You know what I hate? TV promos where they don’t actually tell you when the show will actually screen, aside from the fairly generic “coming to this station soon”. I don’t watch enough television, and I don’t go through the television guide regularly enough to be able to keep an eye out for something that looks good, unless they can tell me when and where it’s on. As soon as I see a TV promo for something that looks good, I want to be able to go straight to my recorder and put in the details, or at least make a diary entry. If I don’t, I forget all about it. Thankfully, the promotion for the Boy George bio-pic, “Worried About The Boy” was quite precise, and it’s been in my diary as a “must watch”. A couple of years after it first screened on UK television, it was screened this week on Australian television, and I watched it last night with some anticipation.
I’ve always been a bit of a fan of Boy George. I remember the first time I heard “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?” as if it was yesterday, and I have strong memories of playing it on community radio as a teenager. I remember there was quite a bit of anxiety about it at the time. “He’s the drag queen, isn’t he”? people would say, even though it went fairly quickly to the top of the charts. After the end of Culture Club, I remember with fondness his involvement in the song, “No Clause 28” and then later, songs like “Generations Of Love” and “The Crying Game” became firm favourites. I’ve always liked his music, and I’ve always liked the rebellious George. And when he got hooked on heroin, and when he went to gaol, I felt genuine sadness.
“We’re worried about you George” is the phrase I most remember from this bio-pic. It’s from a scene where the paparazzi is standing outside his house in the midst of the “George On Heroin” controversy. It’s a phrase that rang true. I think the public was genuinely concerned about him. He seemed to be an ordinary working class boy – not one of your middle class pop stars – who succeeded through sheer talent and then found himself in the midst of all the terrible addictions that can go with pop star status. It’s a phrase his father re-iterates later in the movie.
I haven’t read his autobiography which came out a few years ago, but from what I can see the movie was pretty much based on that. I notice, however, from a bit of background reading, a few of the characters from his early life have been left out, and some of the names have been changed. In particular, the name of one of his great early loves. In his autobiography, for example, George claims a relationship with Kirk Branden from the band, Spear Of Destiny (who I LOVED, by the way, possibly mostly due to Kirk). In a celebrated court case, Kirk denied the relationship, though the character remains in the film. Interestingly, the character of Marilyn is evident in the film, though I was never really quite sure about the nature of their friendship/relationship from watching the movie. I suppose that’s part of the problem of any bio-pic, isn’t it? How do you compact ten years of someone’s life into ninety minutes?
Despite its weaknesses, I really quite enjoyed the film. I loved seeing scenes from The Blitz (the club run by Steve Strange) which, as a teenager in a small Australian country town, I’d only read about in magazines like “The Face”. I loved getting an insight into relationships within the band, including a better understanding of George’s relationship with Jon Moss, for example. And I also loved hearing some wonderful tunes from my late teens which I haven’t listened to in quite some time.
So if you get a moment or two to watch, I think it’s worth keeping an eye out for.
If you can’t find ninety minutes, try this five minute video clip from a couple of years ago. It’s a GREAT SONG which revisits some of the Boy George story also.
P.S. It’s not Boy George in the clip, it’s a modern recreation.