Date: 1 November 1984
Originally published in: Blitz (UK)
…And you can forget all that dreamy, dewy-eyed copy you’ve been submitting lately, just give me a piece of social realism on Kim Wilde.’ I could see The Editor was in no mood for compromise. I meekly complied and went through the imaginary cap-doffing routine all too familiar to us Blitz freelances. Social realism and Kim Wilde… I desperately sought an angle, but as things turned out, I needn’t have worried.
Miss Kim Wilde
– a pop star, seemingly in control, quietly self-pleased, looking to re-establish herself after a short lay-off, distant.
– a photographer, thorough, affable, but a strong self-will, is about to have her phone cut off any day now.
– a hairdresser, on the surface a bit of a dandy, soft spoken, not afraid to give advice, the audience never gets to know him well, enigmatic.
– a make-up artist, a New Yorker trying out London for a couple of years, interested, polite.
– a record company press officer, overt, organised, carefully bides her time, big stake in client protection.
– a journalist, squeaky-clean, cub reporter fixation, an air of mild good humour, eager to please, worries about what people think of him.
The role players take the stage, a photographic studio in London’s busy West End. Those assembled seem mildly panicked over Simon Potter’s entrance.
Simon (trying to appear relaxed): Hi, I’m Simon Potter from Blitz magazine.
Sheila: Hi, Simon. We’ve been expecting you. I’m afraid we’re running well behind schedule. Kim’s just changing for the photo session, but we’ll be able to give you a few minutes for the interview somewhere along the line.
Clearly unimpressed by the time allotted to him, Simon takes a seat and accepts Monica’s offer of a coffee. he chats casually to Sheila and Robert while Maggie attends to Kim’s make-up in a separate room and Monica erects the photographic equipment.
Monica: Simon, to save time, would you mind standing in for Kim while I take a few polaroids in preparation for the main shots.
Simon: But I look nothing like Kim.
Monica: Doesn’t matter. I only want to position the lighting.
Simon dutifully walks over to the door around which the session will take place. Cheers of encouragement abound from Shila and Robert who advise Simon to strike his best James Dean pose.
Monica: Right, look into the light would you, Simon?
Simon: It’s awfully bright, Monica.
Monica: That’s alright, you’ll get used to it.
A few minutes later Simon stumbles to his seat, struggling to regain his vision. He takes somebody else’s coffee in mistake for his.
Sheila: Kim seems to be ready now. Why don’t you pop next door, Simon, and chat for a few minutes while Monica finishes setting up.
Simon enters a box room which is a jumble of Miss Wilde’s clothes and various make-up applications. The pop singer is wearing a tight leather dress, which brings to mind dubious S&M images.
Kim (for it is she): I bought this new dress before my new look was even discussed. I spoke to XL and had this dress specially designed because I’m into those pictures of Batwoman and Barbarella. I love that sort of thing.
Simon: Don’t you ever feel embarrassed by this new pose?
Kim: Well I know it’s a sexy image, but it’s a different kind of sexiness to that displayed by page three girls in suspenders with their tits hanging out. I think it’s much more exciting to portray a woman in control of herself than being told what to do at the hands of some lecherous photographer.
Simon: Does the assimilation of such a role come easily or do you have to work at it?
Kim: Work at what?
Simon: Exuding sex appeal.
Kim: I don’t think about it at all, I just enjoy it. It’s not my fault that I’ve got big lips, that I like wearing red lipstick and have blonde hair.
Miss Wilde rolls her tongue round her lip gloss, sensuously.
Simon: But you deliberately highlight those features.
Kim: What woman wouldn’t? Anyway, people only really take notice because I’m a famous person.
Simon: But how would you react if…
A third person enters the room. It’s Sheila.
Sheila: OK, Kim, back to the other room.
Simon: When can I ask her some more questions?
Sheila: Once the photo session gets underway…
The room is filled with the sound of camera clicks, and Monica’s detailed directives to Miss Wilde. Miss Wilde for her part leans against the door, her leather dress creasing in the places it’s supposed to.
Monica: Angle more to the door, Kim. Put your shoulder back. Extend your back foot. That’s perfect.
Kim: Monica, do you mind if I spend a couple of minutes on my hair?
Monica: Not at all.
Miss Wilde and Robert disappear into the box room.
Monica: Simon, I hate to ask you again, but would you mind posing in Kim’s place for another polaroid. It won’t take long.
Two minutes pass.
Simon: Oh, look into the light! I thought you said turn to the right. Sorry, Monica!
Miss Wilde re-enters satisfied with Robert’s efforts.
Monica: Take over from Simon now, Kim. Robert, can you help Simon to a chair; the lights have blinded him again.
Simon (stumbling): Robert, Robert? Is that you?
Robert: I’m over here. It’s alright.
Miss Wilde starts humming her new single ‘The Second Time’ while Sheila takes the final shots. Sheila makes polite conversation with Simon until, suddently…
Sheila: Oh, look! The session’s over. Grab a quick five minutes with Kim, Simon, while the car’s waiting.
Miss Wilde and Simon resume their conversation in the box room.
Simon: Where were we?
Kim: You were going on about the sex image. This is obviously a sexy picture (looking down at the polaroid) and I hope you understand the thinking behind it.
Simon: Do you enjoy being a pop star, Kim?
Kim: Yeah, I like the attention more than I’d care to admit. It also means that I’m not tied to a routine, I’d hate that. I like the way that being in pop music can be unfair, yet terribly fair at the same time.
Simon: How do you mean?
Kim: Well, you can’t always see the people you want, that’s unfair. If the press give me a hard time, it’s unfair… And it’s fair because it gives me a good life.
Simon: Is it difficult to maintain friendships when you’re a pop star?
Kim: Well, it is difficult to fit everybody in. Everyone wants me, you know. Rick and Dad want me at the studio (her father and brother co-write and produce her material, but you knew that already), friends want me, the record company wants me and (jokingly) my public want me.
Simon: Are any of your friends jealous of your success?
Kim: Not close friends. That’s something I don’t wish to think about. One friend has said that she envies me to my face, but what they say about me behind my back I don’t get to hear of. There must be a lot of them because I keep hearing them talking behind other people’s backs.
Simon: Do you do that?
Kim: No, it’s uncool.
Simon: So if you hate someone you’ll tell them to their face will you?
Kim: Let’s put it this way, I won’t tell anyone else before I let that person know about it.
Simon: Can you see yourself being a pop star for a long time?
Kim (looking into the mirror): You know, I’m really pleased with my hair. It hasn’t changed much, just got longer. Over the past year I’ve started to look after myself, and now I want to be well dressed and well groomed the whole time.
Simon: What, even when you go down the shops?
Kim (laughs): Yeah.
Sheila (entering suddenly): The car’s arrived, Kim.
As Miss Wilde gathers her belongings she reveals to Simon that some day she’d like to work with Dusty Springfield, her heroine. With that the pop singer, her press officer and the journalist leave, the atter mentally sorting the evening’s bizarre activities, happy in the knowledge that his sight could return at any moment. Just like Monica told him.