KT Cloudbusting -- Kate Bush In Her Own Words

Get Out Of My House

The song is called ``Get Out of My House,'' and it's all about the human as a house. The idea is that as more experiences actually get to you, you start learning how to defend yourself from them. The human can be seen as a house where you start putting up shutters at the windows and locking the doors - not letting in certain things. I think a lot of people are like this - they don't hear what they don't want to hear, don't see what they don't want to see. It is like a house, where the windows are the eyes and the ears, and you don't let people in. That's sad because as they grow older people should open up more. But they do the opposite because, I suppose, they do get bruised and cluttered. Which brings me back to myself; yes, I have had to decide what I will let in and what I'll have to exclude. (1982, Company)


The Shining is the only book I've read that has frightened me. While reading it I swamped[???] around in its snowy imagery and avoided visiting certain floors of the big, cold hotel, empty for the winter. As in Alien, the central characters are isolated, miles (or light years) away from anyone or anything, but there is something in the place with them. They're not sure what, but it isn't very nice.

The setting for this song continues the theme - the house which is really a human being, has been shut up - locked and bolted, to stop any outside forces from entering. The person has been hurt and has decided to keep everybody out. They plant a ``concierge'' at the front door to stop any determined callers from passing, but the thing has got into the house upstairs. It's descending in the lift, and now it approaches the door of the room that you're hiding in. You're cornered, there's no way out, so you turn into a bird and fly away, but the thing changes shape, too. You change, it changes; you can't escape, so you turn around and face it, scare it away.

"Hee Haw"

"Hee Haw"

"Hee Haw'' (1982, KBC 12)


I tell kate that the space between my ears felt like pale jelly after first exposure to this one on the walkman. She is pleased!

Oh, good! It's meant to be a bit scary. It's just the idea of someone being in this place and there's something else there... You don't know what it is.

The track kept changing in the studio. This is something that's never happened before on an album. That one was maybe half the length it is now. The guitarist got this really nice riff going, and I got this idea of two voices - a person in the house, trying to get away from this thing, but it's still there. So in order to get away, they change their form - first into a bird trying to fly away from it. The thing can change as well, so that changes into this wind, and starts blowing all icy. The idea is to turn around and face it. You've got this image of something turning round and going ``Aah!'' just to try and scare it away. (1982, ZigZag)


*I suppose in terms of general ideas, kate, maybe we could talk a little about that. Just where you pluck these ideas from, is this something that occurs to you in every day life or do you discipline yourself to sit down and think about things?

They're very often ideas that come out of other people's creations. Films and books are very much big inspirations to me. For instance, there's a track on this album that was... really the whole atmosphere was inspired by The Shining. I read the book and it was such an incredibly strong atmosphere, very creepy, very haunted, and I used it to like set a song using the same atmosphere, but instead of it being a hotel it being like a house, which is also a human being. And just playing with the feelings that I got when I read the book and trying to put that same kind and strangeness into the song. (1982, Dreaming debut)


*Although you've often written romantic songs - `` babooshka", `` wuthering heights", `` the wedding list'' [Romantic??] - they've never been happy boy-meets-girl-and-lives-happily-ever-after affairs. Is that because of some private perversity?

For me that's how real situations are. Whenever I've experienced a relationship, or the people around me have, it's always ended up being incredibly complicated because that's the way human beings are. Nothing is simple, it always ends up being something else or dying and that's what I find so interesting - the drive behind human beings and the way they get screwed up.

Like ``get out of my house''

The idea with that song is that the house is actually a human being who's been hurt and he's just locking all the doors and not letting anyone in. The person is so determined not to let anyone in that one of his personalities is a concierge who sits in the door, and says ``you're not coming in here'' - like real mamma. (1982, Melody Maker)


I find the use of strong symbolism and metaphor and allusions in your lyrics to be extremely interesting. For example, in ``get out of my house,'' the woman who is singing the song has been left by her lover and feels hurt, and identifies herself with a house. This is a biblical allusion. When she says ``I wash the panes", it is a triple entendre, because she's saying she's washing the windows of her body, which are the eyes. This means she's crying, and by doing so, she's washing the hurt and pain away. Then she says ``no stranger's feet will enter me'' saying that she won't let anyone into her house, which is saying she won't let anyone into her body, which is also reinforced by the biblical use of ``feet'' as a euphemism for ``private parts'' The layers of meaning here, are pretty incredible.

Then a man tries to enter her life again, but she's too scared, and she tries to escape by flying away, but he turns into the wind. She then turns into a mule, perhaps for its stubborn ability to withstand the wind. And then he also turns into a mule. Now it seems that they have a ground for communication. Because mules are neuter, and they can communicate on a platonic level rather than a sexual level.

Now a friend of mine believes that this last part is a flaw in the song, because mules are not really neuter after all. They are only sterile. Personally, I think it isn't a flaw because the idea comes across loud and clear to me, and somehow it seems that ``I change into the amoeba: Ooze! Ooze!'' just wouldn't work so well. So the question is, what do you think of this interpretation? And could you respond to my friend's slight criticism?

And what was your friend's criticism?

He said that the ending is a flaw because mules are not really neuter, they are only sterile.

What does he mean?

Well, it seems to me - and to him - that the end of the song is sort of a positive note because they've found a grounds for communication. And sort of on a platonic level, because mules might be seen as being platonic, because...


Oh... Well... Mules are sterile... Uh... A donkey and a horse... You know... Have a sexual relationship, and then they have mules, and mules don't have children, but they really can have sex. They just can't have children, but a lot of people actually think that they just don't have sex. Which isn't really true.

Right! Well, um... I think you... It's kind of weird the level of interpretation that you are reading into things, because... I mean, a mule - in our country - all it represents is a stupid animal. They are considered stupid. [This, of course, is the dominant significance of the mule as a symbol in the united states, as well. The expression ``stubborn as a mule'' is considerably better known in both countries than the sterile condition of the animal - as the interviewer ought to know. - ied] and that's the allusion that was being used in that case. And it's very much a play on a traditional song called The Two Magicians about someone who's trying to escape someone, and they keep changing their form in order to escape them. But the other thing keeps changing its form. And that's actually what the whole song is about - someone who is running away from something they don't want to face, but wherever they go, the thing will follow them. Basically, you can't run away from things - you've got to confront things. And it's using the person as the imagery of a house, where they won't let anyone in, they lock all the doors and windows, and put a guard on the front door. But I think the essence of the song is about someone trying to run away from things they don't like and not being able to escape - because you can't.

But if the symbol of mules is just stupidity, at the end, then it would seem like it would be a negative ending, and it just sort of seems to me, most of your songs...a lot of them...end on up notes. And it sort of seemed like it was a positive note at the end.

Yes, I think the mule is that kind of... the stupid confrontation... I mean, there's not really that much to read into it. It was the idea of playing around with changing shape, and the mule imagery was something I liked audially. The whole thing of this wild, stupid, mad creature just turning around and going, you know, ``Eeyore! Eeyore!'' [Kate makes convincing eeyore sounds.] I don't know if you saw Pinocchio, but there's an incredibly heavy scene in there, where one of the little boys turns into a donkey - a mule. And it's very heavy stuff.

I haven't seen that since about six, but I think I remember that...it's a strong image.

Well, maybe you should see it again. It's a good film. (1985, Love-Hounds)


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