Almanac Music: Matt’s Musical Musings – ‘Careless Whispers’




I’m working in a nightclub because it has women in it. I’m gutless, no good at picking up, but they’re about, hope everywhere, amidst lights, shadow, movement, insane attitude, pitfalls and dodgy men and the occasional lost musician I adore.


The boss, choked to the gills on coke, knocks me off, leaving angry, violent Amir to both busboy and serve.


I‘m on the dance floor, alone in a crowd, as always, when Dywan shimmies in front of me. He’s gay and has the deepest, richest African American voice he uses for spare cash, doing commercial voiceovers. He has a hot woman either side of him, it the real It man of this crowd. .


“Dywan, you are one ugly motherfucker,” I smile.


“I know man,” he croons in that honey, gravel voice. “But it’s the black meat, man. In this town, they love it.”


We both know he’s spot on. Yet if an Aboriginal came in everybody would be scared shitless.


Soon, there’s a commotion behind us. George Michael is in here after a show, dancing with his entourage. He’s wearing a leather jacket with tassels, his hair is perfect. skin is perfect.


Suddenly, the dance floor’s packed, punters, still half pashing, doing drugs, drinking, as they seep out of nooks and crannies to be on the same dance floor. I had no idea the place housed so many!


They’re a cool mob, hip, nobody bugs George, but everybody’s cutting moves like they’re in a Soul Train final!


I watch George; he has the one move – arms above his head, eyes closed, a bit of left and right. That’s it, really. Like David Bowie before him, and countless others, loves to move, sings to inspire, but not much of an actual dancer.


He avoids any eye contact, yet everybody continues to go apey. The whole thing reminds me of Stevie Wonder’s Superstition.


I return to my rolling head and eyes and watching my feet, mostly, then notice, somehow, George is in front of me. We’re dancing.


This was before he outed himself, before that public toilet incident, before that experience he said turned him. It feels weird, he still looks down, eyes closed, but there he is, a man I see in telly, on big screens, who fills auditoriums, there, in front of me. I swear, he even looks like he’s in soft focus This is rare, is beautiful. George and I, two random blokes, avoiding eye contact, having a shuffle.


Then, the DJ who has borrowed my rare, original 45 of ‘Black Betty’ and never returned it plays ‘Careless Whispers’. A song of your guest, who’s simply trying to unwind, a sin of the airwaves – but they all do it.


George and I give each other a slightly annoyed look, then I drift. Soon enough, somehow, way, he not so much left, as faded as he arrived, in a seamless swirl of sycophants. A God ascending.


I lingered a while, helping Amir with the night’s hose-down.


Outside, dawn had broken. The whole dance floor’s there as if bouncers use teleporters, still high on George, milling, until somebody yells; “My God! We’re all so brutal in daylight!” which disperses us.


It was nice. For about a minute I was inside a film clip with George Michael.



More from Matt Zurbo Here.



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  1. Malby Dangles says

    Great story, Matt. You’ve shared the dancefloor with George Michael and Ron Peno. You’ve done better than most

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