Eighties pop legend BOY GEORGE still regularly finds himself the victim of homophobic abuse - most recently at a Missy Elliott gig.

The KARMA CHAMELEON singer was subjected to chants and jeers as he arrived at the gig in Brixton, South London, but argues that living in the real world is essential to be a true artist.

He says, "I got out of my car and there were hundreds of West Indian boys screaming 'batty boy' at me, and shooting imaginary guns in the air.

"I thought: if there weren't police here I'd probably be dead.

"I don't live in a cultural bubble as big as Elton John's. I do go out. That opens you to abuse. But I'd rather pay that price than be locked away.

"Great artists stop doing great work when they stopped going out. They're so far up their own a****, they end up with very limited references. It's essential to go out and be abused and have your heart broken."

18/08/2003 17:08