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Friday, 6 April, 2001, 16:56 GMT 17:56 UK
George's glamour goes on
Boy George (with blue hair) and Culture Club in their heyday
Boy George (blue hair) and Culture Club in the 80s
One of the biggest dance DJs in the country, the first western DJ to play in Bosnia since the war, a campaigner against Section 28 - when so many DJs and musicians seem one-dimensional, Boy George has lost none of the personality that made him a star.

When he and his band Culture Club shot to fame in 1982 with the song Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?, his flamboyant clothes, dreadlocks and androgynous persona made him an instantly-recognisable celebrity.

It is a testament to his presence and personality that he has remained one for almost 20 years.

BBC comedians The Two Ronnies doing a sketch about Culture Club
The Two Ronnies made fun of Culture Club's style
"After we went to number one everything changed," he told The Face magazine in 1998. "Everybody recognised me. Before, people would laugh at me, as a figure of fascination, or amusement, or pity, and now fame gave me a licence to be outrageous."

Culture Club's high point came when their single Karma Chameleon topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. Teenagers the world over were left to wonder what the lyrics meant, but loved the song nonetheless.

But there was more going on than Boy George was prepared to admit.

He did not publicly say he was gay, his drug use resulted in him being exposed by the British tabloids as a heroin addict in 1987 and he had an on-off affair with drummer Jon Moss.

"I was an open, flamboyant, screaming homosexual, and then l'd have to switch that off for public engagements. I couldn't say that Jon and I loved each other, and that can only make life more twisted."

The tabloids also broke the news that a visiting New York keyboard player, Michael Rudetski, died of a heroin overdose while staying at George's London home.

Boy George
Boy George battled drug addiction in the 80s
He was arrested for possessing cannabis in July 1986 and the drug addiction and internal feuding led to the band falling apart.

George went into rehab and discovered Buddhism and house music - which would later give him a lucrative, more stable career in the music business as a DJ.

In 1987, he had a solo hit with Everything I Own and kept releasing solo albums but his success at home and in America did not match that he enjoyed with Culture Club.

But his career was revived in the second half of the 1990s as he began DJing at the house clubs that he had began visiting in the late 1980s.

He soon established himself as a talented DJ in his own right - rather than just a novelty act - and became one of the best-known names on the nightclub circuit.

'Enough money'

He is now able to command the same thousands of pounds in fees that other superstar DJs collect - although he sometimes chooses not to.

For 31 December 1999 - one of the most lucrative nights in DJing history - he told BBC News Online that he was having a night off.

"I make enough money," he said. "I want to go away and have a nice holiday, and enjoy the night - I'm always panicking that I'm not going to be somewhere for 12 o'clock."

But when an offer came in to reform Culture Club in 1998, he did not refuse.

The band has toured the world over the past two and a half years, and there have even been rumours about new releases.

On stage: George with the reformed Culture Club
On stage: George with the reformed Culture Club

He is now an advocate of macrobiotics - an ultra-healthy style of eating that means he has to take a portable stove with him wherever he goes to cook in his hotel room because so few restaurants cater for the specialised diet.

He has felt his way back into the media spotlight, appearing on television discussion shows arguing against Section 28 - the law introduced by Margaret Thatcher's government stopping local authorities "promoting" homosexuality.

His recent visit to Bosnia shows that he is still not afraid to do something different.

As well as DJing in nightclubs and playing with Culture Club, he also has a radio show syndicated across Europe, and recently released a mix CD.

But as ever, he is still branching out - he has a macrobiotic recipe book, the Karma Cookbook, coming out in June.

As ever, you never quite know what to expect next.

See also:

17 Nov 99 | Entertainment
Still mad about the Boy
01 Nov 99 | Entertainment
More Karma from Boy George
06 Apr 01 | Music
Boy George set for Bosnia gig
24 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Culture Club hunt for new deal
11 May 00 | Scotland
Souter and Boy George clash
27 Feb 99 | Entertainment
Boy George assault claim
16 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Boy George survives falling glitter ball
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