‘That wasn’t me!’ the ever-flamboyant yet lovable British music icon Boy George said of the plainly clothed image that arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Wednesday night.
“I just arrived 10 minutes ago,” he deadpanned, to the delight of print and TV media at a news conference the following day at Novotel Hotel Manila.
Dressed in a matching printed top hat and trench coat, which upon closer inspection on the zoom button reveal a chain of “xoxo’s”—the symbols for “hugs and kisses”—the front man of the ‘80s super group Culture Club, nonchalantly added, “That was George O’Dowd.”
Now George Alan O’Dowd is the artist’s real name, and clearly the artist’s alter ego. A stark contrast to Boy George, who besides his timeless hits (“Do You Really Want To Hurt Me,” “Karma Chameleon and “Love is Love,” among others) is known the world over for his colourful and outrageous outfits, O’Dowd surprised airport photographers when he arrived in a black baseball cap, a plain black hoodie, grey sweatpants and a dark glasses.
The very rugged O’Dowd sported the same beard as Boy George the next day but without a trace of makeup. In full regalia during this interview—complete with glitters around his peepers and on his lashes, fabulous green eye shadow, and expertly drawn theatrical brows—the poster boy of the New Wave music era clearly yet tactfully sent the message that his personal and private lives are two different domains, and should be respected as such.
“Basically, there’s George O’Dowd who likes to travel incognito, and who doesn’t like surprises. And there’s Boy George,” he explained.
“I’m a Gemini and I guess it’s very British of me but I’d like to be prepared. So when you throw things at me that I’m not expecting, I’m not the best. I’m not very… adaptable,” he added, careful to choose the right words.
Fabulous and flamboyant again, he went on, “I’m like the Queen! She wears many hats, [and like her]I like things to be organized and planned and I don’t like surprises.”
Endearingly, just like a woman whose confidence is boosted by a knockout dress and makeup, O’Dowd’s alter ego intimated, “So when I’m dressed like this and I’m very prepared for anything and I can take you on… But when I’m getting off the plane, and I’m collecting my luggage,” he feigned incredulity, “I don’t know who that person is!”
Bringing the house down one last time, he quipped, “[The man at the airport], he’s not very interesting. Why would you even print a picture of him when you can have a picture of me dressed like this! Now this picture can change the world!”
Boy George and the Culture Club will perform tonight at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. The one-night only concert is presented by Royale Chimes Concert & Events Inc., with The Manila Times as one of the media partners.