Michael Hutchence (right) might have thought twice about taking his life if he'd known what the Internet was going to do with his memory. In the same way that Princess Diana was the first global celebrity to die in the Internet age, Hutchence was one of the first rock stars to commit suicide. His slot in the Dead Rock Stars Joke Page is probably not what he would have chosen to be his epitaph. But we won't dwell too long on that site, the crime being not that the page exists at all, but that the jokes are so appalling.

Not all the sites are that crass, however. On the taste spectrum's other extreme, we have the tacky-but-sincere official INXS Michael Hutchence memorial page. Rendered on a black background, it contains all the material you'd expect to find: biographies, pictures, and access to chat rooms. It informs us: "Michael was the perfect rock icon. Charismatic, intelligent and incredibly sexy, he moulded a sultry style, which dated back to the late 1970s." This isn't exactly borne out, however, by the picture of a rather geeky looking young Michael in the early Eighties.

Rock stars killing themselves or dying in unlucky/easily avoidable drug- related incidents are, of course, to be congratulated on an excellent career move. Yet conspiracy theories are less prevalent than one would imagine. The exception is a site about Kurt Cobain. The difference between this and the usual wacko ideas that adorn the Internet is that this one was produced by Tom Grant, a private eye who was hired by none other than Courtney Love to look for Cobain when he originally went missing. Grant claims that Cobain was murdered, and he provides a compelling enough case - he at least has the nous to point out that "conspiracy theories often include outrageous claims requiring the involvement of a large number of people." But, he adds: "There has been a cover-up in this case, primarily due to sloppy police work."

Surprisingly, nobody seems to be in a mood to suggest that John Lennon's death was, in fact, a colossal conspiracy to make his suicide look like murder, but the Smoking Gun site, has obtained the FBI's files on Lennon, outlining an information-gathering process designed to let the government deport him because of his opposition to the Vietnam War. There are even facsimile pages of the typed-out files, complete with obliterations by government censors, and written in that wonderful vernacular of American reports: "Our source has advised that two associates are at odds with Lennon due to his excessive use of drugs, which are referred to in the vernacular as 'downers'."

Finally, for some light relief is the Rock Stars Beard Page, a reservoir of hirsute hijinks, though not the exclusive preserve of the deceased.


The starting point for any other Nirvana investigators.


Tom Grant's site outlining who really killed Kurt Cobain


The FBI's files on John Lennon


The official tribute to Michael Hutchence.


The music section of the celebrities beard page.


members.aol.com/ocmark111/ mike.htm

Michael Hutchence's entry in the Dead Rock Stars joke page.