Who better to catch the national mood at a time like this than, erm, The Mayor Of London. Although, in his musings on Michael Jackson's death in the Telegraph, Boris is writing in the capacity of his second well-paid job, not the first. Or is writing oped pieces his main job and mayoring a hobby? It's hard to tell.
Anyway, Boris remembers where he was when he heard the news. He was listening to the news:
I happened to be driving late into the night, listening to the radio, on the day Michael Jackson died...
I'm having trouble picturing this - Boris was recreating Two Lane Black Top? Rare, surely, to find him not on his trademark pushbike or taking a taxi, but driving he was. When the news broke:
...and it was obvious that the disc jockey was completely out of touch with his audience.
Given that his audience included Boris, that might be a good thing.
The station repeatedly carried the news that the 50-year- old star was dead, and then the presenter would add that they did not usually play his records because – we gathered – they were much too hip to do so.
It's frustrating that Boris doesn't share the name of the station with us, as then we could at least conclude if that was fair. After all, if it was Radio One, then, yes, Jackson's stuff would fall out of its usual orbit. If it was Radio Two, it would seem unlikely that a presenter would say any such thing.
But I have a feeling Boris might have been listening to a commercial station, as had he been tuned to a BBC network, the Telegraph would gleefully have fallen upon it. And given how tightly focus-grouped all commercial stations tend to be in the UK, if the network doesn't usually play Mickey J, that would be because it was too in touch with its audience.
But what happened next, Boris?
The most he would offer, as a special favour to Michael Jackson fans, and in recognition of his "iconic" status, was to play one of his hits every hour. But as the night wore on it was clear that the position was untenable. The presenter plaintively reported that the station was being flooded with texts, emails and calls. The listeners wanted Jackson.
Maybe they did. But it's likely they weren't the station's usual audience, isn't it? Might they not have been Jackson fans who normally would be abed, asleep, dreaming of moonwalking, tuning in to a place they seldom visit and demanding Jackson action?
The snooty old code was bowing beneath the weight of popular demand.
Maybe. Although who knew we'd live so long we'd see a Bullingdon Club member damn a radio station for being too establishment by not playing thirty year old pop records?
But also maybe not - perhaps the presenter really did know his audience - the regular audience, the ones who tune in night after night; clearly, they wouldn't be doing so if they didn't like the music, and - he might have decided - if they weren't that arsed about hearing Man In The Mirror on Wednesday, why would they suddenly want to hear just because the man's obituary was going to be in the Mirror?
But let's think about Boris' claims that playing a few requests on the night of a celebrity death is a sign of the falling of an ancien regime. Does that remind you of something?
How about if you squint a little, and push the image really, really firmly?
Are we getting there?
Like the courtiers of Buckingham Palace who eventually caved in and flew the flag at half-mast to mark the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, the radio producers decided they could hold out no more. As I tapped the steering wheel to Thriller and Billie Jean...
... the taxi driver snapped "Look, Mr. Johnson, if you keep doing that you're going to have to sit in the back with your bicycle, dirty tyres or no dirty tyres.
Oh, hang on, no...
... it was clear that something was growing out there in the noosphere, and that the death of Michael Jackson was unleashing significant emotions in the popular consciousness.
Radio station realises it's audience has shifted because of events it couldn't have predicted; makes minor adjustments to playlist. Boy, I hope someone warns the head of programmes at the station to wear two shirts when he's heading out to the block.
By the way: yes, he did write the word "noosphere" - I can only assume he's trying to kill Simon Heffer by littering the Telegraph with witless neologisms.
In the intervening days it has become clear that the hysteria has not gone away.
Really? Only I thought it was pretty much the world getting on with its life, except for the handful of mega-fans and people with columns to fill and - ahem - music blogs to write. But do share the signs of hysteria with us.
In tribute to the rhinestone-studded uniform of the late performer, Lily Allen is apparently to be seen wearing a single white glove at the Glastonbury Festival.
Hysteria! Woman wears one glove (erm, apparently)! Hold on, we might have to shoot her if her lowkey tribute gets any closer to being out-of-control.
Candlelit vigils have begun at the hospital where they failed to revive him.
Not being able to say "where he died" is pretty hysterical, and, yes, a few people did make special trips to do so. But candleit vigils are not uncommon in America when people die suddenly and unexpectedly. Communities will do it for high school football stars.
More than 1,000 Filipino prisoners have filmed themselves miming one of his dance routines, and posted the results on YouTube to global acclaim.
In fact, so hysterical with grief were they, they even created a massive time machine in order to transport themselves back to July 2007 to do this.
The BBC has already flown Newsnight's Emily Maitlis and a vast taxpayer-funded retinue to the scene of the tragedy, and the ether is being churned with her heavyweight political and cultural apercus.
How dare the BBC! Taxpayer funded retinues! For a dead popstar? Who cares about a dead pop star, eh, Bo... oh, hang about - this article was supposed to be suggesting that the death of Jackson was a vitally important moment in our cultural lives, wasn't it?
Can we turn the taxi round, please?
And who can fault the BBC's news judgment?
Yes, those wasteful types at the BBC spending money on covering a news story in exactly the right way.
By the middle of this week, senior politicians will no doubt be chivvied in front of the camera to confirm that he was the prince of pop, or the people's prancer, and Gordon Brown will probably moonwalk into Prime Minister's questions.
Boris can't seem to decide if the death of Michael Jackson is a terrible event we should all take really seriously, or if you should take the piss out of someone who does take it seriously.
I mean, imagine, a senior politician spending time seeking for significance in the death of a musician. Why, that's the sort of thing that nobody more senior that, ooh, the mayor of the capital should be wasting their time on. Or possible not. Because it's the public mood.
Boris is quick to make clear, though, that - certainly with his writer's hat on - that he doesn't feel emotional himself:
Now you or I may not share these emotions. We may not be the kind of people who queue to place flowers at the Neverland ranch, or hurl ourselves sobbing at the foot of his catafalque.
In other words, if I'm following you, Boris, you're making it clear that you're completely out of touch with what you believe is the public mood?
We may not feel a sudden gap, a strange hollowness, in our lives. But some people do. Lots of people do.
It's like... well, imagine if one of the few deputy mayors you'd managed to hang on to suddenly vanished in a cloud of credit card receipts. It's that sort of sudden gap.
"I feel what I should have felt at the death of Diana," said one young man at a wedding party this weekend, while two women vigorously agreed. In the face of this kind of authentic feeling, we would be mad to sneer.
But is it authentic? Isn't using a phrase like "what I should have felt" already an indication of an artifice at work - this chap isn't feeling an emotion, he's comparing an experience.
And is Boris so sure that there is this massive, deep feeling of loss? What's he basing it on? An overheard conversation at a wedding party and some texts to a trucker's hour radio show? A two year-old video on YouTube?
Boris then sets out to explain why Jackson is a towering figure, by way a description of Thriller, and then comparing him first to Orpheus, and then to Diana. Not the classical Diana, the one off the souvenir mugs and teatowels:
He was a martyr, in the sense that Diana was a martyr. Her death evoked an astonishing response, partly because she spoke to every woman who has been let down by a man, every woman who has worried about her weight, every woman who feels the system is unfair to women. That is a lot of women.
The great pity, of course, is that we'd just about got to a point where everyone had agreed that the death of Diana sent some people a little bit crazy; where everyone had decided to claim that, yes, they'd gone to Kensington, but they were only there to look at the crowds. And now we're right back to square one.
Johnson's suggestion that there was something deeper than a mix of prurience and a desire to be in a soap opera driving the Diana crowds doesn't even stand up to a re-reading of his own column - wasn't he just painting a picture of three people at a wedding party admitting they didn't, actually, feel anything when Diana died?
Michael Jackson went one better. He spoke to the billions of people the world over who feel that they do not conform in some way to the Hollywood stereotype of good looks – either because they are too fat or thin or the wrong colour or have the wrong sort of eyes or nose. In a world dominated by a demoralising canon of physical perfection, he was the patron saint of dysmorphia.
Was he? If Jacko was the patron saint of those who didn't look like they fitted in, wasn't his behaviour somewhat akin to Francis of Assisi marketing bird scarers and rabbit traps?
Sure, he ended up looking a little odd, but that was driven purely by a desire for the very opposite. It might be cruel and ironic and sad that his desperate quest for perfection meant each step he took deposited him further from his goal - but let's not try and pretend that Jackson was a comfort for the odd-looking. His message was "fuck, I don't want to look like you lot".
And by his musical triumphs, he proved the essential point, that you can look weird, feel weird, be weird – and still be a genius. In one sense Michael Jackson was beaten by the star system, in that it made demands about how he should look and behave which he felt he could never satisfy. In another sense he beat the system. He beat it by writing Beat It.
If Jackson has defeated the system, Boris, victory looks less than life itself.