Dearly Departed, plus Club Tropicana, The Interview

I’ve lost another one of my favorite freaks. One of my childhood crushes–this time, he wasn’t androgynous, like Prince or David Bowie, but he sure as hell was one gay “filthy f–ker,” as he himself once said.

We wore out the WHAM! Video Hits tape. Like, we watched the Careless Whisper video–my sister and her best friend, and her younger sister, who was my best friend– and each played different roles, and then rewound it and replayed it, rotating the roles. Every fourth time you had to be “Andrew’s Fingers” (anonymous guitar strummer) but every fourth time, you also got to be The Slut, and whip your hair back in passion, so it worked out.

I know all the words to Wham! Rap. My sister and I performed the song, with most of the dance, for our horrified children at last spring’s family talent show.

I don’t think I had one sleepover where either Labyrinth or George Michael didn’t come up at least once.

David Bowie was my introduction to sexual awakening. Prince was my introduction to owning your freaky-deaky. George Michael was the soundtrack behind all of that.

He, like Bowie and Prince, was a freak, too, but he was afraid to be out about it. He was outed, but it’s hard to remember that because the moment it happened, he lived out, proud, with no apologies. He donated to charities quietly, and shouted his celebrity to the rooftops when he needed to get attention.

He was a mensch. He was out and proud. He was politically active. When he broke into his torch songs, he had a voice that could melt steel.

Everything She Wants and Freedom ’90 are two of the greatest pop songs ever written. (The video version of ESW, of course.)

This one time, though, he made kind of a this-side-of-terrible song, with a video that was more or less an excuse for Andrew, Pepsi, and Shirley to join him in Acapulco. And, as shindancer once said, one night many years later, I got drunk on pina coladas, tracked him down in London, and interviewed him about the video.

(OK, I didn’t. That last part is a lie, up to and including the pina coladas part. I would never drink that many pina coladas.)

Here’s the original post. Because we must remember George Michael as all of these things: as a mensch, as a gay man, as an activist, as a brilliant songwriter, singer, and performer, and as a mostly-naked guy drinking at a poolside.


SlumberPartyMovies recently had an opportunity to interview George Michael about his epic video, Club Tropicana, which has always puzzled me on a few counts.

SPM: Great to meet you, George! Long time-listener, first-time interviewer. Let’s jump right in: Why weren’t the credits in the Wham! The Hits VHS version?

ct_credits

GM: Look at two beautiful women in matching slouchy shirts clip-clop along a darkened path and forget your question.

ct_walking

SPM: Who the fuck is this guy?

ct_moustache1

GM: Look at me posing with a white wine spritzer and forget your question.

ct_drink

SPM: Where is the place where membership’s a smiling face, where strangers take you by the hand and welcome you to wonderland?

GM: Beneath the Panama.

SPM: Wait, like south of the Panama, or underground, or what?

GM: No, sorry. I meant they welcome you from beneath their panamas. Like hats.

SPM: Oh, so where is it? Acapulco? It must be Acapulco, right?

GM: Look into my eyes and forget your question.

ct_2eyes

SPM: Who the fuck is this guy?

ct_moustache2

A: Look at me showering and forget your question.

ct_shower

SPM: Why is it that all that’s missing is the sea, when you’re clearly sitting on the beach in this scene? And you talk about soft white sands and blue lagoons?

ct_beach

A: Look at me showering and forget your question.

ct_shower2

SPM: Why is Andrew Ridgeley wearing long jams, and you’re in a white speedo?

ct_speedo

GM: I am Greek and he is not.

SPM: That’s fair. But his hair is clearly better than yours.

ct_hair

GM: Look at these women’s crotches and forget you ever thought that.

ct_crotch

SPM: Who the fuck is this guy?

ct_moustache3

GM: Look at us me angry in a cowboy hat and forget your question.

ct_cowboyhat

SPM: Do the girls stop and pick you up or leave you stranded?

ct_girlscar

GM: Look at me shaving naked and forget your question.

ct_shaving

SPM: OK, so you’re pilots and they’re flight attendants? Why did you act like you didn’t know each other? Or were just surprised that they’re really hot in bikinis? Do you know each other or not? And are you on furlough or something, which is why you’re a pilot and permitted to drink all day and bake in the sun for a week? and honestly, I know it’s the 80s, but it’s a little sexist that you guys get to be pilots and they’re attendants.

ct_stewardess

GM: Look at Andrew showering and forget your question.

ct_andrewshower

SPM: Forget my question? That’s a weird thing to say! No!

GM: Then look deeply into my eyes and forget your question.

ct_showereyes

SPM: Where are you going on those donkeys?

ct_donkeys

GM: Look at us shirtless, playing the trumpet, and forget your question.

ct_trumpets

SPM: Forget my question? That’s a weird thing to say! No!

GM: Look at us in pilot uniforms and forget your question.

ct_pilots

SPM: Wow! Looks like that’s all the time we have for today. Thanks, George! You’re a true SlumberPartyMovie god.

GM: I know.

One response to “Dearly Departed, plus Club Tropicana, The Interview

  1. No one did “angry in a cowboy hat” like George Michael. No one!

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