Friday, 11 April 2014

Wuthering Heights

The Kate Bush frenzy was quite an experience. Three of us, all on different laptops, shouting out updates: “it’s loading, it’s loading!”, “bugger, the site’s frozen”, “the 17th has gone – which others could we do?”, “hold, on – I can see available ones - yes, yes, I think I...YES.”
That final sentence is a shortened version of my screeching as I managed to secure tickets for my parents and me. We were immensely fortunate. Twitter (that general arbiter of public consensus) was divided between celebrations and lamentations.

It was quite incredible to see the explosion surrounding that first announcement. Suddenly everyone was a Kate Bush fan – with one or two in between the cacophony cleverly saying, “Oh, well I don’t really get the fuss.” She made headlines; old pictures dusted off to appear in print once more. Columns were filed and set-list predictions made. The brilliant 'Never Underdressed' even devoted a feature to her most memorable fashion choices.

Dismissing the scummy ticket touts, it would be interesting to know the varying motives behind those who rushed to secure concert places: nostalgia for the time when she was a fresh young thing? Final fulfilment for missing out on the1979 tour? An avid love for all things Kate? A younger generation - myself included - with our second hand vinyl and Hounds of Love on repeat in iTunes, keen to hear her live? Dare I say, for some, merely the desire to be able to say that they’ve seen her in the flesh – that they were there?

Part of the thrill of the entire thing rests in Kate Bush’s complete refusal of celebrity. We know little about her, beyond those mesmerizing songs. She was, and is, primarily a visual and vocal presence. Accessible through photographs, music videos and albums (as well as the occasional interview or documentary), our perception is informed by the clarity of her art and image, rather than her personal life. ‘Kate Bush’ as an entity is composed from that Wuthering Heights dance; those heavily outlined eyes in Army Dreamers; an array of outfits from leotards to long dresses; the kaleidoscope effect; soft focus videos later replaced with unfolding narratives – all topped off with a fuzz of big hair, outlandish facial expressions and a swooping voice.

We can chart her progress from ethereal sprite to sensual woman as the albums go by. Yet perhaps to label her as such, to suggest a clear movement from one to the other, is to limit her. Her videos yield multiple personas: of witch, warrior, schoolboy, theatre luvvie, woodland princess, dancer, explorer, bank robber, spurned wife, queen. And those are just a handful of the more easily recognisable characters. Try adjectives instead: witchy, weird, sensuous, playful, strong, fragile, feminine, androgynous, confident, athletic, otherworldly. All fit.

It’s that constant innovation and intelligence I adore. The keen creativity. The theatricality and continual reinvention. The songs that reach the nerves. Her voice has accompanied hours of dancing, jogging, fashion shoots, essay writing, surgery recovery, train journeys, sketching and evenings fuelled by friends, wine and conversation. She’s also one of the few artists I return to again and again for inspiration – be it for her fantastical dress sense, her sharp work ethic, her bold videos, unashamed individuality or just a bloody wonderful album.

When I was five, I’d raid the dressing up trunk and then spin around the living room to 'The Red Shoes'. Some thirteen years later, I’m now raiding my own wardrobe and spinning from place to place. And come September I’ll be raiding my most outrageous finery and spinning off to the Hammersmith Apollo. Who knows what we’ll see and hear there – but I’m sure it will be spectacular. 

Need I explain the outfit? My homage to the (in)famous Kate Bush Wuthering Heights video (blurry still image below) was completed with a seventies dress from a vintage shop in Edinburgh, second hand accessories and shoes from Marks & Spencer. I managed to raise eyebrows from passing cars and had great fun leaping around the chilly, windy field. You can see a previous Kate Bush inspired shoot that I photographed with the gorgeous Evangeline Ling here



Moscow blogger by Marina Maximova said...

Look is cool!

Rick Forrestal said...

These are great.

Lydia Armstrong said...

You totally nailed the inspiration for your outfit. Also, sidenote, it looks like you are casting spells in many of these pics. Have fun at the show!!!!

Abigail ~ said...

oh wow! you look so much like Kate here! Beautiful pictures, i love the movement of the wind through your hair and dress.
so neat that you were able to get tickets. Good for you!
lovely writing, your discriptions of her are wonderful :)


Vix said...

Fantastic pictures and a stupendous outfit.
Never was a Kate Bush fan but I totally understand the ticket trauma, we go through it each year for Glastonbury! x

Helen Le Caplain said...

Fabulous Kate Bush homage! Look forward to seeing what you wear to that gig! :)

Francesca Rose said...

Amazing! Congratulations on getting tickets :)


Mary M. said...

Love the photos, the dress is incredible!!

Have a great weekend,
Mary x

Ivana Split said...

Your hommage is so perfect! I love how expressive these photographs are! and congrats on securing the tickets:)

Hope you have a lovely weeekend!

Pull Your Socks Up! said...

I should have guessed by the triumphant red outfit that you'd scored your Kate Bush tickets, but I still had my heart in my mouth at your description of the mad rush to purchase this year's holy grail of concert experiences. I'm so happy you got them and I can't wait to see what you and she both wear on the big night! xoxoo

Sacramento Amate said...

I am always at a loss for words when it comes to you and your gratness ant everything you touch or wear.
Mil besos corazón.


It's funny before I even read your delightful post I was thinking the outfit slightly echoed Kate Bush! What a splendid outfit and homage. It brings back memories of when my sister put me on to Kate Bush when I was a teen. :) xo

Zoë said...

This is fantastic, cheered my evening right up. I didn't get tickets, bit down on my luck these days!

Emalina said...

Ah you have created the most beautiful, brilliant homage to la Bush! The poses, the jewel bright outfit, and that mysterious, radiance and playfulness, qualities I've always thought you shared with her.

Like you I am SUCH a fan. But it wasn't always so. My partner introduced me properly to her music was I was in my mid 20s. That's when I knew he was the one for me. I can't believe that you managed to get tickets, how super wonderful! Please do take some photos of the event and tell us all about it!

Melanie said...

I must admit that I am not familiar with Kate Bush's work (don't hate me), but after this post of course I had to investigate. She seems to create from her heart and for me that's all that matters. No wonder she has so many fans. I'm glad you get to see this somewhat reclusive icon in person. The drama of this post makes ranks it among my favourites.

Yours Truly, x said...

You look awesome! A real dead ringer! And you have certainly nailed some of those famous moves ;-D
Hope you have a wonderful time at the gig - I'm going to stay in with my vinyl...SIGH. xx

Willow said...

So very exciting that you're going to be seeing Kate Bush! She truly has the most gorgeous voice.
Perfect homage to her with these wonderful images, your playful, dramatic poses and gorgeous styling.

Am sure you will have a magnificently memorable time and I'm looking forward to reading all about it.

Jean at said...

Have fun!!! So glad you're able to go. You look gorgeous in red. XXOO

Anupriya DG said...

You must have looked like a leaping flame in front of that beautiful carpet of greenery! No wonder you were the traffic-stopper! :)

Candy Pop said...

Really wonderful photographs, I bet they were fun to take. And congratulations again for securing some tickets!

Like you, I grew up with Kate. My Mum is a huge fan - The Kick Inside and Never For Ever are two of the first albums I listened to as a child. I recall being mesmerised by the reverse side of Never for Ever where Kate is flying! It puzzled me!

SJ said...

That sounds like my friends and I the morning Glastonbury tickets went on sale - a frenzy of refreshing browsers and the checking of Twitter.

I must confess I don't know many of Kate's songs beyond her most famous, but I'm sure you'll have a cracking time and I look forward to seeing what you wear when the gig rolls around :) x

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