December 07, 2003



It's not personal, really it's not.

(After all, we know so little about her. She's perfected that smiling art of PR deflection, of projecting a sweetly vacuous wholesomeness. Fair enough, that's not the issue.)

It's not even about the records. I'm highly partial to many of them; not only 'Slow' and 'Can't Get...', but most of the old SAW tunes, too.

I think what I hold Kylie responsible for is trailblazing the rise of the Performing Arts Pop Star (the PAPS).

There's something ironic about the triumph of the Performing Arts aesthetic, because PAPS are actually very unconvincing performers - precisely because they have 'professionalized' performance, turned into a series of learnable 'moves' and 'techniques'. In the case of Kylie, I suspect this distantiation has something to do with being a (bad) actress: she has to always let you see that is her doing the Performing. She has to own it , she is incapable of going with it. Letting yourself go, getting carried away, are of course very unprofessional .

Whereas great performance is always about being possessed , taken over. Or at least being capable of projecting that illusion. A comparison that will no doubt invite derision: Alex Parks. Alex is almost the diametric opposite of Kylie. What she's incapable of doing is looking detached, of being arch or meta. Believe it or not, she's actually much more comfortable on television than Kylie. Kylie can't ever forget, or let us forget, that she's On TV; there's always that aura of self-consciousness, which finds its alibi in Camp. Alex entirely lacks this. Her every micro-gesture screams Affect. In fact, is there anyone less Camp than Alex?

Interesting how this cuts across issues of sexuality by the way. While Kylie, for all her vaunted gay following, is almost parodically, pornographically heterosexual, but thoroughly Camp (a bit like the allegedly hetero Robbie), Alex, zero-degree-camp, is sexually ambivalent, achingly androgynous.

Who could now harbour the delusion that there is anything remotely subversive or unsettling about Camp? Camp is the ruthlessly enforced meta-aesthetic of the time, a justification and underpinning for conservatism of all stripes (including sexual conservatism). And Kylie is its Pop Queen.

Posted by mark at December 7, 2003 12:09 AM | TrackBack

mark - this is getting really good -

Posted by: sean at December 7, 2003 12:31 AM

Doesn't that kind of depend on what you understand "camp" to actually mean?

(I do like the phrase "performing arts pop star" by the way.)

Posted by: Angus at December 7, 2003 01:56 AM

"Doesn't that kind of depend on what you understand "camp" to actually mean?"

Kind of --- it's a bit like the irony thing, isn't it? There's unintentional camp, the campness of sincerity, of "taking things too seriously", which is almost the polar opposite of Kylie/ Robbie whose whole being is devoted to ensuring that they never, ever fall into that "trap."

As for Performing Arts Pop Stars --- Victoria Beckham is another one (so's Gerri, actually), though much less accomplished at it than Kylie. Watching Victoria's new video, it's obvious that the poor girl (and one can't watch without feeling pity) is locked in the attic space of her own meta-myth, never to return. Victoria, of course, is an example of that other type of Camp: as vulgar and tastelessly OTT as Liberace.

Posted by: mark k-punk at December 7, 2003 04:11 AM

Yes, well, I must collect my thoughts and do a post some time soon on what I think camp means, because I do feel rather protective of it, in fact I strongly identify with it, and so my feathers get ruffled when it's used as a byword for po-mo irony/ used not to be cynical at any rate (and I think dividing it into "intentional vs unintentional" is a bit of a false dichotomy too but more on that anon...).

Posted by: Angus at December 7, 2003 10:22 AM

Isn't Alex camp simply cos she's unaware of her situation - she's a wannabe singer songwriter in the thinest sense, in the vein of tracy chapman etc who wins a competiton for throwaway pop stars.
She's extremley serious and just dosen't seem to fit the leagues of pretty neat orange teenage girls that dominate pop.
She's camp cos she's utterly unaware of her deluded pomp - in the same way oasis are camp.
Kylie's not camp cos she's utterly studied. She can reflect electroclash and have loads of sterotypical muscle mary's dancing in her videos ccos she looks pretty dirty rolling around half naked .
Kylie's creates a kind of gay parade but at the heart of it - closeups of her body will still be in the sun or the mirror so next time a bloke who's seen those pics watches the video he won't even see the gay elements he'll just be looking for a re-reun of those moments of tight flesh closeups he saw in one of the tabloids

Posted by: m.cus at December 7, 2003 10:40 AM

Angus, I await your defence of camp with bated breath. Whenever it has been defended to me, it has been on the grounds that camp articulates the gap between yearning and its realisation: a longing to become/ identity with something, together with a recognition that both you - and more importantly it - fall short. Camp reflects an inability to give up the yearning in and for pop culture's dreams.... This kind of camp I can live with, but surely we can agree there's a VERSION of camp dominant in Pop - particularly here in the UK - that is wearily cynical. I'm sure you're not going to agree that Kylie fits this model, but there's no denying that ROBBIE is its exemplar. And no-one wants to defend him ----- do they?

m.cus, I think you're illustrating one of the problems with using the term 'camp': that it can apply to phenomena that are diametrically opposed to one another. Aren't you using 'camp' in the sense of what I was calling 'unintentional camp'? Kylie can't be camp because 'she's too studied': yet for intentional camp, being studied is a prerequisite.

Posted by: mark k-punk at December 7, 2003 05:14 PM

Mark--yeah, my defence would go something like that certainly. I also agree that "camp" is routinely used to refer to a kind of cynicism that, as you say, is almost opposite to the "good" kind. I get grumpy about that but I suppose I can't really complain about shifts in usage, it's language after all. Interesting question whether the ubuquity of "bad" camp has now made "good" camp impossible. But I have to rush back to work so yeah, I'll think more about it...

Posted by: Angus at December 8, 2003 01:16 AM

kylie is really pretty. She has a really pretty face and cool body. She doesnt look ugly. Kylie has NOT had any plastic surgary hello!!!! she is just natural. she is probably the prettiest girl that has been alive in this earth EVER. pah ha HA HA HA not she is SO NOT. shes a fake plastic and she looks WEIRD.

Posted by: kylie wannabe at January 21, 2004 02:56 PM

the old debate huh.I for one must confess that I find ol' Kyles offensive.Not her as an induvidual.But the assumption that "marketing" can neutralise the free-thinking parts of our cortex or whatever to the point that we actually BELIEVE that her and her ilk are "artists" angers me.Yet we all trot off on a daily basis buying Coca-Cola and other brands that are inferior yet hideously popular.Same to be said of good ol' Kyles.Clever those svengalis were you know.........all those bored Soap-Opera addicted Brits as a ready-to-go fanbase.Who gives a rats whether she can sing?She doesn't need to.She just needs to turn up at cocktail parties and MTV awards,mouth the words at her recording "sessions"and keep the masses convinced that their fantasies are true.(just why people want to have fantasies like that is yet another you remember the 'Charlie Browns X-Mas Tree?)
Theres an old political maxim that says " a Country gets the leader it deserves".Maybe we as a free-world audiosonic consuming megalith we need to get in touch with the reasons as to why some no-talent like Kyles is paraded as "high popular art".............God help us

PS ..all the more alarming as it was the 40th anniversary of the Beatles landing in NYC last week........Yikes!!40 years,is that all it takes?

Posted by: Garry at February 14, 2004 03:49 AM

A very talentless fake plastic woman who has done well with media both fooled us all getting our money. Society is nuts. But she is falling. She called someone a nerd cause he asked her whether she had plastic surgery. Just admit it you fake ba voice boring no character ho has been lucky and has airbrushed all her images. Your lingerie so crap. Your standard many fit girls around wih real tight ass..yours is can the media reported that her ass is ideal for a woman...rubbish..she is small..not ideal..she would need a caesarian section to have a baby if she does ever!

Posted by: nofanofher at March 22, 2004 09:53 PM

It saddens me how this very simple blank person with a standard voice and no talent has done ok. How she has enhanced her image profile through good plastic surgeries(she denied it- watch 'neighbours' again) and think she is high up her arse. she cannot sing and if you see her on the street, she is a rather thin short old woman with wrinkles despite botox all over and a standard hiney. Her music sucks. She is terribly fake. Her personality mediocre but ok compare to other blank posh spice/girls aloud/emma bunton/gerihallawell. It's about time she steps down. Let us all realise that media has created an illusion of this ordinary las and they have both shared a good amount of money. Her song red blooded woman is rubbish. BAD voice unlike gorgeous BEYONCE or BRITNEY OR PINK or miss aguellera. The video so boring, just boring images of her fake botoxed post facelift and liposucked standard arse and abnormally arched body to enhance a fake pair of tits and arse enough to have spinal damage. Please just accept you are rather charcterless boring ordinary Kylie. You are not amazing luv.

Posted by: james at March 22, 2004 10:08 PM

go to and vote AGAINST Kylie.
She is an evil little troll.
A nasty piece of work.

Posted by: Craig at May 21, 2004 01:22 PM

Shite it has all been said by James.Vaccuous stipuid dullard ownder her photocpoy males cannot be fatihful for longer than a couple of months..I bet she is as cold as a nun in truth..all image..her Waxwowrk has more sexuality than the real thing.Big Q is`what the hell does Olivier Martinez a jazz fan for a start
and philosophical chap see in this phoney stupid consumtive canary voice? And oh god it tokk 3 of them to write the lyrics for I Believe in You which is the usual utter crap....who the hell `is buying all these concert tickets.? She is crap as an artist and a provincial brain dead bimbo as a person.She makes my blood to get rich with no talent at all...calendar girl does not cut it when 80% of that body is plastic anyway.She looks likes gkazed ham

Posted by: Mallory at October 21, 2004 03:21 PM

Kylie is just another in the loneg line of Madonna wannabes. "Borrowing" left right and centre from her and then watering all the elements down in her pathetic live performances. The British public for some reason is fascinated with her because she represents nothing. Nothingness personified.

Posted by: Sandra at October 27, 2004 01:27 AM

It is personal for me as she typifies all that is bad about modern fame.Take the past year or so
She witters on and on in every chat show going,radio station,magazine about her "Mr Lovely" blah blah.Aks..demands?..he marry her,it gets set for june and he pulls out.Huge rows follow and she tiddles off to Aus with her oh so average range of lingerie and he has a fantastic time staying home in france running the gauntlet of parites and chics..she rushes back..more flaming arguemtns and then she returns to UK where "everyone luvs her no matter what" and he pushes off to LA for The Snow Goose which only started filming in october..but anyway.Tabloids pick up he has not been aroumnd since Aug nor has she been to him in LA then they scream that she ranted to Aus radio in "defense of her man and all is fine and she wants privacy please becos on top of this she is comforting Danni who dumped her French bloke.So tabloids eat humble pie and all is well...until a day later when some record site screams that Kylie says her phone bill is huge due to hours a day on phone to LA having phone sex... what was that about keeping private again...on other side of pond news` is that he is out and about with different females,none Kylie and yesterday he apparantlu said "Kylie wants to get married,I do not,end of.." Oh and same gossip "comforting danni"..who is filming in ..come again..!!!!? It is all about PR and NO damn talent at all yet BBC site is littered with rubbish about the new single being the best song EVER written and sung..not ny kylie but ever...she makes me vomit as the epitome of mediocrity embodied.Then again her parents promoted both of them aged 7 and have lived in luxury through them ever since so how dysfunctional is that.?The Melbourne Minogue Mafia? Plastic vacuous silly stupid female drives me nuts,not even worthy of an intellectual debate about camp..she perform on and off stage and has she ever once sung live in a concert whislt raking in millions? ha ha as if..Minnie Mouse on helium.

Posted by: Emma at November 8, 2004 12:01 PM

What I really hate even more than the talentess dwarf her self are her militant Nazi-like fans. In defense of their opinionless, industry-puppet idol all they say is that "KYlie is about FUN!! Obviously you don't like FUN POP if you don't like Kylie."

Erm, not really. Kylie is all about regurgitated, charmless pop PAP.

I really don't understand the fascination. I'm not the biggest Madonna fan it has to be said, but I can definitely see her appeal. Kylie's just the poor, VERY poor, man's Madonna.

Posted by: Jenny at November 10, 2004 04:10 AM

Your absurd comments belong on the official fansite not here.I will not even dignify your blinded comments..I take pity on you and your fellow` worshipers of the utterly medicore.So there as you put old are you..14?

Posted by: Emma at November 13, 2004 04:33 PM

What I hate is utter lack of sincerity or emotion in that warbling.Red Blooded aneamia... she is like some toy that gets wound up and sings on auto cue
Each new photo shoot has paralysed yet more facial expression and character.She is left with 2 expressions now,the collagan pout and collagen grin (all teeth too) She does not "dance" either but floats around waving arms like a flamingo lost in a fog.... she is a travesty of the word "talent" and what gets me is that there is so much good music out there` battling to earn a quid whilst this PR nightmare goes on and on...sounding the same now as she did in 1980's and it was horrible then and horrible now.

Posted by: Mallory at November 13, 2004 04:45 PM