Kylie Minogue has revealed that after 30 years of living in the UK, she is moving back to Australia, the country of her birth. “I’ve had friends call me, my friend at my local restaurant was like, ‘Kylie, what do you mean? You can’t go’,” she told Zoe Ball on Radio 2, saying that she couldn’t believe the public reaction to her decision.
If you listened hard enough, past midnight, you may have heard wailing and weeping on the breeze, as fans on dancefloors across the land shuffled sadly to Can’t Get You Out of My Head and asked why. Why, Kylie, why? Why are you leaving us?
How could Kylie possibly leave all this behind? A couple of weeks ago, I stopped at every petrol station on a drive from London to Bristol, to find them roped off or closed as the fuel tank ran low; when it was nudging the red, and one motorway station turned out to be open, drivers across the forecourt actually cheered when they knew they were about to pay motorway petrol prices, which felt doomier than any clips of torrential rain flooding city streets.
I’m not sure how anyone could tear themselves away from this prime minister’s seeming inability to acknowledge a state of affairs where food banks are feeling the effects of food shortages, in a country where the need for food banks has increased by 128% in the last five years. Now hard-up families are losing the extra cash that might have just meant that, with clever budgeting, they didn’t have to choose between being warm or being fed.
I wondered how Kylie could have decided to leave the UK when I saw so many newspaper front pages, on the same day with the word “war” splashed across them and they were not even reporting the same news story. Gas or flu? Take your pick, but it looks like both are going to be as ubiquitous as glitter at a Kylie Minogue concert this winter.
Still, there was always that lovely summer that we got to spend safely outside, with our loved ones, in the blazing sunshine, warming us up for a winter in which few may be able to afford to turn the heating on without wondering if it would be more economical to just wear two jumpers instead.
Minogue says that she has been talking about moving back to Australia for a while and that she has been spending more time with her family there. It’s obviously a personal choice, but what if Minogue is the canary in the coalmine? Will the last Kylie to leave Britain please turn out the lights?
Matthew Macfadyen: could weasel Tom win a Bafta?
The next TV Bafta ceremony will take place in May 2022 and a handful of tweaks to the rules were announced last week. One that should inject a bit of international glamour is the fact that British actors appearing in non-British shows will be eligible for the performance categories. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, as the third season is not yet with us, but this does put any actors not in in a show called Succession at a slight disadvantage. It is not hard to imagine that it will be dominated by the Roy family and its associates, from Matthew Macfadyen’s weaselly Tom Wambsgans to Brian Cox’s formidable patriarch, Logan Roy.
It also opens up a path for all the film stars slumming it on the small screen, such as Kate Winslet in Mare of Easttown, to get the nod, thus giving the red carpet a Hollywood boost, as when the film Baftas broadened their criteria. Whether this puts smaller, British-made shows at a disadvantage remains to be seen, but boundaries and borders are not what they once were in television. After all, the series everyone is currently talking about is a satirical South Korean horror/thriller called Squid Game.
Freya Cox: vegans are fun – the proof is in the pudding
Freya Cox, the amiable 19-year-old Great British Bake Off contestant from Scarborough, is vegan, although as the show is about baking across the spectrum, and baking challenges often involve the use of dairy products, she has, on occasion, used dairy products in the technical challenges, in order for it to be a fair competition. “Sorry if this is disappointing to hear but once the show has finished I have plans to veganise the recipes for you all,” she wrote on Instagram, which seems fair enough.
No matter what she did, Cox was never going to win. It was as easy to see coming as one of Prue Leith’s necklaces. The comedian Sara Pascoe once talked about getting hate mail from vegan activists after she made a vegan bread and butter pudding on the celebrity version, because she appeared alongside people who used actual butter.
Even before this series began, Cox was criticised by trolls for riding horses while being vegan. There remains a popular gotcha mentality towards vegans, from people just waiting for them to slip up. (How do you know that somebody has heard that joke about how you can tell if somebody is a vegan? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.)
Cox is showing that you can bake without dairy ingredients, if you wish to do so. If her goal is to get people to see the possibilities, then she is showing that it is flexibility, not dogma, that will achieve it.
• Rebecca Nicholson is an Observer columnist