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I dedicate this song to Jan Moir

October 16, 2009

Facebook group, The Daily Mail should retract Jan Moir’s hateful, homophobic article,  with details of where her vile article breaches the PCC codes (detailed on the discussion board, should you wish to complain – I did).

And, yay, I finally get the point of Twitter 🙂

Why there was nothing ‘natural’ about Stephen Gately’s death

Last updated at 12:14 PM on 16th October 2009



 Stephen GatelyTroubling death: Healthy 33-year-old men like Stephen Gately don’t just fall asleep and die

The news of Stephen Gately’s death was deeply shocking. It was not just that another young star had died pointlessly.

Through the recent travails and sad ends of Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger and many others, fans know to expect the unexpected of their heroes – particularly if those idols live a life that is shadowed by dark appetites or fractured by private vice.

There are dozens of household names out there with secret and not-so-secret troubles, or damaging habits both past and present.

Robbie, Amy, Kate, Whitney, Britney; we all know who they are. And we are not being ghoulish to anticipate, or to be mentally braced for, their bad end: a long night, a mysterious stranger, an odd set of circumstances that herald a sudden death.

In the morning, a body has already turned cold before the first concerned hand reaches out to touch an icy celebrity shoulder. It is not exactly a new storyline, is it?

In fact, it is rather depressingly familiar. But somehow we never expected it of him. Never him. Not Stephen Gately.

In the cheerful environs of Boyzone, Gately was always charming, cute, polite and funny.

A founder member of Ireland’s first boy band, he was the group’s co-lead singer, even though he could barely carry a tune in a Louis Vuitton trunk.

He was the Posh Spice of Boyzone, a popular but largely decorous addition.

Gately came out as gay in 1999 after discovering that someone was planning to sell a story revealing his sexuality to a newspaper.

Although he was effectively smoked out of the closet, he has been hailed as a champion of gay rights, albeit a reluctant one.

At the time, Gately worried that the revelations might end his ultra-mainstream career as a pin-up, but he received an overwhelmingly positive response from fans. In fact, it only made them love him more.

In 2006, Gately entered into a civil union with internet businessman Andrew Cowles, who had been introduced to him by mutual friends Elton John and David Furnish.

Last week, the couple were enjoying a holiday together in their apartment in Mallorca before their world was capsized. 

BoyzoneBoyzone: Gately was the Posh Spice of the group – a popular but decorous addition

All the official reports point to a natural death, with no suspicious circumstances. The Gately family are – perhaps understandably – keen to register their boy’s demise on the national consciousness as nothing more than a tragic accident.

Even before the post-mortem and toxicology reports were released by the Spanish authorities, the Gatelys’ lawyer reiterated that they believed his sudden death was due to natural causes.

But, hang on a minute. Something is terribly wrong with the way this incident has been shaped and spun into nothing more than an unfortunate mishap on a holiday weekend, like a broken teacup in the rented cottage.

Consider the way it has been largely reported, as if Gately had gently keeled over at the age of 90 in the grounds of the Bide-a-Wee rest home while hoeing the sweet pea patch.

The sugar coating on this fatality is so saccharine-thick that it obscures whatever bitter truth lies beneath. Healthy and fit 33-year-old men do not just climb into their pyjamas and go to sleep on the sofa, never to wake up again. 





Whatever the cause of death is, it is not, by any yardstick, a natural one. Let us be absolutely clear about this. All that has been established so far is that Stephen Gately was not murdered.

And I think if we are going to be honest, we would have to admit that the circumstances surrounding his death are more than a little sleazy.

After a night of clubbing, Cowles and Gately took a young Bulgarian man back to their apartment. It is not disrespectful to assume that a game of canasta with 25-year-old Georgi Dochev was not what was on the cards.

Cowles and Dochev went to the bedroom together while Stephen remained alone in the living room. 

Andy Cowles
Georgi Dochev

What happened that night? Only Gately’s civil partner, Andrew Cowles, left, and Georgi Dochev, right, who they took back to their apartment, know the truth

What happened before they parted is known only to the two men still alive. What happened afterwards is anyone’s guess.

A post-mortem revealed Stephen died from acute pulmonary oedema, a build-up of fluid on his lungs.

Gately’s family have always maintained that drugs were not involved in the singer’s death, but it has just been revealed that he at least smoked cannabis on the night he died.

Nevertheless, his mother is still insisting that her son died from a previously undetected heart condition that has plagued the family.

Another real sadness about Gately’s death is that it strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships.

Gay activists are always calling for tolerance and understanding about same-sex relationships, arguing that they are just the same as heterosexual marriages. Not everyone, they say, is like George Michael.

Of course, in many cases this may be true. Yet the recent death of Kevin McGee, the former husband of Little Britain star Matt Lucas, and now the dubious events of Gately’s last night raise troubling questions about what happened.

It is important that the truth comes out about the exact circumstances of his strange and lonely death.

As a gay rights champion, I am sure he would want to set an example to any impressionable young men who may want to emulate what they might see as his glamorous routine.

For once again, under the carapace of glittering, hedonistic celebrity, the ooze of a very different and more dangerous lifestyle has seeped out for all to see.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. October 17, 2009 00:05

    You are one hell of a writer. I have many things to do in my life but I can just do one of them anyway near as good as you write a blog I will be content.

    You are some undiscovered talent that shames what we get splurged on us in the main media. I don’t agree with everything you say, but the way you present it is awesome.

  2. October 17, 2009 11:03

    Love the video. Love Lily Allen. Respect Manchester Pride.

    But, I’m still a Twitter refusnik. Twitter has been the most effective generator of boring content in the world.

    • October 18, 2009 09:53

      I guess you are a Facebook refusnik as well – that is much more boring.

  3. polly permalink
    October 17, 2009 19:35

    I hate Manchester Pride. It is the worlds biggest rip off, you have to pay £17.50 to go down bloody Canal street and get charged to go into overcrowded bars selling overpriced crap beer, surrounded by straight people off their face on drink and drugs.

    (Sorry, unrelated anti manchester pride rant).

  4. polly permalink
    October 17, 2009 19:36

    And that video gives the totally false idea that it is some kind of political event, when nothing could be further from the truth, it’s a big money making scam.

    (that feels better).

    • October 18, 2009 09:51

      Happy to be of service 🙂 I went to Pride in London once, many moons ago,It didn’t involve any money and there were tons of freebies. And for this straight person it was a big learning curve which has served me well.

  5. polly permalink
    October 19, 2009 18:28

    For anyone who’s still wondering what’s wrong with Manchester pride….


  1. Friday! Bronski Beat- Why « Ten Percent

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