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Boy George Party
Richard E Grant

Boy George: Is this his last 15 minutes of fame?

By Fiona Russell Powell

Daily Express - 1995

IT WAS going to be the party of the year — so far. In the event, it turned out to be the party of the week — so far. The reformed Boy George's bash to celebrate the publication of his autobiography Take It Like A Man (ghostwritten by Spencer Bright, who described the experience as "a nightmare") and new album Cheapness And Beauty was held on Tuesday night al a disused school near London's King's Cross, a convenient location for many revellers to adjourn to afterwards. The party was organised by George's old friend Philip Sallon. doyen of London's club scene. Famous for his Mud Club Bails. Philip knows how to I brow a good knees-up. and no one could accuse him of not trying this time.
It was a fancy dress do. Everyone had to come in a little something relating to school, and the door policy was kept strict — no outfit, no entry.
Obediently. I donned my schoolboy's uniform and mingled with the mob, most of whom had used as much imagination as myself. The large hall was a sea of blazers, shorts, ties and caps — and that was just the girls.
We all know the old joke about "no Englishman needs In be asked twice to wear stockings", and once again, this proved to be the rule rather than the exception. Not surprisingly for a Boy George party, it was a veritable trannyfest, with the St Trinian's frocks and high heels sorting out the men from the queens — you could spot the straight blokes a mile off, staggering around and moaning about their aching feel.
Drink was plentiful — ever the bountiful host, George had the event sponsored by Carlsberg, Smirnoff. Maker's Mark bourbon. Evian, and Hanson's Original. But, just in case the school ran dry. All guests were advised to bring a bottle too, which they did. By the handbag load.
Everyone arrived merry, expectant, with their claws sharpened and out the rallying cry of the night was: "Hi! Didn't I sleep with you in the Eighties?"
A lot of those invited were old friends of George, and most feature in the book, including myself, amusingly characterised as a "good-time ghoul".
Last weekend, Waterstone's bookshop in London was besieged by many of George's old muckers who made for the display of Take It Like A Man, went straight to the index to look up their entry, then discreetly concealed the volume about their person.)
YOU will find that kleptomania and thieving feature heavily in George's biog. an unsociable habit he readily admits — evidently using the cathartic experience of writing an autobiography as a chance lo make a clean breast of things.
Philip had read me the guest list the previous evening, and it had been impressive and long. However, as the party got into full swing, it seemed to be less celebrity and more Eighties roll call — the has-beens, the born-again. the never-weres. the once-were-then-weren't-and-now-trying-again.
People such as Sinitta. two-thirds of Bananarama and the blond muscly one from Bad Boys Inc. flitted by before returning to cruise the hall.
Daryl Hall turned up sporting a beard and dazed expression. An Eighties pop star, and American, he was never "one of us". We were much harder to please, and things haven't changed in that respect.
One old-timer bitched: "No Liz Hurley, no party." Someone else pointed out, when we were commenting on the absence of people who should have been there: "Most of them are either dead, in treatment or out scoring.
It was a shame, because Philip had done his best to ensure all had a good time. He had hired a Jimmy Edwards look-alike to march round barking: "Boys! Take your hands out of your pockets!" at unsuspecting guests.
A real-life lollipop lady was on hand to escort arrivees across Euston Road, and Philip had arranged lo have an ice-cream van parked outside complete with nursery-rhyme jingle and ice-cream ladies, only minus the ice-cream.
The free drinks were served by women dressed as dinner ladies and some genuine schoolkids wandered about the hall (children of the bar-staff). But what could the host expect after inviting a gaggle of evil queens? Speaking of whom, where was George? No one had seen him all evening. Eventually 1 bumped into him in the Ladies, signing his book for a couple of trannies. If he hadn't been doing that, I'd never have recognised him because, whereas the rest of us were in fancy dress, George had come in disguise.
His "Marxist art teacher" look was, apparently, a homage to the only master he liked at his school (from which he was inevitably expelled).
From the muffled confines of a thick false beard splattered with paint, he claimed “The party’s fabulous!” while blinking nervously behind Sixties Lefty-intellectual spects. Strange. I've never seen George nervous before. He told me all the O'Dowd family, which is sizeable, were out in force.
Indeed, I had spotted his rather, and one of his brothers. Dim David (the one who shopped George lo the Press to save him from heroin abuse) looking out of place as usual, looking from the corner of a balcony over the assembled throng including drag queens, sex changes and gay clones, with the graffitied banner. "George is a bum bandit". facing them.
I wonder what they made of it all. I always had the impression they were tolerant of their son purely because of his fame, and that would seem to be drawing lo a close. Poor George. I would say that Tuesday night was the last second of his 15 minutes.
He has had a good innings and I hope he uses his notoriety, which will always remain, lo help others who are going through the same hell he endured.
Boy George is dead but perhaps, for George O'Dowd. drug counsellor life is just beginning. Harsh but honest advice, and what can you expect from "Fiona Russell Powell, a journalist who writes clever bitchy articles"?