Kylie Minogue gets ready for Leicester: Padam Padam star to play first full UK concert show in four years
From Indie Kylie to gold hotpants Kylie, can’t-get-her-out-of-our heads Kylie to Country Kylie, the star has always been a master of reinvention.
Now, Kylie Minogue has ushered in the era of the Padam-ic, thanks to the summer heartbeat-pounding earworm that set TikTok alight and spent four weeks in the UK Top 10, her highest-charting single in the UK in more than a decade.
Later tonight she will put on her first live full UK concert show for four years – headlining Radio 2 In The Park, which takes place in the city this weekend and started with performances from acts including Busted, James Blunt and Tears For Fears on Saturday. Today’s line-up includes Rick Astley, The Pretenders and Sam Ryder, ahead of Kylie’s much-anticipated headline show.
Minogue herself has said she is “beyond excited” to perform in the city. And so she should be, because Leicester can put on one hell of a party. I know this because it’s my home city, and I was lucky enough to witness the epic celebrations when Leicester City beat those 5,000-1 odds to become Premiere League champions back in 2016. So I know there will be a huge buzz this weekend.
For many of us who spent our childhood or teenage years here, it feels like one massive school reunion. We’ve reverted to our teenage selves, WhatsApp groups pinging with detailed discussions of what times and places to meet and, most importantly: what are you wearing? (I’m thinking gold trousers – the hotpants felt just a little too much).
Secret knitter: ‘I admire how she has handled her fame’
In the run-up to Leicester City pulling off the impossible, the city responded accordingly as victory became more and more likely, with bars and restaurants creating blue cocktails and other club-inspired menu additions.
Now, the city is getting ready for Kylie in similar fashion.
The anonymous Syston Knitting Banxy, who has been sharing knitted post box toppers around the Leicestershire town since 2019, spent two-and-a-half weeks creating this Padam-era Kylie.
The mysterious knitter is known for recreating famous Leicestershire faces, including characters played by This Is England actor Stephen Graham (who is from Merseyside but lives in the county), and the Attenborough brothers, but also gets stitching to help local fundraising events or to mark other occasions.
“I chose Kylie partly because I identify with her as a woman of similar age, but also because of my admiration of her and how she has handled her fame,” Syston Knitting Banxy told Sky News, remaining undercover.
“She seems so down to Earth and such a beautiful soul. And from a knitting artist’s point of view… that outfit: wow! The finished piece would unmistakably be our Kylie.
“This event is huge for Leicester. I’m so very proud of Leicester and I’m overjoyed that we are being visited by so many people, and by so many stars.
“And if you hear any of us saying, ‘Ay up, me duck’ – rest assured that it’s all good.”
‘Leicester’s got the most amazing music scene’
The show is taking place in Victoria Park, which has hosted shows by Leicester band Kasabian in the past.
And actually, today’s visit won’t be Kylie’s first time – she played a previous weekend show alongside Coldplay and Posh Spice back in 2001. But it isn’t a regular site for gigs.
Leicester musician Frank Benbini, also known as Uncle Frank – and the dummer for Fun Lovin’ Criminals – says that while the city has a thriving music scene, the fact it doesn’t have a big arena that would normally bring such huge acts in is what makes Kylie’s appearance extra special.
“Leicester’s got the most amazing music scene but at the same time we don’t have that kind of facility for like a monstrous act like Kylie Minogue,” says Benbini. “So to have the park open up is just a beautiful thing and hopefully the weather will hold out.
“I know everybody in Leicester has been super excited about it and it’s great as well for the Leicester music scene, which has always been thriving.
“But to be pulling these big acts in our hometown just makes it super exciting… and I think it’s what’s needed in this town.
“It’ll be nice for the city to start thinking possibly about some kind of music venue that can host such big things, or whether or not [Leicester City stadium] King Power can open up and start doing big, big shows there.”
For me, I grew up in Leicester and I grew up with Kylie; from bedroom dance routines to I Should Be So Lucky at the age of five, to listening to Confide In Me on repeat as a teenager, to experiencing the joy of seeing her live for the first time in her Spinning Around and Can’t Get You Out Of My Head era.
And then, getting teary while watching her on stage in front of an enormous crowd at Glastonbury in 2019, thinking of everything she had overcome to get to that place; not just the breast cancer diagnosis that forced her to pull out of what, as a female pop star, would have been a history-making headline set back in 2005, but also because there was once a time she was dismissed as bubblegum.
She said herself that Glastonbury, when it finally came, felt like acknowledgement.
Now, here she is at 55, a pop legend, once again reinventing herself and still at the top after almost 40 years in the business – she has topped the UK album charts in five consecutive decades – and doing it live in Leicester.
As a fan of the city and the artist, I feel lucky (lucky, lucky) to be in the crowd to welcome her back.
Met Police chief calls for more legal protections as army on standby to replace firearms officers
The head of the Metropolitan Police has demanded increased legal protections for officers after a revolt by armed police left the army poised to fill in.
Soldiers are on standby for armed police after scores of Metropolitan Police officers stood down from firearms duties following a murder charge against one of their colleagues.
The force’s commissioner Sir Mark Rowley welcomed a review into the situation by Home Secretary Suella Braverman.
And in an open letter he told her to “let the police police”.
“It is essential that we have a system which commands the confidence of officers and the communities they serve,” he wrote.
“Of course, where wrongdoing takes place, the public expect us to be held to the highest standards.
“I have been clear on this in all areas of policing, and the use of force must be no exception.
“The system that judges officers’ actions should be rooted in integrity and decisions should be reached swiftly, competently and without fear or favour.
“A review is needed to address accountability mechanisms, including the policies and practices of the Independent Office for Police Conduct and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), ideally with a focus on the threshold for investigating police use of force and involvement in pursuits.”
He added: “The review announced today is therefore a very welcome development.
“I have spoken publicly in recent weeks about the need to let the police police.
“Our commitment to delivering change in the Met is unflinching and we are making positive progress, but that progress is undermined by a system not set up to help officers succeed.”
More than 100 officers have reportedly handed in permits allowing them to carry weapons, prompting Scotland Yard to turn to the military for assistance.
The crisis has emerged after an unnamed officer was charged with murder over the shooting of unarmed Chris Kaba, 24, who was killed in September last year in Streatham Hill, south London.
The officer accused of his murder is named only as NX121 after a district judge granted an anonymity order.
Ms Braverman said: “We depend on our brave firearms officers to protect us from the most dangerous and violent in society.
“In the interest of public safety, they have to make split-second decisions under extraordinary pressures.
“They mustn’t fear ending up in the dock for carrying out their duties. Officers risking their lives to keep us safe have my full backing and I will do everything in my power to support them.
“That’s why I have launched a review to ensure they have the confidence to do their jobs while protecting us all.”
‘Let the police police’: Met commissioner’s letter to home secretary in full
Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has written and open letter to Home Secretary Suella Braverman, urging her to “let the police police”.
Below is the letter in full:
Dear Home Secretary,
I welcome your announcement earlier today that you will be launching a review into how police officers are held to account when force is used.
You will know from our previous discussions that it is an area that I believe is long overdue for reform to address a number of imbalances.
In the UK we proudly police by consent, embracing the principles of accountability, transparency and independent scrutiny. It is essential that we have a system which commands the confidence of officers and the communities they serve.
Of course, where wrongdoing takes place the public expect us to be held to the highest standards. I have been clear on this in all areas of policing, and the use of force must be no exception.
The system that judges officers’ actions should be rooted in integrity and decisions should be reached swiftly, competently and without fear or favour.
A review is needed to address accountability mechanisms, including the policies and practices of the Independent Office for Police Conduct and the Crown Prosecution Service, ideally with a focus on the threshold for investigating police use of force and involvement in pursuits.
The review announced today is therefore a very welcome development.
I have spoken publicly in recent weeks about the need to let the police police. Our commitment to delivering change in the Met is unflinching and we are making positive progress, but that progress is undermined by a system not set up to help officers succeed. I have identified pursuits and use of force as areas where we see the most glaring unfairness.
I make no comment on any ongoing matters that are sub judice but the issues raised in this letter go back further.
Accountability matters, but we should not have allowed ourselves to develop a system where police officers get investigated for safely pursuing suspects, just because the suspect acts recklessly and as a result injures themselves or someone else.
This is unfair on our officers and discourages them from chasing down criminals.
Armed officers know they need to justify their actions, especially when lethal force is used. They are extremely well trained and an intrinsic part of their training reinforces that shots can only be fired if absolutely necessary to save life.
Officers are individually responsible and accountable for their actions. Consequently, we have one of the safest models of armed policing in the world.
Will armed officer’s murder charge force change in how police shootings are reported?
Britain’s streets without the specialist firearms officers and armed response vehicles that are dotted around major cities will be more dangerous places.
The army is being called in as back-up to the officers withdrawing their service but they do not have the experience to deal with the split-second decisions that are made every day by the police.
As then head of specialist operations, Sir Mark Rowley was the man responsible for the expansion in the number of firearms officers in London.
It was designed to deal with the threat that emerged from the marauding firearms attacks in Mumbai in 2008 and Paris in 2015.
Thankfully, that threat has never materialised, although the officers were called in to deal with the terrorist knife attacks in Woolwich in 2013, London Bridge in 2017 and Fishmongers’ Hall in 2019.
However, the same officers deal with 4,000 incidents involving firearms or suspected firearms every year.
They discharge their weapons on fewer than two of those but when they do the results can have a devastating effect on the officers themselves and on community relations.
There have been a small number of controversial shootings, most notably that of Azelle Rodney in 2005 and Mark Duggan in 2011, that led to the London riots that summer.
In the case of Azelle Rodney, following an inquiry finding that his killing was “not justified”, PC Anthony Long was eventually charged with murder, nine years after the shooting, and acquitted at trial.
In Mark Duggan’s case, an inquest jury found that he was lawfully killed, three years after the shooting, and no officer faced charges.
The process of charging officers with murder or manslaughter is a fraught one, but in the case of Chris Kaba, it has proceeded more quickly than usual, as the Independent Office for Police Conduct collected body-worn footage, CCTV, witness statements and forensics before passing their file to the Crown Prosecution Service.
The CPS decided to charge the officer NX121, with murder, for shooting Mr Kaba through the windscreen of the Audi he was driving in Kirkstall Gardens, Streatham.
The vehicle was being followed, having been identified as used in a firearms incident the previous day, but Mr Kaba was unarmed.
The investigation and charge process took a little over a year but it has given rise to fears among firearms officers across the country that they are being judged for doing their jobs.
The details of the case cannot be discussed because of laws in Britain that mean the case against the officer could be prejudiced by reporting.
That is one of the things Sir Mark, now the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, would like to change but he would also like the CPS to strengthen the legal protection for officers who use force.
Offering his support to his officers, Sir Mark wrote to the Home Secretary on Sunday, voicing their concern “that even if they stick to the tactics and training they have been given, they will face years of protracted legal proceedings”.
However, there is another dimension to the debate.
In the case of Mark Duggan, the issue that provoked the London riots, was the belief in Tottenham that a criminal of Duggan’s experience would not have pointed a firearm at an armed police officer – and that he had, in effect, been executed.
Policing in Britain is performed by consent, and the police in London, and elsewhere, continue to face a challenge in the narrative that arose in Tottenham.
They are trained to believe that criminals will attempt to shoot them, but the reality, some believe, is very different.
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