The Most Ridiculous Item of the Week – 7.13.07

Yes, once again our Most Ridiculous Item of the Week has to do with George Michael, but seriously, I’m not picking on the guy. In fact, this week I’m actually siding with him, because the new policy being implemented by London’s Wembley Stadium is, indeed, very much ridiculous.

Michael was the first musician to perform at the brand new rebuilt stadium—used primarily for soccer games, the original of which was demolished in 2002 and reopened last March—on June 9, and while he’s performed there numerous times, both solo and with Wham!, he’s never been slapped with a £130,000 fine before.

If you guessed it’s because he got drunk onstage and/or tried to fellate a member of the stadium’s security, you’d be incorrect. In fact, had he done that, the fine would’ve probably been less, but the singer broke a new, strictly-enforced rule of the house by going 13 minutes over his scheduled time slot. Apparently, artists will be fined a whopping £10,000 for each minute that they go over their set time limit.

According to spokesperson for Michael, “George slipped two extra songs into his set and racked up a huge bill. He was enjoying himself so much he didn’t care.”

Unbelievable. Interesting to note, though, that while this stadium (which was also used more recently for the London leg of the Live Earth series) has the second largest capacity in Europe after Barcelona’s Camp Nou, it is the most expensive stadium ever built in the entire world. Sounds like this “time limit” rule is one in what is presumably a long list of ways to gouge both performers and patrons in order to pay for the damn thing. I’d really hate to know what a beer costs at the venue, though it’s still probably less than a beer at the Taste of Chicago.