God knows the death of Michael Jackson is sad for his children — who are now apparently being raised by their grandmother and soldiers from Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam — and for his slightly dweeby fans, but it’s hard to deny that, deep down, one also breathes a sigh of relief.

Michael Jackson is one of those people who threatened to — given his full allotment of life — be around so long that no part of one’s life would have been lived without him. If he’d actually kept himself healthy, he might well have lived another 40 years, and been active for 30 of them.

The awful prospect was that anyone under around 45, would have come to consciousness as a child hearing the Jackson Five, had their adolescence soundtracked by Thriller, and faced the prospect that they would pass away with Bad XXIII leaking out of the IC nurse’s iPod.

Now, OK, there are possibly dozens of unreleased tracks to be released, and he will be repackaged for ever, but at least the Jackson era is over. His music and then his whacky, disturbing and ultimately grotesque personality is now officially a segment of our lives and not vice versa. That kinda makes it possible for new stuff to happen.

The question then is, what other celebs would we most like to see die — or permanently retire, Salinger style — to clear the air a bit?

Number one would have to be Madonna. Compared to the time Jacko spent in our lives, Madonna is a relative newcomer — Holiday of 82? 83? — but she’s been even more oppressive, because unlike Jacko, she was actually in control of her life, not some piece of floating space-debris coming apart in sequence.

Besides, Madonna — and the dopes who thinks she represents some sort of liberation or cutting-edge — has always been so frigging annoying. She moves from obviousness to obviousness, from right-wing feminism to des-xualised s-x to patronising third world charity, her flesh-robot body a reminder of all that was joyless and dead about the 80s. And she’s got a good 20 years in her. Imagine her at 70. Isn’t swine flu preferable?

Springsteen? I wouldn’t want to see Springsteen die, but I can’t bear the thought of hundreds more versions of the one goddam song he’s been writing since the early 80s, the fauxletarian three-chord anthem, brilliantly composed, expertly arranged and utterly indistinguishable from the last umpteen dozen. The heartland is hurting Bruce, we get it.

The Rolling Stones: The only lot in this list to have actually died, but not been impeded. Stakes through hearts? Wolfbane? God knows.

Tarantino: He’s barely been here for two decades, but he’s more than made up for it. Is his most recent film, Inglourious Basterds, a WW2 cartoon in which a hand-picked group of US Jewish soldiers hunt Nazis — the ultimate reconstruction of WW2 as an anti-Holocaust crusade — seems designed for one purpose and one purpose only, create sympathy for Hitler.

Crikey readers are invited to supply their own nominees.

Of course, there are others who died too soon — either because it’s a terrible loss of future talent, or because it gave them a patina they would not otherwise have had. Jeff Buckley is a great example, his dumb drowning death consecrating his drippy rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah to the point that thousands of boneheads think he wrote it.

Of course there is always the possibility that poor old Jacko himself was of the same opinion as me, and that his multiple dosing regimen was a form of suicide.

Having bailed on earlier appearances, and punted a contract with a Bahrain sheikh to make a CD, facing 50 concerts in a row in London, and another 300 or so across the world — simply to clear his mammoth debts — it was obvious Jacko was over it all. He’d done it, but he didn’t know what else to do.

Unlike, say, the Steely Dan guys, who having staggered through 15 years of creating world class music and coke use, simply took 15 years off to do therapy, Jacko doesn’t appear to have had a hope of finding a still and central point to become something other than what he’d always been. He’s been dying in instalments for a decade.

Maybe he should have gone five years ago. And in case you doubt the wisdom of this remember — Barnaby Joyce is young enough to be Mick Jagger’s son.