If you want to start a fight with a gay man, I’d advise against it. We may come across as sissy or weak to your untrained eye, but we are much tougher than we look. Years of defending our right to dress like a princess, or trying to avoid getting killed on the football field at school have hardened us. We are not to be messed with.
But if you really *do* want to have a barney with a gay bloke, especially one of a certain age and demographic, then the easiest way is to tell them what your favourite Kylie song is. And then maybe chuck in an inflammatory word or two on what her worst track is. The fur will be flying and your head will be rolling down the road faster than you can say “impossible princess”.
It’s hard to say why Kylie is important to a lot of gay people, because she means many different things to everyone – liking Kylie is a very personal thing. Even those who have left her music behind still like the idea of her. The world is a better place with Kylie in it, and whatever she’s doing, it’s always good to know she is out there somewhere doing it.
Like most 40-year-olds, my Kylie obsession began with her character in Neighbours, Charlene. It’s difficult to convey the massive phenomenon of Neighbours in the mid to late ’80s, because it feels like so long ago, but what I will say is that the 1980s were incredibly boring. Don’t listen to anyone who says the golden age of TV is behind us, because it was truly the very, very worst. And nothing quite summed up the inanity of teenage boredom better than Neighbours. I see from the soap mags that someone dies in an explosion or is shot pretty much every week in Erinsborough now, but back in the day, Neighbours was so fantastically, addictively dull that the most exciting thing about it was a girl called Charlene who wore dungarees and was a mechanic. Kylie Minogue. She was everyone’s favourite.
And when a world wants more Kylie, but is limited to five 20-minute episodes a week, screened in Australia 18 months before, what do you do? Why, you get her to launch a pop career, of course! Kylie turning from an actor into a singer was very exciting – Charlene as a character was a bit of an arsehole, really, so it was great to see Kylie in a new light. Plus, Madonna was farting about being an actress and appearing in plays and releasing remix albums instead of new music; I needed a new icon with a current output I could dance to in my bedroom.
Kylie was fanciable, but friendly, and in my young, confused mind, I guess I thought I did fancy her. I bought all the singles at first – the 12″ version of Got To Be Certain is a triumph FYI – and would carefully cut pictures of her out of magazines and stick them on my wall. My fascination with her then was more as a completist than an objectifier. I didn’t jerk off thinking of her, or anything like that, but instead I treated her more like a really cool friend. I didn’t have that many of those.
But peer pressure can be insurmountable, and will break even the closest of bonds, and by the end of her second album campaign, the jury was in: Kylie was naff and to have anything to do with her was social death. The pics came down from the wall in case friends saw them, and my interest in her music became more of a secret. Kylie was now a headphones-only treat. I didn’t even buy her third album – I taped it. 😮
Kylie and I drifted apart, but I never forgot her entirely. In 2000, after years in the wilderness, Kylie was primed for a change in image and a big comeback and so was I. That summer, Kylie returned to her pop roots with Spinning Around and went to no.1 and I… came out. Like, at exactly the same time. Amazing. And now I was officially a gay man, and Kylie was cool again, my love for Shocked and Confide In Me need be hidden no more – it was practically in the contract!
Light Years. Fever. Two songs off Body Language. Aphrodite. Kylie and I were back in sync for our longest period yet. While I wasn’t quite here for her Kiss Me Once album, her offcuts – that she released for free – showed that she’s still a creative force.
Why do I like Kylie? She reminds me of an innocent time, she’s not shy of a catchy chorus and, thankfully, she embraces her faults and her less credible eras with much more warmth and honesty than Madonna ever did. I mean, I love Madonna and will defend her to the death, but lighten the HELL up and sing Papa Don’t Preach in full in its original mix.
I could never tell you what the best Kylie song was, because it’s different for everyone. I read this list and felt like I was peering into someone else’s mind, and I was;t sure I liked what I saw.
But there are no rules in pop music, no great dictators – it’s all about what it means to you. So while I would never claim my favourites were a definitive ranking here, if you’re interested, are my top 20. And when I say top 20, I mean today’s top 20 – it changes a lot.
1. What Do I Have To Do
Like coming up on 10 pills, while you’re on the waltzers being cushioned by a shirtless Jake Gyllenhaal. And he’s in go-go shorts and saying he’s looking to “experiment with the right guy”.
The lyrics expertly evoke the longing any gay feels when they have a crush on someone who will never, ever be interested. “But it’s always inside my head. And never inside my bed.” Stock Aitken and Waterman’s masterpeice
You’ve had one more glass of wine than you should and just caught sight of yourself in the mirror and you still look goooooood and then someone comes up to you and asks you for your number and they are hot. That is Shocked. “Tell me I’m only dreaming, and I’ll believe you.”
3. Confide In Me
You’re trying out something a bit different with your hair and everyone says it looks great.
When he looks into your eyes while you’re doing it.
5. Can’t Get You Out Of My Head
You have never danced better than the way you’re dancing right now. People are filming you.
6. Get Outta My Way
When you’re in the club and your mortal enemy is staring you out and then someone from some random stag night bumps into them and vomits all over them.
7. Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi
When you’re staring out a window feeling, like, really sad and serious and deep and meaningful and someone takes a photo of you and posts it to Facebook and it is FLAMES and gets 100 likes in the first ten minutes.
Two men getting off you with in a jacuzzi.
9. I Believe In You
Your friend is marrying a total arsehole but says he loves you right before the ceremony and you kiss.
10. Step Back In Time
You’re transported back to the ’70s in San Francisco except it’s a parallel universe where nobody is racist or sexist or homophobic or has STIs. And there are no serial killers.
A nice hand-job from your third-favourite celebrity in Soho House.
12. Disco Down
You win first prize in an ABBA cosplay contest. The prize is that ABBA will reform just for you and play a private concert for you and your friends. You’re not allowed to Instagram it, though.
13. Burning Up
You have a twin who’s always there for you and buys expensive clothes that you can borrow – but you’re the prettier one.
14. Love At First Sight
You have a threesome and it’s not even remotely awkward afterward.
15. Got To Be Certain
Your schoolboy crush is still hot 20 years later and sends you a dick pic.
16. Light Years
You get upgraded to business class and all the cabin crew are hot.
17. Made Of Glass
You go out on a five-day bender and wake up hangover-free.
18. Do It Again
No, not Did It Again, that’s next. This is Do It Again:
19. Did It Again
You’re wearing clothes from six seasons ago but look brilliant so don’t care.
20. Your Body
You just smashed it at the gym and they’re handing out free Soleros as you leave.
Honourable mentions for: Locomotion (Australian version); Love At First Sight (original); Turn It Into Love; Never Too Late; Tears On My Pillow; I’m Over Dreaming (Over You); Tell Tale Signs; Secrets; One Boy Girl; I Always Find The Time; I Guess I Like It Like That; What Kind Of Fool; Where Is The Feeling; Cowboy Style; Dreams; In Denial; Please Stay; I’m So High; Fever; Fragile; In Your Eyes; Still Standing; Speakerphone; The One; Magnetic Electric; Cherry Bomb; King Or Queen; Aphrodite; All The Lovers; Kiss Me Once; Break This Heartbreak AND, of course, I Should Be So Lucky.
Interested to hear yours. These are just the ones I like, obviously.