For­get about the Sex Pis­tols, my heart will be for­ever with Kylie

Af­ter wait­ing years to see the pop queen per­form live, Julie Burchill ex­plains why she’ll al­ways be e her pop crush h

The Sunday Telegraph - - Features - Ded hun­gry,

I’ve lived for three decades with one eye on Kylie. When her first sin­gle I Should Be so Lucky came out in 1987, I was 28, a highly paid and im­pe­ri­ous hack, aware that I was in the­ory too old and clever to like “that sort of thing” so I played it alone, com­pul­sively, the way peo­ple would have once taken co­caine.

Of course I didn’t care for all her records – see­ing as she’s re­leased a whop­ping 72 sin­gles dur­ing her 30-year ca­reer that would be undis­cern­ing. But there are a hand­ful that bring back the events they sound­tracked in my life with the pun­gency and poignancy of per­fume; Bet­ter the Devil You Know, Shocked, Con­fide in Me and the ma­jes­tic Can’t Get You out of My Head in 2001.

When she was di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer in 2005, the ex­trem­ity of her grace un­der pres­sure made me fall for her all over again, and I wasn’t the only one; doc­tors re­ported a “Kylie Ef­fect” – a no­table in­crease in the num­ber of young women com­ing for­ward for breast can­cer check-ups.

To cel­e­brate her re­cov­ery, I wrote her a song – a re­ally good one called

A Lazy Kind of Love – which my erst­while agent al­legedly sent to her. But I never heard back – and I fig­ured she had enough on her plate.

She is a trooper, with an as­ton­ish­ing work ethic, she gets the F Scott Fitzger­ald line “Work is the only dig­nity”. She never turns a cri­sis into a drama, un­der­stand­ing that sto­icism is the surest route to hap­pi­ness – only Keith Richards, in this mi­lieu, can match her.

Some­one who worked on Top of the Pops when she was con­stantly in the charts told me that while one-hit-won­ders fre­quently de­manded a smor­gas­bord of dress­ing room de­lights, Kylie only ever wanted a ket­tle. Even at the height of SexKylie, the more she took off, the more patently “de­cent” she re­vealed her­self to be; she lit­er­ally has noth­ing to hide, and her more de­mure as­pect as she ap­proaches her 50th birthday seems ut­terly ap­pro­pri­ate but to­tally with­out fear of the age­ing process.

A month ago I fi­nally got to see her, at the Bikini Club in Barcelona, one of the small Euro­pean venues where she was show­cas­ing her lat­est al­bum, the Nashville-in­flu­enced Golden. As I write, it is about to be­come her first chart-top­ping record in eight years.

For me, , some of the worst words in the English lan­guage are “Tonight ght I’ll be do­ing my new ma­te­rial” al” but for once it didn’t mat­ter. . I’d waited so long to see her r and now here she was, just st me­tres away.

The au­di­ence was about 80per cent gay men and her rap­port pport with the crowd is ex­tra­or­di­nary, aor­di­nary, she talked to us like ke we’re mates she’d asked around to lis­ten to records, s, and we re­sponded nded in kind.

When en in­tro­duc­ing the sad d songs she made no se­cret of the fact t that they re­late to emo­tions she’s ex­pe­ri­enced xpe­ri­enced her­self; f; there was a gen­eral ral sense of “Life can an get you down but sod it and sol­dier ldier on!” Her pro­gres­sion ogres­sion from hot ot pants to hoe­down down is a log­i­cal one; gay disco is s a mu­sic that ex­presses presses the emo­tions otions of the wounded but bat­tle-hun­gry, but coun­try ex­presses the emo­tions of the bat­tle-weary but still up-for-it. The ab­so­lute highlight of the night, though,was the new song Rain­ing Glit­ter, dur­ing which I had a wave of oceanic feel­ing. It sums up all the sor­row and joy of life and I had tears in my eyes as we all waved our hands in the air at the tiny Ti­tan’s re­quest.

I was told that I was wel­come to go back­stage g and say y hello, , but I feel that she gives ev­ery­thing she has when she per­forms and I don’t w want to pre­sume. I know I’ll re­mem­ber this evening long af­ter I’ve for­got­ten see­ing see the Sex Pis­tols and all the rest of that noisy rubb rub­bish I liked as a kid. Of all th the shows I’ve been to in my life, there wasn’t one false note – lit­er­ally and metaphor­i­cally. Bec Be­cause Kylie just can’t be any other way.

We have seen her go from in­génue to grande dame with grace and skill, never onc once pass­ing through that awk­ward awkw age where am­bi­tion, ego an and smug­ness com­bine to make a mon­ster – Sex Kit­ten turned Mother Courage, Show Pon Pony turned Stoic. As for all the jeal­ous j women out there who won won­der why she hasn’t ever been mar­ried, don’t worry; she’s sh had fun, love and money for nine life­times.

There is such a long long, weary tra­di­tion of the Tor­mented Troubado Troubador, from Judy Gar­land to Ge­orge Michael, bu but the over­whelm­ing im­pres­sion is of just jus how much Kylie en­joys singing. Un­likem Un­like many celebri­ties who re­gard r au­di­ences as ene en­e­mies/ jail­ers/po­ten­tial as­sas­sins, Kylie says s “My fans are kin kind.” She does what she s loves and she l loves her fans for let let­ting her do it. She ap­pre­ci­ates th that if you do a thin thing you love for a liv liv­ing, you’ll never work a day in you your life. She knows t that her fans m may not all be quit quite so lucky lucky.

Lucky, lucky,ucky, lucky: over herr 30-year ca­reer, Kylie has had many di­rec­tions irec­tions

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