Low-down shame

Posted on 27 Jul 2006 at 6:29pm
By Gilbert Garcia – Pop Music Critic

Latest tabloid fodder clouds George Michael’s new single, tour



POISED FOR COMEBACK: George Michael recently sold out a 50-city European tour in less than a half hour.

George Michael may have titled his new single “An Easier Affair,” but until now, there was no telling just how easy an affair he was seeking.

This week, the stubbly star earned his share of tabloid headlines after he was photographed on July 19 leaving an anonymous grope session with a Brighton native named Norman Kirtland, a particularly un-glamorous 58-year-old unemployed van driver. Scandal-mongers keeping count will note that this is at least the third troubling incident involving the former Wham! star this year.

Michael and his Texas-born partner, Kenny Goss, insist that they’re looking forward. On Wednesday, the Dallas gallery owner told The Dallas Morning News that the couple’s much-publicized nuptials are still on.

In spite of his private peccadilloes, the 43-year-old Michael should expect more flattering coverage in the near future. The new video for “An Easier Affair” is currently making its way around the Internet. And the single finds Michael ditching the somber tone of his recent “Patience” album and again immersing himself in the rich soulful pop that marked his strongest work from the ’80s and early ’90s.

A recently announced 50-city European tour for the upcoming album “Hits25″ not only sold out completely, it did so within 30 minutes. Tabloid tales aside, it seems clear that the fans continue to be there for the talented singer and songwriter. It only remains to be seen whether he’ll continue to be there for them.

GEORGE’S SCANDAL SCORECARD

They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Recently tagged celeb George Michael might disagree.

New stories of anonymous encounters are just one in a string of sloppy incidents that have hounded the queer pop star. Here are some of the low-lights of the singer’s troubles.

April, 1998: Michael gets wedged out of the closet after an arrest for “engaging in a lewd act” in a park in Beverly Hills, Calif. He later parodies an encounter with an undercover police officer in his video for the single “Outside.”

February, 2006: After being found passed out at the wheel of his car, Michael is arrested and charged for possession of marijuana and GHB. Presumably, the pot was the last of a stash that he couldn’t quite finish.

April, 2006: Pharmaceuticals again seem to get in the way of driving, as Michael has some trouble getting around parked cars in his Range Rover. He bails from the scene before police arrive, and later blames the whole thing on a lousy clutch.

July, 2006: British tabloid “News of the World” catches Michael spending a few hours at a well-known London cruising spot. His sheepish anonymous pickup is later tracked down, and confesses that he didn’t recognize the singer, but that George is a really good kisser.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, July 28, 2006.

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