THE GIRL WHO FELL TO EARTH
She seemed almost flawless, an otherworldly embodiment of physical perfection. But now, like thousands of ordinary women every year, Kylie Minogue has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Libby Brooks examines why Kylie’s illness matters to us
Wednesday May 18, 2005
I would never have described myself as a fan. Which made it even more surprising, that whump in the stomach when I heard on the morning headlines that Kylie Minogue had postponed the Australian leg of her world tour after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Sandwiched on Radio 4 between a discussion on the role of Mary, mother of Jesus, in the Anglican and Catholic faiths and an interview with the home secretary Charles Clarke, it sounded like news from a parallel planet, as though someone had inadvertently mixed up a page of Heat magazine with the Today programme’s running order. But it was true, and I felt sad. As did Audrey and Sophie and Nicky and the other friends of mine who had heard the news too and texted before I left my flat for work.
Of course there’s something enormously disingenuous about feeling terribly distressed when an attractive 37-year-old celebrity has breast cancer.
“She seemed almost flawless”? My arse. You can write the rest of the piece for yourselves, but I thought I should at least include in my quote the obligatory pretentious broadsheet columnist misuse of “disingenuous”. In this case this recently fashionable tic of the not-as-clever-as-they-think-they-are brigade makes me think of someone eating a Pot Noodle with chopsticks. Later in the article you can enjoy “discourse”, “eloquent testament”, a straw man the size of Kansas, and some mangled cancer epidemiology.