The full transcript of George Michael’s first online chat with fans through Microsoft Network on July 16, 1998. He answered questions from fans for more than two hours on topics ranging from Geri Halliwell to his music with his usual candor, honesty, and sense of humor.
The Microsoft Network says: Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome online for the first time chatting live, George Michael…
George Michael: Hi everyone, welcome to the chat. Before we get started, I’d like to say a few things to my audience worldwide, many of whom will probably be online for the first time.
Firstly, I want to thank you all for your continuing support. Your loyalty is never forgotten, and I am not just talking about record sales and chart positions. In recent years, your letters and e-mails, even good wishes in the street, have helped me through the most difficult times. My celebrity may not protect me from human tragedy (or comedy for that matter!), but my music, and the fact that you still enjoy it, has been a lifeline.
Thank you. I am a lucky man.
As for this evening’s conversation, I hope you enjoy it. There are some things that are off-limits for the simple reason that I’m not here to feed the press tonight. I have plenty to say about recent events, and I intend to say them, but not right now. So if you logged on for that stuff, well, don’t hold your breath but… if you are a genuine fan, I think you should enjoy this…
Love and thanks, George xxx
P.S. Thanks so much to Andros, and everyone at Aegean.net, for their hard work on the site, and for putting this evening together.
OK, fire away … please remember that I am typing this myself, so please excuse mistakes, and my speed – I never made it as a temp 🙂
The Microsoft Network asks: Hi George! Welcome online … you are doing your own typing?!
George Michael: Yup, if you want something done well…..
From Channel 4’s ‘The Big Breakfast’ [Beverley Lawrence, Hertfordshire]: Can you foresee the day when your music will be available solely for download via the internet, or do you think that there will always be a demand for mail order or retail distribution? And as you “love to sing, hate to tour”, do you think that your future as a live performer lies in webcasts rather than in world tours?
George Michael: Even though it’s hard to imagine I can’t help but believe that music will become one of the first things that the public will buy online simply because there are very few ‘products’ that can be transported down a telephone line. It’s that simple. So if the shopping ‘revolution’ that we have heard about actually happens music retail stores will probably be one of it’s first victims. As for live work, nothing on a screen is going to compare to the real thing even if I do say so myself, so I guess the answer to that is no.
Laura Perkins asks: Your last album was called ‘Older’ – what will you be calling the next one?
George Michael: It’s a long way off, as the greatest hits will be released this year but the working title is ‘Fatter with a little more grey hair’ 🙂
Andrew Stevens asks: When did you first realise you were a sex symbol?
George Michael: Can’t put my finger on the date I’m afraid, but did you know that you have the same name as my manager. Actually, he’s not here. Are you my manager?
Susan Pugh asks: Are you planning to go on tour?
George Michael: Yes I am. Nothing has been set in stone, but if everything goes to plan we will start next year in England in March….
Denise Van Outen, from ‘The Big Breakfast’, asks: Will you go on a date with me?
George Michael: Sure. I’d love to!!! I just have to clear it with Kenny.
JAZZ – C. Hatch asks: How was your birthday party?
George Michael: The bits that I remember were great!!!
^_^ asks: I’m from Shanghai, China, when I was in the high school, you were very popular in our country, and we love your song like “Last Christmas”, “Careless Whisper”… and we love you very much.
George Michael: Thank you so much. Visiting China was one of the most fascinating things I have ever done though I think I was a bit young to take it all in.
The Microsoft Network asks: Will you ever go back to China?
George Michael: Maybe if they stop executing people for running a red light, who knows…never say never.
Angel asks: George, I really love Cowboys & Angels. What made you decide on using that as your dress code at your birthday party?
George Michael: Well, actually the truth be known, I nicked the idea off of someone else’s party but they nicked my song title so I don’t feel guilty.
Novocastria asks: Can you ask him what he thinks of the current 80’s revival?
George Michael: Well to us thirty-something’s it feels too recent to revive, but we’re all in denial. Actually I don’t want to be responsible for a second generation of misguided youths wearing curtain rings in each ear, but I guess the ‘revival ‘ will give Boy George something to do with his spare time… 🙂
Hi George … love ya. lol [laugh out loud]
Junky asks: If you were not chosen to be a “superstar” by some chance, what profession would you have chosen?
George Michael: Typist! No question. 🙂
Michelle Neely asks: Do you have one basic quote or philosophy that you like to live by?
George Michael: Not really, but my general philosophy I got from my mother which is to get through life hopefully happy and fulfilled without harming anyone or anything. If we all knew that much surely life would be so much simpler.
Calm asks: George, does it feel better to be out in the open about your sexuality now?
George Michael: Well this is a simple issue for me. There is a world of difference between being ‘out’ which in normal terms means telling all of those in your circle of friends, and your family, that you are gay – and being ‘out’ as a celebrity which apparently means making sure that the entire world including people who don’t give a toss know who and what you are doing with your genitals. I have been an openly gay man with everyone in my life for a long time and that was good enough for me. As for my fans I think I tried to tell them everything I could through my work as opposed to using the media, but in all honesty I think I blew that particular strategy in a big way :0)
Derrald Leo Mote asks: Have you been offended by jokes or satires or did you take it all in good humour?
George Michael: Ok … the truth is that I’ve been seriously offended by the lack of decent jokes on the subject and believe me if there were any more out there I would have heard them, my mates make sure of that. Actually, I heard a good one last week. George Michael is worried about going through customs next time he visits the States. Why? They might do him for handling swollen goods. And they are mighty swollen, I can tell you.
Picard asks: How did you feel about losing Versace?
George Michael: My friendship with Gianni was much overplayed after his death. I really didn’t know him very well, but I was appalled by his death, of course. He was very sweet to me, I stayed at some of his houses on the Faith toor … tour! ‘Toor’ is probably Dutch for tour anyway….
Devilish Angel asks: George – I seem to have got older with you – do you mind that the young guns now change nappies?
George Michael: Well, it has been 15 years. I can’t expect you all to wait for me….
LittleCow9 asks: I noticed that Geri had associated with you after she left the Spice Girls. She recently went to your birthday (Happy Birthday!). My question is how is she? I’ve seen pictures of her “new look,” but I’d like your opinion on what do you think of Geri now? Also how is she feeling emotionally?
George Michael: Geri is one of the most remarkable people I have ever met. I really think that she WAS the Spice Girls…no disrespect to the others. I met them and they are all great girls, but let’s be honest, who were YOU looking at when you watched a Spice Girls performance? I don’t think she is suffering under any illusions about herself, but she knows that she has something special, that people are interested in her. And I know that she plans to use that something in a positive way. She will get there if we let her.
Charlotte F. Hopkins asks: What inspired you to write, “Jesus To A Child”?
George Michael: Simple answer. Anselmo Felleppa [a close friend of George who passed away]. Sorry…Feleppa!!! One L! That’s in case his mum is online!!!
Hernán Rodriguez asks: I’m a Queen fan too, and I want to say that you are the only singer who performed a Queen song very, very well in the “Tribute to Freddie Mercury.” Don’t you like to record more Queen songs? Maybe with Brian, Roger and John?
George Michael: Thank you, Hernan. It was a great privilege to perform that night, and I sang it the way that I tried to in my bedroom when I was 12, guess it showed.
Vanessa Tapia asks: What do think about Frank Sinatra’s music?
George Michael: I think that Sinatra was the finest singer of his time and probably ours too, but I did not respect him because of his connections, and his actions towards others were well documented. And respect is earned by what you do, not just what you do with the gifts that God has given you.
Roger in Inverness asks: Did you watch the World Cup? Did you think England were unlucky not to win? What did you think of David Beckham’s behaviour?
George Michael: Yes, I was screaming with the best of ’em last week … no jokes please … and even though I was as pissed off with him as we all were, let’s be honest, one little mistake and, well, I can relate, man….
Jewel, Manager, G NOTES, the largest George Michael fanclub in the world, asks: Do you feel obligated to tour? It’s absolutely true that your fans are desperate to see you perform, but personally speaking, I’m more concerned with you doing what’s best for George, not for me, the future ticketholder.
George Michael: Hi Jewel! Well thank you for your concern, but even though my fans know that I hate touring I really feel that it will be a rewarding thing to do, and the support that people have shown me in the last few months has really touched me. It makes the prospect of being away from home for months a lot easier. But thank you anyway. I hope you enjoy it , whenever it is…
Shawn Turney asks: Now that you’re “out”, how do you think you’ll continue your public life? In other words, will you go arm-in-arm with a male partner to the Grammys, like Ellen Degeneres and Ann Heche??
George Michael: Well I’ve not had much of a ‘public life’ for quite a while really, apart from the occasional sex scandal. But to start doing things differently would imply that I have been dying to get into a frock for years, and as I said the reality is that I have lived an open life for years. In truth, I am not an activist. I’m sure that my work with Aids charities will continue, but otherwise I don’t see things changing in any drastic way.
Julianne Pearce asks: You were close friends with Princess Diana. What is your fondest memory of her?
George Michael: My fondest memory is of the first time I met her, but I don’t feel right discussing it here. There are so many people still using her for their own benifit, and I don’t want to be one of them. Benefit!!! I really can spell! I just can’t f*cking type!!!!
Melanie asks: How do you feel about the fan tribute sites, and which are your favourite sites?
George Michael: Well, I know better than to incur the wrath of individuals who run the separate sites, but I can assure you that I am online regularly…
Nobby asks: We know the Greatest Hits is imminent – exactly when and can you tell us about the new material on there?
George Michael: Well, I don’t want to give too much away, but i am working on 3 tracks. And I should be finished within the next couple of weeks, and they are rather bloody good….
The Microsoft Network says: George, would you ever do movies?
George Michael: Well, this is a difficult one to answer because I am always tempted, but the fact is that I can’t bear to watch myself onscreen, so unless someone offers me the sequel to ‘The Elephant Man’, I doubt it.
Holger Pohlmann asks: “Which are your favourite songs by The Beatles, ABBA and the Bee Gees ?”
George Michael: Err … Beatles: ‘She’s Leaving Home’ … ABBA(Dancing Queen, anyone?): ‘Winner Takes It All…oh God that’s worse!!! Bee Gees: ‘Jive Talkin’, of course…
Shawn Turney asks: What is your view on becoming a positive role model for gay youth?
George Michael: I guess I don’t really see myself as being a role model for anyone unless gay youths are looking for advice on how to get arrested, I suppose. But seriously, I have never tried to influence anyone with anything but my music and hopefully that will be enough.
Dani asks: George, what CD(s) is in your CD player right now?
George Michael: Err….’Mezzanine’, by Massive Attack. The album that our guys Trigger are working on. The new Brandy album. Me…me…and some more stuff by me.
Staci asks: Whatever happened to your plans to move to Ireland? – it was widely reported that you were interested in a property in Dalkey, Dublin. We’d LOVE to have you over here!
George Michael: Sorry to disappoint Irish fans, but believe it or not the press are LYING! I never saw the house. I don’t have 80 million pounds … and I’ve never even BEEN to Los Angeles!
Sonyam asks: George – do you ever fancy girls?
George Michael: Well … is that Denise from the Big Breakfast? Sorry, English in-joke. But seriously folks, of course, you don’t stop looking just because you’ve decided that you are not going to spend the rest of your life with a woman. And I don’t think that I would be attractive to women if I were not attracted to them. But please don’t hold your breath, love, I’m taken.
The Microsoft Network asks: George, it’s coming up to time for the last few questions…is that okay?
George Michael: Ok … but I am enjoying this, so if we go over time, that’s ok
The Microsoft Network says: Well we have plenty of questions and thousands of viewers … yes, please!
George Michael: Ok … I just want to warn you: I get very expensive after 12….
Fred Chang asks: What do you think about religion?
George Michael: Good question, Fred. How long have you got? I believe in God, but I don’t think that it is man’s destiny to understand God. Therefore we come up with our own ideas, mostly based on comfort or fear. But I think that god and life are beyond the human imagination, so I live my life as I said before, trying to make the best of it and letting others do the same. Peace and love, baby.
Chrissie asks: George why don’t you record a song in Greek – I always liked Vassili Popaconstantino!!
George Michael: Who? Sounds like a cross between a lubricant and a musical instrument! Sorry, Vassili! I don’t think I will be performing in Greek anytime soon. I’ve tried, but it always sounds like someone trying not to throw up. It’s a great language, just not one that I can manage. Thanx though.
The Microsoft Network asks: Why do you always wear black?
George Michael: You want the truth? Well, black is a pretty good bet when you are colourblind, which my real fans will know about me…
Coolhag asks: George, would ever do a fly on the wall documentary like Elton John?
George Michael: Me? You are joking, right? Much as I admire Elton’s honesty, he’s mad. 🙂
…always leave ’em wanting more. Thank you, everyone, I’ve had a ball, but you already know that.
Bye now!!!!!!! Love and thanks. George xxxxxxxxxxx
(((((((((((((((((everyone!!!))))))))))))))))))) [cyber hug]
The Microsoft Network says: Thank you, George, it’s been such a pleasure being online with you and your fans….And thank you all very much for being online with the Microsoft Network.
The chat was presented by MSN Start in association with Hotmail and Aegean Records.
- George Michael Interview on Q Magazine (June 1988)
- An Audience with George Michael: Interview with Chris Evans (1996)
- George Michael Interview in Blitz Magazine (June 1988)
- ‘Souled Out: George Michael’ Published in Interview Magazine (1988)
- BBC Hardtalk Interview with George Michael (2003)