❚ HERE’S A PICTURE MANY SAID would never be taken: all four members of 80s supergroup Culture Club reunited. And a live concert imminent. In 1983 the New Romantic band with its gender-bending singer and unique reggae-based rhythms were prominent among the 18 new-wave bands who mounted the Second British Invasion of the US charts. In 1984 the band won the Grammy Award as Best New Artist and along with Princess Diana, Boy George became an international fashion emblem for the new Swinging London.
This week Boy George’s official website announces that the four original members of Culture Club have reunited for the first time since 2002 for a one-off concert in Australia on Jan 1. Before an audience of 30,000 at Sydney’s Glebe Island, overlooking the harbour, the band will play after the New Year’s Eve midnight fireworks on a bill with The Pet Shop Boys, Jamiroquai and other Australian acts.
More surprising is that the photo shows Roy, Jon, George and Mikey in a London recording studio where George said “we’re in the middle of writing for a new album” with their original producer Steve Levine. This first pic of the reunited Culture Club is grabbed from Sydney’s Seven Television in an interview on Tuesday when George said they’d include a couple of new songs in the “hit-packed” Sydney show. When Jon was asked why a reunion has taken so long, an agonisingly long silence followed until he managed to answer “I don’t know!” This did raise the laugh we see above, then he added “I think we have a ten-year cycle. It takes that long to recover from the last time we worked with each other.” Not a flicker of a smile from anyone. The six-minute exchange contained so many sidelong glances between the four and generally awkward body language that you might wonder whether they would survive the flight to Australia together.
Culture Club’s initial five-year career was blown apart after clocking ten Top 40 hits in the US, which included Karma Chameleon and Do You Really Want to Hurt Me. By 1986, however, George’s addiction to drugs was making tabloid headlines and his secret four-year romance with Jon was growing ever more explosive. A sanitised TV dramatisation titled Worried About The Boy provided an extremely one-sided version of events when aired last year. From 1998 a band reunion over four years yielded two chart hits and a platinum compilation album in the UK.