Monday, 26 December 2016

George Michael

'George Michael?' I said, heavy on the interrogative. *The* George Michael? Now, I'm not a great fan of George but I was really shocked. Out of the blue, he's died. No car crash, train derailment or fallen aeroplane, he died at home on Christmas Day. He's younger than me and I'm shocked and I don't know why. Maybe it's an age thing.

I'm not keen on all this 'curse of 2016' stuff that people post about on Twitter and Facebook. Famous people die all the time and always have done so maybe it's just that people of cultural significance to my generation (and younger) are  reach the ages when people do start dying. I don't really know, but I'm sure someone has done some research into it. Rick Parfitt yesterday and now George. Rick was a decade older than me but George was younger and that feeds the sense of your own mortality.

George was a product of the '80s, firstly with Wham! and then going global in his own right as a hugely successful solo artist, continuing into the '90s until he got arrested in some toilets in LA that sort of 'outed' him as gay. It was his response to the arrest and publicity that made me notice another 'celeb scandal', his 'yeah I did it, so what?' approach and going on talk shows with that attitude. No shame but full throttle attack mode. He even featured the episode in a video for his next single where the urinals turn into a disco heaven. That's when I thought 'good on you!'.

His success continued beyond that episode in his life which is a testament to his talents and skills that it didn't kill his career.

No doubt there'll be an outpouring of grief from fans and admirers, from pop stars talking about their friend and from social commentators. No doubt stories will come out of the woodwork and there'll be speculation about the possible causes of his death. I'm sure some will be linked to his being gay and his lifestyle, inevitable really. Will any of them hit the right note for the people that really matter - his family and friends. Possibly. Who knows?

As I said, I wasn't a great fan but his death made me stop and notice. And that's important.

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