1. I was watching from my student bed, the episode when she made her Neighbours entrance (when it was on in the mornings too), as Charlene Mitchell coming through the window. Years, years, later I worked with a creative type (think Perfect Curve from the BBC’s W1A) whose angle was that new brand launches would do well to emulate how new soap characters are introduced – most typically, and it’s well-observed, smashing in through a window when least expected. If not love, then at least never nothing at first sight. So, that was about Kylie arriving.
2. Back then, the VCR’s best-of-luck pause function was all we had – either this or snapping at moving images with an SLR. One wet afternoon I wrote a thing printed entirely with a child’s print-setting set, a piece called Tanker. It was about a retired engineer obsessed with getting perfect photos of people from TV screens. The original is filed away somewhere troublesome, but a work of epic poetry from around the same time is right at hand:
3. Christmas ’89 I bought myself Enjoy Yourself (there’s a line), and was quickly transfixed by the crafted and fabulous, thumping threesome openers of Hand on Your Heart, Wouldn’t Change a Thing, and Never Too Late. I worked on Christmas Day, buffing hospital floors and wheeling round tea; cleaning baths and enjoying myself.
4. The Hong Kong Coliseum, May 1990, I went to see Kylie in concert; went with a girl I was great with at the time (about courting, or something like it, I will slip into Joyce’s Dubliners style), with whom I also went to see Anita Mui in concert. The Kylie gig was good. She was great with Michael Hutchence then, whose parents, I seem to recall, lived at Lantau’s Discovery Bay, and so therefore for one night at least I slept on the same South China island as Kylie – and did so because I was, ultimately, not that great with anyone at all. She did an untidy version of Help! on that tour, which unsurprisingly is keenest remembered by me.
5. Back living in London later I read an NME piece, I think by Julie Burchill, who wrote, and which I can still quote: the thing you have to remember about Kylie is that she is absolutely beautiful. It was nice to read someone else say so. (And went on to compare with Marianne Faithful – mentioning methadone, Mars Bar.) Shocked, reviewed, a fantastic pop song, really. In a write-up of the tour I saw, the NME knowingly pun with their oxygen, Morrissey, and everything, dearest, is connected.
6. Can’t Get You Out of My Head #1. I watched with a friend, amazed at its first airing and it was one of those times you just slam that buzzer and yell ‘Hit!’ Medal-winning pop. I felt the same about this as when first hearing the Womacks’ Teardrops; about C+C Music Factory’s Things That Make You Go Hmmm; Sugababe’s astonishingly new-sounding Overload; and fittingly too about Straight Up by Paula Abdul, a writer for Kylie, neatly. All of which well-made pop is gratefully, graciously loved for its very beautiful being. And for the record, yes, you could add Long Haired Lover from Liverpool to such a list.
7. Can’t Get You Out of My Head #2. In working life there are occasions when you find yourself dancing with your boss. I don’t mean with as in with, but in the sense of the company disco; the awful and foolish miming to lyrics and the masochistically remembered-forever moves. A board director mirroring the steps, and the gestures. Come, friendly bombs…
8. My B., barely known to or by me then, was there. I remember watching her crossing the room. The Love at First Sight video, with its colours, and combats with heels, that commanding appearance or illusion of the all-in-one-take, the leans and twists, the now-ingrained nod to Pet Shop Boys and their dressing-up box… is a perfect work of some wonderfully changing times. My only other observation would be that I think you can see too much of her too-little pants.
9. Driving south one Saturday with B., we listened to Kylie the guest on Jonathan Ross’s radio show. Early days, she said, people struggled with the surname, and her go-to was it rhymes with Vogue. This pleased me, and I remembered a thing I’d scratched in a book, and later typed up for a bundle I called Limericks/Limpwrists. It pleased me in a quiet way, as the simple coming home of a rhyme.
10. Nottingham, now, and exactly my lifetime again, HK+24, we see Kylie together in concert. Reviews I can’t do, but I wrote my sister that she sure knows how to work a crowd. Respectful, too, towards a past you – anyone – could easily choose to be sniffy about. The high point is All the Lovers.