On the Promenade Platz in Munich is the large statute of the Flemish Renaissance composer and musician Orlando de Lassus, who lived in the city five hundred years ago. It is just opposite the Bayerisher Hof, a hotel made famous through Michael Jackson’s patronage. It was here that this self styled King of Pop created a hullabaloo by holding his youngest son Prince out of the window, for his fans to see. The media went to town calling him an irresponsible father.
After Michael’s death, his ardent fans who call themselves “Memorial Fairies,” appropriated the pedestal of Orlando’s statue in 2009, and turned it into a makeshift memorial site for Michael Jackson. The four surfaces of the pedestal are decorated with photographs, hand written cards, posters, flowers and candles. At any given time, one of these fairies is present at the site to clean up the place and keep the candles burning. They also make sure that no one walks away with souvenirs from the many items lying at the base of the pedestal. Surprisingly, these fairies are mostly middle aged women or men. Their intention is to keep the memory of Michael Jackson alive until the city decides to erect a permanent memorial. The Internet is buzzing with requests for donations from fans all over the world.
Though the residents of Munich consider it an eyesore and are unhappy with this intrusion into their lives, the volunteers keep vigil. The candle flames flutter in the wind throughout the day except for one week in the year when there is a conference at the hotel and security personnel are spread out in the area. The memorial faces constant sabotage, but the dedication of the volunteers is admirable.
This improvised memorial draws many foreign tourists young and old.
By Eva Bell