A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘kate bush

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait considers the possibility that the remarkably low-density ‘Oumuamua might be a cosmic snowflake.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly writes about the challenges of free-lance writing, including clients who disappear before they pay their writers for their work.
  • Centauri Dreams notes that observations of cosmic collisions by gravitational wave astronomy are becoming numerous enough to determine basic features of the universe like Hubble’s constant.
  • D-Brief notes that the Hayabusa2 probe is set to start mining samples from asteroid Ryugu.
  • Dangerous Minds remembers radical priest and protester Philip Berrigan.
  • At the Everyday Sociology Blog, Irina Seceleanu explains why state defunding of public education in the United States is making things worse for students.
  • Far Outliers notes how many of the communities in South Asia that saw soldiers go off to fight for the British Empire opposed this imperial war.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at the decidedly NSFW love letters of James Joyce to Nora Barnacle. Wasn’t Kate Bush inspired by them?
  • Scott Lemieux at Lawyers, Guns and Money notes how the failure of the California high-speed rail route reveals many underlying problems with funding for infrastructure programs in the United States.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the creepy intrusiveness of a new app in China encouraging people to study up on Xi Jinping thought.
  • The Planetary Society Blog looks at what is to be expected come the launch of the Beresheet Moon lander by Israeli group SpaceIL.
  • Daniel Little at Understanding Society considers the philosophical nature of the Xerox Corporation.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that the Russian Orthodox Church seems not to be allowing the mass return of its priests who lost congregations to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to Russia.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell considers the astute ways in which El Chapo is shown to have run his business networks.
  • Arnold Zwicky looks at two recent British films centering on displays of same-sex male attraction, The Pass and God’s Own Country.

[MUSIC] Five music links: Pete Shelley, Kate Bush, Joy Division, P.M. Dawn, East German punk

  • Pete Shelley, of the Buzzcocks and a star in his own right, has died at 63, BBC reports. The 1981 Pete Shelley song “Homosapien” is one of my favourite overlooked post-punk songs. (The queer visibility is also nice.)
  • The Economist makes</u a case for the historical importance of Kate Bush.
  • Dangerous Minds asks a question, mostly rhetorically: Was Peter Sutcliffe a Joy Division fan? If nothing else, the overlap does show interesting things about patterns in northern England’s cities.
  • This Anil Dash essay at Medium about P.M. Dawn, a hip-hop musician so big in the 1990s and so overlooked now, provides a really useful perspective on this artist.
  • Rolling Stone interviews Tim Mohr on the subject of the punk scene in East Germany, a cultural alternative that he argues helped undermine the dictatorship.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 6, 2018 at 11:45 pm

[NEWS] Five music links: Annie Lennox, Stevie Nicks, Solange, Kate Bush, iPod

  • Raju Mudhar and Ben Rayner share their list of the top 100 songs related to Toronto, over at the Toronto Star.
  • Charlotte Gush at VICE shares her insightful interview with Annie Lennox. I did not know that she had been recommended to become a teacher, for instance. More here.
  • Drew Rowsome engages with the new autobiography of Stevie Nicks, Gold Dust Woman.
  • Kristin Curry links to a profoundly interesting interview with Solange about her art and her identity, over at VICE.
  • I rather like this Emma Madden guide at VICE to the music of Kate Bush, guiding listeners through her various moods and themes and styles.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 15, 2018 at 11:35 pm

[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

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • blogTO notes that retail space on Bloor Street in Yorkville is not only the priciest in Canada, but among the priciest in the world.
  • Centauri Dreams notes how fast radio bursts, a natural phenomenon, can be used to understand the universe.
  • Dangerous Minds looks at a Kate Bush music performance on Dutch television in 1978.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to an analysis of the asteroids disintegrating in orbit of WD 1145+017.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes evidence from meteorites that Mars has been dry and inhospitable for eons.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog looks at the way we construct time.
  • Language Log highlights a 1943 phrasebook for English, Spanish, Tagalog, and Hokkien.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the resistance of the Tohono O’odham, a border people of Arizona and Sonora, to a wall.
  • The LRB Blog looks at a curious painting claiming to depict the cause of England’s greatness.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the sheer scale of mass tourism in Iceland.
  • Strange Maps shares an interesting map depicting support for Clinton and Trump, showing one as a continental landmass and the other as an archipelago.
  • Towleroad praises the musical Falsettos
  • for its LGBT content (among other things).

  • Window on Eurasia looks at controversy over ethnonyms in Russian, and argues Putinism is a bigger threat to the West than Communism.

[BLOG] Some popular culture links

  • The Big Picture reports from Boston’s Methadone Mile.
  • The Broadside Blog celebrates its seventh anniversary.
  • Dangerous Minds shares vintage photos of Kate Bush.
  • Language Hat considers the position of Chinese poetry.
  • Otto Pohl reflects on his visit to Almaty.
  • Torontoist reports on how Torontonians are hacking Pokémon Go.

[MUSIC] Some thoughts on the legacies of Prince

Even a week later, it’s still hard for me to understand that Prince is dead. The idea of such a talented person no longer being around is something I should be used to, this the year that David Bowie died, but I’m not used to it. I don’t think I should. The man’s skill, as a songwriter and a musician, is astounding.
Dangerous Minds’ Christopher Bickel linked to this 1985 punk version of “When Doves Cry”, “When Doves Scream”, noting how Prince could do whatever he wanted and at least make it interesting.

I love “When Doves Cry”, remembering the first time I saw the video on MuchMusic, and of course own the genius Purple Rain album on CD. My first significant encounter with Prince was probably in 1989, with the soundtrack album for that year’s Batman. Joker’s trashing of the Gotham Museum would never have been so effective without “Partyman” playing on his lackeys’ boomboxes.

And there’s his influence on others. “Why Should I Love You?”, a collaboration with Kate Bush (if, apparently, a fraught one), is one of my favourite songs off of her 1993 album The Red Shoes.

The music of Prince is something I’ve always enjoyed. That the genius behind the music is gone just seems wrong. We were lucky to have had him, but I still think we were unlucky that he could not stay longer.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 28, 2016 at 11:57 pm

[NEWS] Some Wednesday links

  • The Associated Press notes the hostility in many American communities to Muslim cemeteries.
  • Bloomberg explores the revival of watchmaking in East Germany’s Saxony, and touches on the new two-day public work week in Venezuela.
  • Bloomberg View notes Japan’s rising levels of poverty, looks at the politicization of the Brazilian education system, and examines potential consequences of Pakistan-China nuclear collaboration.
  • The CBC reports on the difficulties of the Canada-European Union trade pact, reports on the conviction of an Alberta couple for not taking their meningitis-afflicted child to medical attention until it was too late, and notes that an American-Spanish gay couple was able to retrieve their child from a Thai surrogate mother.
  • MacLean’s examines how Karla Homolka ending up shifting towards French Canada.
  • The National Post‘s Michael den Tandt is critical of the idea of a new Bombardier bailout.
  • Universe Today notes a paper arguing that, with only one example of life, we can say little with assuredness about extraterrestrial life’s frequency.
  • Vice‘s Noisey notes how Prince and Kate Bush ended up collaborating on “Why Should I Love You?”.
  • The Washington Post reports on a study suggesting that root crops like the potato were less suited to supporting complex civilizations than grains.

[MUSIC] The Kate Bush Story: Running up That Hill

Joe. My. God. alerted me to the existence of a new Kate Bush documentary by the BBC, The Kate Bush Story: Running up That Hill.

KATE BUSH – The Kate Bush Story (2014 BBC Documentary) from Videodrome Discothèque on Vimeo.

Lucy Mangan’s review in The Guardian doesn’t do it justice. This hour-long show does a brilliant job of explaining where Kate came from and why she’s so important.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 29, 2014 at 3:52 am

[LINK] “Sonic Foam”

British music writer Ian Penman‘s article in the London Review of Books about Kate Bush is wonderful. Fannish in the best ways, knowing his subject without being uncritically admiring, it’s a joy to read. Plus, it’s a teaser for more to come from Bush herself.

We know all the essential passport application stuff about Bush, and down the years she’s dutifully done the odd unrevealingly bland Q&A, but there’s an immense amount we don’t know. Has she ever taken psychedelic drugs? Has she had therapy? (Reichian, Jungian, marriage?) What music makes her cry? Is she actually a lifelong Rosicrucian? I could make a list fifty items long. Her appeal crosses age, gender, taste; she’s taken on a quite distinct mythic life in our collective dreaming. People who would usually have nothing to do with mainstream rock music (like Rushton) are smitten. She has a huge gay following (queer pagans, radical faeries). Ex-punks and one-time surly troublemakers line up to hymn her praises, when not so long ago she would have been the very model of everything they professed to despise, what with her taste for fuzzy ‘spirituality’ – ley lines, yetis, orgone energy – and tendency towards heavy concept albums. (One side of Aerial has both a Prelude and a Prologue.) Women of all political stripes adore her for the control she has exerted over career and image, for all the easy options she refused; though in fact, she may be the bloke-iest woman in rock. (More of that in a moment.) Rock blokes themselves seem to have an en masse crush on her, though how much this is to do with the real middle-aged mum and canny businesswoman, and how much is down to a long-ago teenager’s tight-leotard dreams, is sometimes hard to judge.

Kate is perceived to be more ‘one of us’ than other pop/rock figures, one of the extended family. There’s a feeling that she’s ‘stayed the same’, that success ‘hasn’t spoiled her’. She’s someone you might have known at sixth-form college, or at your Saturday job (the artier kind, obviously: knick-knack stall at the local market); but definitely a scream down the pub, with her packet of Silk Cut and pint of proper scrumpy. At the same time, people are drawn to her peacock’s-tail otherness, the slightly recherché taste for odd bods like Ouspensky, Gurdjieff and Wilhelm Reich. She has the soul of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but the robust mien of Mrs Thatcher at a 1980s cabinet meeting. Obviously, no one maintains a position somewhere near the top of the music biz for three and a half decades by being entirely nice and floppy and whichever-way-the-wind-blows. From the off, she was the beneficiary of her parents’ middle-class smarts. A precociously dreamy, sky-eyed teen daughter, she was wisely shepherded. Family and management were merged, became one and the same: Kate Inc., a well-tended cottage industry. Her decision, after 1979’s one exhausting and ill-fated outing, not to tour again, removed yet another plank from the algae-hued drawbridge over the moat. (Consider a few tropes from Aerial: fond dreams of invisibility; pained bafflement at Elvis’s trashy reclusion; the self-imposed exile of Charles Foster Kane; and Joan of Arc, ‘beautiful in her armour …’) Ever since, she has lived a life in many ways more like a writer’s than a modern pop star’s: pop’s own J.K. Rowling. (With her Roman Catholic background and taste for bittersweet mysticism, other names suggest themselves here too: Muriel Spark, Penelope Fitzgerald, Angela Carter, Fay Weldon.) She slowly assumed the status of national treasure, despite or maybe precisely because of the cannily maintained, resonantly low profile. There are forms of politesse and prevarication that can slot very well into a wider tactical scheme. Pragmatic business smarts and keeping the wider world at one remove: why shouldn’t they go hand in hand? Other rock stars may be called out for losing touch with real life; when Bush betrays the same distance it’s thought admirable, soulful, apt. Whatever the soil that sustains this particular English Rose, we obviously consider it healthy.

She gets away with (indeed, gets praised for) things which, presented by other members of the rock aristocracy, would be strafed with scorn. All her albums from The Sensual World to Fifty Words for Snow got far kinder reviews than the patchy material really merited. (I had to consult the track listing of The Sensual World when I realised the quietly awesome title song was literally the only thing I could remember.) It’s hard to dispel a suspicion that were she one more Rock Bloke (a Peter Gabriel, Roger Waters or Brian Pern), critics would be far less kind to her mistakes. Imagine a reclusive Rock Bloke foisting on his impatient public the following: long waits for concept albums full of ‘great mates’ from the 1970s; songs about Bigfoot and snowmen and Stephen Fry reciting daffy gibberish; unadventurous marking-time remixes of old material. Someone, in sum, who displayed every symptom of having let zero new music into his manor house for twenty or thirty years. I’m not convinced our huffy Rock Bloke would get the same across-the-board critical hosannas as Bush. There’s a song on Aerial about her son Bertie: ‘Lovely lovely lovely lovely Bertie! The most wilful, the most beautiful, the most truly fantastic smile I’ve ever seen!’​6 Would Sting, say, be as gently indulged, should he trill something similar? Granted, we may look more kindly on a mother’s paean to her first child; but there is a line between a song about maternal psychology and just plain yuck, and Bush comes perilously close to country dancing all over it. (The song is smarter than it might at first seem, and involves balancing her shameless gush against a rigid classical line – an interesting idea that suggests both selfless love and disciplined nurture. But in the end that’s what it remains: an interesting idea.)

Written by Randy McDonald

April 21, 2014 at 11:05 pm