Less than 48 hours before George Michael died, I was in a dark, hot and extremely sweaty underground room, almost dungeon like in its appearance. Along with a bunch of complete strangers, I found myself engaged in that most strenuous of physical activities. Sadly, it was Spinning.
Inside the studio in achingly trendy - and boy was I aching - Shoreditch, this was my last class before the festive break. Atop the stationary bike, peddling like fury as if trying to escape from something (impending old age, I fear), I felt close to death myself. And all in a pathetically fruitless effort to assuage any guilt experienced when over indulging during the Christmas period.
But something struck me as not being quite right. The supposed USP of this correctional come exercise facility is that the music you're meant to cycle in time to is pretty much exclusively of the gangsta Hip-Hop variety with its familiar blend of hard rhythmic beats coupled with misogynistic and homophobic lyrics. Fortunately, you're usually too preoccupied attempting to breathe to notice them.
On this occasion however, as the class reached its exhausting climax, the final track was none other than 'I'm Your Man' by the 1980's and 90's superstar. Hmmm, maybe I was in the wrong place at the wrong time? Perhaps I'd miraculously been transported back to another era? No such luck. Here I was: still in the moment, still in the zone and still being screamed at by some Lycra clad torturer to go faster.
The choice of tune, while odd and completely out of kilter, was, as it turned out, wholly appropriate considering the events that were shortly about to unfold. It was as if the instructor had had a weird premonition and this was to be her tribute to the man and his talents.
Although I was never a Wham fan (closet or otherwise) suntanning to Club Tropicana and his solo hits, for me at least, vanished in a middle of the road dinner party haze, his passing was no less tragic. Another example of an artist perhaps no longer quite in his prime and finding it difficult to come to terms with the fact. In essence, he followed a similar path to many before him.
Getting on in years is bad enough for those of us not in the public eye. The vain attempts to cling onto our youth and the pressure to look as we once did is immense. It wasn't like this with previous generations. Frankly, you got to 35 and pah, who cared? What the heck, just let it all hang out.
For those in the limelight it must be doubly difficult. If people don't say it, they certainly think it. God what has happened to them? They used to be so slim and gorgeous.
Then there's the indiscretions and human weaknesses, which simply can't be played out in private. There they are splashed across the tabloids for ordinary folk to gawp at and on social media platforms for anyone to comment upon.
Millions of us have our fair share of torment and inner demons. But they're ours alone. Those who witness our weaknesses and frailties aren't likely to go scurrying to the press. The paparazzi aren't interested if we pile on the pounds or if we look particularly jowly and podgy.
What must it be like for those who seek fame and then realise that they didn't want it quite as much as they thought they did? All the same, they can't let it go and end up a ghostly figure staring out of the window of their multi-million pound country pile.
After the autopsy and its inconclusive report into exactly how he died, there now appears to be more questions than answers. Almost on a daily basis, a new set of revelations are revealed.
The rumour mill will unquestionably roll on for a good while longer, until the precise reason for his death is known. If indeed it ever is known and he can be allowed to rest in peace. Even then, the inevitable conspiracy theories will abound. Maybe not to the same degree as there was and continues to be with Elvis. It's doubtful there'll ever be a guy works down the chip shop swears he's George Michael. Still that's OK. For his multitude of fans, he'll live on through his music. And isn't that the most any singer can hope for? (In which case Honey G might up being a tad disappointed).
Of course, I trust that George Michael is also remembered for his charitable endeavours and generosity which helped so many to get back on the proverbial bike.
That reminds me. It's time to book my next spin class. Mind you, I'd be lying if I wasn't a tad nervous for the wellbeing of those performers on the instructor's playlist.Suggest a correction