Kim Wilde: from pop vamp to garden-weeder

Rotterdam – Careers in showbizz-land are whimsical. The former English popvamp Kim Wilde knows this all too well. In the eighties, the whole world was at her feet. The blonde singer, wearing black leather scored megahits with Kids in America and You keep me hangin’ on.
She has now forcedly laid down her comb and microphone and traded them in for a set of rakes and weeders. Starting this week she can be seen as a garden princess on the British commercial channel ITV. In the expectation of her eleventh album – her record company has postponed the release several times already – she presents the show Better Gardens.
Kim Wilde was famous in the early eighties in a period when loudmouth girls like Cyndi Lauper and Blondie profited from the new wave trend. With hits like Cambodia – written by her father and brother – a goodlooking exterior and in those days stirring clips she managed to conquer a place in popland. Millions of records were sold by the family empire. But after some time the attention diminished. The Wildes kept on producing songs, but they stuck in the lower regions of the charts. Kim had to trade in big concert halls in favour of little dark rooms.
In England she remained popular for some time, the rest of the world lost track of her. But also in her home country it eventually went wrong. Her record company MCA/Universal refused to release her eleventh album until now.
Maybe Wilde’s new job will change all that. Because not only did she cause a commotion by showing us her green fingers wearing an overall, a genuine war among TV-gardeners started to evolve in England. Gardening programs are very popular with the homely English. And so the ratings of these programs are very important. Presenters of BBC-gardeningprograms accuse the commercial ITV of contaminating the gardening profession by hiring a glamourgirl like Wilde. She should stick to her own job, which is singing, they say. According to them, Kim knows nothing about gardening, and she wouldn’t be able to distinguish a rake from a lawnmower.
But Wilde replies that she has used the time when her CDs didn’t fare well productively. She married the actor Hal Fowler, bought an old farm and a piece of land. In order to be able to work with that land she followed a course at the horticultural school in Hertfortshire. She doesn’t say whether or not she managed to get a diploma there. Anyway: Wilde has managed to get some attention again. Which is not a bad thing given the promotion of her otherwise unnoticed new album.