Saturday, 29 January 2011

Go into the garden, go under the ivy...

I'm a big Kate Bush fan. And one of my Crimbo pressies was a brand new biography of Ms Bush, "Under The Ivy, by Graeme Thomson. I've only just finished it, but it's recommended reading, especially for KB fans. There've been several past attempts at cataloguing the events of Kate's life but generally these literary endeavours were deemed duds - Thomson's offering, however, is far more extensive and provides a wealth of information regarding the weird but wonderful songstress (especially the periods when she's working on her latest albums...) Okay, it does go a little overboard with certain details but you get lots of insights into a) Kate's wonderfully bohemian and hippy-dippy family and their influence on her (I wish I could think of a better term than "hippy", it's so....reductive. Anyone care to help out?) b) The painstaking process by which she produces her music (demanding that musicians perform 20+ takes of a particular instrument "bit", for instance) c) Her growing demand for privacy as the years go on d) The paradox of having to do the whole publicity thing at the expense of c). I kind of wished the book had lifted the lid a little more on the "inner Kate" but this is probably as close as we're going to get.

And reading all about Kate and her music made me want to dig out all my old KB CDs again and give them a (long delayed) play. "The Dreaming" in particular, an album that never makes an easy listen, surprised me with its craziness and creativity (it was, in many ways, a landmark album that marked a breakaway from the "old style" Kate). But "Hounds of Love" will always be, for me, Kate's complete and utter opus, when her voice and songwriting powers were at their zenith. Sheer brilliance.

And...stop the press! There's rumours of some new Kate stuff this year!


  1. Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention! Just bought a copy from Amazon! I've been a fan of KB since the early eighties - a real mainstay of my music collection. Agree about The Dreaming and Hounds Of Love but for me The Sensual World is when she really came into her own.

  2. I quite liked her too, until she stole Pete Gabriel from me...

  3. Yes I used to love Kate Bush too. I think I wanted to be her for a while and used to wander around dreamily with long hair and floaty white dresses. I'm off today and think I may play Kate Bush to see me through the cleaning and the ironing !!

  4. Steve - so glad I inspired you to get a copy, hope you enjoy it. Interesting that you prefer Sensual World; on listening to it again recently I found it was too bogged down with production stuff, sometimes at the expense of "real" tunes. I do remember you said you liked "The Fog". For me, "Hounds" is the perfect marriage of good tunes and contemporary production.

    Amanda - Ha ha! Didn't realise you were a Peter G fan. He doesn't have much hair these days, did you know that? I saw him play at Birmingham NEC around 1987 during his "Sledgehammer" days - he put on a mean show.

    Selina - I'm sure lots of women wanted to do that (and possibly a few guys too). Kate Bush while doing the housework! Yay!!