16 October 2006

Kylie the showgirl princess? - Part one

Jack Marx's blog in The Age is required reading.

And today, he has had a very much needed shot at Kylie Minogue.

Have a gander:

The Age Blogs: The Daily Truth / Kylie The Showgirl Princess Archives

Now, after this kind of bagging, I couldn't let this one rest. Because Minogue needs to be bagged, and here's where it continues.

Kylie Minogue's career started off, not in singing, but in an annoying, yet inoffensive Australian soap opera called Neighbours. Neighbours is a lightweight family drama that has more in common with the great soap operas of Britain (think EastEnders or Coronation Street) rather than those of the USA.

She was only young when she worked on Neighbours, but already, at the age of about 16 or seventeen, she was easily one of the most popular people on the TV show. This was in about the late 80's.

Actually, she was easily the most popular TV star in Australia (with the kiddies anyway) full stop. She won something called a Gold Logie - which would deserve kudos, if it actually was something, but instead, it's the award for the Most Popular Personality on Australian Television. Although it greatly pains me that the most prestigious award you can win in the Australian TV industry is a popularity award, I found Minogue relatively innocuous up until this point.

Minogue had her eyes set on bigger things than just TV. And as a middling actor who wasn't a classic Hollywood beauty, she really was not going to set the acting world alight.

So she launched herself along the career path that the world now knows her for. Singing.

This is where she started to annoy me. The critics were similarly annoyed, because they completely went to town on her. They've long since lightened up.

Incorrectly so, in this blogger's humble opinion, because, with the exception of one period where she actually churned out something interesting, the bulk of her career has been unrelenting claptrap, out-bubblegumming all other bubble-gummers along the way.

And boy, were there some when she started. Remember Tiffany? Debbie Gibson? The entire Stock, Aitken and Waterman stable?

Minogue outlasted all of them.

One of my friends has, incidentally, this theory that suggests that Minogue is the only Australian artist to have never "sold out".

That word "artist". I'm going to come back to it later on. Maybe not necessarily in this post, though. Sorry.

Also, the term "sold out" is a loathsome term originated by mindless cucumber impersonators who think it's admirable to have suffered for one's art. Not to mention highly subjective.

But getting back to his theory. And to stop my blood pressure creeping over the scary level, we'll replace the offending word "artist" with "musical act." I did think for a moment of using the word "musician", you know. Oh yes, I will be self-flagellating for this.

Anyway the theory. Have any Australian musical acts been successful without having "sold out"? I can only think of two:

  • AC/DC - they never caved in to record company pressure and recorded the power ballad that The Man so desperately wanted from them. Kudos; and
  • The Wiggles - these guys couldn't possibly sell out their core demographic. In fact, we often hear about acts growing with their audience - the Wiggles seem only too happy to say a big metaphorical, "f2ck you," if their audience was to collectively say, "The Wiggles are too juvenile for me - I'm into Ashlee Simpson, now."

But Minogue?

I can think of at least 4 points in her career, where didn't just slightly sell out. Oh no, Kylie went into full on artistic whore mode.

So why is it that I believe that Minogue needs to be literarily keel-hauled?

Firstly, Minogue is an unrelenting sadist who perpetrates some horrible crap on us. I work in an office where Melbourne's most annoying teenybop station NOVA is on high rotation on several desks. I get to hear Sandi Thom's "I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker (With Flowers in My Hair)" several hundred times a day.

Minogue has made a career out of such sh!te, only in Minogue's case, hers comes with a delightfully camp dancy rhythm.

EWWW!

Secondly, Minogue has demonstrated more than amply that she is a morally bankrupt capitalist swine. Normally, I'd defend arch-capitalism as a quality to my dying day. However, Minogue isn't just any kind of capitalist: Just like tobacco and alcohol companies, Minogue has both barrels of her marketing 12 gauge aimed squarely at the kids of this world.

This is getting kinda long, so I'm gunna have a go at stopping here.

Stay tuned, though. This woman is bad!!

15 comments:

ted said...

The book is going a bit far I'll grant you. Is there a line of children's underware yet? That seems to be the latest rage and a solid money spinner. Like Marx though, I don't really mind "our Kylie" so much. She's a product of those that latched onto her as she grew into the industry I think.

I reckon it was the Stock, Aitken and Waterman stable that really shaped her career as far as the teeny-bopper musak goes. Once she had the name, she couldn't escape it.

I heard her sing a "Chain" number on Hey-Hey once after a thorough bagging from Daryl and Red for the latest piece of S, A & W drivel she was promoting, and it was bloody fantastic. It sat both Red and Wilbur on their asses (trying to play when you're obviously that shocked and surprised can't be easy), which was always good to see and I had a lot more respect for her after she finished the song and flipped the bird at Daryl, who's mouth was agape at the performance...:) A pity she went to Britain on a sweet deal. She could have really been something...

I thought that Miss "Strawberry Kisses" might go the same way too, but it seems she's had very different influences...

Dikkii said...

Ted wrote:

"The book is going a bit far I'll grant you. Is there a line of children's underware yet? That seems to be the latest rage and a solid money spinner."

For heaven's sake, Ted, don't giver her ideas. She already has a saucy underwear line - if she starts "sexualising" children as well, you know, I don't think anyone would notice. Which is why we need to nip this in the bud now.

She could be a product of those that latched on to her, but as we'll see during this series, there are rather a lot of people who can honestly claim to have influenced her.

I have more faith in the concept of "free will" than that. I'm convinced that she's willingly shown some complicity.

ted said...

I should probably have said " more respect musically". She's got a hell of a voice when she let's it rip.

There's no doubt that once she learned the ropes and got the hang of it, she ran with it all the way. Is still running with it, in fact...

if she starts "sexualising" children as well, you know, I don't think anyone would notice.

This is what worries me. It seems that when your average "teeny-bopper" celebrity starts to branch out, we get this sort of thing. So many have done just it and I have an 11yr old daughter. She doesn't see it as "sexy" of course, it's just "fashion" to her, but the adults that design and sell it should know better.

taj said...

DUDE your bold approach makes my eyes hurt.

As far as sexualised media for children is concerned - Kylie would be a drop in the bucket. I don't know how much of a star she is to the pre-teen crowd anyway - none of them are old enough to remember her from Neighbours, and Loco-motion is now music their parents used to listen to. She's going to have to do hell of a lot more than write a book about being a pop queen to gain cred with them - or maybe that's just wishful thinking.

Adam said...

Taj's mention of the loco-motion brought back some previously repressed memories involving a dance routine we were forced to perform in primary school. Oh, the pain. It's amazing how much child abuse people can get away with without breaking any Geneva conventions.

I can understand your reticence towards the use of the word artist as a descriptive term for pop "musicians". The word art should refer to that requiring some talent, skill and intelligence to produce. It is for much the same reason that I dismiss the majority of modern art as a misnomer.

I sympathise with your "I wish I was a punk rocker" complaints. I have the exact same problem in my office. For me, this is the main problem with pop music: after a couple of listens, you're sick to bloody death of it.

Your point about selling out was also familiar. One of my favourite bands, Tool, has a rather amusing song about selling out (although not a song I like very much, amusing as it is). Here's a sample of the lyrics (responding to an accusation that the band had sold out):

All you know about me is what I've sold you,
Dumb fuck.
I sold out long before you ever heard my name.

I sold my soul to make a record,
Dip shit,
Then you bought one.

All you read and
Wear or see and
Hear on TV
Is a product
Begging for your
Filthy, dirty dollar

So...Shut up and

Buy my new record
Send more money
Fuck you buddy.


Funny stuff. I'm spewing I missed out on tickets to the upcoming concert.

Dikkii said...

Ted - about Minogue's voice, I have always regarded it as passable. Nothing more, nothing less.

Having said that, what she normally does is latch on to highly mediocre filler guaranteed to shift units, but lacking seriously in the imagination department.

If she did something that would make me applaud her, that Chain cover example that you've listed might come close.

Sadly, I'm just not interested in finding out.

You wrote:

"It seems that when your average "teeny-bopper" celebrity starts to branch out, we get this sort of thing. So many have done just it and I have an 11yr old daughter. She doesn't see it as "sexy" of course, it's just "fashion" to her, but the adults that design and sell it should know better."

RAmen to that!.

Taj - I dig my "bold approach". Would you prefer I use capitals?

You wrote:

"As far as sexualised media for children is concerned - Kylie would be a drop in the bucket."

Yes, you're quite right about this.

But given Kylie's past life as queen of the kids, she should certainly know better. Read on...

You also wrote:

She's going to have to do hell of a lot more than write a book about being a pop queen to gain cred with them - or maybe that's just wishful thinking.

I recall back in the eighties (my word that's going back a fair way) in K-Mart, there was a range of "Kylie" manchester. I'm fairly certain that the Kylie doona cover shifted serious units. Given that these items were squarely aimed at the teens and pre-teens market, it's not an area that she's unfamiliar with.

Having said that, it's an area that she did let go. We're probably only noticing now because she's moving back into the field in such an amazingly cynical way.

I think you're right about what she needs to do to gain cred with kiddies - she needs to put in a lot more work.

Not that I approve of any of this, you understand.

Adam - great to have you back.

Your imagery of "doing the Loco-motion" at school had me sick to my stomach. You poor dude.

My problem with the word "art", "artist" and all derivatives thereof is really only me complaining about the extreme generality of the word and how it is too easily picked up and used as an excuse by talentless imbeciles.

I wrote this nearly 10 years ago here, on that subject, and plan to revisit the content sometime soon.

I'm surprised after all these years how much of that I still agree with.

I have too many problems with that "I wish I was a punk rocker" tune to mention. Just thinking about it makes me feel sick. Thanks for reminding me.

Lastly, your quoting of the lyrics from "Hooker with a penis" had me reaching for my copy of Aenima to listen to. My word, what a simply f8cking incredible CD that one is.

It's a shame you're missing Tool. We'll be seeing them, the Violent Femmes and a cast of hundreds of others at the Big Day Out, ourselves. Feel free to join us.

taj said...

Tool... BDO... Greg (Webber) going to see Nevermore at the espy... I hate you all. India is a terrible place to be a metalhead. Are you sure that's not my Aenima CD? I can't find it anywhere.

re: bold/caps - the dripping bile from your carefully crafted invective speaks for itself and requires no reinforcement.

re: Kylie - c'mon guys, this is a problem that is sure to take care of itself in a couple of years. Witness self-propelled PR device Madonna writing children's books. Transparently pathetic, right? Same principle. Additionally, there is only so much modern surgical techniques can do before you get Cher.

I feel so catty.

ted said...

there is only so much modern surgical techniques can do before you get Cher.

Now that was funny...:-)

Adam said...

"...extreme generality of the word and how it is too easily picked up and used as an excuse by talentless imbeciles."

Laughing my ass off and agreeing wholeheartedly. I went through your whole back catalogue when we started conversing, but only had a vague rememberence of that Piss Christ post. Very much enjoyed reading it again - bloody funny stuff.

Regarding the Big Day Out, a couple of friends and I are going to look into getting tickets tomorrow. I can't think why we haven't gotten around to it sooner, and just hope we haven't missed out. If we do end up going, it would be great to meet up at some stage.
And yes, Aenima is indeed incredible. What do you think of 10,000 Days?

Dikkii said...

Taj - you have a point about bold. Nevertheless, I'm going to continue to use them, because it's fun.

And no, my copy of Aenima is mine. Not sure where yours ended up.

Have to agree with Ted on your point about Minogue being at the pointy end of her career before ageism steps in and wipes her out. Very funny call, by the way.

But to large swathes of the media, Minogue's a sacred cow. I'm merely doing what I've wanted to do for a number of years and that is to do a hatchet job of monumental proportions on this bint. And, dammit, no one is going to deny me this, now that I have some traction.

Overkill? I wish.

Adam - I haven't actually heard 10,000 days, yet. Sadly, I have neglected a lot of things this year due to wedding planning. And this is one of them. Is it any good?

BDO - we go every year. Drop a comment if you would like to meet up for it. That goes for anyone else.

taj said...

Hahaha! Cow. From my outsider's perspective on western contemporary culture, there is a very short window between pop princess and pop dowager. She's well on her way to "gay icon", and while gay people are cool and all, they don''t have quite the same market muscle as the teen demographic.

Re: 10,000 days - like Lateralus I believe it is an album that will have to grow on me, but it provides me a certain sense of vindication. All my Tool-fan friends who used to make fun of my Meshuggah albums have to deal with the fact that Maynard is on record saying Meshuggah were a major influence on this album.

Adam said...

I've listened to 10,000 Days quite a bit and I've come to the tentative conclusion that it's bloody good, but a level down the scale from Aenima and Lateralus. I reserve the right to change my mind though, as it took me quite a while to come round to Lateralus.

I've got the tickets sorted for the BDO, so we'll definately have to meet up. I'll drop you a comment closer to the date so we can exchange email/phone nos and arrange a meeting point.

Dikkii said...

Taj - you're quite right about the teen demographic being the ones with money. But Kylie would be negligent if she left the gay demographic alone - they're incredibly loyal is one thing. But cross them and they vote with their feet is the other.

The teen (and tween) market is horribly fickle by comparison.

Tool get Meshuggah. That doesn't surprise me. I always felt that I needed more time to "get" Meshuggah. But I don't think that it's beyond me.

Having said that, I didn't get The Beta Band until they'd split up, nor did I get Elliott Smith until after he'd died. I'm no longer cutting edge and that annoys me so bad.

Adam - Tool are that kind of band that you need a good couple of days alone with the CD in order to fully explore it. I've been finding that Queens of the Stone Age and Primal Scream are also.

Funnily enough, these are also bands where MP3 and other file compression formats just don't cut it when you would like to listen to the music.

(Taj - don't even think of mentioning Ogg Vorbis)

Or maybe I'm just turning into an audiophile. Shoot me now.

Must sort my BDO tix out. Sounds good, Adam.

Garry said...

"Kylie" to me is like that Godzilla monster from those old Japanese b-grade horror flicks....the more they tried to kill them with their weapons the stronger the thing got.
"Kylie" ranges around our cultural landscape being called names like "sexy" and "talented" and theres nothing our critical warheads can do about it.
Antonella Gambotto got it right when she did a piece on her calling her a "charmless,robotic narcissistic dwarf".But that was just another nuke that went nowhere

Dikkii said...

Hi Garry, and thanks for dropping by.

Godzilla, eh? That is scaring the living poo out of me. I hope that you're wrong.

I'd love to see a link to that article of Gambotto's, any chance of a link? This blogger is awfully lazy.