Sunday, 9 April 2017
The Top Ten Songs I Hated When I Was A Kid #4
4. Culture Club - Karma Chameleon
When I started this series, I knew I'd have to write about this song... and I knew it would involve confessing to something I'm now pretty ashamed of.
I was a homophobic child.
There's no getting away from this fact. Like many of my age in the 80s, I viewed gay people with suspicion and said some pretty horrible things about them, through blind ignorance. It was only when I started working in radio (at 16) that I ended up meeting a lot of gay people, some of whom would become close, long term friends (three of the best friends I've had over the last 30 years, in fact) that my eyes were opened and my prejudice washed away.
But before that, there was Boy George.
I was 11 when Karma Chameleon hit the top of the charts and I hated it. Because there was George, a Boy dressed like a girl, and I really didn't like it. I can't take full responsibility for that: it was the attitude of the times, and only through the outspoken work of openly gay pop stars like George and Jimmy Sommerville did people's attitudes finally start to change. It would be a good few years before George Michael or Freddie Mercury (both of whom I adored back then) officially came out. And it took Barry Manilow till LAST WEEK to finally admit it. I realise now the horrible irony of hating a song which is essentially about accepting people without prejudice... because I was prejudiced myself. But at 11, it's hard to see the forest for the trees,
Having just listened to Karma Chameleon all the way through for the first time in ages, maybe the song has finally grown on me, as well as the message. Love that harmonica...