Freak Like Me book charts local music fan’s time among the stars

A SURPRISE phone call from a pop star sparked an extraordinary adventure in which a teenager born in West Byfleet got to hang out with some of the world’s biggest stars.

Malcolm with Pink in early 2002

The memoir of those years is captured in a book called Freak Like Me: Confessions of a 90s Pop Groupie by Malcolm McLean.

Meeting Geri Halliwell for the first time, Heathrow, summer 1999, just after Malcolm finished his GCSEs

Malcolm, now 36, was living with his parents and two sisters in Ottershaw when Kelle Bryan, a member of the girl band Eternal, called him after receiving a fan letter.

The call led Malcom to the first of nearly 70 visits to see Top of the Pops and meeting likeminded teenagers in London and rubbing shoulders with the pop stars of the day.

He said the adventure took him away from Surrey, where he was bored and also suffered homophobic bullying.

Meeting boyband NSYNC, including Justin Timberlake, far left, in the US on tour

Malcolm, who only felt able to come out as gay when he went to university at 19, said: “It was different times. Because of Section 28 [legislation aimed at preventing local authorities from ‘promoting homosexuality’] schools felt they couldn’t address bullying relating to children who were gay, or thought to be gay,” Malcom said.

He and his new friends in London got to meet stars such as the Spice Girls, Hear’Say and All Saints and made fake passes so they could go to the BRIT Awards.

“It completely changed my teenage years and made them really happy.”

Freak Like Me: Confessions of a 90s Pop Groupie By Malcolm McLean is published by RedDoor Press.

For the full story get the 9 January edition of the News & Mail

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