I am a magazine junkie. These days, that means I read voraciously both online and in paper form. When I was a teenager, I had the good fortune to work at a bookstore, where one of the many perks was the ability to take home “stripped” magazines, i.e., magazines with the title pages ripped off to prove they were unsold. Just as I am unable to explain my Russophilia, in full flower by the age of 5, so it is hard for me to trace back exactly how and why I came across and seized upon Patsy Kensit as a figure of interest. Let’s just (charitably) say that I specialized in irony long before it became a sport in the hipster olympics.
A short recap for those unfamiliar with the Kensit oeuvre: Lead singer of her brother’s band Eighth Wonder for a few years. Star of “Absolute Beginners”, the messy technicolour musical adaptation of the Colin McInnes book, even more chaotic on recent viewing than I’d remembered. This was supposed to be the big British film of the 1980s, but flopped, leading to years of soul-searching in the British industry ended only, I’m guessing, by subsequent Richard Curtis successes.
Patsy Kensit was almost a cartoon character in those days, an ambitious and somewhat guileless starlet who the Pet Shop Boys wrote a song for, just because (see irony, above).
Unsurprisingly, the fluffy pop sounds (and attractive blonde frontgirl) of Eighth Wonder went over better in Europe, giving me the chance to use my French and newly acquired skill in German to translate articles. But it was Italy where Patsy really found a niche, and even a duet with a rising Italian star, Eros Ramazzotti. (It seems this was just the first of many Italian-English duets for Eros — Tina Turner and Cher are among later partners.) The words to this song are particularly dire: “Stars will shine brightly forever, as long as you know my dream’s with you/Think of me as your light in a tunnel, think of me as your dream come true, come true.” They seem better in Italian — there are at least some changes in verb tense — but probably aren’t. Favourite part: Patsy’s “La luce buona, yeah.”
As a celebrity, Patsy Kensit has turned out to be a better choice than I could possibly have hoped. Four marriages, one to Liam Gallagher of Oasis, an increasingly cheesy movie career (“Kill Cruise”) followed by a lengthy tenure as a British soap opera star, reality show participant (“Strictly Come Dancing”) and, most recently, Weight Watchers rep with erratic behaviour blamed on “hormones.” Can’t wait to see what’s next.