Happy 50th birthday to this incredible icon.
Kylie’s music has been a part of my life since I became a music fan in the late 80s. I must confess that at the time, I didn’t quite appreciate her wonderfulness. It pains me to admit that I was a massive music snob back then, but my excuse is I was 14 and didn’t know any better. But I grew out of that, thankfully, and by the time “Confide In Me” came out, I was an avid fan.
I can think of so many moments in my life in which Kylie and her music are inextricably intertwined. Two weeks into my life-changing move from Australia to London in December 1996, she was right there in front of me at the Shepherds Bush Empire, singing with my favourite band, the Manic Street Preachers. Just over a year later in 1998, I was in the throes of the worst depression of my life. “Impossible Princess” came out, and I found solace in songs like “Breathe”, which seemed to so accurately describe the turmoil within.
A few years later, in happier times, “Fever” became my getting ready to go out album, and “Body Language” the album to listen to on my iPod (or actually Creative Zen, as I was a rebel) as I strode about London, a young woman getting things done.
The announcement of her cancer diagnosis came as a shock. I still remember the subject line of an email from my mum that day, in my long gone hotmail account. It simply said: “She is very young, only 37”. I had just turned 30, and this news definitely inspired a feeling in women of a similar age that we needed to be more vigilant in checking for breast cancer. I am lucky not to have had a brush with this disease so far, but there’s no doubt that lives were saved by Kylie being so public about her illness.
When she returned in 2007 with “X”, I loved it to bits and listened to it obsessively. Songs like “Sensitized” seemed to accurately depict the very ill-advised but oh so addictive love affair I was embroiled in at the time. When “Aphrodite” came around, I had a crappy mobile broadband connection, and I used up all my data allowance watching the amazing “All The Lovers” video over and over. I adored the brazen camp of songs like “Sexercise” on “Kiss Me Once”, and now, in the “Golden” era, I am dancing along to a country beat, revelling in songs that celebrate life as a woman over 40.
But right this moment, the one Kylie memory that sticks with me the most is a simple one. The day I moved into my current flat, in January 2007, “Showgirl Homecoming” was on TV. I have such a strong memory of watching it that night, celebrating escaping from a terrible flat share and finally having a space all to myself, even if it was a tiny high street studio with a foldout bed and a lot of traffic noise. Today, after over 11 years here, I’ve just put down a holding deposit for an actual one bedroom flat, and if all goes well I’ll be moving there in just over a month. I know what I’m going to be watching on my first night in my new home.
Happy Birthday Kylie, and thank you for soundtracking my life. X