The Madness of Boy George
The thing you need to remember about George Alan O’Dowd is that he is a huge hulking brute of a man. Towering over 6 ft with hands like shovels, he looks like the well-fed son of an Irish navvy – which, coincidentally, is what he is. So marking him down as some kind of auteur of androgyny is stretching the truth a touch. At the peak of his Eighties fame he looked like a big old drag-queen who’d overdone the foundation. The Madness of Boy George would have you believe that he had a generation of youth confused as to whether he was a boy or a girl. Don’t be silly. Anybody who fancied Boy George was all about the cock – not that there’s anything wrong with that.
"Towering over 6 ft with hands like shovels, he looks like the well-fed son of an Irish navvy – which, coincidentally, is what he is."
In what was a generally pretty entertaining documentary covering Boy George’s colourful past while following him in his tumultuous present there was a fairly annoying rewriting of history, plainly part of the same widespread conspiracy to convince the yoot that the Eighties were anything other than a cultural desert. On Boy George dressing a bit like a girl, Marc Almond said "how the hell did he get away with it?". Eh? This is Britain in the 1980s. Danny La Rue still loomed large at every Royal Variety Performance; the waifish ghouls of punk still roamed the streets. We’d had Bowie, Bolan and music hall. Boy George was able to get away with it because he was exactly the kind of chatty non-threatening homosexual who delivered your granny’s meals-on-wheels and changed Auntie Ada‘s incontinence pad. Part of a long tradition, then, no sexual revolutionary surely.
"Jon Moss had difficulty reconciling being bummed every night with being a straight acting gay."
What George was, in fact, was a very fine singer and gifted songwriter which, combined with his down-to-earth common touch and biting wit made him the acceptable face of eccentric British camp. His disintegration from cuddly theatrical homo into fat smackhead sex apocalypse coincided with the deterioration of his relationship with Culture Club drummer Jon Moss who had difficulty reconciling being bummed every night with being a straight acting gay. As George pointed out "straight acting" means it’s an act. "You don’t look very straight with a cock in your mouth do you?” Quite.
"Andrew Lloyd Webber was ‘an ugly cunt’. Guy Chambers was ‘an arrogant cunt’. Madonna was ‘a vile cunt’. He makes Aerial Telly sound complimentary."
Throughout the documentary George was his entertaining catty self, quite happy to hold forth on the character defects of other celebrities. Andrew Lloyd Webber was ‘an ugly cunt’. Guy Chambers was ‘an arrogant cunt’. Madonna was ‘a vile cunt’. He makes Aerial Telly sound complimentary. As reporters clamoured around him to find out what his community service entailed he quipped "I’m teaching basketball in Harlem. I’m taking it straight to the hoop". If that had been Graham Norton he’d have made a joke about widening the ring, I expect.
"Boy George is not the type of celebrity who just fades away. Persistently good value, its good to have him around."
He trawls the Web looking for male escorts, he confusingly speaks in a Jamaican accent for no obvious reason (though an impromptu rap couplet suggested this may have been a dig at the revolting Jamaican fagbashers of reggae), he DJs at achingly trendy club spots, writes bitter love songs and bitches about other celebrities like they’ve just shat on his doorstep. Boy George is not the type of celebrity who just fades away. Persistently good value, it’s good to have him around.
The best thing about it: His candid assessment of celebrities
The worst thing about it: Marc Almond trying to convince us that Culture Club’s career took place in the 1880s, not the 1980s.
The verdict on The Madness of Boy George : I’d love to see the remarks they cut out.
Marks out of 10: 7