OMG, is that you? Nice to see you, here, at my site in 2017. Gotta be honest with you, this post have been the longest, slowest crawl of my bloggity existence. It literally gave me physical pain. Hell, this last two months gave me physical pain! As i’m sure it did to you, too. And half of the sane planet. Is this real life? Is this just fantasy? Or as Bohemian Rhapsody would continue to insist: …caught in a landslide, no escape from reality…?

Even though I breathe a little easier in February, I do feel like we all broke out of prison, and we’re just meeting, at the other side of the wall. But, only now, the real work begins.

Times are fucking rough. Extreme highs, extreme lows; we’re dealing with things in 21 century that are not suppose to be a part of conversation anymore, albeit actually happening. But in the same time, the significance of the said times is undeniable. We are a part of a chunk in history so major, it’s overwhelming! And I needed time to make sense of it all, hence my silence and inability to produce any words. I simply overdosed on everything that happened at the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017. I needed to suss it out of me, to properly articulate it. To myself, first, and then to you.

And I did, finally, find lessons in all the craze. Yes it’s demoralizing, sad, scary to see King Joffrey taking The Office and hear about all the heartbreaking damage he already did in 3 weeks while taking the White House. But when you see all the outpouring support that came out of it; when you see women in courts, and on streets fucking up his plans, now, when did you last see this level of unity?

Where is the lesson? The time. Think about it. What simultaneously happened? In 2016, we got re-introduced to intolerance, racism, sexism, narcissism, misogyny. At the same year we lost 3 male artists, superstars, that redefined masculinity, sexuality, and blurred the lines between black and white music. And we lost a female artist, a superstar, who brilliantly fought sexism all her life. Coincidence? Lesson?

For starters; let’s not be fatalists for a minute here and think about this past year as a live entity who went around murdering fabulous celebrities. David Bowie was sick. Prince lived on pain killers. Carrie Fisher struggled with health issues most of her life. George Michael rode George Michael pretty hard. There was a definite cosmic cruelty in this scenario. But there was also a cosmic significance. In a year that, I read somewhere and loved the term, “toxic masculinity” took center stage; their deaths reminded us to who they were, what they stood for, what we forgot, and what we need to reclaim. Now, more than ever.

Lots of my friends asked me why I didn’t write anything about George Michael’s death, knowing I was pretty much obsessed with the guy. Because, as I said, I was overwhelmed, at first. Then, secondly, I did not want to review his life with some platitudes, a.k.a tribute article when so many people did a far better job. A career tribute is not needed for anyone with an access to Google. What I wanted to do is find significance of this moment, these times, the cosmic cruelty, but nonetheless cosmic significance of a man with godlike talents, yes, but more importantly the man who was a walking, talking revolution. In the times when masculinity is defined by violence, sex, status & aggression, when “superstars” are mediocre, when there’s so much fakeness, and not enough authenticity; a crash course in George Michael, an OG in just about fucking everything, is a MUST.

They say we like the stars we physically resemble, and we mentally connect to stars we find similar struggles within. George Michael had a specific sort of damage I found way too familiar. George was my OG. Placeholder. And it completely overshadowed anything else that happened in 2016; for me that year will always stay the year George bowed out.

(on a brighter side, he never witnessed an Orangutan getting nuclear codes, so a small victory for G)

I had to admit I wasn’t the first passenger on the Wham! train when they came out. I was way too young, they were too sparkly, and I waited patiently for my parents to leave town for the weekend so I can dye my hair black; it was my duty to represent the darkness with the likes of Depeche Mode; there was no space to develop the love for pastel and neon shades of Wham!

When I actually took notice was with I’m Your Man, and Edge Of Heaven; the videos turned monochromatic, the clothes turned black, and the man turned soulful, sexier, a little Motown, combining white pop with serious black rhythm. That was my cue! But I didn’t fully comprehend the entirety of a man and what he’ll become until the Aretha Franklin duet. I remember thinking, there are great voices, but this voice sounds like a hot bath with candles and warm cocoa on a chilly rainy night, and a bottle of champagne to chase it down! It wasn’t just the voice you will recognize among thousands of voices until you die, it was a feeling he injected you with. Like a virus.

When Faith came out, I was still not of sexual age, and you have to be at sexual stage to fully understand George. But I do recall getting weirdly excited at the camera crawling up the double stitch of those 501‘s, forget about even coming up to his face. It was a palpable moment of an indication what was yet to come. This was not just an artist, this was a one man revolution. Almost every step, movement, look, twist, seemed political.

To go from neon to butch in few months period, to orchestrate the greatest reinvention in popular music of all times, a crossover from band to solo with the precision of a bank heist, suggested no twink, but a man who didn’t care to play with stereotypes others imposed on him. When British Pop was the queerest ever, when there was a certain kind of comradery among the likes of Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, Culture Club; a gay solidarity, George went fucking see ya! Totally rogue. Unapologetically devoted to his uniqueness, he wasn’t a joiner; he chose his own type of gay. Undeclared. Undefined. Butch, masculine, sexy, bending all gender norms.

People could not get their head around it, all while trying to emulate his model of band to solo crossover. Remember Robbie Williams who decided to strike on his own post Take That not just by emulating George but covering his Freedom? Was there a better attempt at suicide than that gem? The only problem, a star like George, with that precise of a “plan for mainstream pop domination and brilliantly written songs comes along once every 20 – 30 years”. In another words, Robbie, sit yo ass down, boy.

And for the first time in my tender life, this is where I realized the makings of – hate. The poignant ways of disguising your emulation; the harsh reality of understanding how authenticity, uniqueness, but mostly refusal to be a part something that wants you to be a part of, will get you ridiculed, mocked, all while trying to BE you. The media was on a rampage. They ridiculed “George’s meteoric rise to fame, simplicity of his lyrics and questioned his commitment to gender roles”. I was mindblown. Here comes this man with his beautiful face, his beautiful hair, lashes, hoop earrings, and THAT voice, and he is an outsider. How can that man be an outsider?

With I Want Your Sex, it was clear as day, this man will be tossed the fuck around between homophobes and liberals with the same level of conviction. Publicly called up for promoting casual sex in the era of AIDS, nothing he was saying made a difference. Him trying to explain his own lyrics was to no avail: “But I’m NOT promoting promiscuity. I actually wrote the word monogamy on the woman’s body, in the video. I’m actually promoting the kind of love where you also want to rip the clothes off, of someone you love”. That was 1987. The concept (or lack of understanding) sound familiar nowadays? Hate what you don’t understand. And you don’t actually understand it due to your own assumptions, and not actually listening.

The fact he was so blunt about arousal in his lyrics, all while they couldn’t decipher his sexuality he persistently did not want to publicly claim, even though it was obvious to anyone who payed attention; created a laughable fucking outcry. Morons (and/or critics) who complained with frightening levels of investment about his apparent obsession with sex, lust, desire that are the base of his lyrics and entire artistic career yet to come (and some well documented extracurricular activities) just couldn’t comprehend the fact sexuality was for George what blackness was for Stevie Wonder or Marvin Gaye. Their artistic essence couldn’t be separated from their blackness, just as George’s couldn’t be separated from sexuality. He didn’t sell sex, he was sex.

George Michael was an activist before we knew what activism is. And with Freedom, and destroying all the commercial aspects of his prior album, they acted like he committed commercial treason. Imagine outselling both Prince and Michael Jackson on their turf (US), on a path to become the biggest star on the planet, and then deciding you don’t fucking want it! You want the career, the music, without the fucking attention & noise. What can be worse, especially in America, where people live and breathe for fame, money, recognition; having someone who doesn’t want it? For those fuckers, its worse then murder. Those fuckers never could accept, the man did not want to objectify himself and pretend fuck on screen, for your pleasure. He just wanted to fuck, period. In real life.

Him not even wanting to appear in the video is a level of genius we’d need another 6 blogs to cover, thesis were taught in schools on the subject. Well actually he DID appear in the video. This is actually George’s butt, below (he disclosed the fact this is his butt in the video, few years after it came out). See, that’s why this man is on another, almost non-existing level of genius and why I can not stress his cultural importance enough. He’s private, isolated, BUT in the same time, almost absurdly, he’s a bold ass motherfucker; who can send messages to his record company, or critics, or media, or audience with showing a second of his body part?! To be an outsider but to understand the commerciality of his business on that level is more then ingenuity, it’s a stuff of legends.

Freedom changed everything. Freedom was not a song, Freedom was a movement, a realization, a statement, a soundtrack for outsiders, a liberation, a revolution, and the most significant song of recent history. It was also a song where I finally came to somewhat decent age to understand the essence of this man and what he’ll mean to me.

Few days after George died, my sister wrote the following on Facebook –

I’m watching the George Michael Tribute on VH-1 and every song brings me back to the past, from summer vacations when every guy tried to emulate George’s look, to watching Freedom with my sister after summer nights out. My younger son notices my sorrow, and says: At least you still have Elton. The fact my kids, at that age (10) know what real music is, that’s my tribute.

With that post, she brought me back on that sofa, at that age, watching Freedom for the first time, remembering how I experienced that man, without having the experiences of life I have now, and how I experience Freedom now, today, with the path I walked.

Freedom came to me at the time I struggled the most in my early life. I was conflicted between the need to fit in and being royally annoyed around people. They rode me with assumptions, they judged, hated for daring to feel excluded when everyone thought someone that looked like me surely couldn’t have any problems. I even looked myself in the mirror and saw someone that shouldn’t be an outsider, but painfully was. Seeing that man who seemingly has everything, but still having all those problems, having a chronic distaste for compromise; something I tried to change within myself to no avail, I found some hope, a sanctuary with what he tried to communicate with the world. Freedom was also a breaking point for my realization I do not want to live where universe intended me to.

My experience of Freedom is multi-layered. First it was visual. I blame David Fincher, the director for fucking me up with its Blade Runner feel and guilty for my instantly developed penchant for moody, deconstructed spaces, and a plot to live in a neo-noir New York loft, as soon as I’m bodily capable to complete that mission. Second was the damage I heard in lyrics. A damage that sounded too familiar. You didn’t have to be a oppressed gay teen to look up to Freedom, or George in order to come in terms with being an outsider, trying to figure out your sexuality and/or the place under the sun. Freedom was an anthem for all outsiders. A road map. A shield. A sanctuary. Freedom was his coming out song (to anyone with ears and half of functioning brain), but Freedom was also giving the finger, from the oppressed to the oppressors.

If you know me, you know I’m big on assumption (read my post on it). Assumption is something that, I’m convinced, shackles my progress in life; something I fight against with passion, and something that shaped up the person I am today. And that is highly messed up individual that still did not figure out the way how to surpass the assumptions people make about me that detours my life in the directions I myself can not straighten, only sometimes manage to yank a bit my way. Freedom lyrics are my to go to read every time I need a pick up, every time I get a harsh reminder the world views authenticity as arrogance, and trying to get people to accept your individuality is a lifelong struggle you might never overcome.

Its mind-blowing how words so simple can be so poignant –

All we have to see

Is that I don’t belong to you

And you don’t belong to me

When considering the harsh truth of society that wants to own you in order to give you anything in return. When it’s so distressing trying to be removed from ownership while still wanting to give something to the world.

I do not belong to you.

But have a faith in my sound.

You can have my art, but I can’t give you myself.

George sang about Freedoms so many times, with Wham! and solo, it makes you wonder if he ever really thought any freedom was ever attainable. Is it ever attainable? Be free and jeopardize your accomplishments, or sacrifice your freedom for your accomplishments? CAN it ever go hand in hand? His lifelong struggle with prejudice and his plea through most of his songs – you should never assume anything about anyone based on their appearance, sexuality, personality; and you should always look and listen without prejudice – is downright eerie.

That was 1990. Does that remind you of anything today?

And then there was the sexuality. I moved to New York in 1998. Eight years after I say Freedom and had the thought. Few months after I landed, George was arrested in Beverly Hills bathroom. I remember the outcry that followed, the helicopters circling the fucking parameter, and thinking, Christ, there must not be much crime in Beverly Hills! That was so mind numbing, it was like it wasn’t real life. He was hounded like a fucking animal, the media literally behaved like the SWAT Team and he’s an animal with a deadly virus that needed to be captured and put down. It was inhuman. They forced him out of the closet, regardless of him explaining its not about sexuality, it’s about fucking privacy.

Coming back to toxic masculinity, the term invented (or popularized) in year 2016. Definition of toxic masculinity by Harris O’Malley: “Toxic Masculinity is a narrow and repressive description of manhood, defined by violence, sex, status and aggression.” Aside toxic masculinity, there’s an infuriating misguided pretense of tolerance and equality where gay men are “allowed” to be what they are as long as they’re not threatening. To whom?! As long as they LOOKED unthreateningly gay. Did anyone ever cared about Elton John being gay? Did Elton ever get hounded like George? No, because no one cared. Why? Because hello, no one wanted to fuck Elton John. And everyone wanted to fuck George Michael.

So if a gay man does not look gay on sight, is loved by straight women, does not dress or behave gay (whatever that is), now that somehow insults the representatives of the toxic masculinity? What was the thing that bothered them so much? That George, a gay man, fucked more women in his Wham! days then all of them straight ones did, in their entire fucking lives.

The man himself said numerous times. “I like to have sex with women, I just can not connect with them emotionally. Emotionally, I’m definitely a gay man”. And when his female fans stood completely unfazed about his forced coming out and couldn’t care less who he sleeps with, and when he surprised everyone by going 180º, and went from candor to complete openness, suddenly it was too much! The society that wants to decide the right amount of queer or masculine behavior, does that remind you of what the fuck’s happening today?

The only other time I saw similar outcry, a friggin hurricane watch without the hurricane, was when Wentworth Miller came out. Same scenario. Gay man. Straight vibe. Doesn’t look or behave what’s the general assumption or expectation to how a gay man should behave. Playing the biggest badass on Television, “but how can that be gay”? Complete whack.

I could never understand the public’s obsession with celebrity gayness. I read a brilliant tweet once. Some troll asking this male model – “Hey, are you gay?” To which this legend responded – “Why? It’s not like you’ll ever have sex with me.” No one you watch onscreen or listen to at the concert will fuck you. Let those people screw who they like, cuz ain’t gonna be you, and enjoy the godamn art.

The same media that hounded George for proof of his straightness for 15 years, but then tried to mock him when he leaned completely in, and embraced his queerness? See that’s where the concept of equality in straight people’s eyes is so fucked up, and its never more at play then today. Equality is not “allowing” gay people rights to marry or be gay, or walk around holding hands. It’s allowing them TO BE COMPLETELY THE SAME AS STRAIGHT PEOPLE. That means, gay people should not be a unthreatening version of gay for your comfort, tell you they are in love and ask for your acceptance. That means they should be allowed EVERYTHING. To cheat on their partners, like you do; have sex whenever they want, with whomever they want, like you do; be promiscuous if they please, like you do. That is the real definition of equality. Not “allowing” them the version that makes you, a straight person comfortable, but “allowing” them to be exactly what you allow yourself to be.

George Michael liked sex more than anything, birds on a tree are aware of the fact. He was overly sexual individual, he liked to have sex with strangers, which is nothing different than what people do today on Tinder or Grindr, George was just old school, and he was doing it prior dating/having sex apps. In his generation, it was done by picking each other up in selected bathrooms. Tinder is your Beverly Hills bathroom. Grindr is your Beverly Hills bathroom. Do you consider yourself dirty? Should we send choppers to pick you up?

One of most badass interviews I have ever read from George was for The Guardian, with the most epic quote, ever.

“You only have to turn on the television to see the whole of British society being comforted by gay men who are so clearly gay and so obviously sexually unthreatening. Gay people in the media are doing what makes straight people comfortable, and automatically my response to that is to say I’m a dirty filthy fucker and if you can’t deal with it, you can’t deal with it.”

By not sanitizing himself in the media, by being brutally honest and dismissing those telling him “he should just shut up, get married, have kids and stop causing trouble”, those who see gay sex; private or public as terrifying concept, he started a much needed conversation about sex, shame, sexual orientation, he became a trailblazer, a legend, a voice for gay community, and maybe accidental, but the most visible activist to date. George was everyone’s first gay. Everyone’s straight gay. With sexuality that transcends gender, or life itself.

Some tweets on the subject are pure gold –

Some of his interviews about sexuality and his escapades are platinum. On Parkinson:

Parky: “Why are you roaming Hampstead Heath at 2:30 am, you are a celebrity, you will get caught.”

George: “Because that’s where I wanted to be at 2:30 am.”

Parky: “But it’s not worth it, getting caught.”

George: “Trust me, the sex I’m having, it’s absolutely worth it.”

Also on Parky:

“I don’t even masturbate anymore without calling my lawyer first.”

There will never ever be another kind of version of this man, in no corner of any part of any world.

To say so much with such simple words, to show outsider insecurity but sting with a pint of condescending –

I wrote the song,

I know it’s wrong.

The genius of Father Figure, maybe technically and musically his best song he brilliantly wrote lyrically genderless, with spoken codes and intense passionate straight AND gay body gestures; no one can write and LIVE those lyrics, and stay sane. I read something so terrific somewhere: “his songs are so intimate that they irrevocably shook their composer’s well-being, those elegies hurt, and to hear them is to bear witness to surviving a plague that killed off your lovers and comrades. No one can write and sing songs like that and remain forever steady.”

Or sane. This man could not do this and not be troubled.

The brilliance of –

Some mistakes are built to last.

Or –

No more lying friends

Wanting tragic ends.

And at the end, love.

His signature skill of intertwining sex with love as a cause and effect, both in lyrics and in life is something I found most interesting about the guy. I was always the person who valued sex much more (or should I say much differently) that what people take it for, sex for me was always cause and effect, a reaction, an action to a reaction, or lack thereof. For George, to be deprived of full sexual expression due to upbringing and enormous fame later on, to wait for that true, physical love all his life, to found it in his Brazilian lover Anselmo Feleppa, only to lose him to AIDS shortly after. To have to climb on stage to do a tribute to Freddie Mercury, while his partner died, while no one can know about it, while no one can know about your sexuality even, all while tributing another man that died from AIDS; the isolation must have been fucking unimaginable.

So the words you could not say

I’ll sing them for you

And the love we would have made

I’ll make it for two.

“And the love we would have made, I’ll make it for two.” I’m haunted for life with that sentence. Do you see what I see? The over-sexuality and crazy casual sex he engaged later on in life, only shows the amount of love he had for the partner he lost. After you loved someone that much, you don’t want to love anything else. You can do the complete opposite, to honor that love. Yes, honor. I just said that. Sound weird to you? Well, that’s where we differ. The fact he can sing about a need for instant sexual gratification in Fastlove, in the aftermath of his loss, only speaks about that loss. Do you remember those lyrics?

Why don’t we make a little room in my BMW,

Searching for some piece of mind.

I miss my baby.

And now I just want to have some Fastlove. But I miss my baby. And the love we would have made, I’ll make it for two.

When told by a critic that Older, the album he entirely dedicated to Anselmo is is best album he ever made, and all the ones after weren’t as good, he said the most epic two sentences, ever.

“I NEVER want to make better album. I NEVER want to be that inspired again.”

To jeopardise his career to make a point, to honor his love? His life is simply his biggest art.

…….

I hope you understand a little better why it took me forever to summarize this man. His life and legacy is of such importance today, in the times where everyone different’s being pushed aside, denied basic human rights; he matters because he was an outsider who refused to play by the society’s rules, and not just refused BUT “shaped his entire life and his songs in reaction to society’s expectation and ultimate rejection of him.”

He embraced his difference, and his damage, famously preaching – “Its not something extra that makes you, its something thats missing”. He preached a “third wave masculinity, where seductiveness didn’t need to be defined with traditional labels”.

In the times when the whole world is designed to kill our individuality, difference, authenticity; its important to resist, to speak up and not slice our wings in order to not burn a few bridges, or lose an opportunity or two. George’s “complete and utter rejection of acceptability, his unabashed, radical queerness, and his refusal to temper his sexuality in the face of insane levels of public scrutiny” is something we should learn from, NOW more then ever.

In the times when we have white male privilege running rampant, all these fucking rednecks thinking they’re running the joint, when whites and heterosexuals, and read this with extra scrutiny – are “operating under assumption of their natural superiority. The dominant culture demands conformity not always with malice, but with the intention, perhaps even more destructive, of assistance. “We know what’s good for you,” is precisely the condescension that George rejected in the bravado of his sexual self-expression.”

He was a white man who got a standing ovation in Apollo, he was a white man who “didn’t need to be sold to black audiences, they decided they like him, on their own. He didn’t sound black, he sounded like himself.” He topped the Black Charts, snatched awards from Prince, Michael Jackson and New Edition. And even when he didn’t record for decades, he never stopped mattering. You simply have to see a 2016. movie Keanu he luckily got to see before his death, and it’s the most adorable love letter to George.

His mutual love affair with black community showcases best in the words of Black Twitter and their famous –  #WhitePeopleInvitedToTheCookout – “George, you are eternally invited.”

…….

I have to admit, when I first heard about not just George dying, but dying on Christmas, I was kicked out of existence. But when the sadness settled, I felt a sudden glory. I realized that George Michael dying on Christmas was the most George Michael thing that George Michael ever did. He was a messy bitch that owns that shit now. I will forever now celebrate George on Christmas, and to all my friends that’ll have me over, I say, forget Santa’s and Rudolph’s, I will create the best Georgemas, you have ever seen.

I have only one single regret. Seeing that man live. And not even live in concert, but live in his natural habitat. And that is dancing his ass out. I regret not being 10 years older and coming to New York 7 years prior then I did, going to Sound Factory, where George went every single night while in New York, dancing his ass out, with his friends. There are legendary NY stories been told about George in Sound Factory, dancing IN FORMATION, and can you even imagine that sight? I will eternally regret not being able to witness the joy of that sight.

…….

I want to finish this epic road of crash course in George with 4 of his videos that are not commercial or most known, BUT the ones that showcase the man in his best glory; intimate, beautiful, talented, effortless.

…….

Re-arranged, acoustic version of Freedom, with stripped down vocals is hands down the best GM video that exists. There’s some magic in seeing him actually singing those words he gave others to mouth for him in the video. To do it in such private setting, with his friends circling around him to back him up, just enjoying the pure, raw moment; no words.

There’s not much beauty on this planet like George Michael in 1991. The way he looked, sounded, the energy and mischief he exuded that year is never surpassed. Him performing his Aretha duet “I Knew You Were Waiting” by himself, at Rock in Rio, 1991, while doing both his and Aretha’s parts in original key is indescribable.

George fucking around on stage and learning the “Past Time Paradise” by Stevie Wonder is goosebumps inducing. To have such talent to let THAT voice out with such effortless ease; pay attention at the part where he just raises the key and that larger than life voice just comes out like its the easiest thing to just be larger than fucking life.

“Praying For Time” being the most impressive song by GM, lyrically; but to see him actually word it, perform it with such passion, you get painfully reminded at how high he set the bar and how no one is even close to reaching it. That song, with that face, that investment; gives me chills on every single watch.

OMG, is that you? Nice to see you, here, at my site in 2017. Gotta be honest with you, this post have been the longest, slowest crawl of my bloggity existence. It literally gave me physical pain. Hell, this last two months gave me physical pain! As i’m sure it did to you, too. And half of the sane planet. Is this real life? Is this just fantasy? Or as Bohemian Rhapsody would continue to insist: …caught in a landslide, no escape from reality…?

Even though I breathe a little easier in February, I do feel like we all broke out of prison, and we’re just meeting, at the other side of the wall. But, only now, the real work begins.

Times are fucking rough. Extreme highs, extreme lows; we’re dealing with things in 21 century that are not suppose to be a part of conversation anymore, albeit actually happening. But in the same time, the significance of the said times is undeniable. We are a part of a chunk in history so major, it’s overwhelming! And I needed time to make sense of it all, hence my silence and inability to produce any words. I simply overdosed on everything that happened at the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017. I needed to suss it out of me, to properly articulate it. To myself, first, and then to you.

And I did, finally, find lessons in all the craze. Yes it’s demoralizing, sad, scary to see King Joffrey taking The Office and hear about all the heartbreaking damage he already did in 3 weeks while taking the White House. But when you see all the outpouring support that came out of it; when you see women in courts, and on streets fucking up his plans, now, when did you last see this level of unity?

Where is the lesson? The time. Think about it. What simultaneously happened? In 2016, we got re-introduced to intolerance, racism, sexism, narcissism, misogyny. At the same year we lost 3 male artists, superstars, that redefined masculinity, sexuality, and blurred the lines between black and white music. And we lost a female artist, a superstar, who brilliantly fought sexism all her life. Coincidence? Lesson?

For starters; let’s not be fatalists for a minute here and think about this past year as a live entity who went around murdering fabulous celebrities. David Bowie was sick. Prince lived on pain killers. Carrie Fisher struggled with health issues most of her life. George Michael rode George Michael pretty hard. There was a definite cosmic cruelty in this scenario. But there was also a cosmic significance. In a year that, I read somewhere and loved the term, “toxic masculinity” took center stage; their deaths reminded us to who they were, what they stood for, what we forgot, and what we need to reclaim. Now, more than ever.

Lots of my friends asked me why I didn’t write anything about George Michael’s death, knowing I was pretty much obsessed with the guy. Because, as I said, I was overwhelmed, at first. Then, secondly, I did not want to review his life with some platitudes, a.k.a tribute article when so many people did a far better job. A career tribute is not needed for anyone with an access to Google. What I wanted to do is find significance of this moment, these times, the cosmic cruelty, but nonetheless cosmic significance of a man with godlike talents, yes, but more importantly the man who was a walking, talking revolution. In the times when masculinity is defined by violence, sex, status & aggression, when “superstars” are mediocre, when there’s so much fakeness, and not enough authenticity; a crash course in George Michael, an OG in just about fucking everything, is a MUST.

They say we like the stars we physically resemble, and we mentally connect to stars we find similar struggles within. George Michael had a specific sort of damage I found way too familiar. George was my OG. Placeholder. And it completely overshadowed anything else that happened in 2016; for me that year will always stay the year George bowed out.

(on a brighter side, he never witnessed an Orangutan getting nuclear codes, so a small victory for G)

I had to admit I wasn’t the first passenger on the Wham! train when they came out. I was way too young, they were too sparkly, and I waited patiently for my parents to leave town for the weekend so I can dye my hair black; it was my duty to represent the darkness with the likes of Depeche Mode; there was no space to develop the love for pastel and neon shades of Wham!

When I actually took notice was with I’m Your Man, and Edge Of Heaven; the videos turned monochromatic, the clothes turned black, and the man turned soulful, sexier, a little Motown, combining white pop with serious black rhythm. That was my cue! But I didn’t fully comprehend the entirety of a man and what he’ll become until the Aretha Franklin duet. I remember thinking, there are great voices, but this voice sounds like a hot bath with candles and warm cocoa on a chilly rainy night, and a bottle of champagne to chase it down! It wasn’t just the voice you will recognize among thousands of voices until you die, it was a feeling he injected you with. Like a virus.

When Faith came out, I was still not of sexual age, and you have to be at sexual stage to fully understand George. But I do recall getting weirdly excited at the camera crawling up the double stitch of those 501‘s, forget about even coming up to his face. It was a palpable moment of an indication what was yet to come. This was not just an artist, this was a one man revolution. Almost every step, movement, look, twist, seemed political.

To go from neon to butch in few months period, to orchestrate the greatest reinvention in popular music of all times, a crossover from band to solo with the precision of a bank heist, suggested no twink, but a man who didn’t care to play with stereotypes others imposed on him. When British Pop was the queerest ever, when there was a certain kind of comradery among the likes of Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, Culture Club; a gay solidarity, George went fucking see ya! Totally rogue. Unapologetically devoted to his uniqueness, he wasn’t a joiner; he chose his own type of gay. Undeclared. Undefined. Butch, masculine, sexy, bending all gender norms.

People could not get their head around it, all while trying to emulate his model of band to solo crossover. Remember Robbie Williams who decided to strike on his own post Take That not just by emulating George but covering his Freedom? Was there a better attempt at suicide than that gem? The only problem, a star like George, with that precise of a “plan for mainstream pop domination and brilliantly written songs comes along once every 20 – 30 years”. In another words, Robbie, sit yo ass down, boy.

And for the first time in my tender life, this is where I realized the makings of – hate. The poignant ways of disguising your emulation; the harsh reality of understanding how authenticity, uniqueness, but mostly refusal to be a part something that wants you to be a part of, will get you ridiculed, mocked, all while trying to BE you. The media was on a rampage. They ridiculed “George’s meteoric rise to fame, simplicity of his lyrics and questioned his commitment to gender roles”. I was mindblown. Here comes this man with his beautiful face, his beautiful hair, lashes, hoop earrings, and THAT voice, and he is an outsider. How can that man be an outsider?

With I Want Your Sex, it was clear as day, this man will be tossed the fuck around between homophobes and liberals with the same level of conviction. Publicly called up for promoting casual sex in the era of AIDS, nothing he was saying made a difference. Him trying to explain his own lyrics was to no avail: “But I’m NOT promoting promiscuity. I actually wrote the word monogamy on the woman’s body, in the video. I’m actually promoting the kind of love where you also want to rip the clothes off, of someone you love”. That was 1987. The concept (or lack of understanding) sound familiar nowadays? Hate what you don’t understand. And you don’t actually understand it due to your own assumptions, and not actually listening.

The fact he was so blunt about arousal in his lyrics, all while they couldn’t decipher his sexuality he persistently did not want to publicly claim, even though it was obvious to anyone who payed attention; created a laughable fucking outcry. Morons (and/or critics) who complained with frightening levels of investment about his apparent obsession with sex, lust, desire that are the base of his lyrics and entire artistic career yet to come (and some well documented extracurricular activities) just couldn’t comprehend the fact sexuality was for George what blackness was for Stevie Wonder or Marvin Gaye. Their artistic essence couldn’t be separated from their blackness, just as George’s couldn’t be separated from sexuality. He didn’t sell sex, he was sex.

George Michael was an activist before we knew what activism is. And with Freedom, and destroying all the commercial aspects of his prior album, they acted like he committed commercial treason. Imagine outselling both Prince and Michael Jackson on their turf (US), on a path to become the biggest star on the planet, and then deciding you don’t fucking want it! You want the career, the music, without the fucking attention & noise. What can be worse, especially in America, where people live and breathe for fame, money, recognition; having someone who doesn’t want it? For those fuckers, its worse then murder. Those fuckers never could accept, the man did not want to objectify himself and pretend fuck on screen, for your pleasure. He just wanted to fuck, period. In real life.

Him not even wanting to appear in the video is a level of genius we’d need another 6 blogs to cover, thesis were taught in schools on the subject. Well actually he DID appear in the video. This is actually George’s butt, below (he disclosed the fact this is his butt in the video, few years after it came out). See, that’s why this man is on another, almost non-existing level of genius and why I can not stress his cultural importance enough. He’s private, isolated, BUT in the same time, almost absurdly, he’s a bold ass motherfucker; who can send messages to his record company, or critics, or media, or audience with showing a second of his body part?! To be an outsider but to understand the commerciality of his business on that level is more then ingenuity, it’s a stuff of legends.

Freedom changed everything. Freedom was not a song, Freedom was a movement, a realization, a statement, a soundtrack for outsiders, a liberation, a revolution, and the most significant song of recent history. It was also a song where I finally came to somewhat decent age to understand the essence of this man and what he’ll mean to me.

Few days after George died, my sister wrote the following on Facebook –

I’m watching the George Michael Tribute on VH-1 and every song brings me back to the past, from summer vacations when every guy tried to emulate George’s look, to watching Freedom with my sister after summer nights out. My younger son notices my sorrow, and says: At least you still have Elton. The fact my kids, at that age (10) know what real music is, that’s my tribute.

With that post, she brought me back on that sofa, at that age, watching Freedom for the first time, remembering how I experienced that man, without having the experiences of life I have now, and how I experience Freedom now, today, with the path I walked.

Freedom came to me at the time I struggled the most in my early life. I was conflicted between the need to fit in and being royally annoyed around people. They rode me with assumptions, they judged, hated for daring to feel excluded when everyone thought someone that looked like me surely couldn’t have any problems. I even looked myself in the mirror and saw someone that shouldn’t be an outsider, but painfully was. Seeing that man who seemingly has everything, but still having all those problems, having a chronic distaste for compromise; something I tried to change within myself to no avail, I found some hope, a sanctuary with what he tried to communicate with the world. Freedom was also a breaking point for my realization I do not want to live where universe intended me to.

My experience of Freedom is multi-layered. First it was visual. I blame David Fincher, the director for fucking me up with its Blade Runner feel and guilty for my instantly developed penchant for moody, deconstructed spaces, and a plot to live in a neo-noir New York loft, as soon as I’m bodily capable to complete that mission. Second was the damage I heard in lyrics. A damage that sounded too familiar. You didn’t have to be a oppressed gay teen to look up to Freedom, or George in order to come in terms with being an outsider, trying to figure out your sexuality and/or the place under the sun. Freedom was an anthem for all outsiders. A road map. A shield. A sanctuary. Freedom was his coming out song (to anyone with ears and half of functioning brain), but Freedom was also giving the finger, from the oppressed to the oppressors.

If you know me, you know I’m big on assumption (read my post on it). Assumption is something that, I’m convinced, shackles my progress in life; something I fight against with passion, and something that shaped up the person I am today. And that is highly messed up individual that still did not figure out the way how to surpass the assumptions people make about me that detours my life in the directions I myself can not straighten, only sometimes manage to yank a bit my way. Freedom lyrics are my to go to read every time I need a pick up, every time I get a harsh reminder the world views authenticity as arrogance, and trying to get people to accept your individuality is a lifelong struggle you might never overcome.

Its mind-blowing how words so simple can be so poignant –

All we have to see

Is that I don’t belong to you

And you don’t belong to me

When considering the harsh truth of society that wants to own you in order to give you anything in return. When it’s so distressing trying to be removed from ownership while still wanting to give something to the world.

I do not belong to you.

But have a faith in my sound.

You can have my art, but I can’t give you myself.

George sang about Freedoms so many times, with Wham! and solo, it makes you wonder if he ever really thought any freedom was ever attainable. Is it ever attainable? Be free and jeopardize your accomplishments, or sacrifice your freedom for your accomplishments? CAN it ever go hand in hand? His lifelong struggle with prejudice and his plea through most of his songs – you should never assume anything about anyone based on their appearance, sexuality, personality; and you should always look and listen without prejudice – is downright eerie.

That was 1990. Does that remind you of anything today?

And then there was the sexuality. I moved to New York in 1998. Eight years after I say Freedom and had the thought. Few months after I landed, George was arrested in Beverly Hills bathroom. I remember the outcry that followed, the helicopters circling the fucking parameter, and thinking, Christ, there must not be much crime in Beverly Hills! That was so mind numbing, it was like it wasn’t real life. He was hounded like a fucking animal, the media literally behaved like the SWAT Team and he’s an animal with a deadly virus that needed to be captured and put down. It was inhuman. They forced him out of the closet, regardless of him explaining its not about sexuality, it’s about fucking privacy.

Coming back to toxic masculinity, the term invented (or popularized) in year 2016. Definition of toxic masculinity by Harris O’Malley: “Toxic Masculinity is a narrow and repressive description of manhood, defined by violence, sex, status and aggression.” Aside toxic masculinity, there’s an infuriating misguided pretense of tolerance and equality where gay men are “allowed” to be what they are as long as they’re not threatening. To whom?! As long as they LOOKED unthreateningly gay. Did anyone ever cared about Elton John being gay? Did Elton ever get hounded like George? No, because no one cared. Why? Because hello, no one wanted to fuck Elton John. And everyone wanted to fuck George Michael.

So if a gay man does not look gay on sight, is loved by straight women, does not dress or behave gay (whatever that is), now that somehow insults the representatives of the toxic masculinity? What was the thing that bothered them so much? That George, a gay man, fucked more women in his Wham! days then all of them straight ones did, in their entire fucking lives.

The man himself said numerous times. “I like to have sex with women, I just can not connect with them emotionally. Emotionally, I’m definitely a gay man”. And when his female fans stood completely unfazed about his forced coming out and couldn’t care less who he sleeps with, and when he surprised everyone by going 180º, and went from candor to complete openness, suddenly it was too much! The society that wants to decide the right amount of queer or masculine behavior, does that remind you of what the fuck’s happening today?

The only other time I saw similar outcry, a friggin hurricane watch without the hurricane, was when Wentworth Miller came out. Same scenario. Gay man. Straight vibe. Doesn’t look or behave what’s the general assumption or expectation to how a gay man should behave. Playing the biggest badass on Television, “but how can that be gay”? Complete whack.

I could never understand the public’s obsession with celebrity gayness. I read a brilliant tweet once. Some troll asking this male model – “Hey, are you gay?” To which this legend responded – “Why? It’s not like you’ll ever have sex with me.” No one you watch onscreen or listen to at the concert will fuck you. Let those people screw who they like, cuz ain’t gonna be you, and enjoy the godamn art.

The same media that hounded George for proof of his straightness for 15 years, but then tried to mock him when he leaned completely in, and embraced his queerness? See that’s where the concept of equality in straight people’s eyes is so fucked up, and its never more at play then today. Equality is not “allowing” gay people rights to marry or be gay, or walk around holding hands. It’s allowing them TO BE COMPLETELY THE SAME AS STRAIGHT PEOPLE. That means, gay people should not be a unthreatening version of gay for your comfort, tell you they are in love and ask for your acceptance. That means they should be allowed EVERYTHING. To cheat on their partners, like you do; have sex whenever they want, with whomever they want, like you do; be promiscuous if they please, like you do. That is the real definition of equality. Not “allowing” them the version that makes you, a straight person comfortable, but “allowing” them to be exactly what you allow yourself to be.

George Michael liked sex more than anything, birds on a tree are aware of the fact. He was overly sexual individual, he liked to have sex with strangers, which is nothing different than what people do today on Tinder or Grindr, George was just old school, and he was doing it prior dating/having sex apps. In his generation, it was done by picking each other up in selected bathrooms. Tinder is your Beverly Hills bathroom. Grindr is your Beverly Hills bathroom. Do you consider yourself dirty? Should we send choppers to pick you up?

One of most badass interviews I have ever read from George was for The Guardian, with the most epic quote, ever.

“You only have to turn on the television to see the whole of British society being comforted by gay men who are so clearly gay and so obviously sexually unthreatening. Gay people in the media are doing what makes straight people comfortable, and automatically my response to that is to say I’m a dirty filthy fucker and if you can’t deal with it, you can’t deal with it.”

By not sanitizing himself in the media, by being brutally honest and dismissing those telling him “he should just shut up, get married, have kids and stop causing trouble”, those who see gay sex; private or public as terrifying concept, he started a much needed conversation about sex, shame, sexual orientation, he became a trailblazer, a legend, a voice for gay community, and maybe accidental, but the most visible activist to date. George was everyone’s first gay. Everyone’s straight gay. With sexuality that transcends gender, or life itself.

Some tweets on the subject are pure gold –

Some of his interviews about sexuality and his escapades are platinum. On Parkinson:

Parky: “Why are you roaming Hampstead Heath at 2:30 am, you are a celebrity, you will get caught.”

George: “Because that’s where I wanted to be at 2:30 am.”

Parky: “But it’s not worth it, getting caught.”

George: “Trust me, the sex I’m having, it’s absolutely worth it.”

Also on Parky:

“I don’t even masturbate anymore without calling my lawyer first.”

There will never ever be another kind of version of this man, in no corner of any part of any world.

To say so much with such simple words, to show outsider insecurity but sting with a pint of condescending –

I wrote the song,

I know it’s wrong.

The genius of Father Figure, maybe technically and musically his best song he brilliantly wrote lyrically genderless, with spoken codes and intense passionate straight AND gay body gestures; no one can write and LIVE those lyrics, and stay sane. I read something so terrific somewhere: “his songs are so intimate that they irrevocably shook their composer’s well-being, those elegies hurt, and to hear them is to bear witness to surviving a plague that killed off your lovers and comrades. No one can write and sing songs like that and remain forever steady.”

Or sane. This man could not do this and not be troubled.

The brilliance of –

Some mistakes are built to last.

Or –

No more lying friends

Wanting tragic ends.

And at the end, love.

His signature skill of intertwining sex with love as a cause and effect, both in lyrics and in life is something I found most interesting about the guy. I was always the person who valued sex much more (or should I say much differently) that what people take it for, sex for me was always cause and effect, a reaction, an action to a reaction, or lack thereof. For George, to be deprived of full sexual expression due to upbringing and enormous fame later on, to wait for that true, physical love all his life, to found it in his Brazilian lover Anselmo Feleppa, only to lose him to AIDS shortly after. To have to climb on stage to do a tribute to Freddie Mercury, while his partner died, while no one can know about it, while no one can know about your sexuality even, all while tributing another man that died from AIDS; the isolation must have been fucking unimaginable.

So the words you could not say

I’ll sing them for you

And the love we would have made

I’ll make it for two.

“And the love we would have made, I’ll make it for two.” I’m haunted for life with that sentence. Do you see what I see? The over-sexuality and crazy casual sex he engaged later on in life, only shows the amount of love he had for the partner he lost. After you loved someone that much, you don’t want to love anything else. You can do the complete opposite, to honor that love. Yes, honor. I just said that. Sound weird to you? Well, that’s where we differ. The fact he can sing about a need for instant sexual gratification in Fastlove, in the aftermath of his loss, only speaks about that loss. Do you remember those lyrics?

Why don’t we make a little room in my BMW,

Searching for some piece of mind.

I miss my baby.

And now I just want to have some Fastlove. But I miss my baby. And the love we would have made, I’ll make it for two.

When told by a critic that Older, the album he entirely dedicated to Anselmo is is best album he ever made, and all the ones after weren’t as good, he said the most epic two sentences, ever.

“I NEVER want to make better album. I NEVER want to be that inspired again.”

To jeopardise his career to make a point, to honor his love? His life is simply his biggest art.

…….

I hope you understand a little better why it took me forever to summarize this man. His life and legacy is of such importance today, in the times where everyone different’s being pushed aside, denied basic human rights; he matters because he was an outsider who refused to play by the society’s rules, and not just refused BUT “shaped his entire life and his songs in reaction to society’s expectation and ultimate rejection of him.”

He embraced his difference, and his damage, famously preaching – “Its not something extra that makes you, its something thats missing”. He preached a “third wave masculinity, where seductiveness didn’t need to be defined with traditional labels”.

In the times when the whole world is designed to kill our individuality, difference, authenticity; its important to resist, to speak up and not slice our wings in order to not burn a few bridges, or lose an opportunity or two. George’s “complete and utter rejection of acceptability, his unabashed, radical queerness, and his refusal to temper his sexuality in the face of insane levels of public scrutiny” is something we should learn from, NOW more then ever.

In the times when we have white male privilege running rampant, all these fucking rednecks thinking they’re running the joint, when whites and heterosexuals, and read this with extra scrutiny – are “operating under assumption of their natural superiority. The dominant culture demands conformity not always with malice, but with the intention, perhaps even more destructive, of assistance. “We know what’s good for you,” is precisely the condescension that George rejected in the bravado of his sexual self-expression.”

He was a white man who got a standing ovation in Apollo, he was a white man who “didn’t need to be sold to black audiences, they decided they like him, on their own. He didn’t sound black, he sounded like himself.” He topped the Black Charts, snatched awards from Prince, Michael Jackson and New Edition. And even when he didn’t record for decades, he never stopped mattering. You simply have to see a 2016. movie Keanu he luckily got to see before his death, and it’s the most adorable love letter to George.

His mutual love affair with black community showcases best in the words of Black Twitter and their famous –  #WhitePeopleInvitedToTheCookout – “George, you are eternally invited.”

…….

I have to admit, when I first heard about not just George dying, but dying on Christmas, I was kicked out of existence. But when the sadness settled, I felt a sudden glory. I realized that George Michael dying on Christmas was the most George Michael thing that George Michael ever did. He was a messy bitch that owns that shit now. I will forever now celebrate George on Christmas, and to all my friends that’ll have me over, I say, forget Santa’s and Rudolph’s, I will create the best Georgemas, you have ever seen.

I have only one single regret. Seeing that man live. And not even live in concert, but live in his natural habitat. And that is dancing his ass out. I regret not being 10 years older and coming to New York 7 years prior then I did, going to Sound Factory, where George went every single night while in New York, dancing his ass out, with his friends. There are legendary NY stories been told about George in Sound Factory, dancing IN FORMATION, and can you even imagine that sight? I will eternally regret not being able to witness the joy of that sight.

…….

I want to finish this epic road of crash course in George with 4 of his videos that are not commercial or most known, BUT the ones that showcase the man in his best glory; intimate, beautiful, talented, effortless.

…….

Re-arranged, acoustic version of Freedom, with stripped down vocals is hands down the best GM video that exists. There’s some magic in seeing him actually singing those words he gave others to mouth for him in the video. To do it in such private setting, with his friends circling around him to back him up, just enjoying the pure, raw moment; no words.

George fucking around on stage and learning the “Past Time Paradise” by Stevie Wonder is goosebumps inducing. To have such talent to let THAT voice out with such effortless ease; pay attention at the part where he just raises the key and that larger than life voice just comes out like its the easiest thing to just be larger than fucking life.

“Praying For Time” being the most impressive song by GM, lyrically; but to see him actually word it, perform it with such passion, you get painfully reminded at how high he set the bar and how no one is even close to reaching it. That song, with that face, that investment; gives me chills on every single watch.

There’s not much beauty on this planet like George Michael in 1991. The way he looked, sounded, the energy and mischief he exuded that year is never surpassed. Him performing his Aretha duet “I Knew You Were Waiting” by himself, at Rock in Rio, 1991, while doing both his and Aretha’s parts in original key is indescribable.