When I was in Year 12, in the late '80s, I remember writing an essay on Kylie Minogue. It was at the height of 'Locomotion' mania, not long after Charlene and Scott's TV wedding of the decade.
My lovely English teacher, Mr Jackman, was less than impressed with my choice of subject matter. I know he thought I should be taking the assessment a little more seriously. At the time, I wanted to be a journalist. I remember Mr Jackman being disappointed in my use of cliché when I described Kylie as having accumulated a number of accolades 'under her tiny belt'.
I still feel embarrassed about that when I think about it.
Don't misunderstand me, it was not a gushy fan piece. My contention was that Kylie was not deserving of her meteoric rise and her success. Hard hitting, I know. I wrote the piece because I personally could not see her appeal and I remember being frustrated with the fact that at the time she seemed, if you believed everything you saw on television and read in TV Week, to be taking over the world.
And I was a little bit fascinated by her.
Fast forward 27 years, I'm watching Kylie perform in front of Prince Harry at the Royal Variety Performance 2015. It's her 6th time, no less. Earlier, I saw her 'Santa Baby' video, from her recently released Christmas album. She still looks young and pretty, her hair in a curly do. Is it time for me to admit I'm completely wrong? Surely, her incredible longevity proves something, right?
What it proves to me is that she must be one of the hardest working people in show business. Numerous studio albums, compilations, record sales in the tens of millions. She's in the ARIA Hall of Fame, she has continued to act, her ubiquitous brand reaching out to perfume, underwear and bedroom linen.
She is relentless. She just goes on. She is like the Terminator of the entertainment industry. Just when you think she's done for, she comes rising out that molten metal swinging on a chain, ready to keep going.
She continues to serve her fans, touring continuously, releasing new (and old) music, keeping herself fresh (ish). She has become a gay icon, she has survived cancer. She seems to have done everything. She is quite literally, awe-inspiring.
Kylie is an example of someone who has made their dreams come true, indeed if stardom was the dream, through sheer hard work and strategy. She has surrounded herself with people who have supported her to achieve her success and create 'Kylie'. I'm not suggesting she has been 'made', as everything I have ever read about her says that she is her own person with her own ideas about the creative direction she takes.
She has also been described as being 'a savvy businesswoman', and she must absolutely be. No one could achieve what she has in her very long career, without being smart.
However, as evidenced on her appearance as a judge on The Voice, few would say she is a brilliant singer. Is she a great dancer? She's okay, I guess. Is she a great actress? Not really. And that is the point that I have always found curious. What is Kylie's point of difference? Why has she succeeded? And I don't ask this incredulously, I ask with genuine interest. Is it pure drive and ambition that has helped her become one of world's most popular entertainers?
I am still a little bit fascinated by her.
Sometimes, during interviews, with her odd 'International' accent, she can come across as a bit of a poser. Other times, she has come across as a genuinely nice person, someone who has not forgotten her Aussie roots and someone who can laugh at herself -- an all-round good sport. I'm not a fan of her music but I do admire her incredible work ethic and I do admire her devotion to her fans.
I saw her in concert in Melbourne during her 'Impossible Princess' tour (and I enjoyed it). I remember thinking about her mum, behind the scenes helping her with her costume changes, because I read it somewhere beforehand. I don't know why that stuck in my mind. Perhaps it goes back to the support of those around her, helping her be Kylie.
It's time, I think I should let my Year 12 essay go. Kylie wins. She's still here and she's still singing. She has the X factor. I'm just glad I didn't get her Christmas album in my stocking.