Kim’s wild life

Forget anything Nick Elson says, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of nostalgia in its place, although it’s true that place seems to be everywhere. The 80s fixation that crept in a few years ago shows no sign of making a dignified exit. Fat studded belts are still holding tight to the hips of the fashion conscious, and batwing sleeves and hoop earrings are hot on the high street. The last few months have seen Soft Cell, UB40 and Sigue Sigue Sputknik strutting stages in the city, Kylie and Michael Jackson riding high in the charts, and now Chesney Hawkes and Five Star are making comebacks. Yes, really.

The latest roadshow to roll up in town is the Here & Now Tour, featuring an all-star line up. Paul Young, Kim Wilde, Curiosity Killed The Cat, Nick Heyward, Heaven 17, Go West and T’Pau – you’ll be dancing on the ceiling. We caught up with Kim Wilde, who stormed the charts aged 20 with the catchy ‘Kids in America’, and rode a pop career that included over 30 hit singles, number ones in the UK and America, and a five month stadium tour supporting Michael Jackson.

20 years on, Kim is happily enconsed in her house in the country, looking after her two kids and enjoying the garden. Kim’s not dwelling on a faded career, she’s too busy growing a new one, as designer on ITV’s Better Gardens and the BBC’s Garden Invaders. She’s also copresenting coverage of the Chelsea Garden Show while still studying at horticultural college. They always said she was a wholesome young girl. Kim is happie now than ever. While she kept her hand in showbiz, with a spot presenting The Big Breakfast, and 12 months as the female lead in the musical Tommy, she admits she’d been looking for something new to do for a long time. ‘I was bored. I’d been there, done that, got all the t-shirts.’

She’s pretty non-plussed with the music business. ‘I always found it vacuous, shallow, stupid,’ she says, bluntly. ‘You’re parading yourself in a very self-interested way’. But she enjoys performing enough to get back onstage for one more tour, and to ercord a new track for her greatest hits album. After all, who could pass up the opportunity for a knees-up with Paul Young and Carol Decker? ‘I have to admit, Carol and I get on very very well’, Kim tells me, ‘she’s wild and unpredictable.’

Also fairly unpredictable was Kim’s transformation from pop queen to green-fingered goddess. For Kim though, it was a natural progression. After buying and renovating a 16th century barn in Hertfordshire, she was ‘more and more drawn to being in the garden. When I saw [gardening programmes] on TV, IU thought, I’d love to be involved in that.’

And now she is. It’s a pity all our whims can’t be answered quite so swiftly. Slogging it out on the pop circuit has obviously been worth it aft rall, as Kim’s name has given her the opportunity to wield her trowel all over he telly, but not before she has one last dance.