Boy George: Is this his
last 15 minutes of fame?
Fiona Russell Powell
Express - 1995
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
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
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.
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"?