Dancing

Kylie Minogue

When I go out, I want to go out dancing

Well, what a star – literally glittering! Kylie Minogue OBE – singer, songwriter and actress also known as ‘the Princess of Pop’ has won every music award there is. She started her career acting in the Australian soap opera Neighbours and since the 1980s has performed around the globe and sold over 70 million records worldwide, becoming the highest-selling Australian artist of all time.

Over the years she has kept audiences excited as she developed her image from girl-next-door through Japanese geisha and disco diva to an all round performer whose elaborate stage shows incorporate vivid burlesque fashion styles. The joyous escapism and camp humour has also attracted an appreciative gay following.

In terms of artistic and commercial success she had it all. Then a personal tragedy struck. In 2005 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to have surgery and chemotherapy. She survived and went on to work again after a break, although she is reported to have described the treatment as “like experiencing a nuclear bomb.”

This is why this song means so much to me. My dear late wife went through similar trauma. She had breast cancer, the full treatment, recovered and lived normally for years, but then there was a final recurrence. The illness made us both realise that we are all living on borrowed time and how we need to make the most of life while we can.

Everybody’s got a story

Let it be your blaze of glory

Burning bright, never fade away

And when the final curtain falls, we could say we did it all

The never ending of a perfect day

The lyrics of the hook line can be read in two ways. “When I go out, I want to go out dancing” can just mean “when I leave the house for entertainment, I like to go dancing”. But I think there is a much more poignant way to understand it. “When I die, I want to know that I have lived my life as fully as I could, until the very end.”

But what does it really mean, to have lived life to the full? Is it to get rich and to have been a successful consumer of life’s pleasures? Perhaps these words will help us find an answer.

God Control

Madonna

this is your wake-up call

Who are the prophets of today? How does God talk to us all?

Here is Madonna as Madame X, but with both her eyes open (hmm) in a work of art that I’ve categorised as ‘experimental’, as it blends the forms of song and film and the character as observer and participant, victim and survivor. The specific subject of mass shootings and inadequate gun control is particular to the USA and Madame X speaks into that situation as loudly as anyone could. I think she is fulfilling her duty as an artist, which is to help people see something they can’t or won’t see.

I’m fascinated by the title of the song and the personal theology that might lie behind it. Is she saying “we don’t need to control guns, we need to control bad people who use them, and God must do this for us all, because we can’t?” – in other words a kind of prayer. It’s certainly a lament “We lost God control”. Surely she’s not saying that God used to generally keep things in pretty good shape, but then s/he has ‘let go’ of us all lately? Or is it just a reference to the way formal religion has historically been a means of social control?

So who will take any our sins and save us from ourselves?

Shockwave

Liam Gallagher

“Everything will be OK in the end
and if it ain’t OK, then it ain’t the end

This is what swagger sounds like! The lyrics read suspiciously like a replay of the well publicized antagonism between the Gallagher brothers. The video certainly seems to be a message of accusation, retribution and finality – burning things down.

Here is Liam – on a journey, striding through the rust belt, the ghost towns and the civil unrest. Is this how he sees his inner life, or is it a message for society at large, or for us all as individuals? The words seem to warn of old-style Catholic purgatory:

You’re gonna burn until you behave

Maybe the shame will open your eyes

Perhaps he is being prophetic and warning of the inevitable consequences of the betrayal of relationships and of truth, whether personal or in society. Here’s a positive message in the Bible:

It is truly wonderful
when relatives live together
in peace

Psalm 133