TV & Radio
＜就職性差別＞大阪の男性が提訴 派遣会社に賠償求める (毎日 2006/05/14)
（毎日新聞） - 5月14日3時10分更新
Boy, oh boy
Once he was the biggest pop star in the world. Now Boy George faces the humiliating prospect of picking up trash on New York streets as punishment for wasting police time. But the 44-year-old trouper earns £7,000 a night as a DJ, insists he can beat his weakness for drugs, and makes no apologies for cruising online for sex partners. By Lynn Barber
Sunday May 14, 2006
There are only two changes of date, and one of venue, before I meet Boy George and he is only 15 minutes late, which counts as good going. He runs on Jamaican or Spanish time, and doesn't like hurrying. But he has certainly not wasted many minutes on his appearance - he is wearing a terrible old navy jacket with scruffy trainers and T-shirt, and looks like a navvy. Also his head is semi-tattooed with a Star of David and some pink sprawly thing (a lobster?) round the back. He says he's halfway through the tattooing process - 'This part took about four hours, but there's probably another 15 hours to go and it's so painful. But I haven't got any hair any more so I thought I'd decorate my head.' I tell him that having his head tattooed seems like attention-seeking, and he shoots back, 'Nothing wrong with that!'
We are in a bar in Hoxton which, it turns out, is just opposite his flat. We both smoke like fiends - he also consumes a bowl of noodles. He seems cheerful and grounded, which is a relief because I'd heard he was back on the marching powder, though he does develop an awfully runny nose at one point. He laughs rather more than the conversation warrants but that might just be interview nerves. He used to love doing interviews but he's wary of them now, after his recent misadventures in New York.
I was told by his manager on no account to ask him about 'the case', though of course I will eventually. Last October he was found with cocaine in his flat in New York and arrested for possession. The stupid thing was that he had called the cops himself, claiming that he was being burgled, but then apparently forgot he had called them till they turned up at his open door and found him wandering round in a daze. There was a terribly sad photograph of Boy George sobbing on a park bench after his indictment. But the police evidence was far from watertight and he was only sentenced to five days' community service and a fine.
So now he is back in England, trying to rebuild his career, which as always is rather diffuse. He admits in his recent book Straight that after his show Taboo closed in New York he spent a lot of time thinking about what to do next because 'for the best part of 15 years my career had been non-directional'. I suspect it still is, but the great thing about Boy George is that he doesn't sit around mourning his lost stardom but just gets on with earning his crust. Obviously he has come down in the world. He has not had a record deal since 1995; his Culture Club reuinion petered out; his musical Taboo bombed in New York (though it ran for 15 months in London) and even his DJing career is somewhat on the wane. But now he has a new string to his bow - a range of clothes called B-Rude - which he says is going really well. When I ask who it is aimed at he snaps, 'I don't do demographics,' but then adds that it sells well in Japan and certain shops in the States - 'There's always someone who wants something quirky.' He is also writing songs for himself, writing songs for other people (he has just done one for Beyoncé and is waiting to hear whether she likes it) and still doing two DJ gigs a week, for which he is paid 'never less than seven, sometimes more' - thousand pounds, presumably - all over Europe. In the past two months he's DJ'd in Bulgaria, Belgrade, Scotland and Italy three times. So if he does one engagement a week, he can live on that? 'Yes - and I do two a week. And I pay my taxes, always have done.'
He never became incapacitated by stardom, as so many do. He can still fly economy or travel by Tube if he has to; when he's in mufti, as now, he can walk unnoticed down the street, though he says it's remarkable how many people recognise his voice - taxi drivers often do a double-take when he gives directions and even telephone operators sometimes say, 'Oh, are you Boy George?'
But anyway, it's not a problem. 'Most people in this country are very nice to me, I don't get that much hostility.' In Culture Club days, of course, he had a whole posse of staff - security men, chauffeur, make-up artist, hairdresser, cook, gardeners - now he just has his sister Siobhan who works as his PA. Does he miss having all those people? 'Not at all. It was a bit hip hop. Though having a driver is a great luxury - I aspire to have one again, but not at the moment. And a chef, and a masseuse.'
Meanwhile he is looking forward to moving back to his Gothic house in Hampstead, which he let to tenants when he went to New York. He hopes to reclaim it in September. 'I'm not longing to go back there, but I would like to, it's such a beautiful house. And where I'm living now is just a little loft - it's not what I'm used to!'
When he went to New York to star in Taboo he said he might be going for good, but now he says, 'That was a moment of insanity! New York is a great place to visit but it's not a good place to live. Not for me anyway. I need to be around my friends, my family. When I got back - I came back when I got arrested - and spent some time with my family, I suddenly realised that I'd been so miserable for months. To start with it was fine, but after a while I started to feel really isolated, which isn't good for me. I wasn't crying and crying but when my friends would go back to London I'd be like, "Oh please stay." I have friends in New York but they're different - these are friends I've had for a long time, closer friends - and everybody wanted me to come back anyway.'
Were his friends worried about him? 'Yes, they were.' And was he worried about himself? 'No I wasn't. I'd say, "I'm fine, I'm fine" - until I was arrested. It was always my worst fear, to get arrested in America, and when it happened - I mean, I knew it was my fault - I remember thinking, "What's wrong with you?" It's so scary.'
Why did he call the police - did he really think there was a burglar? 'Yes - but now I think I was just paranoid.' So was it really a cry for help? 'I guess, subconsciously, somewhere at the back of my mind - reach for the hammer, bang myself on the head.' Had he been carrying on in a worrying way? 'Yes, for a few weeks - going round clubs and stuff like that.' Asking total strangers for drugs (as one report claimed)? 'No, that's not true.' Is it true that police found 13 bags of cocaine in his flat? 'No. And they said they saw stuff on my computer as soon as they came into the house, but there's a wall as you come in, so what they said was rubbish. There were so many impossibilities in what they said - they had to be able to see through walls - so the circumstances did work in my favour.'
Which presumably explains why he only got five days' community service. I tell him I thought it was a surprisingly light sentence, and he says with asperity, 'You know what? I really wish I could go into all the details of what happened and when it's all over with, I will. But no, I don't think it's a light sentence at all. What happened with me and the police was quite horrible and quite shocking.'
His lawyers are currently arguing about what form his five days' community service should take. The first suggestion was that he should pick up litter but he hopes to avoid that: 'It's a pride thing. Just think of the nightmare of being followed around the streets of New York for five days in an orange jumpsuit, and there'll be all the paparazzi, so I'll have to wear make-up! I'd rather do something like work in a soup kitchen. But if I have to do it, I'll do it.'
Was he taking a lot of drugs when he was in the States? 'If I answered that question I would incriminate myself.' Are drugs an ever-hovering threat in his life? 'I think they are, definitely, yes.' And always will be? 'I hope not. I really hope not.' But didn't he do rehab successfully, after his big drugs showdown in 1986? 'I did, yes. But, you know, it's like with cigarettes - I gave up for eight years but then I was in a club, drunk, about four years ago and someone gave me a cigarette and that was it. I really regret it. I hate it. I went to Paul McKenna but half an hour later I had a cigarette in my mouth. It wasn't his fault - I think I didn't really want to stop.'
Is it just that he's weak? If he's with other people who are taking drugs, he wants to join in? 'It's not weakness, it's more wilfulness really. Kind of childish in a way - tell me not to do something and I will. But equally I can reach a point where I say, "OK, I'm over it, I don't want to do this anymore." But I do have a very addictive personality - with food, with everything.'
And with the internet, I read recently. Some 'friend' was quoted as saying Boy George spent all day on the internet. 'I wouldn't say I'm addicted to it, but I do spend a lot of time on the internet.' How many hours a day? Six? 'On and off. I'm not this deranged internet addict. I haven't got the concentration to be on there for ever. It's not my whole life. But there are lots of gay sites you can go on and meet people - I think in a way the internet was the best thing that ever happened to gay culture. It's pretty hardcore. And I've made lots of friends there, not necessarily sexual - basically when you meet another homosexual who's got something to say beyond what are you wearing and what are you into, I enjoy it.'
So is that how he finds partners? 'Sometimes. It's not either/or. But it's great to have that alternative to going to clubs. And you do meet interesting people.' But isn't it terribly risky? How does he know they're who they say they are? 'I think both parties in those situations take a certain risk. But if you meet someone at a club and take them home, you're also taking a risk. And I wouldn't just say to someone on the internet, come round to my place - I'd meet them for coffee or something first.'
He has been in therapy for years 'and still not cured!' he laughs. 'But I see it as having a conversation with someone who is objective and intelligent - and can read me like a book. If you go to your friends, they don't always come up with the answers that you need, or they'll support you in a way that is not healthy.'
For the past 12 years he has also practised something called Nine Ki , a sort of cross between numerology and feng shui, which means he can't fly in certain directions on certain days. 'Everybody in my life thinks I'm insane, but it works for me. My managers say, "But they're offering £40,000!" But I just won't do it. The good thing is it slows things down. And it's great to say no! It allows me to gain some control over my career and just say, "No, I'm not going to Budapest tomorrow and Paris the next day and then Hong Kong," which is what I was doing for years. Idiot. I hated it.' But why couldn't he just say no, without all the Nine Ki palaver? I suppose that's typical of Boy George's sweet-sour nature - in general he is too obliging, but then he suddenly snaps and behaves badly, which shocks people all the more because he's been so compliant before.
He is 44 and says wryly, 'I thought I'd be really grown-up by now, but it hasn't happened. But I'm trying to learn not to be so selfish. That's the battle, I think. Because the life I lead is very encouraging of selfish behaviour. I'm pretty good. I'm not a monster. But I'm trying to be better.' Regrettably, he is no longer going to be 'a quip in a hat' because he feels his throwaway remarks have often got him into trouble. He is also trying to be more responsible and businesslike, 'more careful about how I spend my money, who I employ, who I'm generous to'. He still has money from Culture Club, but not enough to keep him going for life, because they never got sponsorship deals. But that's fine, he says, because 'I like working - I would never want to sit around counting my money.'
Ideally, he would like to make records again - he is putting one out independently this summer and hopes to do more. 'I don't want to try to reclaim what I had - that's not what it's about - because the one thing I don't miss about being in a band is going on radio stations in America and being asked about 'Karma Chameleon'. It's like, you reach a peak in your career and you get trapped there and it's really hard to move on. I think all artists struggle with that. Yes, I would love to have a hit, to be honest, but not just for the sake of having a hit - it's doing something that I love and am proud of. I didn't make records in the first place to have a hit - it was just what happened. My career was a big accident. I never planned to be that kind of person. If fame came with a switch-off button, it would be great, because you could just walk down the street and click it off and be like everyone else.'
· Boy George performs at Bush Hall, London W12 on 8 June (www.ticketweb.co.uk/08700 600 100).
Boy's own story
George on George
What would you do if you weren't a musician?
Probably something like communications or fashion. I have to be creative and constantly around people. At school I used to go to the careers adviser and say 'I want to work in the theatre' and they'd say 'Mr O'Dowd, be more sensible.' So I'd say 'What about being a make-up artist?' and they'd reply 'No, you're going to work in Tesco's.'
What is your guilty pleasure?
The male of the species. In all its flavours and complications.
Who or what inspires you?
People who are true to themselves and do things from the heart, rather than people who are motivated by money.
Who are your heroes?
My mother - she raised six kids on nothing. David Bowie. Archbishop Desmond Tutu - he's lovely. I read something really nice he had said about gay people and then I met him and asked him about it and he stood by his words. And all those selfless people: people who give out aid, people who clean our rivers, Greenpeace - people who actually do things impress me. I am one of those people who wants to save the world but I'm too busy doing my eyebrows.
How do you work?
In terms of writing and creating, it's always about what I feel. And I'm very lazy. I used to be much more frantic, but as I got older I decided to chill out. Panicking doesn't ever change anything.
What gets you down?
Right now, people voting BNP. It is really shocking, especially young people voting BNP. There's plenty of room for everyone here. And I love Eastern European men, so I say, tear down the borders, they can camp out in my yard.
What is the soundtrack to your life?
Court and Spark by Joni Mitchell. There's a song on there for every feeling. I think Joni Mitchell is a great poet.
What is your dream?
To continue doing what I do, get paid for it and not have to compromise too much.
ジェンダーフリー「不使用通知」広がる波紋 女性センター閉鎖、トイレ表示同色見直し (朝日・東京版 2006/05/12朝刊生活面)
男女共同参画 猪口氏が講演 福岡市
１６日公開の映画「エドワード・サイード ＯＵＴ ＯＦ ＰＬＡＣＥ」（佐藤真監督）のプロモーションのために来日。ヨルダン川西岸での音楽教育や、ドイツ・ワイマールで誕生しスペイン・セビリアを拠点に世界各地で公演するイスラエル・アラブ混成オーケストラの様子を、夫の思いを重ねながら伝えた。
毎日新聞 2006年5月13日 東京朝刊