Essential Reading: ‘Straight’, Boy George (2005)
I’ve been catching up on my non-music related reading lately and while I can always count on John le Carré to provide some much needed literary action and life distraction, I can’t seem to read more than three fictional novels in a row before I start craving an in-depth history of a particular musical genre or a good ol’ memoir.
A couple of months ago, someone down the road was apparently moving and offering a part of their personal library for grabs in the front yard and this is how I got Boy George’s second autobiographical book ‘Straight’.
I haven’t read Boy George’s first one ‘Take it Like a Man’ but ‘Straight’ definitely made me feel like I’ve missed a lot so – pardon my disregard for chronology but you know you can’t count on us queers to do anything properly – I promise to read and tell you about it at some point in the future.
‘Straight’ is a most interesting read, indeed. The book feels more like a collection of essays on several different topics rather than a memoir in the more traditional sense.
There are chapters on spirituality, club culture, human sexuality, relationships –both with lovers and with family and the way the two are always connected, fierce frenemies, the past, the present and the future. All with a heavy dose of wit and introspection.
Personally, as a young and jumpy gay-mo, I find myself going back to chapter 6 ‘U Can Never B 2 Straight’ which I thought was a compelling personal analysis of sexuality, its presentation and representation.
But the story that is the crown jewels of ‘Straight’ is the making and breaking of ‘Taboo’ – Boy George’s labour-of-love London musical telling the myth of the legendary 80s nightclub and its most famous, colourful, conflicted, vibrant inhabitants.
Leigh Bowery, Boy George himself, Marilyn – characters whose originality and gusto did not, unfortunately, translate successfully on the New York stage when the musical was brought to Broadway.
Check out Boy George’s book ‘Straight’ if it sounds like something you’d be interested in – here it is on Amazon.
I’ve embedded a recording of ‘Taboo’ which I found online as I can only wish I’d gotten the chance to see it live myself.
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