Sunday, August 31, 2014

Kate Bush: Before the Dawn: Part I...

Very few things these days can reduce me to a nervous, fumbling teenager. I'm a battle-worn hack from a working-class town in Yorkshire, who's have seen a lot of stuff. I'm also not particularly star-struck after interviewing some big names over the years. But the impending Kate Bush concert that I'm going to has me all sorts of giddy. 

The only comparable artist to Kate Bush for longevity and influence is probably David Bowie. Unlike Bowie, though, Bush left the limelight at the height of her musical powers and virtually disappeared, only releasing music when she thought she had something worth releasing. 

So after the initial burst of albums, from 1978's Kick Inside and Lionheart, 1980's Never For Ever, 1982's The Dreaming and the seminal 1985 Hounds of Love, the output slowed down. Another two albums followed in 1989's The Sensual World and 1993's The Red Shoes, then came the public hiatus.

Some 12 years later, the double CD Aerial was released in 2005, followed by the Director's Cut in 2011 and 50 Words for Snow, also in 2011.

The decision to withdraw from the limelight and not play the whole celebrity game, plus her sporadic releases following that, certainly helped create an added mystique to Bush. The fact that she only toured once, in 1979, also means that these new concert dates have generated a disproportionate amount of publicity.

But there is also good reason for that. 

For a start, in an age where most celebrities will happily whore themselves out for any publicity, Bush and her career remain a great reminder that there are artists who are more interested in creating art than is making the next easy, greasy buck. The fact she had success and fame at such an early age, then slowly turned away from it, to focus on bringing up her son and enjoy her family life, gains her all sorts of kudos in my book. 

And the fact she continues to work and create on her own terms is inspiring for artists of all disciplines because it means it can be done. And maybe not all of us are Kate Bushes, but there's a lesson to be learnt there about creative drive and singularity of vision and focusing on what's important. 

At the end of the day, it may be only be music that Kate Bush is creating. But at its best, music can be a beautiful and inspiring and energising thing. And in a world that's over-populated by halfwits pushing appalling product, it's good to have somebody who can remind you that there are still things that are pure and focused and beautiful out there.

PS. And apparently Lily opens the concert. Happy days!

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