Boy George: You Ask The Questions

Is anyone better than you at the acerbic, bitchy put-down? How clean is your house? And what exactly do you have in your make-up bag?
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The Independent Online

Boy George, 42, was born George O'Dowd in Eltham, south-east London. When he was 15, he left both school and home. Four years later, he met Malcolm McLaren, ex-manager of The Sex Pistols, and sang briefly with McLaren's new signing, Bow Wow Wow. In 1981, he formed Culture Club, whose first two singles got to No 114 and No 100 respectively. The third was "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?", which went to No 1 in 23 countries. Their second album went platinum six times over in the United States. Since leaving Culture Club in 1987, he has been a successful club DJ. Most recently, he wrote the musical Taboo, which is based on his early life. He lives in London.

What is the best thing about getting older when you are such a renowned hedonist?
Jackie Waddington, Chester

My current policy is to do less and get more out of life. So I'm trying to find more time to be by myself and do ordinary things. I might do a bit of shopping, walk around or go to a museum. I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York recently. That's not something I would normally do. I used to just work and work and work.

Labour, Tory or Liberal Democrat? And who, in your opinion, is our sexiest politician?
Mary Donohue, Dublin

Clare Short is the sexiest politician. Tenacity is very sexy. I think she has balls and was very unfairly treated over her resignation. If you're in a job you love, you don't just walk out. She's the Joan Collins of politics. She needs a bit of a spruce-up, but for me she definitely wins. As far as political parties go, I would still choose Labour for the essence of Labour: the idea of everybody helping everybody else. I've always voted Labour, but I won't if they keep Tony Blair. I'm swinging towards the Liberal Democrats because Charles Kennedy seems to be more honest than the average politician. But who knows with these people?

Who do you prefer: Justin Timberlake or Justin Hawkins, the lead singer of The Darkness?
Mo Oliver, Basingstoke

Oh, Justin Timberlake. He's got a lovely voice, but he's in need of a good song. I think a lot of those young American R&B artists have got fantastic voices and fantastic grooves, but they're not really saying anything. He's a male Beyoncé, really. Do they have nothing to say about their culture, their life or their background? They don't give that much of themselves. But he looks like a car thief and I find that quite appealing.

Would you still rather have a cup of tea than sex?
Deidre MacKintosh, Edinburgh

Don't be ridiculous. Although I'm not opposed to a cup of tea. I'm a fan of herbal teas: twig or peppermint are my favourites.

How clean is your house?
Maggie Jenkins, by e-mail

Very clean, although it can get very untidy. My home is a home, not a show palace: I want people to be comfortable. I don't stop people smoking or wearing shoes. The only thing I don't allow in my house is meat. However, I don't do all the chores myself: my sister works for me.

What do you think of the actors who play you in Taboo? Did you give them any tips?
Derek Stapleton, Birmingham

I never really gave them any tips about how to play me because they're not doing Stars in their Eyes, they're doing an interpretation of me. Both of them - Euan Morton and Stephen Ashfield - are very good actors and good singers. I think the only help I gave Euan was to show him how to pout. Aside from that, he needed no help at all. He's very much like I was at that age: quite predatory, volatile, opinionated and emotional - nothing's changed, really.

What songs were you obsessed with as a teenager?
Ben Slade, Norwich

My bedroom was my sanctuary when I was younger. I'd listen to "Walk on the Wild Side" by Lou Reed and everything by David Bowie. I was also a bit of a Shirley Bassey freak, but my favourite song, that I played all the time, was "Always On My Mind" by Elvis Presley. That song is so true of so many relationships: you forget to say all the things you mean to say. It's a part of human nature: people normally wait until you die to go on about how great you were.

You've been playing the amazing Leigh Bowery in Taboo. Some of his stunts were a bit over the top, though. Would you ever consider urinating on an audience?
Sean O'Dwyer, London

No. I might urinate on an individual, but not on an audience.

What's in your make-up bag?
Katy Bright, by e-mail

It's more of a make-up box. There's endless stuff in there, from expensive brands to the cheapest. I really love MAC foundation. I paint my neck as well. When you're wearing extreme make-up on your face, you need something to balance the drama. I once met Grace Jones outside the nightclub Heaven. I had a red neck and a yellow face, and she said: "Who slit your throat?"

The Broadway run of Taboo lasted only three months. Why do you think the American critics didn't like it?
Miles Booth, Aberdeen

This is typical English misinformation. There were four or five really bad reviews and about 20 fantastic reviews. We had reviews saying it was one of the best scores on Broadway in 20 years.

When did you last buy someone a drink? Who was it, and what was the drink?
Malcolm White, by e-mail

It was last night, for my make-up artist, and it was a whiskey sour. With my friends we always share paying for the drinks. I don't really hang out with skinflints.

I know that you stick to a macrobiotic diet. What meal would you prepare for me to convert me?
Julie Wilkinson, Tunbridge Wells

Nothing too hardcore. Maybe something creamy, with tahini and couscous - something light and tasty. I certainly wouldn't serve you up a bowl of brown rice and plain tofu, although I do sometimes eat that.

Do you realise how much your lyrics have helped people to accept, enjoy and get on with living their lives?
Jez Ward, West Yorkshire

Yeah, I do. People come up to me on a daily basis, particularly in America because people are much more verbal there. People come up to me and say: "Thank you for helping me to deal with my sexuality," or: "Thank you for changing my life." It's really sweet. If I see a drag queen coming towards me, I know what they are going to say. However, it can get a bit much. I try to be nice, but sometimes they want to tell me everything.

Are you the king of bitchy put-downs, or is there someone you know who is more acerbic?
Dan Bailey, London

I don't think of myself as a bitch. I reserve my put-downs for people who deserve it. If someone's cruel to me, I will definitely be cruel back. Whose wit do I admire? Dorothy Parker's.

'Taboo' is touring the country until 10 July. For more information, go to www.tabootheshow.co.uk

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