Revealed: the plot to keep George Michael silent

Share
Related Topics
I ALWAYS try to get up to London on a rail strike day. The place seems much emptier, almost bearable, especially when Wimbledon has drained a lot of the excess people off down to SW19. The most exciting thing I saw on Wednesday was a businessman walking along the street, cradling his mobile phone and shouting into it: 'Take off the bet on Graf] Put it on McNeil]' I didn't know you were allowed to do that during a game.

Towards evening I drifted along to Soho, my old stamping ground, and found my steps going unerringly into that grand old sporting pub, the Manager and Coaches, where I saw the familiar shape of Adrian Wardour-Street inspecting an empty wine glass.

'Just in time, old boy,' he said. 'You can buy me a bottle of Chateau Fantin-Latour.'

I bought a bottle of something much cheaper and sat down with the doyen of the public relations industry. 'What have you got to celebrate this time?' I said. 'Don't tell me you've signed up Max Clifford to spill the beans about his life story?'

'Pshaw]' he grunted. 'We in the PR business wouldn't touch Max Clifford with a bargepole.'

'Why not?'

'Because we are always two lengths behind him, that's why. No, I am here to celebrate the victory of my client in a big case.'

'Your client being . . . ?'

'The Sony Corporation in its case against Mr George Michael.'

I had heard something of this case. Mr Michael was a pop musician who had achieved the miracle of being perpetually half- shaven. He had also created a number of pop records, none of which I had heard. I had made no particular effort to avoid them. I just avoid all pop music, that's all. It is a harmless hobby, but one that has brought me much pleasure.

On the other hand, I had a sneaking admiration for Mr Michael's stand against Sony. 'I feel sorry for old Michael,' I said. 'Shouldn't he be allowed to make music the way he wants?'

'Have you heard his music?' asked Adrian, pouring out his second glass from my bottle.

'No.'

'Well, then.'

'I didn't say he should be able to play it so I can hear it. Just so that he can play it.'

'But if Sony came across a way of letting him play and stopping everyone hearing it, you would be in favour?'

I thought about this for a second, perhaps less. 'Certainly.'

'Well that is what this court victory today means.'

'You'd better explain.'

'The Sony Corporation is an incredibly successful international company, run by the Japanese, right?'

'Yes.'

'The Japanese parent company recently bought the Columbia Film Company, which owns many of the greatest black- and-white classics.'

'Yes.'

'That's because the Japanese are old softies at heart. They like old black-and-white classics. They like jazz. They like baseball. They're into nostalgia.'

'Yes.'

'But one thing they don't particularly like is pop music.'

'Hold on,' I said. 'Japanese teenagers are crazy about pop music.'

'I'm not talking teenagers,' said Adrian. 'Teenagers everywhere like pop music. That's because teenagers don't know anything about nothing. But teenagers don't do one thing. They don't own Sony. When I say the Japanese don't like pop music, I'm talking the kind of people who own Sony. Old Japanese. Jazz-generation Japanese.'

'Right.'

''They hate pop music. They have tried to like it, and failed. Finally, they have gone on a crusade. However much it costs them, they are going to hire all the artists who seem to be most of a pain in the ears, commmit them to an exclusive contract and then not record them.'

'You're joking.'

'Do I ever joke?'

'Are you telling me that Sony is committed to keep George Michael to his contract in order to prevent him ever appearing on record again?'

Somehow Adrian sensed that he had already said too much. 'Look here, dear boy,' he said, 'not a word of this in your column. Otherwise I might get in trouble, and you wouldn't want that, would you? Now, would you like a couple of tickets for the Centre Court . . . ?'

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The Liberal Left should stop feeling guilty about flying the flag of St George and have no qualms about celebrating Englishness, one of Ed Miliband’s closest advisers said  

Don't sneer at the white van driving flag waving man

Stefano Hatfield
A customer holds his new iPhone  

How magazine websites for young women are filling a gap in the market

Ian Burrell
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin