kylie defines the term ‘gay icon’ with berghain show
Minogue, not Jenner, obv.
If you thought that Meryl Streep joining the cast of Big Little Lies, Britney Spears performing Brighton Pride or the return of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy was the pinnacle of gay culture, think again. On 20 March 2018 gay culture will reach its zenith because Kylie Minogue is playing a show at Berghain.
Like a literal incarnation of the “move I’m gay” meme, Kylie Minogue (the true owner of the mononym “Kylie”, FYI) has announced a string of shows to support the release of her 14th (!) studio album, Golden. The mini-tour, which begins on 13 March at London’s Café de Paris, reaches its climax just seven days later at the infamous Berlin superclub.
The news that one of Australia’s best exports would be heading to a club housed in a former Communist power plant known for its precariously stringent door policy, techno music and x-rated antics, might surprise some people. But for the gays, it fits better than a latex bodysuit. You see, Berghain and Kylie are both queer institutions.
One thing that gay clubs offer the LGBTQ community is a safe space to just exist. It’s why most gay clubs are not only sanctuaries but celebratory; we charter our lives through the thumping bass of industrial speakers and the sheer vibrancy of life on offer. They’re also never quite luxurious, either. Gay venues exude a kind of DIY-ethos where patching up the wonky bits by sticking some tape and glitter on something, alongside a disco ball, means that the show can go on. Even mainstream clubs like G-A-Y are a bit ropey around the edges – it’s just part of their charm.
It’s not really fair to say that Kylie is a bit ropey around the edges because, well, she’s not. In fact, her new song Dancing, a twangy track about doing a jig while staring death in right in the eyes, is perhaps the best thing she’s put out since 2010’s All The Lovers. Still, there’s a dependability with Kylie that, like gay clubs, offers stability and safety, even if can sometimes be a bit naff. Whether people are disappointed by the sound or already adding it their “Kylie Bangers” Spotify playlists, queer people collect in a hive of activity, and together we all exhale in contentment — Kylie is back so everything will be okay.
That’s what good gay icons do, you see. Whether they stand up for gay rights (as Kylie did recently during Australia’s same-sex marriage referendum), sing songs about getting dicked really hard (like Ariana Grande did on Side to Side), or offer support in the form of relatability, these stars are also our security. Like beacons in an otherwise dimming world, it’s hopeful to see an inevitable Madonna comeback, a Beyoncé record destined to change that game (again) or Ariana’s ponytail.
In Ms. Minogue’s case, however, there’s also her complete lack of pretension -- as Rufus Wainwright once wrote, “self-knowledge is a truly beautiful thing and Kylie knows herself inside out.” Wainwright even goes as far to call her “gay shorthand for joy”, and he’s not wrong. Put on the majestic I Believe in You, Spinning Around or Better the Devil You Know and try not to be won over by her breathy elfin vocal and triumphantly joyous production. Even a track like the spin tingling Confide in Me, a distraction from Kylie’s brand of simplistic pop bangers, is empowering as it acknowledges its own subversive darkness. These traits mirror what a club like Berghain represents. It too could be “gay shorthand for joy”, and, its door policy aside, there’s not ostentatious falsehoods, just a fully realised picture of what it is and who it’s for.
So when 20 March 2018 rolls along, be prepared because it’ll probably be the most important point of gay culture in history. It’ll be a convergence of queer force so strong that it could stop homophobia and destroy the world. But then that’s probably what Kylie wanted all along because, as she sings on her latest song, “When I go out I wanna go out dancing.” Me too, tbh. Thankfully Kylie is playing an array of other intimate gigs -- so even if you don’t pass Berghain’s stringent door policy, there’s hope for you yet.