis for describing himself as “cuddly not predatory” in his recent Operation Yewtree court case because, regardless of the fact that they’ve cleared his name, I just found that statement bone-squirmingly creepy. It emotionally damaged me for at least half an hour. That’s got to be worth 50 pence of anybody’s money. Not to mention the cost of bringing the whole thing to court.
I’d also like to sue Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer because I have never found them funny and as a consequence I feel inadequate when around those who evidently do. I’d like to sue Hugh Fearnley-Whttingstall for putting me off my dinner whenever he’s on the telly; Louie Spence for making me wish I had immediate access to a firearm and a clear line of sight; Katie Price for making me feel that actually, against all the odds and my every testosterone fuelled instinct, breasts can be too big; Eamonn Holmes for filling me with so much murderous bile I could actually conceive that one day it might be justifiable to commit global genocide if it guaranteed his individual demise and, finally, the guy who works in the newsagents around the corner from where I work who sits with his paunch pushed up so close to the till drawer he has to scoop my change out of his duodenum whenever I buy a Mars bar, I’m telling you it just doesn’t taste the same after pocketing those too-warm coins.
All I need is Emmanuel Ludot’s email address. Unless, of course, he reads this post first and then pre-emptively sues me for the future emotional damage I’m about to cause him.
I’ll just bung a pound into the kitty now, shall I, and have done with it?