[images above and below: tina at a katy perry gig, march 2011. v excited]
First off I should tell you I am a self-confessed Katy Kat who has been on the candy-coloured bandwagon since Katy’s first music video ‘Ur So Gay’ went viral. A kooky girl made up of Kate Nash wit, Alanis Morissette rasp and a good ol’ helping of Dita Von Teese. It’s no surprise after that introduction that I would be getting my ticket to Part of Me and moronically counting down the days until it was time to queue up for popcorn.
The film, which by the way has some rather impressive cinematography going on, follows Katy through her 124 performances of her California Dreams Tour, documenting over a year of her life. As a fan most of what is within the reel is familiar and there was a lot more concert footage than off the cuff Katy. However that’s not a criticism, in fact it jogged fond memories of when I was fortunate enough to see the tour in March 2011. Bit miffed they neglected to include the killer track ‘Circle the Drain’ from the final cut – a catsuit clad Perry is pretty essential don’t you think?
The one aspect of Katy’s rise to fame which ultimately differs from the majority of female pop icons, ignoring the multitude of wigs and cosmetics, is that she is wholly authentic. She’s a life-size alternative Barbie doll, without going to the extremes of Gaga’s mindboggling weirdness or the squeaky clean marketing facade forced onto 90s stars such as Britney and Christina. Call it a narrow escape or a blessing, but her final straw move to Capitol Records allowed Katy to be herself. Along with her family and friends, who were and still are at the centre of her brand, Katy just got it right. She’s a role model who young girls can laugh with, relate to through her quirky lyrics and be enthralled by her rotating bras.
A special shout out is in order to Katy’s grandma who gives a sparkling insight into a teenage dream that came true. Her comedic flair is just too good to be scripted and believe me when I tell you some of her retorts had me in stitches. Even after Katy’s adolescent struggle with her strict religious upbringing you can see how close knit and supportive her family are. Mom Perry might cringe at the lyrics behind ‘I Kissed A Girl’ but she is still front row rooting for her daughter.
It’s refreshing to see a female superstar that isn’t playing the good girl gone bad – she can sing about taboo subjects and dance around in corsets, yet everything she does has that air of playful child-like innocence. Perhaps that’s why it was so gut-wrenchingly hard to watch her world come crashing down through her separation from Russell Brand. In the film it feels honest, raw and from Katy’s view wholly unexpected, and although we only see one side of the story you do come away wanting to slap Brand silly. The breakdown prior to her huge Sao Paulo show is not really the talking point of the film. For me it is where, waiting in the wings, wreathed in tears she forces a smile on her face and goes on with the performance. Even if you believe the film is just another check in the promotional logbook for Katy, this resilience, dedication and selflessness is something Katy should be applauded for.
Does the film give us fans everything we want to know? Not particularly. However unlike Britney’s For the Record, which made the grey area of Spears’ very public crisis pretty much black, Part of Me keeps it real.
In a nutshell I left the cinema with my Katy Kat whiskers freshly primed ready for the next chapter and safe in the knowledge that Russell Brand is a moron.
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