The Life Of Kylie

28 10 2008

In last weekend’s Sunday magazine – distributed with Australian newspaper the Herald Sun –  Kylie talked about joining The Wiggles, moving back home, her diva tour demands and named the one SAW track that she really didn’t like. Keep reading to check out the full interview.

Something to listen to while you read!

Kylie Minogue lets out a long, world-weary sigh, “I wish I were a member of The Wiggles.” This isn’t an entirely unprovoked revelation.

I’ve just broken the bad news that the finger-waggling foursome have kept her from the highest earner’s spot on the BRW Top 50 Entertainers List, and it’s clearly hit her hard.

We pause for a moment as the idea that she could become their fifth bandmate begins to take shape. Perhaps, taking inspiration from her cameo as the absinthe fairy in Moulin Rouge, she could be brought in as the seductive green Wiggle.

There’s no question she’d be a favourite with the older children. And the dads.

Minogue proposes a more feasible alternative. “I wouldn’t mind doing a duet with them.

They’re my nephew’s favourite – stop me if this is terribly boring, because I’m obsessed with him. Auntie Kylie and Auntie Dannii apparently have some songs, too, but it’s all about The Wiggles.”

According to BRW, the four skivvy-clad cash cows banked a very tidy $45 million over the past year, with Minogue trailing a whole $5 million behind in second place.

I’ve given some thought to their business model and it’s not really a mystery how they kept costs down to snag the No 1 spot – their minimal wardrobe budget.

“You know what?” she shrieks. “You’re absolutely right. Maybe I should go down the polo neck route.” (Polo neck? Since when does an Aussie say polo neck? The lady’s definitely been gone too long, but more about that later.)

Kylie by artist Jean-Marc Borot
Kylie by artist Jean-Marc Borot

Nipping to Kmart for a four-pack of cotton tops would be quite the coup, particularly in the middle of her KylieX2008 world tour, which has been doing the rounds of Europe since May and is about to head to South America, then Asia before reaching our shores in December.

There’s no doubt she’s considered a style icon in her free time (despite being added to PETA’s Worst-Dressed Celebrities of 2008 list, after being seen carrying a python-skin purse), but it’s her performance costumes we really go crazy for.

Charlene’s overalls are but a distant, grease-smudged memory. These days it’s all about the slash-fronted, avant-garde dresses, feathered headpieces, corsets and jewels.

Minogue set the bar high with her Showgirl and Homecoming tours and, by all accounts, we can look forward to a similarly visual treat at this year’s Sydney and Melbourne gigs, thanks to a new wardrobe by Jean Paul Gaultier.

Still, playing dress-ups can take its toll on even the most committed clothes horse.

“It’s the most stressful part of the show,” she grumbles. “We start to organise a tour, and I say, ‘Please, we need longer costume changes.’

Of course, they end up being exactly the same and I have to go like a bat out of hell into that quick change, and come back onstage with the required composure. There’s no room for mishap, which makes it interesting.”

But even this resigned take on costume logistics can’t hide her excitement at being back on tour. “I’m loving every second,” she confirms. The tenth one of her career so far, it’s rumoured to have cost $20 million to put together, which sounds a lot until you consider that the UK dates alone (which sold out in 30 minutes) grossed more than $32 million.

There’s no denying it – for someone so small, she’s huge. You don’t even need to use her surname any more, that’s how big a star Kylie is today.

Of course, with fame comes the power to demand just about anything. So, is she a diva on tour? “No, I’m quite boring really,” she admits. “As long as I have the kettle, the tea, the coffee maker…”

What? No dressing-room platters of hand-picked blue M&Ms with her face printed on them? No interns sprinkling crocus petals under her tiny feet en route to the stage? She hesitates, trying hard to think of a suitably ridiculous demand she may have made from her position up high.

“I had my own road cases made, which I love,” she finally offers. “They symbolise home on the road. Every venue I turn up to, there they are and I know my things are in them; personal things you might have in your cupboards at home. I fill them to bulging point.

They’re made by the same people who make the cases for all the lighting and sound equipment, so they’re very roadie, but mine are pale pink.”

Minogue, and her fancy trunks, will be back home in Melbourne for Christmas, which is another reason she’s so happy about the tour. “One might even imagine I’d planned it this way,” she teases. “At that time of year, all the Australians I know in London start to flutter their wings. It becomes too cold here and we like to migrate back.”

But, as any songbird will tell you, migration is a two-way street, so it’s never long before this chick flies back to her pied-a-terre in the well-heeled London suburb of Chelsea.

The locals have fallen in love with our export, treating her as an honorary Brit, much as they did when Madonna moved in. They’re plainly smug about the fact that, with the world as their oyster, such international A-listers deign to call their capital city home, so they’re determined to keep them.

Even the Queen’s in on it, going so far as to award Minogue an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for services to the British music industry, presented by Prince Charles in July. There are some of her countrymen, I say, treading gently, that might feel she’s deserted her roots.

“Is that a criticism?” comes her reply.

I may as well have accused her of smearing Vegemite on the Australian flag and throwing a meat pie at Bert Newton.

“I’ve spent my adult life on this side of the world, but everyone knows I’m an Australian at heart,” she insists, in a clipped version of what was once a Melbourne accent. “I’m so patriotic, and I think I manage to live in London and be a global resident, knowing that I can go back to Australia. I’m normally there twice a year. I’m never away for too long.”

The hype surrounding the upcoming movie Australia must be almost as intense in the Northern Hemisphere as it is here, and with every trailer and sneak preview that’s released, the enthusiasm about being from this neck of the woods gathers energy. Do such things make her pine for home?

“It takes very little to make me homesick,” she says, keen to prove herself. “A few eucalyptus leaves in a bunch of flowers will do it.”

But there’s plenty more this expat misses from Down Under. “The big skies; the fresh air; the relaxed attitude; the people,” she lists, describing a scene so dinky-di I can almost smell the snags sizzling. “I’d love to be able to climb in my dad’s Mustang and drive.”

Kylie out in London yesterday.

There’s certainly none of that on offer in London, but it does have its benefits, not least that it’s a hub of the music industry.

Then there’s the cutting-edge fashion scene, the glamorous parties and red-carpet movie premieres. And it’s not as if she’s the only Minogue in town: her sister, Dannii, is based there, too, currently appearing as a judge on the UK’s The X Factor. The good news is that, even with all those drawcards, she doesn’t rule out moving back.

“It’s a bit of a pipedream at the moment,” she says. “But I have to confess, there are times when I think, that’s a good life. We’ll see what path my life takes.”

It’s been more than a year-and-a-half since her romance with French actor Olivier Martinez reached its end, amid rumours (which she’s dismissed) that there were ‘other women’.

I think I speak on behalf of most of the civilised world when I say we’d all like to see Kylie lucky in love. She was photographed earlier this month cuddling up to 30-year-old Spanish model Andres Velencoso at a party in Paris. I cross my fingers: does she really have a new man in her life?

“I don’t. Nothing too serious. I’m libre,” she says, purring the French word for ‘free’ as perfectly as any Parisienne. It’s a cute touch, especially given the frenzied tabloid speculation that erupts every time she pops up on the chic side of the English Channel. One thing that keeps her going back to Paris is the Rhodesian ridgeback she and Martinez shared during their four years together, which she credits for keeping her company during her breast-cancer treatment.

“I saw Sheeba just a couple of days ago. And the ‘he’ of the ‘she’,” says Minogue, referring to the dog’s owner. “They were both well. Every time I’m in Paris, I try to see Ollie and have a catch-up. And I like to have Sheeba over with me for a couple of nights.”

So much for the hope of a blossoming relationship, then. At least, in the absence of anything current, we can keep ourselves entertained courtesy of Jason Donovan’s fabulously loose tongue.

With a new album on the horizon, his recent recollections of his time as her other half (namely that their first horizontal encounter took place in a Sydney Travelodge, before she dumped him over the phone) were well timed.

Some people might not like having their intimate past dredged up in the press. Minogue couldn’t care less.

“Knowing him and knowing the business we’re in, I’m fully aware he might not bring up the subject of me, but as soon as he’s asked about me…” she breaks off. “He may have spent half an hour talking about other things, but that will be the headline.”

Reflecting on those days, it’s amazing to see how far she’s come. Based on her role in Neighbours and the Stock Aitken Waterman era of her singing career, you’d be forgiven for predicting that, 20-odd years on, she’d be the bubble-permed fodder of ‘where are they now?’ documentaries.

Instead, there have been 10 studio albums, the Love Kylie lingerie collection, three perfumes and a children’s book. And, whatever your thoughts on Minogue’s acting skills, TV producers fall over themselves to offer her bit-parts. Who can forget her stint on Kath & Kim? And, her role in last year’s Christmas Day special of cult UK sci-fi series Doctor Who helped attract an audience of 13.31 million – the show’s highest since 1979.

Having turned 40 in May, she has a lot of career to look back on, both good and bad. “There’s plenty I’ve cringed about,” she says. “There’s one track I really didn’t like called ‘What Kind of Fool’. But I realised you can run, but you can’t hide, so I embraced ‘I Should Be So Lucky’ and the rest of them.”

But here’s the big question: does she ever watch Neighbours? “I’d be hard-pressed to know who’s who. Where are Des and Daphne?” she says, sweetly diplomatic. “I’m still asked about it and I love hearing the stories from people in the UK. They say they’d race back from school to watch it and have a debrief every morning. I never knew what a phenomenon it was because I was in Australia making the show.”

She’s right. From our exotic outpost, with the sun sparkling off the Pacific, it’s not always easy to see how our homegrown stars are viewed overseas. But one thing’s for sure, from soapstar to pop princess, and gay icon to celebrity bottom, Kylie Minogue has earnt an enviable list of descriptors over the years. It’s safe to say she’s doing well for herself.

Just not quite as well as The Wiggles.




4 responses

28 10 2008

LOL at the artwork. I would totally get one 😀

31 10 2008

I’m quite surprised that Kylie doesn’t like “What kind of fool” being as she co-wrote it with Stock/Waterman. I don’t think it’s onwe of her best efforts personally, but it it still surprised me a bit.

3 11 2008

i want that song

13 11 2008
Byron Law

I am gutted she does not like “What Kind Of Fool”. Its one of my fave PWL tracks. Her live performance on Top Of The Pops (it was live as well as the BBC made for a brief period the performers on the show sing) of the song back in 1992 was great.

At least she likes the rest of the PWL back catalogue anyway.

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