(Click on picture to enlarge – George is on right of picture, as in my politics, I’m on the Left!)
The above photo is one of the last taken of us both, a few months before he died. It was one of the publicity shots taken by Channel 4’s ‘Out’ program. We were briefly featured in an episode about housing for gay people. George’s wonderful collage of pop music thru the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s and into the 90s was featured all too briefly in the program.
George came into my life on September 10th, 1970 and changed it completely, for the better. We helped each other in so many ways, and grew very close over the 21 years we were together on this Earth.
When we met I was a fanatical Stalinist card-carrying member of the Communist Party, George was paranoid about anything vaguely leftwing. Not a very auspicious start for a relationship, but somehow we stayed together, and by 1991 we had almost identical political views. I had abandoned my hardline Communist views, and George had lost his paranoia about leftwing causes.
On two visits to Yugoslavia in the 1980s we fell in love with the country – its beauty, its people and its unique ‘market Socialism’ devised by Marshal Tito. Of course we didn’t approve of its one-party system, but in view of what happened to Yugoslavia about the time of George’s death, democracy would have broken up the federation.
George lived to see the beginning of the break-up of both the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. He thought the Baltic States (Soviet Union) and Slovenia and Croatia were very stupid to try to go-it-alone, and that they should have stayed with the federations they were in, whilst trying to reform them. Gorbachov was implementing glasnost and perestroika in the Soviet Union before the fatal August 1991 coup, which George also lived to see, which let in Boris Yeltsin. One of George’s last comments on the Soviet Union was that he didn’t trust Yeltsin. In the event he proved a disaster. One wonders what would have happened had Gorbachov stayed in power.
George and I also grew close in many other spheres. We liked the same TV programs, and he introduced me to good theater and films. We went several times a week usually, and we traveled the world together. All over USA – New York City (three times), Boston, Niagara Falls, Philadelphia, Washngton DC, Baltimore, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu, New Orleans. Into Canada – Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto, Peterborough (Ont.). To Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra), stopping off in Singapore on the way back for several nights. And all over Europe. It was after a trip to the GDR (East Germany) in 1976 (my second visit to the country, George’s first) that I finally left the Communist Party, and we grew even closer.
Perhaps the only thing we never really shared was music. George was into classical music, including Shoshtakovich and Stravinsky. He loved opera, but rarely got the chance to go. He also had a wide taste in popular music from all decades, and complained that I had a ‘mental block’ in the 1950s when it came to music, which was basically true.
He once came with me and my mother to see Jerry Lee Lewis at the London Palladium (1972) and commented that Jerry played piano with almost every part of his anatomy. Typical of George, he then said: ‘I thought he was going to take his cock out next and play the keyboard with that!’ It was a Sunday when Jerry appeared at the Palladium. I saw both shows, George and my mother just the first one that night. ‘At least he ended with Old Rugged Cross,’ said George. ‘After all, it was a Sunday’.
He liked some of Linda Gail Lewis’s recordings, though insisted on calling her ‘Linda Wail’ instead of Linda Gail! I got him a ticket for Linda’s solo performance in Plaistow in late Spring/early Summer of 1991 (one ofÂ the gigs organized by Dave Webb) but he cried off at the last moment when he realized a lot of Jerry Lee fans would be there. ‘If those nutters are going, I’m staying home’ he said.
His final illness was quite short, although he had been getting ill for some time and kept it to himself, refusing to see a doctor. We were just getting off the boat on the way to our last ever holiday in Jersey when he got really ill, and he never really recovered. Two weeks later he was dead, suffering from a rare and chronic form of pneumonia.
But it was not the end of our story. He contacted me from the Other Side almost immediately, andÂ we haveÂ kept in touch ever since. There have been some quite remarkable communications, most coming direct to me and not thru any spiritualist medium.
Meeting George was the best thing that ever happened to me and it turned my life around, for the better, completely. I miss him terribly, but know we’ll be together again one day. I believe I’ve known him as a soul-mate for far more than the 37 years since we met in this lifetime. We are old souls who have known each other for centuries I’m sure.
I now try to look on September 29th (Jerry Lee’s birthday) not as the day George died, but as the day he was born into a new life on the Other Side. So Happy Birthday, George. It must be nice to be 16 again!