Wednesday, January 28, 2009


In my many years on the island of Manhattan, I have never felt such cold.

Oh, sure it's colder in places like Minnesota, but in Manhattan we actually walk in the cold. I am praying for an early spring.

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Broken Boy George signs autographs for fellow inmates inside his prison cell
Last updated at 12:50 PM on 20th January 2009

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Overweight and with a 15-month sentence of confinement stretching out before him, this is Boy George in his prison cell.

The troubled singer sits on a bed, writing autographs for the trickle of curious fellow inmates who have demanded them.

The forlorn figure he cuts is a world away from the outrageously-attired pop star who had hits such as Karma Chameleon with Culture Club in the 1980s.

Sentenced: Boy George signs autographs for his fellow inmates at Pentonville Prison

Now 47, he is using his real name of George O'Dowd during his term at Pentonville in North London.

O'Dowd, who has battled drug addiction, was jailed on Friday for imprisoning and beating a rent boy at his home.

It is understood there is extra security to protect the singer who has said he fears being attacked in prison because he is gay.

It has also been reported that his cell-mate has been asked to take care of him.

O'Dowd has landed a £6-a-week job as a kitchen worker serving food to other inmates, which is regarded as one of the easier tasks in prison.

The judge accused O'Dowd of 'gratuitous violence' when he sentenced him last week after hearing how he shackled rent boy Audun Carlsen to a wall of his flat and lashed him with a chain while shouting insults at him.

The 29-year-old Norwegian managed to free himself and fled in his underpants into the street, screaming for help.

Condemning his 'premeditated', 'callous' and drug-fuelled frenzy which 'traumatised' Mr Carlsen, the judge said his victim had been 'deprived of his liberty and his human dignity'.

He said the offence was 'so serious that only an immediate sentence of imprisonment can be justified'.

Heyday: The culture club star

O'Dowd's own barrister admitted that his client's career had hit rock bottom and likened the behaviour of the two men to 'two drug-crazed idiots'.

The singer, who has battled drug addictions, has repeatedly denied swinging the chain at the younger man.

He did not give evidence in court - his brother David O'Dowd said it was because he did not want to cause further upset to his elderly mother.

At the height of Culture Club's success in the early 1980s, the star was one of the most recognisable artists in the world.

The group had a string of hits including Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? and Karma Chameleon and sold millions of records.

His career faltered after his heroin addiction was exposed, but he made a comeback in the 1990s, having reinvented himself as a DJ.

In 2006, he again hit the headlines when he admitted falsely reporting a burglary at this apartment in the U.S.

He was ordered to clear litter from the streets in New York as part of his community service.

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Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below?

Look on the bright side, you will emerge a few pounds lighter!!!!!!
Click to rate Rating 15 - Irene Rybinska, London UK, 19/1/2009 23:53

The quote "...curious fellow inmates who have demanded them." is interesting.

Might they not have just been fans who were *asking* for them??
Click to rate Rating 44 - Chris Lewis, Sydney, Australia, 20/1/2009 0:14

He could be writing notes or anything - how do we know it's autographs? And who is allowed to take sneaky pictures of inmates in prison?
Click to rate Rating 68 - J.S., London, England., 20/1/2009 0:23

Oh my goodness, I hope there is a suitable programme for him to get in to to get straightened out, so sad.....
Click to rate Rating 25 - Chris, Sebastian, FL USA, 20/1/2009 0:41

Use the prison time and facilities to get straight, chum. If you could get back to where you were (artistically) a few years ago, you could easily find a decent new future for yourself after this episode has been forgotten.
Click to rate Rating 55 - Philip, Shetland, 20/1/2009 1:33

What a waste of space this idiot is! The prisons here are a joke! An easy job straight away? Bring back hard labour - they've got it far too easy in these jails!
Click to rate Rating 62 - Kerry, Kent, 20/1/2009 1:42

It is almost impossible to believe that his addictions have led him to this after so many wake up calls. This is a sign of stupidity not to be confused with his problems.
Click to rate Rating 42 - Billy, Bangkok, Thailand, 20/1/2009 1:57

Does anyone actually care about 'George O'Dowd'? I doubt it.
We have far more important issues to worry about, such as 81 year olds being left to die when crying out for help after being mugged, diabetics being mistaken for drunks, and a corrupt government who are twisting the knife into this dying country.
Boy George is a famous/infamous nobody, and WHY did he just happen to be photographed signing autographs? That just about sums up the debased values of garbage Britain!
Click to rate Rating 1 - Susan Slatford, Wakefield, 20/1/2009 2:50

He always seemed like a very kind soul. Pity the media encouraged his youthful excess, and he didn't get a chance to mature. Maybe now, he will get that chance. Maybe.
Click to rate Rating 34 - clr, london, england, 20/1/2009 3:07

Doesn´t look miserable to me.
Click to rate Rating 5 - francesca, Spain, 20/1/2009 3:30

Enjoy your holiday at her Majesty's pleasure George..
Click to rate Rating 31 - TrueBrit, Blighty, 20/1/2009 3:57

Oh dear .... how the mighty fall. Sad story.
Click to rate Rating 5 - ex pat, Calgary Canada, 20/1/2009 4:33

Give George a break. What he did may have been wrong but does it really help anyone by locking him up? No. Help him to get through recovery and back on track. People easily forget the pleasure he has given to millions before. Hang in there George, you are loved!

Click to rate Rating 40 - Wills, Bologna Italy, 20/1/2009 4:33

I'm sorry to say I kinda/sorta feel bad for him. He seems/seemed a harmless bloke whose fame was short lived and he was unable to deal with becoming an ordinary person rather than a pop icon. At least that is my take on it.
I hope he does his time without drama, kicks his drug addiction and learns to deal with himself.
Click to rate Rating 26 - mike, Brownville NY USA, 20/1/2009 4:43

George use this time to get sorted , and make a come back , you can do it , Best wishes to you Patricia
Click to rate Rating 40 - patricia piper, toronto, canada, 20/1/2009 5:36

I hope he can keep strong through this. He is so beautiful and talented. We all make mistakes, some do more than others, but we can't be defined by them.
Click to rate Rating 34 - J, UK, 20/1/2009 6:11

Do you really wanna hurt me? Do you really wanna make me cry?...
Click to rate Rating 36 - John, London, 20/1/2009 6:37

We already have crime presented as entertainment in several TV shows. Now we have pictures of prison life, being freely distributed. What the hell happened to criminals and criminal acts being denigrated and this discouraged. Our increasingly irresponsible media, is rapidly turning crime into a celebrity lifestyle choice.
Click to rate Rating 32 - Andy Coleman, BRIGHTON, 20/1/2009 7:23

Where as I'm not condoning his behaviour and quite rightly it resulted in him being punished but I can't help wonder who decides on these sentences..... drunk drivers etc can get less for taking a human life! BTW why do these people get paid for doing tasks in prison? OK so it's £6 a week but what about paying a debt back to society?
Click to rate Rating 39 - Julie, Tyne & Wear, 20/1/2009 7:32

He needs to go on a diet and get a serious dose of reality. He'll be better for it. He's got talent, he should just use it constructively. Anyway, seven-and-a-half months is a perfect amount of time to lose the flab, and tone-up both physically and mentally.
Click to rate Rating 20 - Rupert Fotherington-Smythe, London, England, 20/1/2009 7:37

My dad stood next to him in the VIP section of a Madonna concert in the late 80's and he was a really decent guy. There were lots of fans who had a few to drink saying come on George! lets have a picture and all that and he was nice to everyone. I do feel sorry for him. Poor George. Such a great voice and wish he did release "Time Machine "!! Meanwhile, people attack grannies, and god knows what else and get away with it. The UK has really gone downhill.
Click to rate Rating 132 - Lou, Wales, 20/1/2009 7:38

George, you have a beautiful voice so why not use use this enforced time out to lose some weight and think about making more music. It's never too late to turn your life around and sometimes people need to hit rock bottom to climb out of the pit they are in. So try to be positive and look to the future not the past. I do wish you well and hope to hear your lovely voice again x
Click to rate Rating 125 - Lynzie, Devon, 20/1/2009 7:43

He has been given a gift of a talent that millions of people would give their I-teeth for, but what is he doing? Throwing it away!! George, this is the kick-start you need to get back on track, so please follow through.
Click to rate Rating 84 - WQ (ex pat), Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 20/1/2009 8:11

I'd like to know how the photographer got into the prison to take this photo! I feel for George, and I really hope he can get through this and come out a better person for it.
Click to rate Rating 13 - slowjogger, Hampshire, 20/1/2009 8:27

Always loved Boy George. He doesnt need to be in prison. He needs help with his drug problem. Extremely sad to see the picture of him in his cell especially for a fan.
Click to rate Rating 13 - Katie, Dover, Kent, 20/1/2009 8:53

I'm more worried about who took the picture, obviously a mobile phone, and how the camera got into a restricted area. Someone has not done their job very well; why am I not surprised.
Click to rate Rating 12 - MCB, Tenerife, 20/1/2009 9:02

I guess this should be viewed as a lesson to those who take drugs.... Hopefully, he will get back on track (no pun intended!).
Click to rate Rating 6 - Kemi, Nigeria, 20/1/2009 9:05

I do feel sorry for him. He is a sweet natured and good hearted person who got hooked on drugs. Of all the things to worry about for our children, drugs are the most insidious. Wish we could lock up all the scum who deal in the drug trade instead of the victims who lose their way as a result of their addictions.
Click to rate Rating 13 - mary, Dublin, Ireland, 20/1/2009 9:39

Shades of Oscar Wilde? Surely now his angst will create some new songs/poems/book/musical/calendar? You couldn't make this up. Dumb? You bet. Do/will this man's frailties tarnish his great songs? I'd say not at all. Somehow, unlike Glitter, I think Boy George isn't done yet. Not by a long chalk.

You couldn't buy the media coverage BG' got. Perfect for the Ross show. etc etc. Good luck and if he can take control of himself....who knows what futire No.1s are heading our way.
Click to rate Rating 7 - bill, In Africa, 20/1/2009 9:54

keep strong are beautiful
Click to rate Rating 11 - jan curtis, Melbourne, 20/1/2009 10:01

I wish George all the best. Whether is innocent or guilty, he's still a great talent. I hope he comes out and makes a comeback x
Click to rate Rating 15 - Terry, Brighton, 20/1/2009 10:01

This is what happens when you abuse yourself and think you can do what you like. No sympathy sorry but he will be out next week as the judge was only joking
Click to rate Rating 15 - taff, wales, 20/1/2009 10:03

Give the man a break, so he has put on weight he is ill thru his addictions
Get well soon George
Use the time to write new songs & look forward to hearing your lovely soulful voice when u get out
Click to rate Rating 11 - Eileen Maxwell, Dorset, 20/1/2009 10:13

I agree with others here, in that: George you have a great talent! now is the time to focus on something of use to the world, hopefully the feedback from any such enterprise will give you the
"hit" that you used to get from sex and drugs, time to grow up young man, the people will forgive if you are sincere.
Click to rate Rating 12 - Chris, Portsmouth, England, 20/1/2009 11:03

He won't get a rough time in jail for being gay but for the violent attack he mae on a rent-boy.
Click to rate Rating 16 - ROGER, BRIGHTON, 20/1/2009 11:17

Stay strong George - drugs aside you are an intelligent , funny and talented individual - don't give up, focus on getting out of there and then come back into the public domain where you can once again share your creativity and talent - go on you know you want to!
Click to rate Rating 8 - Elise, UK, 20/1/2009 11:36

Be carefull what you sing George! "Give me time to realise my crime"!!!!
"how" very fitting. George was given what millions of us can only dream of and squandered it in a self obssessed manner.
Perhaps he is writing lyrics for his new album in a couple of years time which has been demanded by his fellow inmates.
Click to rate Rating 6 - Graeme, Jersey, 20/1/2009 12:18

Loved his music in the eighties; an intelligent and articulate man who has thrown away his talent through drug addiction. Anyone who thinks drugs are OK should look at how George`s life has spiralled downwards through drug use. I wish him well and hope his time `inside` helps him to sort himself out.
Click to rate Rating 10 - Mia55, Chelmsford, England, 20/1/2009 12:28

Why are you all defending a man who imprisoned someone and beat them with a chain?

Oh but he released a few good records... in that case, let him get away with it! What's wrong with people?!???

Stop trying to undermine the judicial system. He did the crime - he'll do the time.
Click to rate Rating 10 - Lucinda, Essex, 20/1/2009 12:39

Don't think he deserved a jail sentence for the vindictive guy that put him there. I hope the only good thing that comes out of this is that he gets his life in order and gets back to entertaining.
Click to rate Rating 9 - Ruth, Perth, 20/1/2009 12:42

so sad.... such a great artisit...and all he has done was make us happy.... he can´t be a bad person, I am quite convenced of it...... hope he gets out soon.......
Click to rate Rating 7 - letty, madrid, spain, 20/1/2009 12:57

He needs help not punishment. He will not be attacked in prison for being gay. Lots of men turn to being gay on a temporary basis and then go straight on release. The man he assulted was after all a rent boy.
Click to rate Rating 10 - JIMBO, CHESTER, 20/1/2009 13:01

it's all very odd; he locked up a rent boy up to get him to admit that he had sent private images etc from georges laptop to his own email to possibly blackmail him / sell. It was proven the rent boy HAD done that. So, whilst i dont agree with the tying up of someone without permission, why is George in jail for 15 months? Surely a suspended sentence was more propotionate? Did the rent boy get into trouble for what he did?
Odd... very confused.
Click to rate Rating 13 - H Trigg, Swindon, uk, 20/1/2009 13:24

Who took the photo? Are you allowed cameras/camera phones in prison?
Click to rate Rating 8 - Kitty, Essex, UK, 20/1/2009 13:34

l cannot understand why he was PUT IN PRISON? l think the other party wants Fame and Money.

Rock on George... You are a Good Singer. Saw you in Taboo in New York WONDERFUL!

Your FANS await!
Click to rate Rating 20 - LA LA, WORCESTER -UK, 20/1/2009 14:07

Poor George. I think 15 months was a bit OTT for what he did.
Click to rate Rating 22 - Steff, Yeovil, UK, 20/1/2009 14:14

I met George while he was a DJ for a Brighton Club night Wild Fruit, He was charming and friendly, and agreed to pose for photos with me, he also donated a crisp £20 for the charity I was supporting. Let's hope he gets fit in prison and pens some great new material.
Click to rate Rating 25 - Jacqui, Brighton, 20/1/2009 14:19

Boy George is loved by millions of people around the world! He toured South America last year to sold out venues and people just loved him. He is a real icon, fantastic artist and a British treasure. You all British people should be proud of him. I can't believe what you are doing to him. It's a shame. Come on! Can you please just leave him alone!
Click to rate Rating 11 - mariano, buenos aires, argentina, 20/1/2009 14:25

I've only met George once, a couple of years back- and he was absolutely lovely! He may not be shifting the units he did back in the days of Culture Club- but he remains an amazingly talented songwriter and vocalist. I admire him alot.
Click to rate Rating 11 - Nick, Adelaide, Australia, 20/1/2009 14:29 are an inspiration to millions all over the world...some good reflection during this dark time in your life will hopefully bring out the best you have to offer...and though you're probably not allowed to do that free concert to show your appreciation to the new york sanitation deptartment like you promised (thanx in part to a total messed up judicial system)...perhaps a "live from Pentonville Prison" cd (ala...Johnny Cash live from San Quentin)...might be a thought to your resurrection...wishing you all the best!! xoxo
Click to rate Rating 9 - Mattress, Minneapolis, MN, 20/1/2009 14:37

I've said it before. I hope he learns from this, and puts aside his seedy drug filled life. He still has a lot to offer in way of entertainment, so come on George, learn from this will you!
Click to rate Rating 3 - John, Manchester, UK, 20/1/2009 14:39

I´m a chilean woman who loves Boy George. He is a GREAT songwritter and he has a wonderful voice that is UNIQUE. These two features, besides being a wonderful designer, photographer and an excellent cook, makes George the most talented musical genius of the post-modernity.
You should hear his last song (LET NO CRY) and understand what I say .
Click to rate Rating 8 - Claudia, Santiago, Chile, 20/1/2009 14:40

We defend him because we see this wonderful man for the real person he is. How dare his picture be taken in the first place and then to be published. I think it is appalling the way people are so spiteful about him. He will come through this and has so much love and support.
Click to rate Rating 9 - jackie hughes, Isles of Scilly, 20/1/2009 14:45

Those in glass houses should not... George is human. He is still the bright soul and talent. We all age and mature with time. His looks are not in question. He is admirable for his honesty. He is living life through its ups and downs. He will come out the other side shining and liberated. George has been the underdog before and again will prove his strength and relevance. We all need to look at our own lives imperfections and ask ourselves "how would I feel?" It will be our destruction to focus on any cannibalistic bashing in order to make ourselves feel free of "impurity". Most of us are coasting along in a "Pied Piper blindness". It is the George's of this world that are ultimately to be remembered for their positive artistic and social accomplishments.
Click to rate Rating 12 - Robert, Philadelphia,USA, 20/1/2009 14:58

The reason Boy George first became known to us has been sadly overlooked and overshadowed in the eyes of many. Whether you love him or loathe him, he has inspired so many, like myself, with his songwriting and his persona.
I am saddened for him and his family that he was handed such a harsh sentence - wholly disproportionate!
The past year was the most exciting in George's professional life for a long, long time - and unbeknown to the majority, he has been drug-free for almost a year. I went to as many of his concerts as I possibly could, and have met the most lovely people along the way. We are united in our support for George, and whilst I do not expect all mankind to be supportive or sympathetic, please remember that 'Boy George' is a human beign, he is a son, a brother, an uncle, a godfather etc .
Click to rate Rating 14 - Fiona, Bangor, North Wales, 20/1/2009 15:11

The poor guy has had a sad, mixed-up life. He needs compassion, not derision.
Click to rate Rating 4 - RB, Aberdeen, 20/1/2009 15:19

George will be just fine. It's a great time for him to reinvent himself. I'm looking forward to the creative future!!
Click to rate Rating 11 - Christopher Magnuson, Milwaukee, WI. USA, 20/1/2009 15:33

'It is almost impossible to believe that his addictions have led him to this after so many wake up calls. This is a sign of stupidity not to be confused with his problems.'

Your comment is ignorant and irresponsible Billy, and it reveals a failure to understand the nature of addiction. An inability to heed warning signs, and to persist in harmful behaviours regardless is at the core of this illness, which should under no circumstances be conflated with 'stupidity'.

Views such as yours do little to help engender the support and sympathy that addicts from all walks of life deserve.
Click to rate Rating 10 - Jason, London, 20/1/2009 15:42

Please stop calling this scum who George supposedly beat up a RENT BOY he was a rent MAN, and he knew exactly what he was doing. I think the 15 months is ridiculous. Use the time wisely George, STAY away from the drugs, lose weight, and write some new material. When you come out do a world tour.

Good Luck!!
Click to rate Rating 26 - Bronwen, Florida, USA, 20/1/2009 15:49
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