George Michael Puffs Up His Profile

George Michael‘s public profile has been puffed up a little more by the news that his upcoming appearance on Melvin Bragg’s “The South Bank Show” will feature footage of him openly smoking what appears to be a joint before a performance in Madrid.

The man whose gay lifestyle and open use of cannabis has inspired such headlines as “Zip Me Up Before You Go-Go” and “Careless Rizla” reassures his fans that there’s no reason to be concerned about his mental condition.

“The public think I’m a man on the brink of a breakdown because I fell asleep in my car, I hit a parked car and because I cruise as a gay man,” he explained.

A spokeswoman for “The South Bank Show” has been quoted by a coup of papers saying that the interview was filmed in Madrid, where cannabis is legal, but various heads of mental health charities and drug-awareness organisations have been quick with their criticisms.

William Butler from rehab charity Addaction and Paul Corry of mental health charity Rethink are among those who feel the former Wham! idol has been irresponsible to tell Bragg and a TV audience that cannabis is a “great drug” that keeps him “sane and happy,” although he also said, “You can’t afford to smoke it if you’ve got anything to do.”

Since Spain, the star whose public mishaps make bigger headlines than his sellout shows has had plenty to do. His mainland European tour has reached the halfway stage and just taken in four arena shows in Germany – with another seven to come – plus Oslo Spectrum, Gothenburg Scandinavium and Stockholm Globe October 19-22.

Earlier in October, Michael was reportedly cautioned by police for possession of cannabis after he was found slumped over the wheel of his vehicle in North London.

He had an earlier caution after being found in a similar state at Hyde Park Corner in February.

The interview is said to end with Michael, whose current tour – promoted by Marshall Arts – is his first in 15 years, wishing he was not in the news so much for the wrong reasons.

“I hope my future is very different. I hope I learn to shut my mouth,” he tells Bragg. “I should learn to shut my mouth and sing. That would be clever,” he adds.

“The South Bank Show” feature is scheduled to air on ITV1 on October 31st at 10 p.m., with the U.K. leg of the tour opening at Manchester Evening News Arena November 17th.