Boy George was on Later last week and it got me thinking about pop stars of the past and how things may seem to them now, how the landscape has changed. In the 80's it seemed like George was all over the news with all kinds of scandals -- drugs, death, sex, being openly gay, it was all one big controversy being Boy George, or so it seems in my recollection (I was only a kid back then). I do remember some heroin scandals and I'm pretty sure someone died in his house. All that plus the normal decline of fame that seems to come with the aging of any pop star; how did he handle it? And how does it seem now, when the only controversies seems to come from what a pop star wears? Things have certainly changed now, or they seem different to me anyway. Probably a lot of that has to do with how the media are now -- there are so many more channels of information that it's rare the entire populace to unite around any one bit of news. I also think, as a culture, we're far more forgiving. I think the thing that would most irk me if I were George is how the issue of being famous and gay has changed -- irk me in the sense that things were so much worse for him; probably George Michael feels the same way, or worse, since he was a much bigger star, worldwide, than George is. It's funny seeing these people age. George (,Boy) is looking good though, I have to say, especially for 50 and especially given his past habits! And I'm liking the new songs I've heard -- I'll put them in below so you can hear them until or unless they get taken down. And, while I'm at it, it's also amusing to me that he plays a reggae-tinged number on the show and on his new album. I love ska and reggae but you can always tell that a musician is from the UK, and probably from a certain era, when they're doing anything Jamaica-related -- that tiny island has had an outsize influence on UK pop music, and a good one, I'd say. There should be, and may be, a book written about US vs UK pop music, and culture and that book should have a large section devoted to the black influence on each country's pop music and how the approaches have compared and differed. It would make for some very interesting reading.