Thursday, May 08, 2008

My History With Boy George

Just like the Kennedy assassination, the Challenger explosion, and the events of 9/11, I can distinctly remember right where I was the first time I saw Boy George.

It was 1983 and I had the TV on while making dinner. There was this new group called Culture Club on TV and I couldn’t figure out if the lead singer was a guy in drag or a girl who didn’t sing very well.

I was captivated, although not in a sexual way at all, by the crooning creature on TV. After that, anytime Boy George or Culture Club were on TV, I’d tape it. I soon knew all the words to Karma Chameleon.

The next year, I was living in Austin Texas and Culture Club had a date to tour there. I had tickets and knew which hotel they were staying in. It was awfully exciting.

Then, for some unknown reason, they cancelled the concert. By then in 1984, the group had already had their flash in the pan and were on a downhill spiral. Perhaps a concert in Austin Texas wouldn’t pay off, so they cancelled.

I never got to see Culture Club.

Fast forward ten years. I had just joined a monastery near Dallas Texas and was in my “novitiate” year there.

The novitiate year is sort of like “monk boot camp.” You’re cloistered from the outside world, you can’t leave the monastery for the entire year (except for doctor appointments and such), there’s very little contact with the outside world. The novice can call or write his parents once a month but that’s about it. There’s no access to TV, radio or newspapers.

I had a contraband radio and headphones in my room. (couldn't give up NPR, sorry.) I learned that Boy George had just published his autobiography, Take It Like a Man, and would be at a bookstore in Dallas signing his new book.

He was going to be at the bookstore for one night from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.

I had to go.

That night after Evening Prayers, I shucked my habit, donned a pair of black Levis and Polo shirt and snuck out. There were eight cars for the 25 monks in the monastery and several were available that evening. I remember that there was a full moon.

My plan was to get to the bookstore soon before 9:00 PM in hopes that the line would have died down by then.

I got there in time and there he was, signing away. I purchased the book with money that I had squirreled away in a savings account and got in line. . .

. . . And Boy George left.

The manager of the bookstore came around, apologizing, saying that Boy George had had some kind of “prima donna snit” and had suddenly decided to leave.

There were just a few of us left in line and the bookstore manager had a number of autographed copies of the book for us which he exchanged at no extra cost.

I still have the book. Here's the autograph:
I made it back to the monastery late that night and no one ever found out about my clandestine escape. I spent most of the night reading Take It Like a Man. . . .

Well, guess who’s coming to Chicago this summer? None other than Boy George. One night only.

I called a friend of mine last night to tell her:

“Hey, guess who I have tickets to go see. . . Boy George!”

“He’s still alive??”

“Yeah, he hasn’t killed himself yet.”

“Wasn’t he in jail?”

“He got out.”

“Wasn’t he in rehab?”

“He got out.”

Anyway, he’ll be performing at the House of Blues which is in the plaza of my apartment building. I’ll just have to take the elevator to see him as opposed to sneaking out of a monastery and breaking vows.

He better show up this time.

Boy George owes me.

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At 11:06 AM , Blogger Kimberly Ann said...

Oh if Boy ever reads this account, he'll be so sorry he missed you at the bookshop. What a great story.

At 1:50 PM , Blogger Lorraine said...

I had no idea you and he went back that far.

At 7:35 PM , Blogger Miss Healthypants said...

He SO owes you!!

At 6:01 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like there is some jinx going on between BG and you. I hope he shows up and breaks the spell.

That's a great story about sneaking out of the monastery.


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