July 6th 2002
Pop star George Michael's controversial music video, which portrays Tony Blair as a poodle to Mr Bush, was being premiered today. – The South Wales Echo
So I was in the gents at Regents Park, when I suddenly noticed a foot had slid under the wall of the cubicle on my right and was twirling daintily at me.
"Psst!" hissed a familiar voice. "It's me. George Michael."
"Are you insane, man?" I gasped. "You want to go through this again? You're already notorious the world over for your criminal record."
"That's unfair," he snapped. "It got to Number 78 in Norway and was given a rave review from the rock critic of The Bournemouth Echo."
"Look, I'm in a hurry," I said. "I'm not narrow-minded or anything but I'm a respectable citizen and, like the majority of the British people, I find the very thought of certain activities utterly disgusting. So I don't mind performing a lewd act with you, but please, please don't make me listen to your new CD."
"You're just like all the rest," said George sulkily, withdrawing his foot and giving a petulant kick at the door. "I do a savage indictment of the war on terror and Blair's relationship with Bush, and no-one's interested. They just want the old stuff."
"Whoa, hold up there, buddy. The old stuff is a savage indictment of Tone's relationship with me."
I looked up and there was President Bush poking his head over the wall of the left-hand cubicle.
"Yeah, I didn't get it at first. I said to Colin, 'These Brits keep goin' on about a "special relationship". What's the deal with that?' An' Colin goes, 'Just think Wham!' An' he explains that I'm George W Michael and Tone's the other guy, Wossname."
"Give me a minute," said George Michael. "It'll come to me."
"Well, anyway," said the President, "Colin says 'Sure, you and Tony are officially a duo, but everyone knows who's doing all the work, right? So you got to be careful not to make him look even more dorky and useless.' This was back in late September and I knew Tone was worried that we was jes' gonna launch the Afghan thing in the middle of the night and he'd have to read about it in the papers, like all the other allies. 'Exactly,' says Colin. 'What Tony's trying to tell you is "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go/Don't leave me hanging on like a yo-yo/Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go/I don't wanna miss it when you hit that high."'
"Then Colin says, 'And what you have to tell him is: 'I'm not planning on going solo.'
"I say, 'But I am planning on going solo. I'm a globally reviled unilateralist.' And he says, 'Yeah, but we don't need to tell Tony that just yet. It's called the George Michael Doctrine.' I say, 'Wow, this guy George Michael seems to be right on top of geopolitical affairs. Do I need to get all his records?'
"But Colin says, 'No, just the early, big-selling ones.'"
"That's all wrong," said a voice from the cubicle down the end, and there hanging halfway up the wall clinging to the cistern was the Prime Minister himself. "As I see it, there have been few more eloquent summaries of Anglo-American relations in the George Michael oeuvre than..."
And here Mr Blair began to sing in a high, plaintive voice: " 'Last Christmas/I gave you my heart/But the very next day/You gave it away...' I mean, if you take out 'my heart' and replace it with 'my Royal Marines' and instead of 'gave it away' sing 'introduced steel tariffs and massive farm subsidies that damage his few remaining allies'."
"Gotcha," said George M. "How about...?" And instantly all the tedious unlistenable tracks of his serious-artist period were forgotten and he was once again the swarthy young heartthrob bellowing out his Xmas classic:
I gave you my troops
But the very next day
You subsidised hay...
"Brilliant!" cried Tony, losing his balance and clutching desperately at the chain as the cistern pipe came away from the wall and he crashed to the floor in a torrent of water and frothing Toilet Duck.
Scarcely had he landed then the door of my cubicle was kicked open and there was an angry Chris Patten with his fly undone. "I've been standing at the Eurinal listening to this rubbish," he snorted. "Yes, the President's right. He is George W Michael in the sense that he's a manufactured bubblegum product of the big multinationals who's under the absurd illusion that he's a towering genius. But he doesn't realise that this war will only succeed if we approach it like 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' Okay, George got a couple of solo lines, but there were a lot of other singers on that single. And, frankly, this coalition won't work unless we hear from Jacques Chirac as Simon LeBon, Gerhard Schröder as Bono, and the Benelux guys as Bananarama."
But George seemed to have lost interest and had once again slid his toes under the partition and was playing footsie with me. Suddenly a voice cut through the hubbub with the most famous of all Michael lyrics: "Guilty feet have got no rhythm."
"Hmm," said George, thoughtfully. "You mean America is hampered by an awareness of its own culpability?"
"No," said the chap, knocking down George's cubicle door. "I mean I'm PC Hotchkiss and you're nicked."
Comment on this item (members only)
Viewing and submission of reader comments is restricted to Mark Steyn Club members only. If you are not yet a member, please click here to join. If you are already a member, please log in here: