SOMETIMES, when you're out, you're out. The innings
are over. After Kylie Minogue appeared in a pitiful Jean-Claude van
Damme film in the mid-1990s with a fake British accentand then
one with Pauly Shore (who? Right)few could imagine that she
would begin the next century as one of pop's great icons.
The Kylography is folklore to most Australians:
The Sullivans child actress, Neighbours
teenage star and teen sensation singing a remake of Little Eva's
'Locomotion', buoyed by the TV soap's popularity
in the UK, but not many other than hardened
fans can remember where she was between her movie The Delinquents
and her Impossible Princess album of 1998. It was during
ex-boyfriend Michael Hutchence's 1997 funeral that the public saw
Kylie and somehow the rise began again.
Was there a movement that thrusted the teen pop
starAustralia's 1980s answer to Britney Spearsback into
the limelight to achieve diva status? Those missing years had seen
Kylie change record labels and collaborate with Nick Cave, but she
had already unwittingly laid down some foundations for the return.
Examining Olivia Newton-Johnwho went from
Sandra Dee to the sex siren of her album Physical and the
banned inside imageand Britney Spears, going from sexy-but-sweet
to plunging necklines and cropped tops, Kylie seemed to have gone
through a '90s version of the transformation. Just as the future sitcom
That '90s Show might comment, 'Kylie Minogue. Yeah right,
we'll never see her again. I should be so lucky,' she returned when
her chips were down, but strangely her audiences were in line ready
for her conquest.
There was the first 1980s group looking nostalgic,
a second gay group who remain fiercely loyal to Kylie's camped-up
glamour, and the new lads of new Britain, to whom she's the stuff
of fantasy (evidently so when Lucire ran pictures
by Ellen von Unwerth of the Australienne in her knickers
in 1998). Thanks to that, there's a whole new set of teenage boys
ready to hop on the Kylie Minogue bandwagon. There's the romance (to
Britons) of faraway Australia, the isle which still remembers her
sons of the United Kingdom in her national anthem, the upcoming Olympic
Games in Sydney and the maturity of the same forces that first brought
the nation to the world: a safe distance from the Bicentennial, Crocodile
Dundee, Jacko and Young Einstein.
Kylie is strangely respectable. 'Especially for
You', the duet she made with Neighbours co-star and screen
beau Jason Donovan, was even remade. The Timeswhich
one must remember is in a round-about way Australian-owneddevoted
editorial space to Miss Minogue's posterior, reaching new heights
as a British national icon (however, this is the same nation that
gave us the Carry on films, Benny Hill and Jeremy Clarkson's
After winning Best International Female and Best International Album at the Brit Awards and Best-selling
Australian Artist at the Monaco World Music Awards last year, Kyles
faces another tour for 2002: the 39-date European Fever tour beginning
in Cardiff, Wales on April 26 and ending in Barcelona, Spain on
June 20. And it's not about teen product placements these days:
the Ford Motor Company has hopped on board with its StreetKa,
its subcompact roadster that's ready to hit the streets as a 2003
model in Europe.
'Linking with Kylie will allow us to show this
car before launch in an environment where we know StreetKa will
have great appeal,' said Earl Hesterberg, Ford of Europe's VP
of Marketing. That's well and good but there's a reference to the
pop diva's petite 5'1" frame: 'StreetKa and Kylie have a lot in
commonthey are both small, beautiful and stylish.'
Is it about being petite, even if Kylie is in
perfect scaled-down proportion to a supermodel? We don't think so:
it's simply that Kylie is contemporary, the star of the moment helped
by the fact she's hardly aged since the 1990s, by her familiarity
to British and Australian culture which is nostalgicthanks
to the UK's Labour Party finding new ways
to say 'recession' and the public going, 'Remember when
just so darned marketable.
We know Ford's after a slice of that. You can
build the best cars in Europe, with the Golf-eating Focus and Mondeo
winning an untold number of awards, but there's got to be an injection
of inspiration. In fact, Ford's trying to be rather auto-erotic.
It may be FoMoCo's (now there's a youth brand) entry into
the youth market and we know that this time, Kylie is behind the
Meanwhile, are there any bets for Britney?
Kylie in Paris (December 6, 1998)
Kylie.com, the official Kylie Minogue
Kylie Minogue Online (UK)
(UK unofficial site)