Wednesday, 26 January 2011

He wants your sex, apparently

It's almost the end of January, but sunny days and bright evenings still feel so far away. Every day is like watching an Ingmar Bergman retrospective. In the original Swedish. It's no wonder half the country is wandering around in a fug, complaining of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Unless, of course, they're George Michael. Having £120 million in the bank means you can afford to follow the summer around the world, so the only clouds you need ever see are the ones that occasionally form in your bong water. 

Rather than terrorising London's photo developing shops, everyone's favourite mishap-prone Greek (besides Prince Philip) is currently living it up in Sydney, where he divides his time between a rented cliff-top apartment and suites at the Park Hyatt Hotel. In the afternoons he likes to pop into The Hunky Dory Social Club for a glass of white wine, and can often be found grabbing a bite to eat at The Manta Ray restaurant. 

Whether it's the sun, the lifestyle or the countless burly truckers, something about Australia seems to agree with George. And the feeling's mutual - George is still very big down-under, as if all that distressed denim he used to wear left us in any doubt. 

I'm sorry, what was that? You don't care where George Michael stopps off for a chilled Chablis? Well somebody must. Otherwise, why else would the Daily Mail choose to run an entire article about his Australian exploits? 

Reading between the lines (few of which seem to actually connect with one another), the poorly-written story isn't really about George's recreational activities. It's just another opportunity to paint gays with a broad brushstroke, as a subspecies of sexually deviant hedonists. 

It starts out accusing a fan of posting a fake George Michael profile on 'Scruff', a networking app for guys into "bears, furred, inked, uniformed, jocks, geeks and more." This, despite the fact that the leader on the paper's homepage incorrectly states that his profile is on the "sordid site Grindr". 

Six paragraphs in, and the story changes. Now, the paper has decided that it's George himself who has created the profile, using the name 'Sydney rocks'. Another three paragraphs later, it's back to an official spokesperson for the singer, who says "We hear about stories like this all the time and they always turn out to be pranks." So is it George, or an overzealous fan? In the Mail's eyes, it doesn't really matter. 

Interestingly, the writer even makes reference to the fact that George was happy to "rub elbows with the hoi polloi" - a disingenuous statement that manages to make him sound like an aloof elitist, even as it acknowledges that that's not the case at all. And anyway, if he is on Scruff or Grindr, it's not their elbows that he's interested in rubbing. 

But who cares about things like facts and narrative, when you've got a lifestyle to disparage? It's far more important to reference George's entourage of "shrieking male pals" or the fact that he's been busy "painting Australia’s largest city pink for the last month." 

This lazily homophobic article comes as no surprise, especially from a paper which recently caricatured two gay men excluded from a Christian-run bed and breakfast as swastika-tattooed Nazis. Or that ran a Melanie Phillips column this week, lamenting the fact that "just about everything in Britain is now run according to the gay agenda." 

If there is such a thing as a gay agenda, it's been developed by mean spirited tabloid hacks to portray the gay community as a bunch of insidious, morally bankrupt "McCarthyites". They're keeping their fingers crossed that, rather than looking for evidence and reason, their readership will be willing to take it on Faith

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