Joyeux Noel to all stevepafford.com patrons and readers.
Five years ago, on Christmas Day no less, the world lost George Michael – one of the great British songsmiths of the last half-century. To mark the anniversary the singer’s tragic death, here’s another excerpt of the original audio tape of a landmark Gay Times interview I conducted with Yog in June 2007.
In this enlightening extract, he waxes lyrical about the persistent rumours that he and his Wham! buddy Andrew Ridgeley were more than just professional partners vibing a deliberately homoerotic subtext. It’s fascinating and moving stuff.
I’ve always thought that your whole relationship with Andrew Ridgeley… where you talk about meeting this kid at school who seemed to represent everything you wanted to be: tall, good-looking, popular with girls and whatever. And it always seemed like it must have been a crush.
But it’s not the same, is it? Wanting to be someone and wanting to fuck ‘em. It’s not the same. It’s the difference between a girl’s relationship with Robbie Williams and a boy’s relationship with Robbie Williams. Andrew was this kind of idol for me because he was the first person I’d hung around with who was much stronger than me. So it was a relief not being the strongest person in my immediate group. Because this person was supremely confident, and very beautiful, but in a way that was never going to attract me. I’d never go for Andrew! He was too pretty, too feminine, too elegant. He’s a very elegant man. If you see him now, he’s still… whether it’s 11 o’clock in the morning or 10 o’clock at night he’s immaculate. He’s absolutely immaculate to this day. And he lives out in fucking Cornwall, where he could just slob out as much he likes.
But he’s everything that some women would love and I’ve never looked at. I’ve never thought about it. I don’t know if I can say the same for him, we’ve never talked about it. So maybe the homoeroticism was coming from him! (Laughs) But I doubt it. He’s never had sex with a man. I can understand everyone thinking we were sleeping together, but I don’t think Andrew would ever have the guys to sleep with a man. I don’t think he’s horribly averse to the idea, but I don’t think he’d ever do it. He loves being filthy with women, so…
And he was one of the first people who you told that you thought you were gay or maybe bisexual.
You mentioned once in passing about a strange trip to Cyprus, when you were 18 or 19.
Yeah, that wasn’t where I told him though.
No, it was after you came back from a trip to Cyprus on your own, where you said “some things happened”. Sort of suggesting it was some sexual awakening.
Yeah. It was a bit, I’m not going to go into any detail, but it was realising that it was a proper 50/50 split, at the very least. But I still hadn’t been drawn to anyone. I played around with the idea that I was bisexual – mostly by getting drunk (Laughs).
Steve Pafford with Richard Smith
With thanks to Jasper Murison-Bowie and Barney Hoskyns at rocksbackpages.com
I Want Your Sex: remembering George Michael is here