George Michael’s “Outside”(1998): A Close Reading -Declan  Gilmore-Kavanagh 

Here are my tweets on George Michael’s song “Outside”. A close reading of the lyrics and a homage! Rest in power, George! 

Actually… I am going to do a tutorial.
“Back to nature, just human nature

Getting on back to” 

– the most powerful lyrics in LGBT music. 

Why?

Because from the beginning George Michael returns to sexuality as desire; sex is the meeting of two desiring bodies; gay sex follows the natural logic of two desiring men

There is no place to stigmatise, marginalise, belittle or put-down if the starting point is constructed as natural & shared by most: desire

“I think I’m done with the sofa

I think I’m done with the hall

I think I’m done with the kitchen table, baby” 

heterosex is boring! Restricted by social mores and religious strictures

Domesticated hetero sex, a legacy, in part, of the #c18 intro of street lighting, is normative even when it tries to be exciting. Sex in the kitchen? Easy there 🐯

So basically in the first few lines of “Outside”, George Michael has undermined LGBT marginalisation through recourse to our shared desire to fuck. Genius!

“Let’s go outside (let’s go outside)” 

why? 

Because historically – and still today – so much gay sex has been outside. It’s had to be in parks, toilets (cottaging), or in the dark

“Let’s go outside” is a call to return but this a return to something that is ongoing: illicit, anonymised, gay sex, in streets not sheets

“In the sunshine

I know you want to, but you can’t say yes” 

This is an interesting nuance in the song & a huge point for Gay politics, particularly gay white male & middle-class sexual politics  #GeorgeMichael

“I know you want to, but you can’t say yes” 

#GeorgeMichael points to the divide between good gay & bad queer. Good gays don’t play outside 😂

Bad queers play everywhere 😋

“Let’s go outside (let’s go outside)

In the moonshine

Take me to the places that I love best” 

Gay desire has its own geographies
Even in your own town there will be cruising grounds that have been around for decades, maybe even longer. Visit them 😏

You most likely have already visited them and not known … moving swiftly on …

“So my angel she says, don’t you worry

about the things they’re saying, yeah” 

GM repairs the misogyny of the fag-hag stereotype. His female friend is an 😇 the links between misogyny and homophobia are acknowledged here.

“Got no friends in high places” revealing GM’s bizarre marginalised position in industry that runs on campness but is shockingly homophobic

“And the game that you gave away

Wasn’t worth playing” 

staying in the closet: personally, but more so professionally. NOT WORTH IT. (As I listen along I am in tears…)

“And yes I’ve been bad

Doctor won’t you do with me what you can”

 since the 19th-century gay sex has been pathologized. Still is.

GM says a big ‘Fuck You All’ for pathologising our desire.

He ridicules the straight pathologising of gay sex by playing on the erotics inherent in the doctor | patient relationship-a staple of porn

“You see I think about it all the time

Twenty four seven” undermining negative figuring of gay sexual desire as rapacious by owning it 💁🏻‍♂️

“You say you want it, you got it

I never really said it before” 

The economy of anonymous sex demystified here for the unititated listener + a dig at the undercover cop who arrested him #georgemicheal

“There’s nothing here but flesh and bone There’s nothing more nothing more

There’s nothing more”

The song returns back to the irrefutable logic of desiring body, in this case a man desiring another man’s body.


“I’d service the community

(But I already have you see!)” 😂 community service? 

By far, the most potent & politically charged line of the song. Think of the delicious irony here. GM has, in fact, been servicing HIS community for years 🏳️‍🌈

“Servicing” here is really also pleasures of gay sex. Cruising & its pleasure is self-preservation in an anti-queer world #georgemicheal

“Dancing on the d-train baby

When the moon is high

And the grass is jumpin’

Come on, just keep on funkin” – we need this now more than ever!

Dancing on the D train (dick),  in other words, men fucking, is a political act, especially now that another Dick has mobilised the fascists against women, LGBTQ people, POC and other minorities…

Final line:

 “Keep on funkin’, just keep on funkin'” and we will, George, we will. ♥️ 

#georgemicheal

That’s the end of the “tutorial”. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading along. I just can’t stand the media’s homophobic & bland comments about #georgemicheal

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