A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

[MUSIC] Kate Bush, “Moments of Pleasure” (@katebushmusic)

If I have one regret about my visit to New York City last month, it was that I was not able to witness the truth of a lyric from Kate Bush’s 1993 song “Moments of Pleasure”, “The buildings of New York/Look just like mountains through the snow”. It just happened to be too warm for snow, that’s all.

“Moments of Pleasure” is one of the songs off of her The Red Shoes, Bush’s last album for twelve years. It’s quieter than some of the other songs on that album, certainly quieter than her higher-profile hits of the 1980s like “Running Up That Hill.” It’s a song about Kate, the person, remembering the time she spends with the people she loves including the people who have passed. I love the first four lines.

I think about us lying
Lying on a beach somewhere
I think about us diving
Diving off a rock, into another moment

The line about New York City comes at the end of a longer verse, of an imagined encounter with someone dear who is doing poorly in a New York winter. He’s beloved, he’s doing badly and nearing death, it’s cold out, but still, this is a precious moment spent with someone cherished.

On a balcony in New York
It’s just started to snow
He meets us at the lift
Like Douglas Fairbanks
Waving his walking stick
But he isn’t well at all
The buildings of New York
Look just like mountains through the snow

Just being alive
It can really hurt
And these moments given
Are a gift from time
Just let us try
To give these moments back
To those we love
To those who will survive

“Moments of Pleasure” ends on this sadly nostalgic note, Bush remembering the people she lost starting first with her mother. (Hannah Bush had not died when the song was written, but she was ill and was approaching death.)

And I can hear my mother saying
“Every old sock meets an old shoe”
Isn’t that a great saying?
“Every old sock meets an old shoe”
Here come the Hills of Time

Hey there Maureen,

Hey there Bubba,
Dancing down the aisle of a plane,

‘S Murph, playing his guitar refrain,

Hey there Teddy,
Spinning in the chair at Abbey Road,

Hey there Michael,
Do you really love me?

Hey there Bill,
Could you turn the lights up?</blockquote.

I love the intent behind this song. The idea of the critical importance of preserving something of the things of the people we've loved and lost has been in my head ever since I encountered the photographic works of Nan Goldin. This song tries to carry out that vision in musical form, and does so superbly. Kudos, Kate.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 8, 2018 at 11:59 pm

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