Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Mighty Bush

Times dictate that I must post this today, for today is the day that Kate Bush has her birthday. Happy Birthday, your majestic Weirdness.

Flap-flap-flap! It's a bat.

Kooky, spooky, and very very talented, Kate Bush landed on Earth on this day in 1958, and announced her presence to humankind twenty years later (more on that in another post). By this time she'd pretty much written out her career, and for the next two decades at least, she'd continue to be a significant presence in the UK pop world. She was young, gifted and weird. Arty, intellectual, sexy, exotic and cooly distant, she'd write, compose, choreogrph and direct her impressive body of work almost from day one, all the while maintaining the same destatchment that would mark her persona and probably frustrate her fans. There aren't many artists like her around these days, and there weren't then, either.

Bush Goes Full Achilleos
My first encounter with la Bush will be the feature of my next entry, but like Bowie before and after, her career and public presence (the two being virtually one and the same due to the artist's strict control over her private life) was something that I drfited through. I remember select videos and song from her early years - Wuthering Heights, Babooshka, Running Up That Hill, and the rest was pretty much catch-up.

Catch-up took place for me in 1990, and my second year at Uni. Having joined a band I was a young man very much in pursuit of new musical ideas and influences. My friends and I were all into easily-accessible student fare - local alternative bands, Flying Nun rostermates, Pixies, Smiths, REMs, Stone Roses, Happy Mondays and so on. The result was that in all of this common ground there wasn't much I could call 'my' taste - it was simply shared with too many others. And then my brother's then-girlfriend played Kate Bush's The Whole Story to me one holidays while we were both hanging out at my parent's new home. I don't remember much more, except that I was immediately taken by it, and that Marg also recommended Hounds of Love as Bush's best album. I bought Hounds two years later, having got almost everything else on vinyl - this was one of my first CD purchases, and of course she was bloody spot on. Hounds of Love is a classic.  Perhaps I'll blog that one separately.

Ms Bush and I parted company shortly after The Sensual World and her pursuing the (to me) less accessible musical stylings of Trio Bulgarka. Clearly, a Hill too high for Running Up, but by then I'd consumed enough of her creative output to have satisfied my curiosity without entering the dark world of total fandom. Kate Bush fans - or those I'd be comfortable counting myself as one among them - were a bit thin on the ground in early Nineties Dunedin, but brief encounters led me to interesting places. A long conversation I had with a keen fan answering our ad for a new keyboardist revealed that he had recenty bought her retrospectve box set This Woman's Work. I was interested, my bandmates weren't, and we never got that follow-up meeting. But the next person I had an in-depth conversation about Kate Bush to was a lot more fruitful. Just over a year from that phone call I was looking to join a flat with a friend and the two of us met with a girl from his Anbthropology class who was also on the hunt for digs. She was a fan, apparently, and now she's Mrs Simian. So there's that.

We still play The Whole Story occasionally. Mrs Simian is a big fan of Jig of Life, and I would be remiss not to admit that This Woman's Work has got me through a couple of challenging life episodes. And we were both shattered to discover a fortnight ago that we'd blown our Saturday morning roster and not had the time to turn up to Waitangi Park for Wellington's own Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever. But eh. Maybe next year.

So, many happy returns once again Catherine Carder Bush, and thanks for playing a not insignificant part in the life I enjoy today.

1 comment:

  1. From the aforementioned Marg (your bro sent me the link) - thanks, you've reminded how much I loved Kate Bush. Off to download and re-visit.