After Andrew Ridgeley paid tribute to his former Wham! bandmate at BRITS, Shaun Ponsonby answers the question on virtually nobody’s lips.
Originally published on Getintothis
Did you see the BRITS last week?
What am I saying? Of course you didn’t. You are a rational human being, for shite’s sake.
I did though. I watched it so that you didn’t have to, and it raised several questions; Does anyone really like Coldplay? Is giving Robbie Williams an icon award somewhat subversive? No, really, does anyone really like Coldplay?
But, most importantly, it got me doing something I haven’t ever done before. I started to think a lot about Wham!’s Andrew Ridgeley. Like, more than anybody has ever thought about Andrew Ridgeley before. Who thinks of Andrew Ridegely? I’m pretty sure that even his wife has to look him up on Wikipedia once in a while.
He was on hand with what I initially thought were two members of All Saints, but turned out to be Pepsi & Shirlie, Wham!’s backing singers who eventually became their own act under the brilliant name of Pepsi & Shirlie, paying tribute to their former partner in overt whamming, George Michael. It was quite jarring to see Ridgeley. He has hardly made any public appearances in decades, and to see him suddenly looking old was a surprise, even if it shouldn’t have been given that everybody except Prince ages eventually.
But, why haven’t we seen Ridgeley? Most people in his position would have spent the last thirty years riding off Michael’s coattails for cheap celebrity kicks. They would appear on I’m a Celebrity, or Celebrity Big Brother, or in the line-up on Never Mind The Buzzcocks. You would have at least expected him to show up on one of Channel 5’s cheap countdown shows or BBC’s I Love 198whatever.
But, no. He has kept quiet. We have never seen Andrew Ridgeley eating a Kangaroo’s anus with Ant & Dec cackling behind him like tiresome school kids. We have never seen him asked questions about Bananarama by Julie Goodyear in the Big Brother house. We haven’t seen Phill Jupitus take the piss out of his him with Sarah Millican and Duncan from Blue with half-arsed put downs. We haven’t even see him talking about some product some random fucking film from the 80s that nobody really remembers all that fondly, but everyone pretends they do for the purposes of a clip show.
I went searching for meaning, because I apparently have no social life and have nothing better to do other than sit at home on a Saturday night, drinking all alone and wanking myself into oblivion through a sea of tears to celebrity Skype leaks whilst listening to crap 80s pop, and thought this would at least be almost constructive, in a strange sort of way.
It seems he did release a solo album, just the one, Son of Albert in 1990. Looking at the videos, it seems he attempted to recast himself as a sort of red blooded rocker. Take a look at this one, Red Dress.
It is pretty clear we’re in that strange period of time directly between the commercial peaks of Bon Jovi and Billy Ray Cyrus.
Despite the title of the song being Red Dress, the model in the video is occasionally wearing white and cavorting with an American flag, even though Ridgeley is from Surrey. Apparently they blew so much of the budget of the video on that flag, that the only member of the band that they could afford to bring to the shoot was the drummer, and for some reason they filmed it on the set of the Kenny Everett Video Show.
The song itself is total by-the-numbers rock clichés and Ridgeley himself proves why George sang all of Wham!’s songs. Despite his manly, shirtless, toned, “Look at my bangin’ bod” scenes, he sings with a surprisingly whiny voice. It’s no surprise he didn’t make another.
After that, nothing. He attempted to become a Formula One racing driver, he tried to do some acting. But ultimately, he just sat it out, living off his royalties and doing what he wanted when he wanted.
Parts of his life seemed to be the inspiration behind the nondescript and forgotten Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant RomCom Music & Lyrics, where Grant plays a washed up pop star from an 80s duo called POP! whose frontman went off to become a huge solo star, leaving Grant’s character in obscurity, save for one failed solo album,, the cover of which looks uncannily like Son Of Albert. Some of the group’s songs sound hugely familiar, not least the Careless Whisper-ness of Meaningless Kiss.
But, unlike Grant’s character, in the few public appearances Ridgeley has made, he has never seemed bitter. In fact, he seems to downplay his part in George’s success. Take a look at this tweet from after Michael’s death.
— Andrew Ridgeley (@ajridgeley) December 29, 2016
He followed it with the message “He resented it, and so do I on his behalf”.
Ridgeley kind of invented George Michael, and George himself acknowledged that he wouldn’t have been able to walk on stage in the first place had Andrew now been with him. He now shuns the spotlight and lives a happy life, not once publicly commenting on his former partner’s well documented troubles, now or at the time.
So, do you know what? Andrew Ridgeley has taken a lot of flak over the last thirty years, but respect to him. An honourable man in a dishonourable industry. He may forever be on the end of snarky comments about being the guy who stood behind George Michael for a few years, but he is definitely having the last laugh, and he has definitely earned my respect. And I don’t respect anyone. Ask the Getintothis editors.
Next week: Whatever happened to early 90s London rapper Betty Boo?
Am I the only one who thinks the reaction the OSCARS mishap is just a tad overblown? I mean, nobody died, did they? Someone was handed the wrong envelope and made a vaguely interesting moment after a massive 64 hour broadcast of mind-numbing, self-congratulatory tedium. Its not rocket surgery. Investigation, my arse.
Noel Gallagher‘s daughter Anaïs says that she cries when she sees him perform. So did I, but that is because I was bored to tears (*bum-tish*), Also, Noel Gallagher effectively named his daughter “Anals”. Nothing funny about that. Nothing at all. Can’t think of anything.