YOU WERE WAITING
BIG razz interview After years of hiding away from bad
publicity, George Michael is selling out stadiums and loving
were some good headlines at last for George Michael last weekend
when he played the first concert in the new Wembley Stadium.
what seems like years now, the former Wham! star seems to have
gone from shame to shame. Sleazy gay meetings in toilets and
parks, falling asleep behind the wheel and crashing into three
glory days of the Eighties when he was one of the world's
biggest stars - a No.1 artist in America as well as the UK -
were almost destroyed overnight in 1998 when he was arrested for
lewd conduct by an undercover policeman in a Californian toilet.
his anti-Bush stance and single Shoot The Dog in 2002 was
roundly criticised. But as the anti-war voice grows louder, it
seems he is now being proved right.
despite all the bad publicity, George is making a startling
but surely he's set to join Elton John as one of the UK's
on Sunday he shows just how far his pulling power has increased
as he plays Hampden Park in Glasgow.
follows his SECC gig in November and again celebrates George's
25 years in the music business.
course, last weekend wasn't without some bad publicity. George
may have played to 90,000 people on the Saturday and Sunday, but
on the Friday he had been sentenced to 100 hours' community
service and banned for two years for driving while unfit.
had been found slumped at the wheel of his Mercedes in north
London in the early hours of October 1 last year. The
43-year-old singer admitted the offence, blaming tiredness and
said: "It's just nice to have it out of the way."
Perhaps it was the last bad headline for a while.
then George, who has been with partner Kenny Goss for 10 years,
claims many of the stories about him aren't true, especially the
one claiming he had gay sex with Norman Kirtland on the
notorious homosexual haunt of Hampstead Heath.
to Jo Whiley on VH1, George said: "That was a complete
fabrication about an encounter with a very unfortunate looking
man. I didn't meet him. He was a victim in it too, but the fact
is we never ever met."
has made no secret of his unusual sex life and the fact that he
has other partners. And while he was going to marry Kenny last
year in a civil ceremony, he insists the wedding wasn't put off
because of the Kirtland story.
decided to wait until the tour was over and everything had died
is cool with it," said George. "I think he's like me.
He wants it to be special. He doesn't want it to be a circus.
Hopefully the only circus in town is the show."
George has also had a stalker to contend with. Lucy Nowak broke
into his Hampstead house in 2004 before forcibly entering his
nearby office two days later and an Oxfordshire cottage the
one point, she slept under the floorboards in his London home
for four days and compared herself to John Lennon's killer, Mark
she avoided a jail sentence thanks to George pleading for her to
be given her freedom, he now claims he is fearful because the
Crown Prosecution Service let her go.
the last year and a half, I've had the CPS release a stalker who
basically was sending me death threats and breaking into my
houses," he said.
broke into my house on seven different occasions. Once she was
living there for a week without me knowing.
smashed windows. She's stolen money. She worn my clothes. I've
seen her in my clothes on the street.
police arrested her on two occasions and put her in a cell, and
on both occasion the CPS let her go.
the time, I didn't want to make too much noise about it. But she
was very ill and I should know I am safe from someone like that
who's sending me notes about Mark Chapman and John Lennon. It's
have to have locks put on windows and things like that, but the
CPS didn't see fit to make me safe from her."
small wonder that after his arrest in America, George became
something of a recluse.
felt harassed by the media, unloved by the public and even pals
like Elton John claimed he smoked too much dope, suggesting
there was a "deep-rooted unhappiness in his life" and
branded his album Patience "disappointing".
said he decided to do the 25Live tour to "get out of the
house". He added: "I felt I was becoming increasing
last September and his first gig for 15 years in Barcelona,
George has been touring, putting on dazzling shows of music and
special effects, including glitter balls that melt into the
stage. But there's more to what George is calling a "phenomenal
year". He's going appear in new courtroom drama Eli Stone
on American TV as a vision to an attorney played by
Trainspotting's Jonny Lee Miller. Each episode will be named
after one of his songs.
said: "There's a lot of the stuff that they haven't heard
in the 15 years since I sold any records there. I've started to
write a song for Eli Stone's credits."
having had 10 American No.1 singles and two No.1 albums, the US
turned its back on George after his toilet episode and after he
took on Sony in 1993, accusing them of "professional
slavery". From one of their biggest stars, he turned into a
now as well as the TV drama, there is talk of an American tour.
actually been a bit of a laughable name since the early Nineties,"
said George. "Since I took on Sony, everything went wrong
there. From that point on, I didn't have radio and I had some
pretty bad publicity.
publicity in the last 18 months hasn't helped, and so I think
I'm a bit of a joke. But it didn't really bother me anyway."
is clearly hurt and mistrustful of the media and reckons the way
forward is to continue touring and playing one-off shows for the
picked up a cool £1.5million for a one-hour Hogmanay concert in
Moscow for the 300 guests of Russian billionaire Vladimir
I can do is take that kind of new income and then do what I
wanted to do which is give away my music for free," said
can take those situations and pay for the recordings I wanna
make, because I don't make cheap recordings.
want to give it away for free but my last album cost me millions
not a complete fool so what I like to do is stick to the plan
and release my music for free."
talk of a new album next year, including tunes with his former
Wham! partner Andrew Ridgele, a new generation of musicians is
starting to name George as an influence.
NME band of the moment, Gossip, fronted by heavyweight lesbian
Beth Ditto, have admitted to loving Careless Whisper.
brushes this of by saying: "If you hang around for long
enough, you have a certain clique value.
songs were Abba-ish in their clique appeal, but I think they
were authentic so it makes sense some of those songs, like
Tropicana, Careless Whisper or Wake Me Up."
battled depression, George admits there are now two places he's
said: "When I walk out in front of those crowds or when in
my bed with Kenny and the dogs and we're just going to sleep at
the end of the evening."
can take that kind of new income and then do what I wanted to do
which is give away my music for free'
decided to do the 25Live tour to get out of the house. I felt I
was becoming too insular'