Book Review

 

It’s been rumoured that Kylie Minogue often forgets to sign her surname on cheques – so accustomed is she to using only her first name when it comes to asserting her place in the world. “Kylie doesn’t really need a surname, does she?,” asks Nigel Goodall, co-author of the latest low-down on Kylie to hit the bookstores. “She is the only artist aside from Elvis that can get away with having just her first name printed on an album or a single.”

There are very few people in the music industry who warrant being mentioned in the same breath and tone as Elvis, and yet, who can disagree that Kylie has achieved the kind of success that the King, sadly, fell prey to? Kylie, our Pop Princess, is nothing short of a living legend.

Nigel Goodall and Jenny Stanley-Clarke have produced a book that will have fans turning the pages in anticipation of finding that one more piece of information about a woman who has been a familiar name and sight to millions of people across the globe, for half of her life span. So familiar is she that reading Kylie: Naked, is like revisiting a fairy tale that you know well and yet never tire of. Except, as Kylie continues to groove her way into the millennium, so too does her fairy tale. And with every writer who attempts the massive task of researching a female phenomenon who has probably had more written about her than God, a different story emerges.

“I am a great believer that there is no real object in re-telling someone’s life story unless you are going to cover new ground of what’s gone before,” Goodall enticingly comments.

So what is it about the diminutive song-bird, many have cruelly likened to a singing Budgie, that has seen her crowned the pop industry’s princess?

“That’s the four million dollar question,” Goodall says. “I don’t think Kylie knows either, and she once said she was more comfortable not knowing. But without too much analysing I think it’s down to the fact that there’s something very tongue-in-cheek about her performances, sort of with a wink in her eye, and a message of isn’t this fun? There are some, I guess, who would label her tarty, but if you take a look at any of her performances, it’s a role she plays and one that she plays very well. It’s not a pose or a put-on but something quite natural and completely unique. So from that point of view, one could also say that she’s a brilliant actress, and I’m very fascinated by that too, by the incredible energy that follows her through all her videos. I also think she remains a pop star in the truest sense of the word and brings with her attributes that few other celebrities have. Intelligence, friendliness and approachability.”

In Kylie: Naked, Goodall and Clarke welcome the reader to the world of a pop princess in the days when Kylie and Dannii were young sisters auditioning for roles in The Henderson Kids and Young Talent Time. The book takes you on a trip with Kylie from her days as a horsey-toothed teenager hanging out with Ben Mendelson and being splashed across magazines and the screen as the teenage sweetheart of Jason Donovan in real life and in Neighbours, to the days of her world famous love affair with the late Michael Hutchence, through her other paparazzi covered affairs, to the trials and tribulations of being hailed as an ex-soapie star cum film actor to the glory days of being hailed as a pop star that millions of people world-wide can’t get out of their heads.

Complete with a UK Discography and a selection of photographs of Kylie covering those shocking outfits of the 1980s that had any girl at the time copying her every fashion blunder, through to the sleek sexy star with her breasts and bottom barely covered as she belts out ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ in a dreamy white ensemble that had all of us smiling, the book really does seem like a trip through three decades of pop as well as a well-researched and written picture of Kylie’s life.

But more importantly, what about the gossip regarding her on-again, off-again romance with James.

“From what Kylie said during the tour, she thinks he is absolutely gorgeous and that he has been her best friend for a long, long time, and even credits him with the fact that if it wasn’t for him, she probably wouldn’t be where she is today, so I guess he must be quite an influence,” Goodall says. “There was talk of an after-show rendezvous at a hotel here in the UK, so I guess, to do that, just days after it had been announced that they split says a lot of how they feel about each other. Don’t ever think the speculation or media suggestion that James may be bisexual is anything more than pure tittle-tattle. An excuse to sensationalise their relationship, which I guess is commonplace when it comes to celebrity.” Goodall was lucky enough to see the latest concert in Birmingham, so what does he think of the new show which is just weeks away from reaching Kylie’s home shores.

“Having watched her previous tour on DVD, I suppose I was expecting much the same, but the new show is completely different, with some very interesting choice of older material from her ‘deConstruction’ days (commonly termed as ‘IndieKylie’ period). It was like going to a London West End musical – very spectacular, very theatrical, lots of costume changes (nine in all) and what was intriguing is how she placed songs into individual scenarios all of their own. And what’s good about any of her shows is that she’s never afraid to be experimental with her early hits.

“Her new version of her first hit ‘The Locomotion’ was particularly interesting for me. I remember having the original Little Eva single in 1962 when I was just twelve-years-old! In fact, her version is probably the most played track on my CD player at the moment. And I told her that when I met her! Joked with her about how I had, just days earlier, picked up a copy of her Greatest Hits album at a bargain basement price!”

Michelle Hespe, Sydney Xpress News, July 2002