Editor-At-Large: Back in the closet, George. We only want your songs

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The Independent Online

I can't think why a 42-year-old man has to tell us all about his sex life. Really, are we that interested? I've always had a soft spot for George Michael - he's such a control freak it's fascinating. This is the man who swore his private life would remain private, and now he's given three major interviews to the national press in the space of a week, in order to promote a new film about his life.

Of course, being George, he wasn't happy with the documentary, and so he bought the film from the production company and finished it himself. When I worked at the BBC, I bought a film of the concert at Wembley George did ten years ago with Mick Hucknall and KD Lang for World Aids Day. The director was astounded when George demanded to see the film and completely re-edited it, so that he came first rather than last in the running order, and then he re-cut all the bits of himself on stage adding extra shots, because he thought his bum looked big! "Never work with children, animals or George Michael" became an industry mantra for a while after that.

George is a wonderful mixture of contradictions, and I adore him for that. One minute he says he's marrying Kenny, his long-suffering partner, and the next he's denying it, saying that they'll just enter into a civil partnership (according to George it's not the same as marriage) in order to protect Kenny. George admits he's spent years on Prozac and smokes too much dope - perhaps that explains his rather extraordinary interview technique, where the world's most private pop star freely admits "I am filthy in that I want it a lot." Part of me is screaming at this point: "George, get back in that closet. Where is your dignity?" Too much information!

From the moment in 1998 when George was forcibly outed when he was discovered masturbating in a lavatory in Los Angeles by an undercover cop, he's had a kamikaze attitude to talking about sex. The subsequent interview on Parkinson when he was greeted by a cheering audience and treated with fawning reverence by his host, was one of the most nauseating television moments of the whole decade. Anyone would think he's come up with a cure for Aids rather than been discovered with his pants down and his willy out. As for being brave, forget it. George was forced to disclose his sexuality by circumstances out of his control.

Having spilled the beans about his relationship with Kenny by admitting he pays for sex with strangers, George feels compelled to drag another person who can't answer back into the sordid mire of his press campaign: the late Princess of Wales. I'm sure her sons found it very distasteful to read that (according to George) their mother had a massive crush on him; "there were certain things that happened that made it clear she was very attracted to me. There was no question." And when the interviewer asks if he considered sleeping with her he smiles and answers: "I knew it would have been a disastrous thing to do."

Hello readers, can I just remind you that this man is gay, gay, gay. The trouble is, George's giant ego allows him to believe that he can make the idea that he and Diana might have had an affair if he had chosen to sound completely plausible, and it would have been the union of two lonely, misunderstood people. Pass the sickbag.

George Michael still hasn't reached maturity, that's obvious. He's had tough times over the last decade: the death of a lover from Aids, the loss of his mother, painful surgery on his spine. But all cushioned by tremendous material gain, and no more sorrow than thousands of less fortunate gay men. He still smokes dope every day, existing in a tightly regulated private world, feuding with Elton when he dared to comment that George "should get out more". That spat was resolved, but he's still surrounded by loyal sycophants who pander to his whims. By paying for sex, he still assumes control. By telling the world he's in an open relationship but is going to legitimise it in law, he gets the best of both worlds. He offers a poor role model to the gay community, and despises the business he's made his fortune from. He took his record company, Sony, to court fighting for his artistic freedom, and ended up back with them (after spending $7 million in legal fees) because they offered the best deal. At the risk of incurring his wrath, I say Happy Christmas George, just lighten up. Can you let your music speak for itself without telling us how many men you shagged last week? We like you anyway.

Tory policy: jobs for the Davids

David Cameron, the new Tory leader, makes much of the inclusion of more women on his front bench. But don't believe for one moment that we are entering a new era for the Conservative Party. There are still more men called David than there are women in the Shadow Cabinet. And what a great advertisement for Tory family values were those pictures of David Davis with a carload of women and a blonde on his lap - but no sign of a seatbelt - on his way to a Mayfair party last week. It's time his long-suffering wife condemned him to the spare room for the holiday season.

Little Britain: The paper chain of command

Now that the festive season is in full swing, be grateful if you don't work in a Jobcentre. In a move worthy of inclusion in an episode of 'Little Britain', managers of a group of Jobcentres in part of Greater Manchester have sent out memos declaring that Christmas decorations can represent a safety hazard. Trees are permitted as long as they are "small", and lights should have a 12-month warranty. The 400 staff have been told they cannot put up decorations attached to the ceilings or walls in case they fall from a desk or chair and injure themselves. Any decorations which do not conform to health and safety regulations will be removed immediately. A spokesman from the Department for Work and Pensions said that staff needed to be "fully aware" of the risks.

I would have thought that a greater risk would be the chance of having unprotected sex after several drinks too many at the office party down at the local pub. Or the possibility of an accident while driving home drunk. But being fatally injured by a paper chain or tinsel streamer?

Fares unfair: The new line in punishing passengers

Gordon Brown awarded the rail franchise for the lucrative East Coast line to GNER earlier this year, and extracted the obscene sum of £1.3bn from the company for the privilege of holding on to its contract. Now GNER is raising its unregulated fares (cheap day returns and tickets bought in advance) by a whopping 8.8 per cent in the new year, the highest rise of any operator. The last four GNER trains I travelled on were 30 minutes late, but I was offered free coffee and biscuits. I'd rather have punctual trains, no free food and lower fares, thanks a lot. The Government pretends to support environmentally friendly policies, but taxes the rail user to an unacceptable degree. It just doesn't make sense.

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