Culture Club’s Boy George: the original gender-fluid pop icon versus the modern world

  • 08 Nov, 2018

    story of the day

    As frontman of Culture Club, Boy George became one of the most famous faces of the '80s. Now reunited with his bandmates following a wide-ranging career that's included solo projects, club DJing and talent show panel-ing, he's still on his fieriest form, finds Dan Stubbs, as they ramble through people on phones at gigs, politics, the offended generation and the queer pop revolution

    A midweek afternoon in a central London PR agency office. When Boy George hears I’m here from NME, he seems to prickle a little. It’s the day after Richard Ashcroft ceremonially burned a copy of NME on his Instagram in response to a two-star review, and – as ever when meeting those with a storied career – it’s worth checking to see how and when NME predecessors have annoyed them. But not Boy George, apparently.

    “I’ve had more bad reviews in NME than I’ve had hot dinners, but I don’t bear a grudge,” he says. In fact, there was a time when he used to pop into the office on the reg. “I was promoting this band called Theatre Of Hate and I used to go in, ‘You should write about Theatre Of Hate’. I was a right little busy body.”

    And with that, Boy George is thumbing through his phone to find the file, and blasts out a track in which, yes, he duets with Gladys Knight. He’s in full CEO mode at the moment, promoting the album, heading out on tour. Just like a rake, Boy George will keep popping up for the foreseeable.

    ‘Life’, by Culture Club, is out now. The band are touring the UK. 

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