Thu 20 Apr 2006

    ITV, The London Studios, Upper Ground, South Bank, London, England

Everything She Wants




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Michael: First up a man who is currently celebrating twenty five eventful years as a superstar of pop. This week he marked the event by playing dodgems with parked cars by his home. (Laughter) More a case of careless driving than careless whisper. Ladies and gentlemen, George Michael. (Applause)

George: Thank you.

Michael: Well we can safely assume it wasn't their car you bumped into. (Laughter)

George: Well if you think about it, I'm used to people, if I've had any type of traffic altercation, I'm used to people, if I've hit their car in any way they see me and they start to grin because they think, well I can bump this up a bit! Do you know what I mean? (Laughter) The poor people whose parked cars kind of slammed into each other this week, I mean they've all been told that they're welcome to use a hire car and I don't suppose they're getting Nissan Micras, do you know what I mean? (Laughter)

Michael: So what happened?

George: Well it's quite simple. There are two things, there's my life and then there's the life the press believes I lead. And it was quite simple really last Saturday morning, no Easter Sunday morning, I got up at about eight o'clock in the morning, left a friend's house and got into my parked car, which was on a very steep hill, I have to add and took the hand brake off and tried to manoeuvre out and hit the car in front of me, which I didn't know had hit the in front of it, that had hit the car in front of it. So I thought I had hit one car and by the time, I mean the papers say I rushed away and didn't tell anybody about it, which is rubbish actually. But by the time I'd sent somebody to get details of what I thought was one incident, the Daily Mail were already there and that point on it just escalated and escalated and escalated and by yesterday I had people calling my house, you know people frantically trying to find out whether I was in hospital or not. And I'd literally had a parking accident.

Michael: But you told the police and there's no charge?

George: Oh yeah, the police to be perfectly honest, had to interview me because the newspapers said that I'd done a bunk and they were perfectly reasonable about it. At the end of the day how many times have you had someone hit your car and not try and pay for it? Do you know what I mean?

Michael: Oh sure.

George: It happens all the time. And at the end of the day I did what I was supposed to do.

Michael: But the media have to be forgiven on this occasion in a sense because you have got a bit of a record in recent times of actually being found in motor cars.

George: You see the point is again (laughter) again, again...

Michael: What's different? This time you were actually parked.

George: No this time I was actually moving, yes. (Laughter) In reality I have to tell you that the truth of is that I was at the lights at Hyde Park Corner and I don't know if you've ever been at the lights at Hyde Park Corner but it's quite easy to fall asleep actually! (Laughter) Not really, I don't know how long it happened for. I guess it was momentary but I was at the lights, foot on the brake and I must have nodded off like that and I was woken up by a banging on the window that was a policeman and of course they had to check out whether I was fit to drive. Because I was asleep, I might not have been out of control but I was asleep! (Laughter) And you know, I was fine. They breathalysed me, I was fine. The ambulance driver that they checked me out with there and then said I was fine but one of the arresting officers wanted to make sure. So you know they're doing their job but the fact that it's then going to turn into an international incident doesn't really bother the policeman concerned you know? So they took me, they were doing their job and it was nothing really but again it becomes this massive drama.

Michael: But with the cannabis involved as well, you see.

George: Are we really going to say that's dramatic!

Michael: No, no. What were going to say that it's a Class C drug and you get the media.

George: Yeah, gave them the ammunition yeah.

Michael: Well fine so you put the two together and you get the headline, Is this the end of George Michael's career?

George: Funny that. I don't see the correlation. I'm not saying that these are not. I'm not saying, nobody wants to shunt another car and nobody wants to get found asleep behind the wheel but ultimately they're not life changing events and the press would like them to be career changing events but you know, that's fine, I'm not the only one that's being treated like this. You know everyone is being treated like this, they just seem to have, they seem to like playing this game with me.

Michael: But if you have... From their point of view, I mean they've put forward about you that they would have us believe that you are this.

George: I'm spiralling out of control.

Michael: A vampire life you lead!

George: I have to be honest with you here, don't enlighten me too much. Because I've finally learnt not to read it.

Michael: Well, you're overweight!

George: Thank you, look at this. (Stands up - cheers from audience)

Michael: You are out of control on dope, on drugs.

George: I'm what, out of control?

Michael: And you've been ordered by your record company to go into rehab?

George: Oh really?

Michael: Is that news to you?

George: That's absolute news to me.

Michael: Oh well, the letter's in the post. And you're a manic depressive.

George: Unfortunately every artist nowadays has a kind of soap opera that they decide where you're going to be in that. And the trajectory of my particular soap opera launched from that statement Elton made a few months ago, when Elton hadn't seen me for years. And from that point on I've suffered this kind of almost, wishful thinking from the press, the subtext to it, I have to be honest is, well he was alright before he came out and now he lives this depraved gay life and he's miserable and fat right?

Michael: Do you think it's to do with being gay?

George: I think it's a new angle isn't it? It's a new angle because Elton said he thought I was really miserable for some reason and from point on I've been trying to prove that I'm not. Because unfortunately it made me incredibly vulnerable to the press. And last week actually with the last one, with the whole bit about me falling asleep in the car, my manager was on the phone to me and I'd said look, I want the gist of it but I don't want any of the detail. Because the devil is in the detail and the stuff that would drive me mental and make me want to sue is in the detail. So I said, I don't want any of the detail, just give me the gist of it. So he said, 'Well, well they said that you were unconscious behind the wheel and that you were probably out of it.' And I said, 'no.' And he said, 'yes.' He said, 'They reckon there was a bunch of sex stuff in the car with you.' I said, 'no.' He said, 'yes.' I said, 'They printed that?' And he said, 'Yeah and they've used that fat picture of you again.' And I said, 'Get me on Richard and Judy!' (Laughter)

Michael: So now you're feeling good?

George: I've felt good for the last year or so, I've felt great which is why I've decided to tour yeah. (Cheering)

Michael: This is your first tour in fifteen years.

George: Well it's the first time I've played my own songs in eighteen years because I did that fifteen year tour was called Cover to Cover and I've got to be honest, I like singing other people's songs more than my own. So it's about eighteen years since I did a tour and I really never thought I would do it again which shows the strength I've got out of, I've been in a ten year relationship now. I've got over the grieving period I went through in the nineties now and I haven't felt this good since I was a lot younger so it's really a strange frustration to have to keep looking at this parallel life, this Fleet Street kind of a life. And you do want to have a sense of humour about it but what unfortunately in my case, I have learnt to rise about it, I feel so bad for my family and all the friends that I haven't seen for a while. Who call frantically because you know, people thought I'd been involved in a four car pile up and ultimately I pulled out of a parking space really badly!

Michael: So basically there was that period in your life, well documented, the grief where you lost your lover, you lost your mother.

George: Real depression.

Michael: Which is in your family too.

George: Oh yeah, depression's in the family and I'm susceptible to it and I took bereavement, I think, either everyone takes it badly but I took it particularly badly and I didn't know whether I'd recover from it in some ways. So having really been out of the woods for a good three years now this is a bit tiring. To have to keep proving to people that you're not on the edge of disaster and that you're not fat! (Laughter)

Michael: So tell us about the tour.

George: Well the tour is going to be all over Europe because to be honest I'm still a bit nervous about a World Tour so I thought what I do was a European Tour which allows me to come home if I need to and it's about fifty dates over the course of about three months. About three weeks in Britain and if then I have a horrible feeling I'm going to enjoy because I always said I'd never do it again. But I have a feeling I'm going to enjoy it this time and actually it's an alternative to the career I have now. In other words if I can establish a live rapport with an audience again I might not have to worry about releasing singles and putting myself in the way of the media the whole time.

Michael: What's amazing is that you use the word worry, you're so insecure about your career aren't you? I mean why should you be, you've sold sixty seven million records for God's sake.

George: Eighty! (Laughter)

Michael: Oh sorry! But it's strange this doubt you have.

George: But I think any real artist has that doubt. I mean I don't think you can keep going for twenty five years if you're not full of self doubt. What would motivate you? You have to keep proving yourself, now in reality in terms of making records and writing songs I don't feel that any more and I don't actually feel a need to prove myself anymore but I do feel a need to prove that I'm actually still alive and well and the fact that I'm so reticent about doing TV means that I'll go on TV and then a whole two years picture of me has built up and I'll go on and another two year's picture has built up and I'll go on again and you know, you're the only person I ever talk to about. You're practically my therapist! (Applause) On English TV, I think you're the only person I've talked to on British television so that reluctance to deal with the media means that they come to me in some kind of strange way.

Michael: A couple of final points. What about young Kenny, do you think you might emulate your friend Elton and formalise your relationship?

George: I think we'll formalise it for sure because I think from a legal point of view it's essential to have the same safe guards that straight couples have. We've been together for ten years, I think we're entitled to that. I must admit I want a slightly better chance than fifty per cent chance of success! So I don't think I'm going to emulate marriage in that sense and I don't think there'll be a ceremony, we'll probably do it on our tenth anniversary.

Michael: What just a formal arrangement?

George: I think we'll just do the formal legal thing and then we'll have a party. But no one's going to be getting into a dress! (Laughter) Neither of us have the body for it you know! (Laughter)

Michael: Now you're going to sing a song for us now, you're going to go back to the Wham! days.

George: I am indeed. (Cheering)

Michael: I mean, you're going to do this tour now. It will obviously refresh memories of when you did tour with Wham! Were they good days?

George: Oh yes, I mean Wham! especially. Touring with Andrew was a lot more fun than touring on my own. But then I was twenty, I was nineteen and twenty so I have some very happy memories of that. So yeah I've got some great memories but I have a feeling that I'll really enjoy it this time, just having a much, I suppose being a more confident person and having a steady relationship and whatever. And actually now that I'm out I could get hold of a few groupies out there, they may not be what you'd call groupies! (Laughter)

Michael: When does the tour start?

George: I'm going all over Europe and it starts Spain at the end of September and there are dates in Britain in December which will end with Earls Court and Wembley Arena.

Michael: Great OK. So the Wham! song is?

George: It's called Everything She Wants. (Cheers) Thank you. George performs Everythings She Wants (Applause)



This was broadcasted on ITV 2 days later 10 p.m. UK time.