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Kate Bush: The Professor of Pop

by John Maguire
Kate Bush
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I think the best term for this musician, this pure artist, is the Professor of Pop. She has an almost academic approach to her work. I am talking about Kate Bush. As winter sets in, I find that one of the most luxurious comforts is to laden the fire with logs, light scented candles and allow myself the pleasure of losing an hour with her delightful, epic piece of work, Fifty Words for Snow.

I do not believe in regrets but I must confess one of my failings of 2014 was to secure a ticket to her live show. The descriptions of this total theatre experience have left me envious of those who did manage to attend. It was grating to hear the gutter press moan about the fact she chose not to sing Wuthering Heights. Lambasting her for choosing not to perform a song she did in another lifetime. It is the equivalent of asking Picasso to paint his early pieces or Hockney to re-do his infamous Splash painting.

But what else can you expect from the media, an industry that pushes Simon Cowell’s vehicle for contrived entertainment, to promote a throwaway singer (of sorts), not an artist. I always ask people who even attempt to engage me in conversation about this type of car-crash television, who won three years ago? Ninety percent of the time, I am given a complete blank look. Everyone remembers Susan Boyle, but that’s possibly because she defied the conventions of what a pop star should look like, fake body parts, perfect teeth and a saccharine brain. I don’t even think that show was X-Factor, but all of this modern coliseum-like entertainment blends into one. Apologies, I digress, I will get off my soap box and leave Speakers’ Corner for the time being. I must have had ‘Ranty Pops’ for breakfast.

With Kate Bush’s work, there is WORK behind the work. I like the fact that she does not bow down in the digital temple of commercialism, vomiting out album, tour, dvd, album, tour REPEAT. She releases the material when it is ready. One thing she cannot be described as is pusillanimous in her approach. It is all about the process. Graft equals craft!

The work needs to be listened to in one sitting, in its entirety. I encourage readers to listen to Kate Bush’s album Fifty Words for Snow this season. An atmospheric, bold, collection of pieces inspired by Winter. What an idea of genius to have Stephen Fry list off different words that describe snow to a mesmerising soundscape with interjections by Kate, like a musical blizzard, a chilled frost wind. It may depict the coldness of the season, but time spent with Kate Bush always warms the heart.

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Donna Lesley Price 22 December 2014 - 5:22 am

This is just perfect.

Hans Korfage 22 December 2014 - 6:35 am

It’s just as how I experience her music. From a whole different level. And the further we go in time, the more depth her work has gained. I read about other peoples experience with this album and I have to admit to myself it took me two years to get a grip on it! And still there are these ‘oh, that’s what it means’ moments. I love that. What a world away from the music industry nowadays. That’s all about making money quickly, I guess. I love her style, humor and craft and I am doing so since 1978. I raise my hat to the genius Kate Bush.

johnmaguirewords 22 December 2014 - 7:16 pm

Thank you Donna :).
Hans, this is the exact same way I have received the album and indeed her work in its entirety. Every fresh listen brings new discoveries. Also, different songs have taken on different meaning as life evolves around me. I sadly lost my Nan this year, an amazing soul who has left a massive gap in the world of my family, one song of Kate’s has taken on a significant meaning now when I listen to it. Thank the Universe for an artist like the Professor of Pop. Also, the “hounds of love” track is great when listened to on a yoga mat. Keep listening :).


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