‘Cheeky’ party on Hampstead Heath planned to celebrate George Michael’s life
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There will be a “cheeky” party in a “world-famous cruising area” on Hampstead Heath to celebrate the life of George Michael.
Organised by the Camden LGBT Forum and Queer Tours of London, “George Michael Wants You” has been planned as a tribute to the pop idol and the sexual freedom he represented.
Beginning at 1pm at Jack Straw’s Castle, off North End Way, Saturday’s celebration will include music (including George’s 1998 hit Go Outside), dancing and picnics.
It is being held close to the 19th anniversary of George’s arrest for a “lewd act” in a public toilet in Beverly Hills and also the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality.
Alex Green, singer, activist and organiser, said it was important to recognise the “massive gay icon” George was.
“There’ve been a lot of tributes to George, but nothing has focused on his LGBT activism,” he said.
“So we wanted to do something about cruising since he said how much he loved it. It’s probably why he moved to the area.”
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He added: “I think he would have found it funny but appropriate.
“We were asking ourselves, ‘How cheeky can we make this?’”?
Mr Green, however, stressed that it was not a “sex party” and that anyone who wished to come was welcome – and also that the organisers had full permission to use the Heath.
He also said that George, who died on Christmas Day, showed “huge courage” in coming out as gay, something which “blew his life apart”.
He added: “I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves.
“We need to ask why someone like him – confident, inspiring, intelligent – wasn’t originally comfortable coming out.
“It’s also worth asking why there are people even today who don’t feel confident coming out.”
Neil Andrew, an organiser from Queer Tours of London, said George’s presence was “stronger than ever”.
He added: “We gather at the world-famous cruising area on Hampstead Heath to ‘go outside’ in honour of George Michael.
“It will be a celebration of how he took back control after a very nasty public outing and turned it into a celebration of sexuality and sexual freedoms with the song Outside.”
A spokesman for the City of London Corportation, which manages the Heath, said: “We’ve spoken to the organisers of the event to make them aware of our bylaws which place restrictions on amplification of music and other activities.”