THERE isn’t much of life that Boy George hasn’t seen. He’s been in jail, served his time doing community service and has experienced both the highs and lows of pop stardom. This year, the artist releases his latest solo album, Ordinary Alien and tonight Boy George embarks on the much-loved Here and Now tour, performing alongside Jason Donovan and Belinda Carlisle.
But while most of us remember Boy George for his role in Culture Club, with hits such as Karma Chameleon and Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?, Boy George insists there’s more to him than his Eighties hits. “For any artist it’s always hard to move on from people’s concepts of you,” he says, “My hard-core audience know everything that I do but the wider public know only the Eighties stuff. But I’m happy working and I’ve written quite a few albums. “
Among those albums is his latest, Ordinary Alien, which is based on the idea of being misunderstood by society, something Boy George knows all too well: “I’m very ‘ordinary alien’. To a certain degree people do judge a book by its cover – the fact I wore make-up made people think I’m not very bright. I like to defy people’s concepts. It’s my life’s work.
“Obviously – the thing about being in the public eye is that people have all kinds of ideas on what your views are and wading through people’s miscomprehensions can get really tedious but you do learn to take it less seriously.
“You have to get to the point where you realise it doesn’t matter. If there’s something bad to write about, the press is going to write about it. That’s the nature of the media but it’s also a big part of what I do. I think I’m pretty easy going considering some of the things that have been written about me. “
He is indeed immune to media coverage: “As you get older to see how it happens you learn not to take it seriously. I don’t really devour what’s written about me – as long as the pictures are okay I don’t really care what people write about me. It’s all open to interpretation.”
Boy George was just 21 when his Culture Club career hit the pop stratosphere: “It was completely hectic. It was great at the time – very exciting but after a while you get bored of it. You get bored of coming out of your house and having loads of people outside.
“But I’ll be 50 by the time we do this tour and these days I don’t try to keep up with anyone anymore. I just do my own thing but I work all the time. When you’re younger you have this feeling of having somewhere to get to. And I don’t really have that feeling now. What I try to do is enjoy what I do. There was a lot of drama going on – when you’re young and you get really famous it all becomes a bit hectic. I defy anyone to handle that without losing their minds.”
And despite some of the controversial press coverage about Boy George, such as that surrounding his arrest for falsely imprisoning an escort in 2009, he remains positive about it: “In some ways all that stuff that’s written about me works in my favour because people expect me to be a nightmare.
“I don’t know what they think – sometimes I meet people but I think they are generally surprised. Nobody’s a headline. Nobody’s a soundbite. Life’s much more complex. The media doesn’t have subtlety.” But he won’t talk about the event itself. “It was in the past and it has no relevance to my life now. And if it was useful to talk about it I would but it won’t help me and it won’t help anyone else,” he says.
That’s all behind him now. And this week, the colourful star prepares for his Here and Now appearance at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena tomorrow.