YOU'VE GOT YOGMAEL!!!
While working on my personal YOGMAEL archives last night, I found myself
logging on to Tim's web site to get some issue numbers, and was most pleased
to see the new archives page. LOOKS GREAT TIM!!! Thanks a lot! They can be
In this issue are some lost postings, stuff
posted from the WEB that never
got around to being converted to readable text, my apologies to the authors.
promised, I have spent a number of hours slaving over the Big Issue.
As a result, I have shut down the pyramid, and hereby offer you the whole
article, risking legal action and all... Enjoy.
AND AWAY WE GO...
This article comes courtesy of the November 11-17, 1996 edition of the Big
"In this world exclusive--his first
interview in six years--George Michael
talks candidly about dope, death and his sexuality. By Adrian Devoy
Sex, drugs and Sony
George Michael's toilet seat is broken. Cleaved clean off. How could it
be that the sophisticated sovereign of subdued and silky soul came to find
himself in such a sorry situation?
"I couldn't possibly tell you" he says, busying himself with tea bags in
the kitchen. "It's too embarrasing."
The media-reclusive multi-millionaire hasn't invited a member of the press
into his home for six years. He's been taking stock, making music--the
bewitching Older--and playing hard-to-get. That he has, for no apparent
reason, decided to grant an interview is something of a shock.
Upon reaching chez Michael (to which I have been courteously chauffeured
by the singer himself who's recently taken delivery of a Jaguar XK8), there
is another surprise. His house hasn't changed in the slightest. In fact,
nomadic lavatory lid apart, it is the same unassuming north-London domicile
with the same departure-lounge ambience and the same recklessly stacked CD
collection, with the same laid-back Labrador Hippy, lying on the same
colourless carpet. "I think most people would be shocked by the way I live,"
says Michael, casting an amused eye around the his modest, open-plan
homestead. "I mean, in pop-star terms, this is a hovel."
The houise may not have changed, but the owner most definitely has. "I
won't be talking again until I've got something to say," 27-year-old Michael
said back in 1990. Now, at 33 ("the same age as Jesus"), he feels that he'd
like to speak.
"Certain things have happened," he says, taking a carton of milk from a
fridge whose contents total a tub of taramasalata, half a bottle of wine, and
a half a dozen cans of Coke.
"Whereas my public image is more removed from
the real world, I don't feel that I am anymore. I'm more..." he grasps for
the precise word, "...human."
He sets down two mugs of tea, the first of many in our marathon three-hour
conversation, and lights a cigarette. "There's something that's changed," he
sighs, tapping the fag packet. "I smoke now. What a fucking stupid thing
for a singer to do."
His tobacco habit, he says, developed out of another relatively recent
hobby: smoking dope. "I started smoking grass because is was wither that or
some kind medication which I didn't want to take," he says. "Then when you
couldn't get a joint you lit up a cigarette and that was that. It took about
three years for me to become a real smoker and in the last year-and-a-half
I've been trying desperately to give it up and have been failing miserably."
Dope smoking seems such an unlikely pursuit for a self-confessed control
freak. "I know," he laments, shaking his closely cropped head. "But, I tell
you, this time last year I was a complete and utter pothead. I know it's
lunacy but the horrible truth is that the grass really helped me. It got me
through making Older. I was under more stress than I'd ever been. This had
to am scowls. "I was honest with them and said,
'I'm 24 and I don't know what the future holds, but I know that right now if
I don't do something quick then no one's going to have anything to sell'.
Now if a 24 year old who'd just sold 15 million albums came to me and said
that, I'd humour him. But it was like 'You don't feel good? Well, piss off,
we've got lots of other people to work with'. It was incredibly
disrespectful. I didn't work for them, but we'd worked together and sold a
fuck of a lot of records. The fact that this was suddenly irrevelant was
The rumour is that Prince kept phoning during the trial to offer him
advice and support. "Oh yeah," cackles Michael mischieviously. "I just
never rung him back. We weren't exactly in the same boat. All I really
wanted to say to him was 'Wipe that fucking word ['slave'] off your cheek,
you're not exactly doing me any favours'. The only time I really spoke to
him we had this 45-minute conversation about God. Maybe I got him on an off
As the court case lumbered on, reaching a point wehre even his most loyal
supporters became numb to the endless legal hair-splitting, George Michael's
personal life hit a cruel low. The most devastating incident occurred in
1993 when his friend Anselmo Feleppa, a 32-year-old Brazilian--"someone that
I truly loved"--died. A searing sense of loss, a gradual healing and a kind
of redemption followed. "I can't talk about that in any detail," Michael
apologises. "It's just not me to do that. The album refers to it several
times. I'd just say that it was the most enlightening experience that I've
ever had. The minute someone you really love is irretrievably lost you
understand life in a different way." He reaches instinctively for another
cigarette. "Your perspective changes. You understand how short life is, how
incredibly painful it can be. But once you've seen the worst of things you
can then see the best of things, so that experience was very painful at the
time but very positive in its outcome. Was it sudden? "Yes, he had a brain
heamorrhage," he says quietly. "It was a terrible shock. The grief is
always there and sometimes it comes back. You feel it every bit as painfully
as if it was yesterday, and other times you think of the person and how
fantastic the experience of knowing them was." He moves to the microwave to
warm up his tepid tea, mulling over one of life's imponderables as he does
so. "The really puzzling question that it leaves you with is, 'What's more
important: to have a long and healthy life or to enjoy every day as it
happens?' I've always obsessively invested in the future but now I wonder if
I should spend so much time worrying about it. There might not be a future."
Did he come close to a breakdown at the time of Anselmo's death? "No, not
then," he recalls. "After he died I went through bereavment counselling
which helped me a lot. I'm not naturally depressive. I mean, I've suffered
from depression in depressive ccircumstances, but I don't have a tendency
towards it. I'm not very good at wallowing. If I'm going to feel bad, I
He was, however, on the verge of a nervous collapse during the Faith Tour
in 1988. "I genuinely thought, 'This is what happens. This is when you lose
it'," he recollects with a small shudder. "Do you know, I spent almost that
entire year in sunglasses. I just couldn't make eye contact with strangers.
I think I even went to bed in them."
While waiting for the kettle to boil we once again discuss Oasis, of whom
Michael is an enormous fan; and cocaine, of which he isn't; and, inevitably
enough, sex. "How's your love life?" I ask.
"Fantastic," he grins. "Absolutely fantastic. That's all I shall say.
I've got everything I want at the moment which is quite a scary position for
me to be in. You automatically start to look for something t think if
every gay pop star and actor in the world came out it wouldn't make any
difference at all to the gay community," he shrugs, before launching into a
speech which, you suspect, he prepared earlier. "I think we all speculate
about one another's sexuality and it's a very human thing to do. Humans
spend a lot of time trying to work out if what they are is 'right'," his
fingers describe inverted commas in the air. "We question ourselves from the
moment we're old enough to, and most people need to feel that their
particular form of sexuality is right--therefore they need to be able to
identify people who are the same as them and people who aren't. So you get
this whole game where you're trying to work out who is gay and who is
"Someone like me, who sits there with this big neon question mark above my
head and openly invites those questions, is therefore a thing of fascination.
If people fit very neatly into one sexual category or another, they are
immediately rather boring to the media. I talk to both gay men who want me
to be gay and straight women who want me to be straight and a lot of people
who are not too sure about their sexuality. All the biggest pop stars have
unanswered questions about their sexuality. It's what draws people to them."
So is this sexual ambiguity something he's fostered? "No, not in the
least," he frowns. "I think everything about me has always been ambiguous.
From the way I look to the time of my voice. I mean, let's face it, I'm not
exactly Bruce Springsteen." The kettle gets there. "Anyway," he says
evenly, "My sexuality is no one's fucking business."
So we can conclude that he's happy with whatever he is? "Very," he smiles
defiantly. "Even though my sexuality hasn't always been completely clear to
me, it was never a moral question. I've never thought of my sexuality as
being right or wrong. I've wondered what my sexuality might be but I've
never wondered whether it was acceptable or not. To me it's always been
about finding the right person. The only moral involved in sex is whether
it's consenting or not. Anyway, who really cares whether I'm gay ot
straight? Do they think they've got a serious chance of shagging me or
Having successfully filtered out the elements of celebrity he feels least
uncomfortable with, and by creating a persona that now works for him on a
commercial level, George Michael has managed to develop a certain mystique.
"The same thing that makes everybody look when I walk into a restaurant will
actually keep fuelling my career," he muses. "A fascination combined with a
lack of availability. In reality my celebrity is something that I don't
like, it limits me a lot. I don't do a lot of things I would do if I were
anonymous. I live a smaller life, in a way, because I don't put myself in a
lot of public situations. My consolation for that is that I've got this
great career. And," he adds wryly, "the money's pretty good too."
Having reaped the rewards of more than 60 million album sales
worldwide--with Older selling one million in the UK alone--is he comfortable
with his wealth? "Much more so than I was," he nods. "In reality, I've
given such a huge proportion of it away, I really couldn't feel guilty about
it anymore. The reason I do it is quite simple: there are a lot of people
who need money and don't have it and I have a lot of money that I have no
particular use for. I mean look at this house. It doesn't take a rocket
scientist to work out that this isn't extravagance. I've got housed in LA
and St Tropez too, but the three houses combined would fit comfortably into
the average rock star's house. I'm not saying that to prove how modestly I
live, but I don't have a very expensive lifestyle and I've sold a lot of
He gives a substantial amount of money anonymously to various charities,
although he's unwilling to eventually get
some--and I always knew that was bullshit. I was incredibly ambitious, but
for myself not for money, and I was never, never a fucking Thatcherite."
This afternoon, he will visit the recording studio to tinker with the
latest of his seductive jazz-pop songs. If inspiration doesn't strike, he'll
smoke some grass and wait for what he self-mockingly calls "that conduit
moment". But before we sink back into the creamy upholstery and cosy
decadence of his new Jag, there is one small matter to clear up. The toilet
seat, we never did find out what happened to the toilet seat. Reluctantly,
George Michael reveals his sinful secret. "Wiping too vigorously," he says,
then laughs like an escaped lifer.
Feels good to be free."
t.m.parr-at-xtra.co.nz (Kelly) writes:
Is George Michael ever going to tour New Zealand? We may be a small country
but he still has heaps of fans down under.
are no definite tour plans anywhere at the moment, just a strong sense
of hoping that he'll hit the road this year. AG)
s0058414-at-gbc.gbrownc.on.ca (Brandi) writes:
I have been a George Michael fan right from the beginning of his career. I
am very excited to see he is so prominent on the internet.
(I don't know how prominant
he is, but beween myself and the webmasters, we
I would appreciate any and all George Michael items; articles
that you might have.
(Three filing cabinets worth might be a bit hard to pass on... AG)
I have tried to
find out as much about George Michael as I could over the
past 15 years. I knew what Yogmail was right away, but it's even more
interesting to see I am not the only fan of George's. I can't wait to hear
INDY500-at-WEBTV.NET (Marty Lindman) writes:
I NEED ANYTHING ON GEORGE MICHAEL AND WOULD APPRECIATE ALL OF THE INFORMATION
THAT YOU HAVE FOR ME. SEND HIS DATE OF BIRTH, INTERESTS, HOME OR VACINITY,
AND FAMILY INFORMATION. I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO KNOW HIS EARLY MUSICAL
BACKGROUND AND HIS SCHOOLING, COLLEGE AND INFLUENCES. PLEASE LET ME KNOW
ANYTHING ABOUT HIS MUSIC, TOURING TO AMERICA, AND ALSO HIS DATES FOR CONCERTS
IN ENGLAND. WHAT ARE THE CHANCES, PERCENTAGE WISE OF HIM ANSWERING ANY OF
HIS MAIL? THANKX.
(No small order is it? OK, briefly:
Born: June 25/63
Interests: According to sources, the only thing that really interests him is
Resides: Hampstead Heath North London
Family: Mother--Lesley Angold Harrison; Father--Kyriacos (Jack) Panayiotou;
Sisters Melanie (36?) and Yioda (38?)
Schooling: Entered Bushey Meads Comprehensive in 1975, left with a couple of
A levels in 1982.
Musical Influences: Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Queen.
Tour Plans: None yet.
Mail: Depends on how bored he gets.
been kind enough to offer a copy of the Spinning
the Wheel EP for a contest, and so I have attempted to come up with a fair
contest question. A number have been considered, but here's my fave:
You are on a plane, you are wearing your walkman, and of course playing a
George track. You get caught up in the moment, and begin to duet with
George. A few seconds later, you feel a tapping on your shoulder. You
immediately realize you are not in the studio with George, but rather on a
crowded plane. You open your eyes with some trepidation, you see George with
a rather amused look on his face, he's even taken his sunglasses off. You
have 30 seconds to make an impression, what do you say?
Winners to be announced in issue #88--which will be going out on the 25th.
All entries must be received by 7pm EST Thursday Jan 23rd for judging.
TO Wrap it Up:
ANGEMAIL is being re-run on the 26th, in honour of Andrew Ridgeley's
birthday, and I'm also looking for Andrew stories to share. I know there are
closet Andy fans out there, so let's hear it!
"Never state, what you can't imply"
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