George Michael: 25 June 1963 – 25 December 2016

One of the fond things I remember reading about George Michael is the story that Tracey Thorne tells in Bedsit Disco Queen.  Tracey  Thorne is a singer and musician in Everything But The Girl , making nine albums and selling over 9 million records between 1982 and 2000.  Towards the end of her memoir she writes about the pleasures of relative obscurity and return to a more normal life.

I wasn’t always sure whether these other mums knew ‘who I was’, or what my job had been before.  Often it wasn’t discussed at all, and so I assumed my anonymity was complete.  But sometimes it was a bit like living in disguise, wondering whether at any moment my cover would be blown.  I remember when the kids were small standing outside school, Blake in a pram, waiting for the girls to come out.  I was with a group of mums, talking about teachers and playdates and school dinners, when suddenly a huge, gleaming Range Rover with black-tinted windows slowed as it neared us and then pulled over to the side of the road.  The window whirred down and a voice called out ‘Tracey!  Tracey!  Hi, how are you?’  In unison, all heads turned towards the car and the familiar face that leaned out, the stubble, and sunglasses confirming the almost unbelievable fact that, yes, it was George Michael.

Sometimes it reminded me of those days up in Hull, where I was a sort of part-time pop star and, in true English fashion, everyone was too polite to mention it.

Tracey Thorne: Bedsit Disco Queen. Virago Press. 2013.