Friday, 24 October 2008

Day 24: You used to be so sweet

A while back, I was telling Kuka about how my great love when I was 11 or 12 was Boy George.

Beginning this post, I found myself wondering if the American readers would know who I was talking about. I didn't know if the English gender-bending popsters Culture Club made it 'across the pond' as the saying goes and it turns out they did. Karma Chameleon apparently spent 3 weeks at #1 in the US in 1984. So there you go. Thank you Wikipedia.

Discovering Culture Club in 1984 was the first time I really embraced music that wasn't my parents' music or Abba. A watershed moment, if you like, in my pop music journey. And oh didn't I love them. I played Colour By Numbers over and over and over again. I was passionate. So very passionate. My parents railed against Boy George, as parents must. My dad, as many dads no doubt did, declared Boy George was not a real man. There was talk of perversion. Gay? What was gay? I didn't know. I just liked his songs.

An avid Smash Hits reader then, I defended him vehemently, citing his statement that he would "rather have a cup of tea than sex" as evidence of his normality. I later learned in devouring his rather engaging autobiography, that statements such as that were a deliberate ploy to get the conservatives off his back. But in 1984, I told anyone who would listen (at age 11! Good Lord!) that he wasn't any of the things they said.

Anyhow, life moves on and the passions of a pre-pubescent girl are replaced. They become little more than memories to look back on with a mixture of cringing and nostalgia.

I make no secret of being a nostalgia junky. I can't live in a nostalgic space everyday, but I dip in and out as the mood suits me, which brings me to the reason for writing about my 11 year old self today.

After discussing such things with Kuka recently, she stumbled across a book and snapped it up for me. The Karma Cookbook, by Boy George and a friend.


I laughed and laughed. Then I opened it and declared it to be wonderful. I don't tend towards faddish diets and have no intention of ever adopting the macrobiotic way of life, but this little treasure is full of wonderful Japanese cuisine inspired recipes that look so damn tempting and tasty. I imagine I'll get loads of use out of it, as well as amusement and a nostalgia kick to boot.

In 1984, I could never have imagined a world in which my idol was writing a cookbook with a waitress, or sweeping the streets of New York as penance for his drug addiction. The world is indeed a bizarre place. Back then I just wanted a walkman so I could listen to him all the time without annoying my parents.

And it seems so tame now - a man dressed androgynously and singing such innocent lyrics as 'Loving would be easy if your colours were like my dream'. They don't make 'em like that any more.

Yesterday's controversy really is tomorrow's nostalgia.