Wednesday, April 19, 2006


The trouble with anyone trying to suggest that cannabis has ruined George Michael's creativity is that, judging by quite a long line of duff material, you'd have to suggest he's been walking round in this fug since about, ooh, Last Christmas or so. As in the song, not ecember 2005. But the story seems to have been set in stone, that Michael churns out clunkers because of the dope, and the equally likely possibility - that he's chosen to self-mdeicate himself away from a world that doesn't really need him any more.

The trouble of making the former line stick is shown by this morning's Mirror exclusive, which starts off convincingly enough:

GEORGE Michael's career has gone up in smoke because he would rather puff joints than record new songs, a former musician pal claimed yesterday.

And who is this "former musician pal" (it's not clear, by the way, if it's a friend who has left the music industry, or a musician who no longer hangs out with George.)

Toby Bourke.

Of course you do - he duetted with George.

Waltz Away, the 1997 single?

Nope, us neither.

But to fit the storyline, this has to be part of George Michael's golden age:

Toby, who recorded with George when the ex-Wham! star was in his heyday in the mid 1990s, said it was clear even back then that the singer had a serious drug problem.

The mid 90s were George's heyday? We're curious as to what criteria you'd use to measure that by, but let's assume that it really was the case - the Mirror also wants us to believe that Michael had his "serious drug problem" back then. And yet it's this drug problem which has killed his creativity. Delivering a heyday and wrecking a career, eh?

"He was stoned all the time. It was pretty much a haze of dope the whole way through the recording sessions.

"He would smoke skunk joints in the studio when we were meant to be working. He was easily getting through 20 joints a day. The joints were in a Marlboro box and had been rolled by one of George's lackies. He would smoke one, take a break, then spark another one up.

"I remember how smelly and pungent it was when he was smoking them. But nobody was allowed to complain."

Not only is George Michael thinly connected to reality, but he's smelly as well, then?

But it gets worse:

The singer also became obsessed with feng shui - the ancient oriental art of arranging items in a room to allow the flow of "positive energy." Toby said: "George had a big thing for feng shui for a while. It was as though he thought that V would solve all of his problems, which was ridiculous.

"I hadn't heard a dickie bird from anyone on George's label for two months, then the manager rang out of the blue and sounded really excited. I was hoping he was going to say that George was ready to get back in the studio. But instead he told me things would soon start going again - because they had feng shui'd the office."

Well, at least there was a possibility that Michael has a defence for his car-pranging accidents here: he wasn't smashing up those vehicles, he was merely moving them so their positive qi would flow down the centre of Kensington.

So, what is the Mirror's exclusive story actually boiled down? Some guy who got dropped from a record contract with Michael a decade ago saw him smoke dope and re-arrange his sofa a little too much. And, of course, Toby's only coming forward now because he wants George to get help:

"It was a good experience to be a part of a big hit single. But at the same time it was heartbreaking to see someone as talented as George in such a state.

"And it is even more heartbreaking to see how much worse he has got in recent years. I fear he's putting his life at risk. He needs to get professional help before it is too late."

But... hang about... he was meant to have a serious drug problem back in 1997 which, according to your story, left him incapable of working. So in what way has it "got worse" in recent years?

Toby said: "I don't think you'll see much more work from him. He is basically lazy - and it is all the cannabis he's smoked that has made him like that."

Toby doesn't appear to have had any contact with George Michael since 1999, so it's not like he's basing this purely on stuff he's read in the paper.

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