Simon Hattenstone remembers interviewing George Michael back in 2009. “I have so many memories of this interview. George didn’t like doing interviews, but when he did he gave them everything. I’d interviewed him once before, and he decided he liked it because he was honest so he asked if I’d interview him again. It was a dark winter’s day, and he wanted to talk about everything and everyone – Elton John, Bono, cottaging, drugs. George was such a complex mix – vulnerable, paranoid, self-obsessed, warm and generous. The thing that stays with me from the interview was when I asked him about taking crack. I ended up sounding like his dad or a school teacher, which is weird because I’m not normally like that.. But I guess I felt protective towards him and worried for him. The most lasting memory is from after the interview. He lived a 15-minute car drive from me in Hampstead, North London, and insisted on driving me home. It was lovely of him, but I was a bit worried because he’d been spliffing up all day. Anyway he insisted (this was only a few months before he drove into the front window of SnappySnaps). When we got to the house, I said will you do me a favour? – I’ll hide and you knock on the door. My older daughter Alix, who was 18 at the time, answered and said “Bloody hell, it’s George Michael.” My younger daughter Maya, then 16, stood at the top of the stairs and shouted “Who’s George Michael?” It was very funny. George came in for a cup of tea. Alix was watching EastEnders where the character Heather who was obsessed with George had just given birth to baby George Michael. So George Michael was in our house having a cup of tea watching baby George Michael on Eastenders with us. Surreal is an overused term. But that was properly surreal. And one of my greatest memories.” Issue 05/12/2009.
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