A few you may have missed

Kate Bush: Enigmatic chanteuse as pop pioneer
by Holly Kruse, University of Illinois, Urbana, Champaign

In the early 1970s record industry executives noticed that adventurous musicians could actually make money. Kate Bush was one of the artists to profit. In 1974 EMI made an unusual move and gave Bush some money “to grow up with,” and she spent three years continuing her dance studies, honing her vocal skills, and developing a more mature songwriting style. In 1977 she recorded her first album, The Kick Inside, and the first single, “Wuthering Heights”, reached the number one spot on the British pop chart just one month after its release in early 1978. However, though Kate Bush has been a best-selling artist in the U.K. for almost ten years, she stayed virtually unknown in the U.S …

Soundscapes.info November 2000. Read the full article here

Adventures in Kate Bush and Theory
Deborah Withers’ book is not a biography of Kate Bush. Instead, says Sian Norris, it is a treasure map to the theories underpinning the cultural icon’s work.

Having been a huge Kate Bush fan from a young age, and very impressed and excited by Deborah N Withers’ recent book Self Publishing and Empowerment I was really looking forward to reading her cultural theory explorationAdventures in Kate Bush and Theory. And I wasn’t disappointed. This book is a superb exploration into the gender, queer, post-colonial and cultural theory that lies behind the music of singer, dancer and cultural icon Kate Bush. It is a joy from start to finish, taking you on a journey from the 1970s to the present, as Withers comprehensively and wittily uncovers the theoretical intricacies in the work of Kate Bush. If you are looking for a biography of Kate Bush then this isn’t the book for you. Instead, it is a biography of music, visual art and three decades of the character Withers calls the “Bush Feminine Subject” or the BFS. This is the female subjectivity that inhabits Bush’s world, a subject who sings, plays and acts out the questions, theories and problems in Kate’s work. Withers argues that as listeners we need to separate out the singer Kate Bush and the BFS when exploring the theory of her work …

The f-word January 2010. Read the full article here

Kate Bush: Performing and Creating Queer Subjectivities on Lionheart.
Deborah Withers

In her second album, Lionheart, Kate Bush continued the process of exploring gender
roles through music, performance and dramatization that began on her debut, The
Kick Inside. From early on in her career, Bush was conscious of how heteronormative,
patriarchal gender roles can delimit restrictive boundaries and designate permissible
sites from which the female sexed subject can speak or sing. From her perceptive
comments in interviews, it is clear that she was aware of stereotypical cultural notions
of femininity circulating within pop music in the late 70s that, I would suggest, only
allowed narrow roles for women singers: to be genteel, emotional and reflective.
Understandably, Bush wished to distance herself and ultimately break free from these
constructions and often spoke of how she identified with male songwriters and styles
as they allowed for more experimentation …

Nebula September 2006. Read the full article here

Kate Bush’s Subversive Shoes – Bonnie Gordon

If you know the lurid details of hans Christian  Andersen’s fairy tale “The Red Shoes,” then Kate Bush’s song of the same name presents a fascinating twist. A dance tune with pulsating rhythms and haunting effects, it encourages and celebrates dance. The song begins with a girl who wants to dance. She gets to dance and along the way takes her listeners for an experience that borders on ecstatic frenzy. Sending a very different message, the 1848 didactic tale positions dance as both sin and punishment. In the story a pretty but very poor orphan girl named Karen falls in love with a pair of red shoes made of shiny patent leather. After tricking her blind but pious benefactor into buying them, she makes the near-fatal mistake of wearing them to her Confirmation and Communion. As punishment for her vanity and excess she must endlessly dance; even when she is lifted off the ground her little feet keep on dancing through the air, totally escaping her control. She wants to go left, they go right; she wants to go home, they dance out into the street, where all can see her terrible state. An angel makes her fate painfully clear: “You shall dance in your red shoes until you become pale and thin. Dance till the skin on your face turns yellow and clings to your bones as if you were a skeleton. Dance you shall from door to door and when you pass a house where proud and vain children live, there you shall knock on the door so that they will see you and fear your face. Dance, you shall Dance …

Women and Music volume 9 2005. Read the full article here

About Peter

My Kate CV: Kate fan since 1978. Saw Tour of Life at the London Palladium 1979. Went to first KBC Convention 1980. Founded Homeground with Dave 1982. Worked on 1985, 1990, and 1994 Kate Bush Conventions, and the 1986 Video Party with Dave, Lisa of KBC and Krys. Appeared in videos for The Big Sky and Experiment IV. Wrote Introduction, Chronology and Discography for EMI Music Publishing's 1987 "Kate Bush Complete". Wrote the sleeve note for the remastered 1998 reissue of "Hounds of Love". Invited to write sleeve notes for other reissues which never happened. My other CV: born 1955 in Bermondsey London, educated at Galleywall Primary, Walworth Comprehensive, and London School of Economics BSc(Econ)(Hon) 1976. Currently an Officer of the Crown Court determining legal costs in crminal cases. Met Krys in 1982 through Homeground, we were engaged on Glastonbury Tor on Kate's birthday in 1983, and married in November 1984.
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7 Responses to A few you may have missed

  1. Rob't says:

    Regarding Withers’ article about queerness in Kate’s music, I think she misses an important part of why (in my opinion, at least) Kate used the bit of music from Disney’s “Pinocchio”: the story of Pinocchio itself is centered around the title character’s wish “to be a real boy,” which certainly fits Withers’ thesis as to the song’s intent.

  2. Isabelle says:

    You know what? There are so many ideas to write about concerning the person known as Kate Bush that I truly regret chosing the wrong topic of my diploma paper- I’m writing about the WRONG Bush!

    Nevertheless, thanks for the reading!

    Best wishes to all readers of KBN!

  3. Natan says:

    Very interesting article, i’m from Brazil and she is not really well know here, i’m part of a forum about Kate Bush with only brazilan people, and there is like 2000 people on it, so a fell people know her here… Anyway all I know is that i’m huge fan of here. Let me just ask something, since i’ve never been in England, how famous is she there ?Is she like really famous or not so much ?

    • Peter says:

      With the generation who grew up with her, Kate is a household name i.e. very well known. With the younger generation, no so well known, except for those who have an serious interest in music and hear Kate’s name often quoted as an influence by many recent artists.

  4. Isabelle says:

    HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

    @—>>——>————-

  5. There is also ‘Kate Bush, The Red Shoes, The Line, the Cross and the Curve and the Uses of Symbolic Transformation’ in Feminist Theology August 19, 2010 vol. 19 no. 1 7-19

    Here’s the abstract….

    In Kate Bush’s 1993 album, The Red Shoes, and her film, The Line, the Cross and the Curve, she engages with the symbolism of The Red Shoes fairytale as first depicted in Hans Christian Andersen’s 1845 fairy tale and later developed by the Powell and Pressburger film (1948) of the same name. In Bush’s versions of the tale she attempts to find a space of agency for the main female protagonist in a plot structure over-determined by patriarchal narrative and symbolic logic. I will argue that it is through her own use of mystical symbolism — the Line, the Cross and the Curve — mediated through the deployment of ritual magick and kabbalistic ritual — that she breaks the ‘spell’ of the red shoes story where the main female character can escape the gender specific ‘curse’ of the red shoes.

    Excited a new Kate album is on the way!!!!

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