In Which I Ask Boy George The Meaning Of One Of His Songs

Down the street from my first full-time job at CBS Records was a bookstore. Two blocks down from that bookstore was another bookstore. Around the corner from my office was a Sam Goody music store. Often these stores hosted book/record/CD signings. During my lunch hour I’d wait on line to buy the new release from someone I admire and get them to autograph it at the same time. I met former Supreme Mary Wilson, David Johansen (as Buster Poindexter), and Liberace. I guess it wasn’t always someone I admire. While she was signing her latest CD for me, I told Sandra Bernhard that we had met once before. She responded, sarcastically, “Who could forget?”

When I got to the front of the line to meet Joan Rivers and was face to face with her, I said “Oh, it’s you. I thought I was here to meet Joan Collins.” She responded something to the effect of “Sorry. You got me.”

I met Tipper Gore at a signing of her then-new book Raising PG Kids in an X-Rated Society, or something like that. There was literally nobody there to meet her. Nobody except me. Perhaps it was obnoxious of me to say “Nice turnout, Tipper,” but this was back when she was campaigning to have warning labels put on records, an idea I found silly. She was a good sport, though. We ended up chatting for about ten minutes, each explaining his/her viewpoint. After our chat she asked “Are you going to buy my book now?” I told her no, and she said “Take it out from the library. It’s cheaper,” to which I replied “You’re a great salesperson, Tipper.” She laughed.

I don’t remember what I said to Prince when I met him, but I do recall him looking at me as if of the two of us, I was the weirder one.

I couldn’t speak when I met Tina Turner. Her skin was so smooth and flawless it left me dumbfounded.

Years later I met Kathy Griffin a a DVD signing that was immortalized on her reality show My Life on the D-List. The show did not exaggerate the situation – only eight or so people showed up.

I was excited to meet Boy George when he published his autobiography in 1995. I’ve been a fan of his since the first time I heard Culture Club’s first US single, “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me.” The group’s fourth album, From Luxury to Heartache, included a song called “Gusto Blusto.” A DJ played it on the radio and then said “I can’t tell you what Gusto Blusto means on the air.” Finally I had the opportunity to ask the song’s writer what that expression means. I asked George. He laughed and said “I don’t remember.” Thanks, George!

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Yesterday Boy George turned 53 years old. Here are ten tracks of his you should know.

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