I met George a few times, back in the days before he became a global superstar and we were both teenagers. The first time was on a train near Watford and I was standing by the door when he got on with a big bag which I helped him to heave into the carriage. He looked much like he does in this picture, and we chatted for the duration of the journey, and he was lovely, friendly and a bit shy. He was nervous too and said he was going to a
rehearsal, to sing, and asked me if I thought it would be alright? I said of course it would be. I remember wondering why he wasn’t more confident, because he was gorgeous and when you’re a teenager that can feel like the most important measure.
We talked about all kinds of nonsense until it was time for me to get off the train and I know it sounds daft, but I had an overwhelmingly starry feeling as I waved goodbye and wished him good luck. Or maybe it was just that he had made me feel good about myself. He had noticed me, been interested in me and seemed to care about my opinion, and that wasn’t something I was used to. Whatever it was, there was just something about that boy on the train. And I never forgot him.
The next time I met George was a few years later when he was on the cusp of becoming famous. It was in a nightclub in Watford, I can’t even remember what the club was called as I only remember being mesmerised by the beautiful guy singing and dancing on a small stage right in front of me. We chatted after his performance and again he asked for my opinion. If it was alright? Did I think people liked his performance? I felt keen to reassure him, to make him feel happy and relaxed. He had a vulnerability about him, and I remember feeling a bit motherly, like I wanted to look after him.
I’ve followed George’s career over the decades and felt numb on hearing the news yesterday. Christmas Day. And what a day to die? I wonder if he wondered if it would be alright? That boy on the train …