Kylie Christmas – The Sequel

My experience of Kylie’s second ever set of Christmas gigs was so special that I will never be able to forget it; and mostly because I was lucky (lucky lucky) enough to take along my 5 year old niece (and fellow superfan) Florence to her first ever concert. Seeing such a wonderful experience through the eyes of a young child was so moving; I truly think on my deathbed when I think back on my life experiences this will feature up there as one of the most magical I’m likely to ever to have.

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The excitement reached fever pitch even in the run up, with frantic rewatching of last year’s concert on YouTube and outfit planning; and as Florence rightly announced “Kylie Minogue is the biggest popstar in the whole world”. I met my sister outside the Royal Albert Hall, who dropped off her daughter leaving her in the care of myself and Ms Minogue for the evening. Before we’d even entered the venue Flo pointed in the window; screeching at a white tutu covered in musical notes “Auntie Cha Cha! It’s my favourite dress of Kylie’s from last year!!!”.

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We showed our tickets and went straight to the merch stand; Florence left with a programme and badge set whilst her slightly older Aunt left with the same plus a t shirt. We had our photograph taken posing with the tinsel dress featured on the Kylie Christmas: Snow Queen Edition reissue album; and Florence basked in the compliments she received regarding her sequinned bomber jacket (she was mildly annoyed with me for not wearing my matching one). We bumped into several other fellow Kylie fans who all wanted to know Florence’s thoughts on what was about to happen.

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After picking up a chocolate ice cream (a girl after my own heart, one of Florence’s biggest concerns was what snack selection the RAH would offer) we made our way to our seats. She was delighted to find a santa hat on the back of our seats and even though it was so big for her tiny head and kept slipping over her eyes she insisted on wearing her “present from Kylie” for the duration. I pointed up at the ceiling to a net bag full of balloons, and told a wide eyed little girl that I wouldn’t be surprised if they were released during the final song…

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We chatted with the chaps sat in front, a lovely couple who’d flown over from Holland for the show who were both very impressed such a small girl was a huge Kylie fan. Florence decided to entertain them with a rousing rendition of Little Donkey and her favourite Kylie hits whilst we waited for Kylie to take the stage.

The lights dimmed and Florence gripped tightly onto my arm, shaking with overexcitement as I said to her “that means she’s coming on stage” and right on cue Kylie entered stage right. She started proceedings with “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” as Florence exclaimed “I love this one!!” and we both danced and sang along at the top of our lungs. By the third song (“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”) Florence leaned over to me and whispered “I think this is better than last year; the costumes are MUCH more Christmassy”. She also took great delight in pointing out every single time the setlist deviated from the previous year; which is exactly the level of detail I want to be having in a conversation with my five year old niece. My highlights of the first half were “Confide in Me” performed as the original single version and “Better The Devil You Know” dueted with Olly from Years and Years. Florence preferred “The One” (despite being unfamiliar with it she couldn’t stop singing “love me, love me, love meee” afterwards), the HEY! bits of “Christmas Wrapping” and “Celebration” for which she was delighted when I told her seeing as she’s so small she was allowed to dance standing on the chair.

Next up was interval time; Flossie reveled in learning all of these new and exotic terms. “Interval”, “duet”, “encore”; it was like her tiny mind had been opened up to a entire new world as she relished dropping these into conversation afterwards. During the interval on a quick trip to powder our noses Flo was delighted to spot two other little girls in the queue; as she smugly informed me once back at our seats “those kids were defo older than me Auntie Cha Cha”. Nails emoji!

Part two kicked off with something that I never thought I’d see let alone enjoy…a duet of “Your Disco Needs You” with opera singer Katherine Jenkins. Last summer (after turning up to babysit her and her brother with rainbows painted on my face) I taught my niece about the importance of gay pride. Florence was as pleased as punch to point out the significance of the rainbow flags on the stage. I’m proud to reveal that YDNY is now her favourite Kylie song – apologies to “Hand On Your Heart”! She also massively got into “100 Degrees”; during the intro I asked Flo if she thought Kylie’s sister might duet with her…she then innocently said to me “Is Britney Kylie’s sister?”. Close Floss. Close.

During “Let It Snow” poor Florence looked crestfallen to see that it did not actually snow. “Never mind she said” as I tried to distract her with chocolate buttons. Her attention was soon alerted when I pointed to the giant disco ball high up in the roof of the iconic venue…. “Look Florence; it’s coming down!” I exclaimed and my young niece gasped as we were suddenly in the midst of the biggest disco in town as Ms Minogue belted out her cover of “Night Fever”. Act Two came to a close with “All The Lovers” complete with confetti drop. Whilst Florence was suitably impressed she asked if it was time to go home (it was three hours past her bedtime); “Not yet Floss; don’t forget about those balloons!!”.


Once the encore was up all of a sudden something really magical happened. As Florence has been informing anyone who’ll listen ever since Kylie Minogue made it snow indoors. Whilst singing “Silent Night” no less. It really did seem made for the venue as my niece and I held hands and sang along. Kylie then moved onto a duet of “Especially For You”, dueting with the audience instead of Jason Donovan. I suppose it was her fiance’s birthday (Flo had taken great delight in joining the room to sing happy birthday earlier on) so wheeling out her former beau might have been a faux pas. Luckily Florence has received an excellent education so was more than able to duet with her idol. She ended the show with a rousing cover of “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday”; and finally a very tired little girl saw her dream of balloons descending from the ceiling.

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“Next year Auntie Cha Cha perhaps we can sit nearer to the balloons” was Florence’s very matter of fact answer as the final applause ended and she beamed me a big smile.

Setlist

Act One

  1. “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”
  2. “Wonderful Christmastime”
  3. “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”
  4. “Christmas Wrapping”
  5. “At Christmas”
  6. “Come into My World”
  7. “Confide in Me” (with John Grant)
  8. “The One”
  9. “Better the Devil You Know” (with Olly Alexander)
  10. “Celebration”
  11. “Stay Another Day”

Act Two

  1. “Your Disco Needs You” (with Katherine Jenkins)
  2. “100 Degrees” (Solo version)
  3. “Spinning Around”
  4. “Christmas Lights”
  5. “The Locomotion”
  6. “Santa Baby”
  7. “Let It Snow”
  8. “Can’t Get You Out of My Head”
  9. “Night Fever”
  10. “Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)”
  11. “Love at First Sight”
  12. “All the Lovers”

Encore

  1. “Silent Night”
  2. “Especially For You”
  3. “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday”

Big shout out to Stephen Smith for gifting Florence with one of the aforementioned special balloons!

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Gloriousney

It’s worth saying from the onset that I’m incapable of typing, or even thinking, anything impartial about Britney Jean Spears. She is a delicate flower sent from heaven above that should be treated with respect from all that are lucky enough share this planet with her; the fact that she is still breathing and has a smile on her face in 2016 is more than enough for me. I’ve loved her from the start; I enjoyed the Femme Fatale Tour (admittedly I’d had so many happy hour cocktails I failed to notice Jedward on stage with her until I saw it online the next day). I thought Britney Jean was full of bops. Hell, I will even admit *whispers* I DIDN’T THINK PRETTY GIRLS WAS THAT BAD.

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Even through her troubled years she had my unbroken support; in fact people wanting her to fail make me want to support her more. I bought ‘Blackout’ on the day of release by slapping my CD on the counter in HMV and announcing to the startled looking cashier “I’d like to show my love and support for Britney Spears by purchasing this CD please”.

But recently there seems to be a genuine shift in the world of Ms Spears; recent appearances such as her performance at the Billboard Music Awards as well as her increasingly allowing us into her world (clue – she likes tea, yoga and her boys) via social media suggest that she has that old spark back. But can this translate to her highly anticipated new album??

The answer is yes. Britney sounds confident, happy and ALIVE. I mean she’s always been Britney (bitch) but recent years have seen her voice layered and vocal effects used to create robotic effects; but on Glory we can hear her pure voice that hasn’t been apparent since the early 00s. ‘Private Show’ has echoes of her vocals from her diamond selling debut album…the jazzy precocious style I loved and never understood why needed disguising with vocoders. As an album ‘Glory’ could not be perfect and it makes me come out in goosebumps just thinking about how much I love it and how much I love Britney.

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Here is a rundown of my thoughts on the track listing:

Invitation

Perfect album opening…Britney sounds like a fairy princess addressing a field full of unicorns; and is there any higher compliment than that? What heaven sounds like.

Make Me…(ft G-Eazy)

I love this song more and more everytime I hear it, and in context with the rest of the album is the perfect first single. It’s a song I like to choreograph in my head; and I only do that with A+++ tunes. I have no idea who or what a G-Eazy is but even the rap works with the context of the song for me.

Private Show

Dare I say it, my least favourite on the album? Might be ‘cos I played it to death when was first released as an instant grat track; but could also be due to the constant adverts for the perfume of the same name popping up all the time on Britney Spears: American Dream. Britney babes, I love you, but I’m a Chanel girl and as much as I love you I will never wear a perfume that can be bought in Superdrug. Soz.

Man On The Moon

We all know Britney’s invented the concept of outer space with the speaky bit on ‘Oops!… I Did I Again’ and it’s nice to see her further explore a celestial theme with this mid tempo ode to Neil Armstrong.

Just Luv Me

Britney, you don’t need to ask twice I already luv you. Vocalney is out in full force for the ad libs on this mellow album track

Clumsy

OOOPS! With this single track Britney rendered any song in which the singer doesn’t giggle the word “ooops” before the bass dropping redundant. Perfection.

Do You Wanna Come Over

Another flawfree track. Britney is always at her best when employing double entrendres and this is double entrendre central. The shouty chorus with Britney’s spiraling vocals is just perfect.

Slumber Party

Britney swears! And I’m down for any expletives tbh. I didn’t like this one to start off with but it’s growing on me. Fun fact – Britney invented a new form of music called reggae with this track.

Just Like Me

Despite the song starting with an acoustic guitar (no hun) I like (not luv) this one. Does this remind anyone else thematically of Madge’s ‘She’s Not Me’ from Hard Candy?

Love Me Down

Is Britney rapping? Speak/singing is rapping in my opinion so the answer is yes. I’m a fan of this one too.

Hard To Forget Ya

Bollywoodney with a touch of Britney’s iconic ‘The Joy of Pepsi’ jingle. Who knew that was a marriage made in heaven but it is so there.

What You Need

Another jazzy one; are we ready for Britney’s ‘I’m Breathless’?! Makes me want to shimmy round my bedroom and dust off my tap shoes…sorry neighbours.

Better

Love, love, LOVE this one. Yes, it might be a Diplo ripoff but it’s fab. Might be my fave on the album? I need more time to mull this over I think.

Change Your Mind (No Seas Cortés)

Spanishney! Move over Ma Chico Latino and La Isla Bonita. Acoustic guitars may be a no no but flamenco guitars are a different matter.

If I’m Dancing

Dancing is my favourite activity; and Britney perfectly expresses the joy this brings with pulsating beats and Ray Of Light era William Orbit-esque wibbly wobbly sounds. I don’t mean to boast but I do have Grade One violin and this is a technical term used by musicians.

LIAR

I’ve put this one in capitals because it’s THAT GOOD! Britney sounds pissed (in the American sense). Beyonce Lemonade who? Loving the deep south country undertones straight out of Louisiana, bitch.

Coupure Électrique

IT’S FRENCH! FOR BLACKOUT! Britney acknowledges those that had enough taste to recognise Blackoutney for the raw genius she possessed. Who knows what she’s saying on this track; an A grade in French GCSE does not mean you can do more than order a coffee and two croissants in French but I love this. Fingers crossed I don’t get into trouble in Paris in a couple of weeks when I learn this phonetically and whisper it seductively to any garçon I meet.

YOU’RE WELCOME!

A Kylie Christmas

How does one even begin to write about the best gig that has ever been, or will ever be? I may be prone to hyperbole (and might be slightly biased as a Kylie superfan) but that’s exactly how I feel right now. I feel like spending the day shaking and crying in a darkened room as surely nothing could reach those dizzying heights ever again?

Excitement had been building at fever pitch for me since tickets went on sale a couple of months back. I had my outfit sorted, the pinnacle of which was a custom made t shirt that actually featuring myself and the Queen of Everything on my left shoulder

*Correction* An as approved by Dannii Minogue designed t shirt.

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Queen Minogue started her set in a festive fashion, with a selection of tracks from her new album Kylie Christmas; I have to say one of the highlights for me personally was her (w)rapping her way through a cover of The Waitresses Christmas Wrapping. I love it when Kylie raps! (see any live version of Shocked)

She also included her cover of Winter Wonderland which I like to think is a Minogue family favourite. A couple of years back on meeting Danielle Jane I informed her my ambition was to sing with a Minogue which she happily obliged. Despite it being mid November her song of choice was Winter Wonderland. Anyway *spoiler alert* more about baby sis Dannii later…

The first special guest appeared towards the end of Act One, when Chrissie Hynde joined Ms Minogue on stage for a duet 2000 Miles exclaiming “This is a dream come true!” Fun fact. When I was a child and I’d see Chrissie Hynde on the telly I thought she was my Mum as they have the same name (and hair do). Anyway, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t my Mum duetting with La Minogue last night.

Act Two kicked off with Kylie reemerging on the stage wearing a floor length gold sequin cape. I’ve seen enough pop spectaculars to know that cape wasn’t staying on for long… The song ended and, as suspected, Kylie whipped the cape off to reveal a sequinned red disco gown reminiscent of the one she recently wore for her performance of 100 Degrees on Australian X Factor. Could it be…. Could Dannii have trolled us all with her recent Twitter posts and could she have snuck on a Melbourne to London long haul flight… Sure enough the beats of the modern Christmas disco classic echoed around the Royal Albert Hall and before we knew it THERE SHE WAS! The siblings reunited live on stage. I don’t think I’ve ever heard an audience reaction that loud (except for perhaps Kylie’s first post cancer UK concert appearance which I was in attendance at); I personally felt like I burst a blood vessel by screeching so loudly.

When the song ended Kylie revealed that her very special guest had even been kept a secret from her parents and brother who were in the audience chuckling “It’s hard enough keeping one Minogue a secret, but imagine two of us!”.

Keeping the disco spirit alive Kylie trilled her way through some of her most popular uptempo hits Spinning Around and Your Disco Needs You before slowing things back down with Santa Baby (which has never been a favourite of mine – sorry Kylie!). However, all was redeemed when Queen Minogue showed JUST how magical she is by actually making it snow within the Royal Albert Hall. Strangely the song she chose to show off this feat was Let It Snow – move over Jesus!!

The next MAJOR highlight for me was the ballad version of I Believe In You which is in my top five Kylie songs ever. It’s normally magical enough but to hear it in such an illustrious setting with amazing acoustics and live orchestra is something that’ll stay with me for a long time. As if this wasn’t ethereal enough she wore an actual crown and long flowing white robes whilst mist circled around her perfectly formed ankles.

For her encore she sang Especially For You with the audience taking Jason’s part (I guess she didn’t want to parade Jason Donovan in front of new love Joshua Sasse); followed by a rousing rendition of I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday for which her younger sis bounced back on stage.

As if both singing Minogues on one stage wasn’t exciting enough, not content with making it snow Kylie Ann also made it rain balloons. Call the Met Office, our glorious leader has managed to invent a new form of weather!

Everything about this show was perfect. The setlist, the costumes, the dancing, the arrangements, the special guests (and lack of them *cough* James Corden), the audience reaction completely blew me away – it was truely faultless and something I won’t forget in a hurry. Kylie entered the stage as a princess, and left it (arm in arm with her new love) as the true Queen we know her be.

I wish it could be Kylie Christmas everyday (or year – PLEASE!!)

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SETLIST

ACT 1
1. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of The Year
2. It’s Gonna Be Warm This Christmas
3. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
4. Oh Santa
5. Christmas Wrapping
6. Wow
7. Winter Wonderland
8. Everyday’s Like Christmas
9. Can’t Get You Out Of My Head
10. 2000 Miles (ft Chrissie Hynde)
11. Christmas Isn’t Christmas ‘Til You Get Here

ACT 2
12. On a Night Like This
13. 100 Degrees (ft Dannii Minogue)
14. Spinning Around
15. Your Disco Needs You
16. Santa Baby
17. Let It Snow
18. Jingle Bell Rock
19. 12 Days of Christmas (Acapella)
19. Locomotion (Abbey Road Version)
20. I Believe in You (Ballad Version)
21. Only You
22. Love at First Sight
23. All the Lovers
24. Celebration

ENCORE
25. Especially for You
26. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day (ft Dannii)

A Meeting With Queen Minogue…

This is something I don’t really like to talk about but I am a Kylie Minogue superfan. I’ve loved her since I was 7 years of age and can’t ever imagine her not being a part of my life. I’ve been lucky enough to meet her once before (at her Harrods book signing back in 2012); but other than that my fandom has been confined to attending concerts, listening to her music, the occasional Tweet from her, writing freelance articles about her and having my cover version of her single All The Lovers featured on Popjustice.

I woke up Saturday morning with a mild hangover and with no idea how the rest of my weekend was going to pan out… At around lunchtime I saw a Tweet from Liberty saying a competition was being held for 30 winners to attend the unveiling of this year’s Christmas window display which the queen of the universe was commandeering. I hit the retweet button, gazed longingly at my Kim Kardashian West prayer candle and hoped for the best.

Fast forward to 6pm and I was sat on my Kylie At Home bedsheets (leopard print, obvs) and applying my limited edition Kiss Me Once lipstick when I saw a notification appear on my phone… “Congratulations!!! You’re going to meet Kylie tomorrow!” I immediately turned into a shaking, gibbering mess and my heart was pounding. Although I’d met my idol before, I’d never had a photograph with her that hadn’t involved me photoshopping myself into it…was this finally going to be my chance? My mind was filled with a million questions and all I had was a time and an address to meet the following morning and an instruction that due to security no phones or handbags would be permitted.

I barely slept that evening, and woke up super early feeling like a child on Christmas Day. I was shaking as I selected a t shirt I’d designed myself to wear which I accessorised with a red sparkly giant Christmas hairbow I’d already purchased for her concert at the Royal Albert Hall next month. My journey was an unmitigated disaster. I left with twice as much time as needed but due to road closures by 11.15 I was still stuck in an Uber near Westminster; at one point I really thought I wasn’t going to make it and I think the poor driver was quite taken aback by my hysterics (fingers crossed it hasn’t affected my 4.9 rating!). At 11.26 I finally got out the Uber at Piccadilly Circus and proceeded to RUN up Regent Street. Anyone who knows me will testify I don’t run but please see the evidence below!

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With one minute to spare I arrived at the office entrance to Liberty and I was beetroot red and making little sense as I checked my handbag in with security, obviously hiding a few personal items for signing under my cape and was given a VIP wristband to wear:

Wristband

We were ushered upstairs to the 4th floor and escorted into a small ornate side room with three rows of chairs, a pink sparkly Christmas tree and two arm chairs at the front. On each chair was a small purple Liberty giftbag that contained a deluxe edition of her new album Kylie Christmas. I was lucky enough that two of my friends Danny and John had also won tickets so I sat with them and we chatted to the people around us as we made the most of the complimentary pastries and beverages.

At around 12.15 a buzz went around the room… She was on her way! First into the room was her new exceptionally handsome boyfriend Joshua Sasse who lingered at the back staring at her adoringly. Seanny Sean her tour manager was also accompanying her. A representative from Liberty brandishing a microphone came out and introduced her as the entire room stood to give her a standing ovation as she entered the room. “Sit down, sit down!” she said as she took her seat.

The representative from Liberty proceeded to interview her; I presume for their website as the entire event was filmed. Kylie explained that she’d decorated the pink sparkly Christmas tree herself as part of a charity initiative for ITV’s Text Santa. My Christmas tree always features my Ms Minogue Barbie doll dressed as an angel but I guess Kylie was going for a more understated appearance for her interior décor.

Tree

The interview itself was mainly about her thoughts on Christmas and Minogue family traditions. The most revealing part which had the room howling was probably that her ideal Christmas day would involve “spending the morning in bed, then I’d take it from there”. Also, world exclusive, on her Christmas list this year is a wick trimmer which I initially misheard as “wig trimmer”. I was sat in her direct eye line, and each time we got eye contact my inner 7 year old died a little.

When the interview ended it was time for the meet and greet part of the session, and each person got to go up to the front one by one, row by row. After the first photograph was taken Kylie took command to alter the set up as there was a table with a floral arrangement on between the two chairs. “This isn’t working. Let’s move this table” she said. “The guys will get a much better picture if the chairs are closer together”. Thanks babes!

Eventually it was my turn and as I sat down next to my idol it struck me how much this reminded me of a Santa’s Grotto, but with an opportunity to meet someone much more glamorous and fragrant than Father Christmas.

“Hi nice to meet you, I love your bow!” was Kylie’s opening line. “Thanks so much, I bought it for your Christmas gig at the Royal Albert Hall; thought I might as well get in the festive spirit early” I responded. “Oh you’re coming!” she said, “I’m so excited about it and want to make it special. I hoped all the audience would be dressing up!”

Being a responsible Aunt I have brainwashed my four year old niece into being a Kylie fan too; and when she found out I was meeting our shared idol she burst into tears, informing my sister “That’s not fair, Auntie Cha Cha has already met her”. I handed Kylie a photograph of Florence singing into a microphone with Kylie on the television screen behind her. “Oh my goodness, she’s so cute!” said Kylie and she looked horrified when I told her she was upset she couldn’t come due to the no plus ones policy. “Why couldn’t she come? It’s not a school day” was Minogue’s response as she dedicated the picture to Florence and we talked about how much fun being an Auntie is.

As a side note Florence is not sure that Kylie did indeed sign this herself as she’s not sure that Kylie would be able to spell F-L-O-R-E-N-C-E, but at least this is a great souvenir for when she’s feeling less sceptical.

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The next item I’d bought with me was a bit of a gamble as I handed Kylie a photograph of some artwork I’d created in which I’d superimposed myself into a photo with her and Dannii. “Please don’t be alarmed by this” I warned as I handed it over. “What is this? And how did you do it?” asked Kylie as she raised the picture to her perfectly formed face to inspect closer, as she cackled away. “Oh just a little something I created using a phone app” I retorted as my brain envisaged the nail varnish emoji. “I always fancied being the third Minogue sister”. “I can see that!” giggled Kylie.

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Other items that she signed were the Christmas CD she had gifted me with and also I bought the insert she’d created to replace the dire cover for her Greatest Hits 1988-92 album. “This is a blast from the past!” she informed me as she signed the collector’s item.

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We posed for the professional photographer who took some pictures of the two besties and it was all over. “Thank you so much Kylie!” I said, “I hope you have a fab Christmas”. “You too!” said Kylie as she beamed her magnificent smile at me.

And that was it. The whirlwind was over and I exited the room. It all seemed so surreal and dreamlike. I only hope that when the photographs are e-mailed to me later this week I’m not pulling an odd facial expression. But, hey, even if I am at least La Minogue approves of my photoshop skills!

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Ten Years of Confessions On A Dancefloor

Even thinking about ‘Confessions On A Dancefloor’ takes me back to a magical time in my life. 24 years of age and living my own version of ‘The Simple Life: Interns’ in NYC this album just fitted with my mindset at that time; even my MySpace page in a cringe-worthy fashion featured lyrics from “I Love New York” (presented without irony). My only real concerns were clubbing and making the most of the beautiful city I was blessed to call home; thinking back it’s hard to recognise that carefree person as it seems far removed from the person I am a decade later.

This was (for me) before the time of MP3s and iTunes and the morning of release I did my favo(u)rite trick as the PA to a prominent architect of announcing in an authoritative tone that I was going out on “errands”. Very rarely were there actual work related errands to be found and not once did anyone question me. My office was based in Soho and it was my mission to get my hands on a copy of this yet to be heard album and as soon as possible. This turned out to be a trickier task that planned as I marched the crisp streets of downtown Manhattan; none of the independent record stores in Soho or Greenwich or the West Village had received their deliveries yet. Eventually I reached the now defunct Union Square branch of Tower Records and handed over what was a sizeable chunk of my disposable income for Madge’s latest work of art. With a shaky hand I placed the disc into my Sony Discman and as I marched back downtown I instantly fell in love with Madonna’s return to disco music. THIS was what I’d been looking for. By this point I’d lived in my favourite city in the world for ten months and fallen in love with the likes of Le Tigre but finally I had a whole record that understood how I felt.

The buildup to its release had been intense; with no leaks the only indication of how the album would sound came from the lead single ‘Hung Up’ which seemed to send the clubs that I frequented wild. ‘Hung Up’ almost clashed with Halloween and I have brilliant memories of accidentally stumbling across a Madonna night at the Pyramid night club after the Motherfucker Party I had planned to attend had been shut down by police. I remember dancing on the stage whilst dressed as the bride of Dracula and tossing my bouquet over and over into the crowd as the Abba sample pulsated around the legendary club.

My most favourite place to go out dancing in the whole of New York was the weekly Saturday night dance party held at Luke+Leroys known as Misshapes. I was such a frequent attendee that I could swan in straight past the heaving crowds with the doorbitch Tomas just saying “hello English” as each week my head swelled bigger and bigger. The Saturday prior to the release of ‘Confessions On A Dancefloor’ I had two of my best friends visiting from the UK; and I had planned to take them to visit. However the night before had turned messy and when faced with the choice of another night out or staying in and eating chinese food and watching a horror film starring Freddy Krueger as a killer clothes press (you couldn’t make this up) we plumped for the latter.  I was dead to the world at 1am when the text messages started rolling in. “WHERE ARE YOU JAZ?”. “MADONNA IS DJING AT MISSHAPES”…. I don’t think I’ll ever recover from the disappointment though at least in this pre-selfie simpler time I probably wouldn’t have had any evidence to show for it even if I had have hauled my arse off the sofa.

There is not a dud on this album, and the Stuart Price format of a continuously segued album with each track running into the next seemed perfect for the time. I listened to it on repeat on my portable CD player; in this day and age I only seem to listen to it on shuffle on my iPod which just is not the same *makes mental note to listen to it properly tomorrow*.

It’s not even my favourite Madonna album; without a doubt that accolade goes to ‘Like A Prayer’; but whenever I listen to this one it transports me back in time. Is there any better place to be than 24 and living out all of your dreams? I’ll forever be grateful to Madge for providing me with my own time machine!

A lookback at Kylie Minogue’s Anti Tour

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Three years ago this week St Kylie of Minogue really got into full swing with her #K25 celebration of her first quarter century in the music business by embarking upon the ‘Anti Tour’. With the Anti Tour Kylie trod where none of her peers would dare to by doing a handful of dates (in both Australia and the UK) in which she sang rarieties; b sides, album tracks and unreleased demos. Anyone who’s been to see Kylie live will be aware that these are not typically understated affairs, but Ms Minogue stripped all of this back to perform theatre venues with just a backing band and none of her usual embellishments. Except perhaps a small glitter canon. And few tiny lasers.

I was lucky enough to be in attendance at her one London date at the Hammersmith Apollo and it truly was a unforgettable evening. As (despite rumours to the contrary) it has never received a DVD release all that survives of the evening beyond my memories are a selection of YouTube clips and my much prized souvenir t shirt. As tricky as it is to sift through such a one of a kind performance I’ve tried to pick some of my absolute highlights below:

MADE IN HEAVEN 

In the 25 years of Kylie fandom I’d experienced prior to this moment ‘Made In Heaven’ was the number one track I was desperate to see live. The only previous memory I have of the b side to number 2 hit single ‘Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi’ being performed live was at the 1988 Royal Variety Performance, and I’d nearly worn my taped-off-the-telly video cassette out I’d rewatched it so many times. Back in the heady days of the late 1980s my only way of listening to the audio was via my 7″ inch record; I was unable to listen to it via my Fisher Price cassette player as Queen Minogue had failed to include it on her 2 million selling debut album. Perhaps this omission has helped it to reach godlike status in my mind but whatever the reason this was an absolute highlight.

ONE BOY GIRL

KYLIE! RAPS! This was my immediate thought when I first listened to Kylie’s 3rd album release ‘Rhythm of Love’ back in 1990. Rapping had previously been the exclusive domain of the People’s Minogue younger sister Dannii. Perhaps I was too young to know better but I genuinely thought her rap skills were second to none. Well except perhaps Betty Boo that is. The One Boy Girl rap has long since been an in joke amongst Kylie fans and thought of her performing this live seemed preposterous. But then the Anti Tour came along and blew all of our preconceptions out of the window: “Hey yo Kylie, wats up wit that one boy girl thing”. Classic!

YOU’RE THE ONE

An unused track from her 1998 classic ‘Impossible Princess’ album ‘You’re The One’ has never been commercially released and only exists in a very low quality scratchy leaked demo version. The fact that Kylie even acknowledged that her fans have enjoyed it over the years speaks volumes about her relationship with her fanbase and when she chose to sing this live it was such a special moment.

TOO MUCH

The only track from La Minogue’s 2010 album ‘Aphrodite’ not to be performed live on her epic Aphrodite: Les Folies World Tour. Co-penned by Minogue herself with Calvin Harris and Jake Shears from the Scissor Sisters it’s madness to me that this amazing song was overlooked as single choice. Classic Kylie. However it’s fun to see such a stripped down fun version. In terms of spectacle Aphrodite: Les Foiles set the benchmark for touring productions, I can’t imagine any of her peers ending a concert with a human water fountain; and the contrast between this performance style and the Anti Tour demonstrates Kylie’s versatility and comfort on stage.

ENJOY YOURSELF

The title track from Kylie’s 1989 sophomore album is in my top five Minogue tracks of all time. Never has the feeling a song gives you been so perfectly summed up by it’s title, pure joy from start to finish. However my 8 year old self could never understand why she sings ‘enjoy it’ on the chorus when the song is called ‘Enjoy Yourself’, and 26 years later I’m still confused. The perfect song to end the gig with this underrated classic is a pure adrenaline shot and I always blast it if I’m feeling blue. The reaction she got from the audience was so great that she even resurrected it for last year’s Kiss Me Once Tour. I defy anyone to listen to this song and not have a smile on their face.

My original review of the Anti Tour can be found here: http://www.virginmedia.com/music/features/kylie-minogue-anti-tour-review.php

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What were your highlights? Comment below!

A Spotlight on the Arthur George range by Robert Kardashian

The Kardashian-Jenner dynasty have their immaculately manicured fingers in a lot of pies: fashion, haircare, cookbooks, make up, Olympic gold medals, diet pills, sex tapes, etc, etc but there was one vital area they had overlooked. Thank goodness for Richard Branson in the making Robert Kardashian Jnr and his Arthur George line of footwear. It’s not even slight hyperbole for me to admit that browsing the Arthur George website is one of my favourite uses of time, and I’m going to talk you through some of my favourites from the range.

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1) Classy Bitch socks

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Family matriarch Kris Jenner uploaded these beauties to her Instagram account earlier this week with the accompanying (alleged) quote from Coco Chanel “A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous”. If I were to visualise a classy, fabulous girl they would most certainly be wearing these on their feet and Coco definitely isn’t turning in her grave. 10/10

2) Smoke Weed socks

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For my flatmate’s birthday I decided to splash out on pair of Arthur George socks for the lucky girl. Deciding which option to go for was the modern day gal’s equivalent of Sophie’s Choice but in the end I plumped for these beauties. Of all the things in the world a young professional woman would want written on the soles of their feet “smoke weed” is at the bottom of this list, so these won mainly for their surreal shock value. They had their intended result and she GASPED when opening the package. Gold star to me! 9/10

3) YOLO socks

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If my favourite Momager wasn’t personally holding these YOLO socks (whilst sporting a Kardashian Kollection frock) they wouldn’t feature so highly on my list. Such a goddess. And with her hair styled in that fashion she is the living embodiment of YOLO so who better to model them? Get that 10% gurlfriend! 8/10

4) Rich Bitch socks

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For me these socks evoke the golden era of elder sister Kim Kardashian-West; the halcyon days before she’d found fame in her own right and was still employed by former school friend Paris Hilton as a stylist. Looking back at pictures from that era it’s evident that she’d have swallowed bleach if it would have resulted in her replacing frenemy Nicole Richie in The Simple Life. That era really was the embodiment of the Rich Bitch era, a simpler time for us all. Please note Kim’s feet are not visible in the below picture so feel free to join me in imagining she is wearing these beauties to keep her ankles warm…. 7/10

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5) ❤ My Boyfriend socks 

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The reasons behind Rob’s break up with Rita Ora were much publicised at the time, mainly as a result of his Twitter rampage in which he accused her of cheating on him with over 20 men amongst other things. BUT. Perhaps the real reason was that he tried to coerce her into wearing these monstrosities? 1/10

If you’d like to purchase a pair for yourself they are available directly from http://www.agsocks.com/ 

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