20 Apr 2006
||ITV, The London
Studios, Upper Ground, South Bank, London, England
|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?
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
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
George: You see the point is again (laughter) again,
Michael: What's different? This time you were
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Michael: Great OK. So the Wham! song is?
George: It's called Everything She Wants. (Cheers) Thank
you. George performs Everythings She Wants (Applause)
was broadcasted on ITV 2 days later 10 p.m. UK time.