Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Kylie Minogue: the Aphrodite Tour 2011

Dear Kylie Minogue,

You are in the final leg of your current North American tour, which has been playing to packed houses and received effusive praise. The Aphrodite Tour is scheduled to wrap up with a pair of celebratory blowout shows in San Francisco and Las Vegas this coming weekend. In celebration of your most recent triumphs, I am writing to tell you, in no particular order, ten reasons why I simply adore you. I know I speak for more than myself.

1. Your music.

I still know all the words to entire albums of yours. It doesn’t matter how bad a day it is, there is always, always a Kylie Minogue single to lift me from the bitch of living. Thankfully I have more good days than bad moments, and even on good days, hearing the warmth in your voice on so many of your dozens and dozens of still-danceable hits (which I murder with absolute glee and wild abandon at karaoke) can turn a good day into a great one.

2. You are Australia’s national treasure and its de facto cultural ambassador to the world at large.

I used to live in a graduate student’s resident and we had a number of visiting students every year from the University of Wollongong. This was around the time you made that blazing comeback with Light Years and especially Fever, but until “Can’t Get You Out of My Head”, people were skeptical about whether you could cross over back to this side of the pond. Then that song with that video hit, and you were the toast of America once again. Through all that, the Australian housemates and I kept tut-tutting and telling the locals what exactly they were missing. No one will ever forget you now. 

3. You keep me thin.

The Blogger grew up, shall we say, corpulent. Exercise is important to me. I still have the belief that I can swallow only air and gain weight. So whenever I hear you on my iPod, I automatically move faster on the streets and I smile real big. See? Endorphins are a happy drug! There’s a rush and I keep thin! Plus, whenever I am on a run and just. Can’t. Go. On, the shuffle magically delivers a blast of sugar candy dance pop from you straight to my ears and I have the will to carry on for that final push to the finish, or that extra bit to keep me running just a bit longer. That, and every time I hear you in a club, I go completely bonkers and will dance with whoever or whatever is in front of me: guy, girl, bar, speakers, wall, etc. The most important thing is that every time I hear a Kylie song, I am convinced that I can stave off the inevitable thickening of my waistline that comes with aging for just a few months more. 

4. You love the gays.

At some point, your music fell out of vogue with the general populace. You still did well, but the zeitgeist was full of anger and dismissed optimism, preferring to wallow in misery. But who kept going to your shows and still treated you with the love and respect that you deserved, even when the rest of the music industry had cruelly given you up

It's the gays!!

The gays have always loved you unabashedly and never, ever abandoned you. And now, nearly a quarter-century after your career started, we’re still here, beaming with pride that our girl has gained true critical and commercial respect and that (outside of North America, sadly) you are not just any star, but our shimmering, shining pop star. You have always been one of our true straight allies. Now that most of the world has caught up, carry on making great music and making us all proud.

5. You’ve got a great sense of humour.

The single greatest thing you ever said is this:

“I am not a traditional gay icon. There’s been no tragedy in my life, only tragic outfits.”

No doubt thinking up witty thoughts
Do you remember in the mid-90s, when due to a failure in general public good taste, your career teetered towards the quiet side for a bit? Well during that time, you decided it was a good opportunity to show off the fact that although you were proud of your work, you also didn’t take yourself too seriously. Perspective is healthy and self-knowledge is invaluable, and you've got it in spades. You weren't up your own perfectly toned ass. In this inspired clip, you appeared at the oh-so-hip Poetry Olympics and proceeded to recite, with a hint of irony (but without the condescension or the disgust), the opening verses and chorus of “I Should Be So Lucky”. In that moment, you won that hard-bitten audience over since you understood where you were in the pop culture spectrum, realized that you weren’t “hip” at the time, but thought “Bollocks to that, let’s have a little fun!” When it was over, you gained newfound respect from some of your harshest critics and gained some street cred. After that, you became the pure bubblegum pop that every seen-it-all hipster secretly dances to in the shower, when he thinks no one is watching. 

6. Neighbours.

When the Blogger was still an immigrant and went back to the old country (yes, am aware that makes me sound like a hundred-year-old Sicilian when I type that) in the late 80s, he came across the series and followed the saga of Charlie and that fancy fellow with the very high hair who lived next door and sang “Especially For You”. No, not Kermit the Frog: the other one. I followed it too and my cousins were in a tizzy and loved it to bits. 

An old housemate of mine mentioned that she and her family lived in the next cul-de-sac from where the show was filmed. Even as a child, she was absolutely in love with the show and wanted to be you when she grew up. She runs this amazing candle-making business and website, still lives in Melbourne (although she moved away from the cul-de-sac) and to this very day listens to you a lot.

Kicking cancer has never looked this good.
7. You kicked cancer’s ass.

Yes. That’s what a gay icon and any role model does: kick ass. You’re a survivor. And you looked phenomenal doing it.

8. You keep your private life private.

Unlike so many other celebrities’ pleas for privacy (whose names I shall not mention here so as not to even draw attention to them), we have no idea what you actually do in your spare time. Do you do yoga like all the trendy celebs? Do you get colonic irrigation? Do you have your dressing with or on the side of your salad? We have no idea, and we dig that about you. You keep it real, girl.

9. That Agent Provocateur ad.

Do you have any idea how many gay men have watched your ad and said, “When I watch this, I am straight … until it’s over”? Also, the number of straight women who have said “If I were a lesbian, I’d totally hit that?” Apologies for being a teensy bit vulgar, but it’s simply the hottest advert EVER. 

10. You’re good to your fans.
My sources have intimated this to me about one of the super-exclusive post-concert parties on your last tour. Although you were surrounded by countless admirers and hangers-on who tried very, very hard to get your attention, when you chatted people up, you didn’t just say hi and move on like a greeting line at a wedding. You engaged those in attendance in real conversation. My well-placed source stated that you were easily one of the most candid, genuine, honest and absolutely loveliest people he has ever met not just in the industry, but in life. That’s the mark of true beauty: how well you treat others. You do it better than almost any other celebrity, because you are completely, utterly yourself. And goddammit, you are beautiful.

Congratulations on another successful tour, Kylie. Do come up to Vancouver and say hello. Please?


The Artful Blogger.