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Remembering George Michael

Before 2016 ended it claimed yet another of our most beloved souls. George Michael was snatched away on Christmas morning. A soulful singer, a thoughtful songwriter and a performer of great charisma, he was the gay icon of a generation. His creativity, generosity and warmth were, sadly, matched by his self-destructive inclinations – talented but troubled. Importantly, he was loved – by friends, family, millions of fans and, eventually, even by arch-rival Boy George! In this special feature, Marc Andrews reflects on the man, his music and his legacy. Steve Pafford recalls his up-close-and-personal encounters with George, and we unearth a great anecdote from Aussie music’s Paul Mac – something to do with “fluffing”!

Like so many gay men of my generation, George Michael has meant a lot to me at different times in my life.

As a gawky teenager in the early 1980s I remember taking posters of my idol from my Smash Hits magazines in to my mother’s hairdresser and demanding they cut my hair just like George Michael from Wham!

A poster of this Greek Adonis, George glistening underneath an outdoor shower and wearing only the briefest pair of white speedos, was pinned up inside my bedroom closet, kickstarting my lifelong lust for tanned cuties in semi-transparent Lycra.

I loved his music, both as part of Wham! and his subsequent solo career, and I loved the quick-witted George that would appear in interviews. There was a sly queerness about him when he’d somewhat unconvincingly announce he had a girlfriend. I felt strangely drawn to him, both sexually and spiritually, for reasons I didn’t understand at the time but most certainly do now.

When I began writing about pop music in 1988 for Smash Hits George already rivaled Michael Jackson as the biggest male music star in the world. He’d already outlived his pop use-by-date in superduo Wham! with school buddy Andrew Ridgeley, who went on to race cars, marry Keren Woodward from Bananarama, take up surfing and not much else really.

Born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou in East Finchley, London on June 25 in 1963 to a Greek Cypriot father and a Jewish English mother, George founded Wham! with Ridgeley in 1981 and just two years later the band’s first album Fantastic reached nimber one in the UK. Their second album, Make It Big, reached the top of the charts in the US a year later and introduced the world to many songs that would become well loved George Michael signature tracks including Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Freedom and Careless Whisper – which would become the very first George Michael solo single when it was released outside of the US.

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About DNA Magazine

It’s time to take your pants off… because this month's DNA is all about underwear. The issue is jam-packed with the latest trends in underwear styles with an in-depth guide by our fashion guru Joshua Heath. For the more adventurous and confident, fashion model Gabriel Garcia shows off the unique style of men’s lace underwear that's on trend. This issue, we also pay tribute to George Michael – the man, the music, the icon. In this special feature, Marc Andrews reflects on George's career highlights and some of his personal lows. Steve Pafford recalls his up-close-and-personal encounters with George, and we unearth a great anecdote from Aussie music’s Paul Mac – something to do with “fluffing”! Openly gay UFC fighter, Timothy Guest joins us to talk about overcoming ADHD and depression and how he went from go-go boy and jail bird to ultimate fighting champion. On the cover, Abel Cruz from Photo Studio Miami captures the body-licious Jason Whidby in rocket-fuelled shoot that will leave you begging for more! For art lovers, we showcase the work of the world famous Ross Watson ahead of his up-coming Sydney exhibition and take a look at a unique Bollywood adaptation of the classic fairytale Cinderella – with an all-male cast. All that, and so much more in this month’s DNA Magazine.