Monday, July 20, 2009
Magnificent, Marvellous, Mighty Monday and KATE BUSH
I wish Kate Bush had been part of my mother's group. She'd be the coolest person to talk to and I'm sure we'd have hit it off and spent a lot of time discussing creativity, parenting, ghosts, the Brontes, graveyards, baby formulas, vegetarian food and enjoyed scouring op-shops together and watching our children play in parks.
I say this because somewhere in the UK Kate is living a normal life raising her son, Bertie, and doing all the normal motherly things. In her latest brilliant double-album, Aerial ,she sings tender homage to laundry chores and to Bertie. I love this album so much! It was worth the long years of anticipation wondering if she would ever record again.
The first time I saw Kate I was watching Countdown on a Sunday night, probably with my beans on toast on my lap, when THAT MUSIC STARTED. And there she was - red dress, huge eyes, reaching arms – witchy evocative other-worldly Kate singing that incredible Wuthering Heights song which eerily seemed to encapture the spirit of the book. I fell instantly in love as I choked on my beans, as did millions around the globe, and it seemed impossible that one so young could have written such an incredible piece.
I love Kate for many reasons. She's not like a modern pop star courting media attention. She's content to live a normal life and create her genius quietly. She put her career on hold to bring up Bertie and concentrate on being a mother. She proves that sometimes quality is better than quantity. Each album, although unmistakably 'Kate', is an evolution.
She shows us that age isn't a barrier to creativity. A schoolgirl can pen Wuthering Heights whilst the more mature woman pens brilliant odes to washing, motherhood, death of a parent and quieter reflections that are totally original and critically acclaimed as masterpieces. In a world of the bland, the copied, the narcissistic needy, Kate reminds us that not every performer is about fame bottled to reflect their own insecure vanity. Some artists are more concerned about the work. I adore the surreal nature of her albums. Only Kate would sing so lovingly about washing and include Rolf Harris playing didgeridoo.
In a recent interview she said that having Bertie changed her creative process totally. Before she was used to fourteen hour stretches in her studio but motherhood meant she was only able to work in short patches over the years and sometimes not at all. But this was good for her creativity as it forced her into situations where she had to step back from it. She is a great reminder to all of us who feel frustrated trying to raise families and work in the 'real world' that we can afford to slow down and pace ourselves.
And so for Magnificent, Marvellous, Mighty Monday, let us celebrate the wild, eccentric, haunting genius of Kate Bush! May her original, striking songs inspire our own creative efforts this week.
· Her subjects come tripping from library shelves, television and cinema screens and musty books of fairy tales, the stuff that dreams are made of. She spins tunes that haunt, twist and turn the mind, triggering long forgotten moods. Listening intently to her albums is an experience akin to having a lucid and feverish dream. Jungian symbols of youth, innocence, spiritual escape and the dark, feminine realm abound. Ghosts haunt the black vinyl grooves... But it's not all brooding intensity. There are jokes, too...
· For the last 12 years, I've felt really privileged to be living such a normal life. It's so a part of who I am. It's so important to me to do the washing, do the Hoovering. Friends of mine in the business don't know how dishwashers work. For me, that's frightening. I want to be in a position where I can function as a human being. Even more so now where you've got this sort of truly silly preoccupation with celebrities. Just because somebody's been in an ad on TV, so what? Who gives a toss?
· Kate Bush