Boy George in Dubai

Brit ’80s hitmakers Culture Club play their first gig in 13 years Discuss this article

boygeorge1226_1
© ITP Images

After 13 years, why are you getting back together now?
It’s our 30th anniversary – I knew it was coming up and thought we should meet up for a dinner or something. It was me who instigated this whole thing. Everyone was quite surprised when I approached them, but now I feel like I’m ready for it. I miss being in a band; collectively we can do more and there’s something very special about Culture Club.

The band is very dear to people…
It’s very dear to us, but it wasn’t always. When we first started we couldn’t get arrested, but then it went completely out of control. I didn’t have time to think about what I was doing – you kind of lose yourself. Now the music is the important thing; when I got really famous it became a side issue.

What’s changed since 2006, when you turned down the last reunion?
So much. My personal attitude to everything has changed since then. I’ve realised how lucky I am that I can make a living out of what I love. The band was a huge part of my life, and in the past I didn’t take that seriously. It’s my chance to readdress that.

It must be a physical strain to keep up with the Boy George of the ’80s.
I bet I’m fitter than you, and I’m 50! It’s what I do; I DJ clubs until 4am and then dance the night away. I have a lot of stamina. I don’t drink, smoke or do substances any more.

How long have you been sober?
On March 2, 2012 it will be four years.

What convinced you to make those changes?
I’ve got a lot of work to do. All that stuff slows you down, gets in your way; for me it’s the best decision I ever made. I’m a singer and I have asthma, so smoking is silly. I’m not getting any younger and you have to take more care of yourself.

What went wrong?
There have been times in my life where the drama has taken over – now I try to enjoy what I do. I think personally you have a choice about how you react to anything in your life. When I was younger I didn’t have an off button. I lived my life like a lunatic until four years ago.

How do you stay on top of things?
I belong to Narcotics Anonymous and I go to meetings regularly. No one makes me go – it’s about taking responsibility for your own life.

We understand you put yourself forward for the final series of the UK’s Celebrity Big Brother, but they turned you down.
I was asked to do it, as I was every year. I was interested to see how much they would offer me; if you’re going to do something like that it’s only for the money. I’d have to be paid something ridiculous because the danger of those shows is that really interesting people are made to look really dull.

Is that a fear of yours – to be no longer interesting to people?
I don’t think that would ever happen!
Culture Club play Dubai Tennis Stadium on December 29. www.timeouttickets.com.

By Rob Garratt
Time Out Dubai,

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