Byline: BONNIE GREER
Kylie Minogue's decision to flash her bottom at every opportunity shows she's one smart cookie, with a keen awareness of what it takes for her to remain a top pop star in Britain. With only limited singing talent, she's had no choice but to take the standard lap-dancer route. Unlike all the other gyrating young females around the place, however, Kylie has specialised in flashing her buttocks. It's all worked brilliantly, making her the undisputed star of last week's Brits and earning plenty of front-page publicity.
In the mid-Nineties, Kylie's career looked all but over. She was still popular with the gay community, but she no longer figured as a mainstream pop star. Then, in her video for the song Spinning Around two years ago, she wore a pair of tiny gold hotpants and spent a lot of time with her back to the camera. Suddenly, she was spectacularly back on track.
Clearly, Kylie and the people managing her understand the peculiarly British fascination with knickers and backsides.
But this won't work in America, where Kylie has never done well, and where she will continue to fail unless she takes careful note of how sex is marketed there.
For all its violence and explicitness, America is deeply conservative. Sex in America is packaged like the pop group, Destiny's Child. These girls let it all hang out, but they still go to church on Sundays. Breasts and bare navels are acceptable. Bottoms are not.
Perhaps that is why Kylie is willing to attempt one last assault on the US market - but is not sounding wildly optimistic about her chances.
Cities are places of danger. They have never been as safe as the suburbs or as peaceful as the countryside. That's the price you pay for their vibrancy and excitement. The drug addicts who steal Rolex watches had their equivalent in past eras. Seventeenth-century London had so many 'cutpurses' that it was necessary to get a bodyguard before stepping out of the door.
Nineteenth-century London was the capital of appalling child prostitution and home of notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper. Even during the blackouts of World War II, a madman was killing women.
Obviously, no one wants to be robbed or assaulted. But if you want the freedom, excitement and stimulating mix of races and classes that a city offers, then you have to put up with a certain amount of risk.
Former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani is lauded as the creator of the 'zero-tolerance' approach to policing which, it's now widely believed, eliminates that risk. Sure, Giuliani's made the streets safe, but he's also ripped the soul out of New York.
Police chief Brian Paddick, head of the Metropolitan Police's Lambeth division, is in big trouble for expressing the view that a little anarchy is not a bad thing. But when it comes to cities, he could be right.
Lots of people will protest but I'm pleased that the Royal Television Society has nominated Brass Eye for a comedy award. …