Posts Tagged ‘Kate Bush’

Kate Bush has made me sad, gentle readers, and I have been pondering the nature of this sadness for several days, as I have gone about my usual business of crewing, writing, mixing, and enjoying the unseasonably nice weather we’ve been lucky enough to experience.

“How has she made you sad?” I hear you cry “After all, she’s touring, for the first time in 35 years!”

Well…. not exactly.

I adore Kate Bush, and I would have gladly joined the scrum for tickets, if not for several impediments.

The ticket prices are obviously the first bone of contention. With prices ranging from £49 to £135, face value Kate Bush tickets were already prohibitively expensive, beating out some festivals, several West End shows and most other gigs. However, I can’t say I was unduly surprised by the ticket prices – they were disappointing but not unexpected. I’m broke at the moment, so for me, the ticket prices were always going to be a barrier.

However, when you then have to factor in travel and accomodation to one of the most expensive cities, London, it becomes something most people can’t afford.

And that is how Kate Bush made me sad. She’s not actually touring. “Touring” implies moving around the country, and taking in some of the other fine cities that grace our land that AREN’T London. All 22 dates on her itinerary are at the same venue in London. No Manchester shows, no Birmingham or Liverpool shows, Bristol is bang out of luck and as for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales? Not even a gig in those countries.

Kate Bush has a large number of fans who are about my parents’ age. Fans who supported her through all her album releases, from the time she first stepped up and took her place in the musical elite at a mere 19 years old. Many of her fans don’t live in London, and many of them are probably in less of a position to travel miles than they once were. Some of her fans are now pensioners. Many of her fans, young and old, don’t have the resources to travel to London. So she, with her unwillingness to actually tour, is excluding large numbers who would have loved to see her. These are people who gave her so much support in her early years and throughout her career, so it seems a little galling that she appears to be too uncomfortable with touring to give something back.

Please note, I said “appears to be”. I have no idea what lies behind her decision to, at the time of writing this, only do London dates. It may be that other dates in other cities are in the pipeline but are as yet unannounced. I can hope. But for now, my future remains resolutely sans Bush (no sniggering in the cheap seats) and I shall have to content myself with old videos of the original and first kooky girl.

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Ah, Thursday again. As I understand it, a very squelchy Thursday for much of the country, I hope wherever you are you are warm, dry and happy. FAWM is progressing slowly for me at this end, I have another demo up, of new song Leave a Light On – enjoy!

I had a very happy walk to work the other day, as I’d downloaded an album that I hadn’t listened to in ages – Erasure’s Wild. This album came out when I had just turned 14, and I remember buying one of the singles, “Star” on vinyl. So I lost myself in nostalgia as I wandered through York, and I pondered which other albums had had an influence on me during my formative years.

The first album I ever bought was The Stranger, by Billy Joel. I saved my allowance for this one, at 50 cents a week (I was in the US at the time). It came out in 1977, when I was two, and I doubt very much, given my young age, that I bought it at the time of it’s release. But I do remember, vividly, going into our local record store with my parents, and handing over a grubby pile of half dollars, and going home with the vinyl LP, which I loved, and played on repeat for many years after it’s acquisition. The net result of an early love of this album was an early love of the piano, and I was determined to learn to play. However, my parents could not afford a full size piano, and instead got me a small electronic keyboard. This was enough to start me on my long journey as a songwriter! (The other, more unfortunate side effect of this album was a determination to marry Billy Joel… in hindsight I’m rather glad I got over that one!)

Billy Joel – Scenes From An Italian Restaurant – Live at the Tokyo Dome 2006

Next up, although these aren’t in chronological order, Wild, by Erasure. I’d already heard and loved “The Innocents” , but “Wild” was the first Erasure album I bought, this time on cassette. At this time in my life, I was 14/15, and I was obsessed with this synth driven joy I was hearing. It’s hard not to feel happy when listening to Erasure, even with the occasional sadder song, and while the Pet Shop Boys had never quite managed to suck me in, Erasure managed to completely convert me to the cause of synthpop. My favourite song off the album is “Star”, although honourable mentions go also to “Blue Savannah” (that piano!) and “You Surround Me”. Several of Erasure’s B-sides are also superb from this album, “Dreamlike State” being the B-side for “Star”. I miss B-sides…

Erasure – Star

The next one isn’t an album, but it’s important for understanding my burgeoning synth obsession. Future Sound of London’s  Cascade, an EP, or mini-album. I was in 6th form when a school friend introduced me to this and I loved it. I’ve long since lost my cassette copy of it, and for a long time was unable to track down the whole thing. The power of the internet returned it to me recently however:

iTunes: “Would you like to download Cascade?”

Me: “Shut up and take my money, why isn’t it here already??!”

Here’s the first track, Cascade part 1.

A run down of albums that shaped me would not be complete without Tori Amos, and her fantastic album, Little Earthquakes.  I remember, one damp, long summer at my dad’s house in Lancashire, lying on the floor listening to “Crucify” and feeling like no-one could possibly understand how I felt, except maybe this woman, with her piano, her crazy lyrics and cracked, heartfelt vocals. She solidified my need to write, although it took another decade or two before I found the courage.

Tori Amos – Crucify (Live at Montreux, 1991)

Last but not least, the album that contains my favourite song of all time, Hounds of Love, by Kate Bush. My parents had this album in their music collection, and I remember hearing it repeatedly growing up. It wasn’t until I became an older teenager that I really rediscovered it, and learned to love it myself, I suspect I was a bit too young before. Something about the anthemic “Cloudbusting” always stayed with me, and it occupies the rare position of being my absolutely favourite song, it has never faded or become too familiar, and punches me in the gut every time I hear it. In a good way.

Kate Bush – Cloudbusting

That’s some of the music that has had an influence on me. It’s not exhaustive, but it’s a pretty good starting point. Thanks for reading/listening and I hope you enjoyed this journey through my past!

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I don’t know about you, but I get a sense of deep dread whenever someone asks me “so what’s your favourite song?” That’s a nearly impossible question for me to answer.

Yes, I know, everyone says they have an “eclectic” music collection, when what they mean is they listen to Radio One. But I really do. Years have taught me to hone my iPod collection down to a list of songs that, were it put on shuffle at a party, wouldn’t instantly mean social suicide. Gone are the days of Bob The Builder (Can We Fix It), The Thong Song, anything by Beyonce,  Alicia Keys, or Missy Elliott, terrible 80’s tracks (cheddar or above for me these days, no gorgonzola…).. I’m serious, I used to have a heavy R&B habit. A *shudder* CHART R&B habit. I secretly like silly remixes of children’s songs. I enjoy rock classics, german technopop, synth pop, metal, pop (especially 80’s and 90’s pop), classical, female singer-songwriters, the occasional male singer-songwriters (although not Coldplay, not now, not ever…), industrial, dupstep (yes, yes, defriend me now…), folk, world music, I even have some obscure country in my collection.

In fact just about the only music that is irredeemable for me in any way is opera. Not classical/choral singing. Opera.

So when people say to me “what’s your favourite song?”, you can see why I might be a bit stumped. In which genre? In which mood?

I much prefer: “which song do you wish you’d written?”, and even that can’t be narrowed down to one, but I can narrow it down to five. So without further ado and in no particular order:

1) Ruiner (Version) – NIN

There’s something about the combination of sounds on this track – the clean, crisp backing contrasted with the dirty, overdriven vocals, that makes this, quite franky, f**king awesome.

2) Skeleton Key – Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos

There’s so much to listen to in this – the overlayered instrumentation provides real ear candy. Nothing is too predictable, but it’s still a secure structure. Win.

3) Cloudbusting – Kate Bush

Perhaps not a surprise to anyone who knows me well – this has long been one of my favourite tracks. Heart-rending and joyous all at the same time.

4) The Drumming Song – Florence and the Machine

Lyrically and musically breathtaking. Oh yes, and it has big drums, and I do love big drums.

5) Scenes from an Italian Restaurant – Billy Joel

You may recall in an earlier post I said I was inspired by stories. This was the first “story” song I ever owned, off the first album I owned – The Stranger by Billy Joel. If at first it feels a little slow and subdued, just wait until the piano kicks in properly at 2:48. One day I’ll play that. One day.

So there you have it. Five songs I wish I’d written, and a marvellous set to aspire to. Thanks for reading!

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