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FRESH.

Is it the end of a beautiful friendship for Boy George and me? Well, it was hardly that, but I fear he's fallen out with me. And I fear I may be barred from the Gatecrasher club, Discotheque, in Leeds.

Why? Well, I'm about to tell you.

Regular readers of this column will know Boy George and I go back quite a way.

I used to book him as a DJ years ago for my club nights and there was one memorable time I put him up in my back-to-back house in Leeds.

As there was no room left for me, I camped at my mum's house and locked Boy George in - why I didn't give him a key, I don't know. Anyway, when he found he couldn't get out until I turned up to open the door in the morning, he went mad...

Later he saw the funny side and we've bumped into each other now and then, over the years, most recently at Pride in Gran Canaria a few weeks ago. He still makes jokes about it.

But something odd happened when I went to Gatecrasher the other weekend, to see him DJing. I'd already been to Leeds University to see The Who recreate Live At Leeds and I was impressed.

I was only five when they recorded their famous live album there in 1970 and I'd never been into them as a band - they're too rocky for me.

But there's something about seeing a band play live that's really special.

The crowd was so old - I felt like one of the youngest at a gig for once! Roger Daltrey was drinking what looked like a cup of tea from a blue beaker throughout - not very rock and roll!

Even though I didn't get an official photographer's pass, I took my camera in and got some good shots. Some businessmen play golf, I go out and about with my camera to relax ...

So it was only natural that I should take some of Boy George on the decks, with the audience in the background. I knew the guy on the door at Gatecrasher and I knew one of the guys doing the lights, so I was able to make my way up to George and prepare to start snapping away.

His manager stopped me though, and said that the angle I'd picked wasn't George's "best side", so I agreed to move to a different spot. It was about 4am by this time and he had another half-hour or so to play.

What happened next was really odd. George just picked up his records and stormed off out of the club.

I followed - I hadn't meant any harm after all - and caught up in time to see him jump into a cab.

His manager was saying: "It's because of you!" but I couldn't see what the problem was. I jumped in my car and followed George to the Radisson, where he was staying. He raced into the lift and I saw it stopped at the fourth floor.

So I went up there. I guessed which room was his, an executive suite, because I could hear some jangling behind the door and I could picture him ripping all his jewellery off in a rage.

I phoned 118 429 gay directory inquiries on my mobile for the hotel number and asked to be put through to room 430. It rang.

"Leave me alone!" came the angry reply. It was definitely George. I said to him: "You will never play at Gatecrasher again!"

I pretended to be a manager - it was a spur of the moment thing, I thought it would grab his attention - and told him not to be ridiculous about a few photos.

Anyway, I left it at that and wrote him a letter telling him I only wanted the pictures to print in my gay lifestyle magazine, as I had done before. I asked him to ring or email if he didn't want me to use them, but he hasn't.

He does seem to be troubled and it was erratic behaviour, but before things all blew up his records had been jumping all over the place and the club was half-empty, so I wonder whether it was just an excuse.

Now the news that Culture Club are to reform without him adds more speculation to what's really going on.

Will he ever speak to me again? Will I ever get back into Gatecrasher again? We'll see!
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jun 26, 2006
Words:747
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