THE GEORGE Michael “revelatory” documentary’s attempts this week to engage emotions played out, sadly, but rather inexplicably, like an old, scratched record.

Worse than that, I didn’t really care George was dead.

That’s not to say I didn’t rate GM’s crop of songs to be some of the best of our time. So why the emotional apathy? Was it to do with the fact George took his death into his own hands? Was the torpor connected to the memory of a drugged-up careless driver almost killing innocents when he drove his Range Rover through a North London shop window?

Similar dispassion was felt with the passing of Sean Hughes; seemingly a nice, very clever performer. But was it down to Hughes also living out life as Neil Young suggested; “It’s better to burn out than fade away.”

I didn’t know, but I now knew I cared less about the demise of showbiz icons. Yes, the death of Elvis was a shocker, but he chose to leave the building. And I certainly don’t miss Michael Jackson, a moonwalking Weinstein who paid off the countless who complained of sexual abuse. He was bad. Good riddance.

This recent feeling of not feeling for the showbiz performer doesn’t apply where there is a personal connection. Gerard Kelly always arrived with a hug, Freddie Boardley a delicious sneer and Sean Scanlan was always warmer than loud applause. On a more removed level, I felt saddened by the loss of Adam Faith - charm personified – and Roger Moore was curious enough to ask the questions.

But this week’s overriding emotion is what really connects us to celebrities is their talent. They don’t know of our lives beyond the point we buy their music or pay to see them in cinemas. They don’t care, and nor should they.

And nor should we really care about them. Actors, for example, are often not whom they appear as. That’s why they’re actors.

Yet, shouldn’t I feel something for George? New research perhaps explains this emotional disconnect. An experimental psychologist at California State University underlines the developing trend of basking in reflected glory of the famous dead, the growing impulse to share in the triumphs of others.

Perhaps I’m railing against the trend whereby we need to declare celebrity loss to be intensely personal, thus making it about us.

Perhaps I’m reacting against Twitter’s hashtagged mourning, where lives are eulogised and packaged into 140 characters or less by people who know only what the celebs represented.

Yes, there’s little doubt, for example, that Coronation Street’s Liz Dawn played herself on television. (Having met her.) But can a nation truly mourn a stranger? Not according to the psychologist. “Even a dead celebrity can only bind our ties for so long,” he says. “Within 24 hours - 48, for the ultra-celebrities - social networks return to normal biorhythms. That, more than anything, is a commentary on the contrived nature of online mourning.”

Maybe that’s why I’m not shedding GM tears, that I don’t want to be part of a contrivance. I don’t need to join in the global grief which Facebook can facilitate. So what if by eulogising celebrities we are really becoming more aware of our ephemeral existence? Facebooking or Tweeting them to death says something sad about us.

Or maybe there’s another reason? The realisation dawns. This argument isn’t so much about not caring about the loss of a Prince or a Bowie.

This week, Jimmy Connor left us. (Not the tennis player (no ‘s’, although the Glasgow JC also played). And my chum left me thinking of the fun games we played together, the hundreds of times we met for dinner over the past 30 years.

Jimmy Connor’s leaving left me thinking about how he listened, advised, encouraged, and asked about my life and hopes. He left me remembering his making his way out of The Calton and a black and white world to Bearsden and a life of colour. He left me recalling great stories of his days as a sales rep in Sixties Glasgow, of his youth football work with Alex Ferguson, about his unusual West of Scotland double life as a Rangers supporting Catholic, and how he so easily connected with people.

What I’ve just realised is I can listen to Listen Without Prejudice any time. I can escape with McQueen into The Great Escape every Christmas. But I won’t build on my Jimmy Connor memories, hear him laugh again or see the cheeky glint in his eye as he talks up Cliff’s musical talents.

What I’ve also realised is my George Michael recoil has a lot to do with not spending as much time with my pal in recent months as I should have.

Jimmy’s leaving has left me thinking of EE Cumming’s poem The Moon’s A Balloon, which hints at the dangers of getting into a balloon “with all the pretty people, sailing into a keen city which no one’s ever visited.”

It’s left me thinking we should treasure the real stars here on earth. And they’re not the Georges.