The Michael Jackson Tribute outside HMV on Dublin’s Grafton Street vandalised


Michael Jackson tribute outside of HMV Grafton Street

The posters and flowers started appearing on Sunday. As Niamh and I walked by I was thinking how fortuitous it was that it appeared outside of a music store. Posters printed and stuck to the wall. Some small lit candles and people just sitting there, talking.

The next day flowers had appeared and people had written on the posters. Irish fans were leaving their tribute. HMV was blasting out Jacksons hits and selling out of his CDs.

Michael Jackson Tribute outside of HMV Grafton Street

This was yesterday afternoon at around lunchtime. There were more flowers, more messages. HMV had sent out a press release talking about it with HMV’s Gennaro Castaldo saying:

“As the news begins to sink in about his death fans are turning to one another to seek solace and finding a location somehow linked to Michael Jackson is a comfort for some. Combined with this is a huge a surge in people purchasing his music to remember his legacy.”

People stopping to look at the tribute to Michael Jackson outside HMV of Grafton Street

Today, walking past, I notice a slight change. Firstly, HMV are playing Rolling Stones, no doubt to the relief of the shop workers and all their neighbours. There was also some unfortunate but to-be-expected changes to the “shrine”:

Posters ripped and defaced on Michael Jackson Tribute outside HMV of Grafton Street

Ripped posters and vandalised tributes to Michael Jackson

The flowers are gone, there are posters ripped and some unsavoury messages left on the posters. In one way I’m surprised it’s lasted as long as it did …

Poster with a lot of messages written on it

More three year olds rode than a stable of jockeys

I’ve always wondered why it is that vandals can’t leave well enough alone? What is it that won’t allow them to just let people get on with things, even if it may not have any big effect?

I may not have contributed to the tribute, or wanted to, but if it’s people’s ways of dealing with something, and it’s positive and done with care and affection, then why not leave it? I had no problem with it being there, I’m surprised others apparently did.

This, though a lot less severe, reminds me of a recent Irish Times story about the impending arrival of the city centre bike scheme :

In 2003, when Dublin hosted Cow Parade , an outdoor cultural art exhibition of decorated life-sized cows, the first 10 cows that were placed on the city’s streets were all vandalised so badly within 24 hours that the entire exhibition had to migrate indoors or to public spaces under surveillance.

One cow was beheaded with a saw. Another was stolen. All had graffiti on them within hours. Cow Parade had run in many other international cities, including New York, London and Sydney and in no other city had the exhibits ever needed to be relocated.

I’m pretty transfixed by some of the positive messages put up there on different posters – like this one – I really wonder what the story is there:

Thanks for what you did for my sister in '88 - we never forgot it. xx

There was also this one:

I know you didn't do it Michael written on a poster outside of HMV Grafton Street

People have different ideas of tributes. Some hang posters, some write lovely blog posts or superb newspaper articles. Some just play some music or say a prayer. Isn’t it a pity that they can’t just let be do that?


About darraghdoyle

Blogger, event addict and fan of street and performance art. You can contact me directly at darraghdoyle[at]gmail[dot]com or @darraghdoyle on twitter.


15 thoughts on “The Michael Jackson Tribute outside HMV on Dublin’s Grafton Street vandalised

  • Ian Quigley

    Call me cynical, but I kinda got the impression that HMV set up the “shrine” ? They didn’t even bother to remove the duplicate margin from the hurriedly printed out internet stock pictures?

    Not to mention the “DVD Sale!” details posters on the other corner of the wall.

  • darraghdoyle Post author

    Ian, I won’t lie – when I saw it I assumed exactly the same thing. There’s another blog post I’ve been meaning to write about commercial involvement in things but yes, I wondered if it was HMV too.

    But people came along and added their bits to it. They bought flowers and left them. They scribbled their thoughts and thank yous on the poster. When I was standing there yesterday I was asked twice to take photos of people at it. People were there just looking, silent, thinking about whatever. Anywhere on a busy street that that’s possible is a good thing.

    You never know – Michael Jackson’s no 1 Irish fan might work in HMV and did that. Unlikely but possible. It certainly benefited them.

  • Darren Byrne

    I dunno Doyle. I found the whole shrine thing a bit contrived. In fact I’m fed up of hearing about Jackson.

    The man was no saint – he did things that he shouldn’t and has gotten away with it. Am I glad he’s dead? No – certainly not. But I can’t help but think the ‘vandals’ have the same rights as the hero-worshippers to express their opinion in this very public place. It’s a main street, not a graveyard.

  • darraghdoyle Post author

    But does that mean they should destroy what other people have done to get their point across?

    This isn’t a protest against Michael Jackson as it is just mindless vandalism – the same people who will throw shopping trolleys into the Liffey, who will break bikes and stamp on tires, who will just damage because they can. Do they have the right to – apparently. Is it right to? Not in my opinion.

    +1 on the contrived opinion though.

  • roosta

    I used to get mad about things like this (the vandalism) but then one day I thought that quite possibly these peoples lives are their own punishment. They are so jaded and cynical that I wonder if they can properly enjoy anything. I wouldn’t want to be that way.

  • roosta

    @darren byrne
    Do the vandals have the right to deface someone elses property (the pictures etc.) just because its a public street? Is your front door fair game then?

  • Ronan

    What I’m wondering is why someone would actually take time out of their lives to do this? It’s like those people who post negative comments on youtube videos, why would you bother?

  • Kevin

    I wonder how much of this was vandals in the typical sense versus people who are genuinely not happy with the attention Michael Jackon’s getting in a positive manner.

    Plenty of people out there think he’s guilty of what he was accused of, and want to vent their feelings as much as those who feel griefstricken by his death.

    As for the question of vandalism generally, some would consider this “shrine” (no way did it sprout magically outside HMV, I saw staff at it the day after Michael’s death) to be as much a piece of vandalism to the street as the negative comments written.

  • Travors

    I found the whole idea of creating a shrine to a self centered junkie who squandered all his money, overdosed and left his children with no father or mother, utterly nauseating to begin with.

    Why do people have such a blinkered view when it comes to celebs? If I told you the same story except it was about the guy next door you’d call him a selfish monster.

  • Aisling

    It’s things like this make me feel really embarrassed to be Irish. Mindless vandalism of things that were put there for the enjoyment of others. I remember the Cow Parade incident and that was a disgrace. I just don’t understand it. There’s no result, no benefit, no advantage. A lot of the time it’s probably just kids who have nothing better to do, and that makes the whole thing even sadder.

  • Rick

    I remember the cow story too Darr, I think it’s because certainly in a city like NY You’d have the fear of God in you about the local cops. These days anyway…

  • Ian Quigley

    I think it’s a shame someone (probably drunk) did it. I’m no fan of Jackson and I’m not one of these people who think because he was unusual he was guilty by accusation.

    I took this picture of the “shrine” yesturday from a slightly different angle.

  • Spaghetti Hoop

    There is nothing permanent about this display of posters, messages and flowers…so hardly deserves to be called a “shrine”. Plus, given the opinions of some that believe Jackson was guilty of his charges, it’s naive to think that these folk won’t express this here too. There was some storm last night in Dublin….can’t imagine there’s much left now anyway.

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