This is an old piece about George Michael I found recently on my computer. It was written in 2010, a few months before George found himself on his own road to Damascus - otherwise known as the night he crashed his car into a Snappy Snaps store.
I’m a longtime George Michael fan. I love him, love his music. Admitting this fact is a bit like coming out, though. Sometimes you get the response you don’t want: "George Michael? Oh, isn’t he the guy who's always getting arrested for having sex in a public toilet of for using loads of drugs?" Um, not really. Or, at least he’s much, much more than that.
But yeah, he sometimes does stuff he really shouldn’t and gets arrested. And some arrests are easier to take than others. I actually giggled over the LA public toilet incident. Good for him for finding a big, flashy way of coming out. George is always one for a big entrance, be it opening that hidden door in his 25Live stage or opening the door of his very own glass closet. And let’s not forget this particular arrest was the inspiration for Outside. Both song and video are excellent. To say nothing about that smoking hot cop uniform he wore on the 25Live Tour. So in my book that one counts as a "good" arrest.
I was appalled however at the Hampstead Heath public toilet arrest in 2008. As an aside, how weird is it to have to specify exactly which toilet-related arrest of George you’re talking about. As I once read online, George has a unique way of getting in trouble. Too true!
Anyway, this arrest shocked me to the core. I’m with Simon Hattenstone of the Guardian on this one, you just don’t want to think of George on crack! And the timing, just after finishing up the 25Live tour with two sell-out concerts in London, made it even worse! Surely those shows (which were turned into an excellent DVD) must have been one of the high points of his career. So how come a few weeks later he’s putting crack coaine in his body in a public toilet? What the hell happened?
I particularly hated the 'I'm too lazy or confused to make a note of whatever sleeping pills/marijuana/GHB I've already taken tonight to help me sleep' phase, which resulted in all the sleeping and being unconscious in the car arrests. Just buy some Post-it notes George and for fuck sake use them! How bloody hard can it be! [Or better yet, stop taking drugs altogether! After the Snappy Snaps incident George finally realised it was time to quit. The day I read his statement that he'd gone through a detox program and was now receiving drugs counselling was one of the happiest days in my years as a George Michael fan.]
So why am I still a fan? For starters, George is, well, George! In a way he's like family, and we all know that there is only one person who’s allowed to say bad things about them: you! All other people should stay well clear. Besides, George has an unbelievable talent. I simply love his music.
His songs can lift me up and make me ecstatically happy or deeply sad and anything in between. The day that Freedom90 doesn’t make me grin happily even when life is tough will be the day I’m dead - or deaf. Its reputation as a modern day anthem is entirely deserved. If you ask me, it’s much, much too good to use for selling second-rate fragrances or cars. But hey, no-one’s asked me and team GM probably makes good money off the commercials, so there you go.
His songs can also put me in touch with that dark part of my soul where all is sadness and fear. George’s lyrics can make me cry. I can’t listen to Jesus To A Child without welling up. Heartfelt sadness for the terrible stuff George went through, fear of losing my own loved ones, happiness that I have someone who loves me with that life-giving love the song talks about, it’s all there with this song. Same goes for My Mother Had A Brother. Or You Have Been Loved. Or, well you get the point.
And his voice, his voice! My God, that voice is so beautiful. And somehow that voice almost always sounds as if George is standing just behind and to the right of you, singing his heart out just for you.
And as good as he sounds on CD, he’s actually better live. Unbelievable, I know! But oh so true. George has a bit of a tendency to overproduce. I’m not even sure if that’s a real word, but anyone who’s ever heard a few George Michael songs will know what I mean. It can get a bit too perfect. Singing live, he is not in total control and as a result his voice is even better, a bit more emotionally charged, than on CD.
And it doesn’t hurt that you get to look at him as well when you go to a George Michael concert! Now that he’s getting to be middle-aged and his looks aren’t what they used to be, it’s even more apparent that he’s got so much more sex-appeal then any man has a right to have. The guy really is sex on legs.
So to recap, I am a George Michael fan because he writes incredible songs, he has an incredible voice and he’s incredible live. Every single one of those reasons is more than enough to justify being a George Michael fan. And apart from those perfectly good reasons, there’s this. I am a George Michael fan and probably will be till the day I die because the man is such an inspiration to me.