Like you, I know exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard Amanda Palmer had been killed. Like you, I know no more than that. Killed, yes. But by whom and how none of us ever knew. There was nothing ever said about it on the television or the radio. But we knew, we knew.
Rumours multiplied. I met a Hell’s Angel in a bar in Encino who swore blind that he knew a man who claimed to have crushed in Amanda’s skull with lead piping, on behalf of a crazed ex-boyfriend. It became a national obsession. “Who killed Amanda Palmer?” bubblegum cards were traded and traded again in schoolyards across America. I still own two of them: one shows Amanda’s bullet-riddled corpse dangling from a wall; the other shows her body washed up on the shore of an unidentified lake, her face blue and puffy from the water, the claws of some crustacean pushing out from between her purple lips.
I remember the candle light vigils, and the shrines, dozens of them, in cities all over the world, spontaneous demonstrations from people who no longer had an Amanda Palmer. They lit candles and left behind telelphones, scalpels, exotic items of underwear, plastic figurines, children’s picture books, antlers, love.
“She went as she would have wanted to go.” That was what an Amanda Palmer impersonator told me in a pub off Carnaby Street. Much later that night, voice slurred by alcohol, the man confided in me that he was certain that the real Amanda Palmer had been “abducted by beings from a higher vibrational plane”, and that the pictures of Amanda’s death were not fakes, pasted up and air-brushed in some back-alley photographic studio, but actual photographs of the deaths of “sister-selves”, creatures grown from Amanda Palmer’s own protoplasm. Very young children made up songs about the different ways Amanda died, killing her happily at the end of every verse, too young to understand the horror. Maybe it really was how she would have wanted to go.
“If you see Amanda Palmer on the street, kill her,” said the graffiti under the bridge in Boston. And beneath that somebody else wrote, “That way she’ll live forever.”