Cloudbusting -- Kate
Bush In Her Own Words
- Radio all day. I was meant to
start with Luxembourg, but they pulled out, so I go straight to Capital.
[Capital radio is the independent station that broke kate in 1977 by playing
`` wuthering heights'' months before its official release date.] There for
three, a very short chat. Then I do Radio One, then hang around a bit to do
Brian Matthews on Radio Two. I leave about nine, and go home. On the way I pick
up a Chinese takeaway. I don't need a bodyguard or anything for stuff like
that. If people do recognize me they're not too likely to smother me in kisses
or anything. Get home about ten, look through some photos with my brother, and
natter about odd bits of business. If I've got nothing to do I have a quick
tinkle on the piano, which I try to get to all the time. Bed as usual three
A.M. (1980, Flexipop Diary,
- For the album to have been so warmly embraced has made me very
happy. It's hard for me to explain how easy it is to get anxious with your own
songs once they're on disc. They can easily be up to a year old already, and so
the unveiling of the album felt very like the prodigal son coming home to me. I
was willing to leap into anything that would help move it along. As you all
know, most artists will do promotional work - which we will call ``the rounds''
- to accompany their product. It was my turn for ``the rounds'' What makes that
fun are the people that you meet and you are with - the travelling, the talking
are tiring and monotous. Among the major promotional events was a
radio P.A. [Personal appearance]
tour, which you'll hear more of in A. B.'s [Andrew bryant?] article.
This means travelling from city to city, visiting radio stations and record
shops to meet people and give autographs, and to do the odd press interview.
The tour was to start in Edinburgh. Hil [Hilary walker, kate's manager]
had booked a motorail ticket for us to travel by train to Carlisle, taking the
car to drive us from there onwards. The train left at five minutes to midnight,
and things were packed: a flask of tea, a couple of sandwiches, some books,
etc. And as the car had been put on the train an hour or so before our
departure, I decided I'd visit a friend in between that time and get a taxi to
the station. I was having a great chat in a nice, warm, cause environment with
homemade fruit buns and a steaming cup of tea, when I realised the taxi that I
had ordered had not arrived yet and it was getting late. I rang again - they
said it was on its way, but we know they always say that, don't they?
- Eventually, with an excited driver speeding to the station at the
thought of the mentioned ``big tip'' if he got me there on time, I arrived at
midnight: no train and lots of weridos. Another train was quickly sorted out
which left an hour later, and so I bedded up in a little cabin set for
Scotland. The first thing that really hit me when I got in the cabin was it was
so quiet. I couldn't remember the last time I'd been anywhere so silent, and it
scared me. Its silence made me feel uneasy because of me being so unused to it.
- The scenery was beautiful, waking up as the sun peeped over the
transient countryside and factory chimneys. We arrived in Edinburgh and the
first radio station. The schedule had
begun. Meeting the people in the shops is a very strange experience - whilst I
sit at the back of the shop and watch them all come in, as anxious as me, some
of them. All these faces feeding me, one by one; they think I'm feeding them,
but they're giving me so much it's like they've all come to my party and the
more the merrier. That's something that struck me, how most of the people are
remarkably warm and kind and unbothered, and they're not trying to prove
anything. I get a certain kind of ``pride", if that's not too arrogant,
thinking how lucky I am to have these people receptive to my music. It means a
lot in terms of artistic reward.
- A lot was covered on the tour, including a brief meeting with
Ranchor, our friend from the Hare Krishna movement, who has now moved to
Manchester, which was one of the cities on our route. Eventually, the tour
completed, and a long, warm, sleepy drive back to London listening to taped
A tv show in germany meant a dance routine, choice of dancers and a
trip to munich. ``babooshka'' and ``army dreamers'' had been asked to be
performed. The ``babooshka'' video, if you remember, h.ad double bass sections,
and this is what I ``bassed'' my routine on, using the instrument all the way
through the song. The evening I was working on the choreography, paddy, andrew
[Bryant] and del were in the room. We decided to try it, as I had some
ideas, and we worked the night through very enthusiastically, eventually coming
up with a very dramatic and very pleasing routine. `` army dreamers'' is one of
those songs that could take many different concepts as a visual choreographic
piece. For germany we decided a cleaning-woman of abstract barracks would be
fine, joined by three army dreamers, one of whom is a mad sergeant-major who
shouts commands at invisible troops, one who carries a gun and mandolin, and
one who blinks blankly and carries a small brown teddy bear. The routine was
rehearsed, army uniforms bought, mrs. Mopp's costume improvised with an old
jumble-sale dress, a pair of pink rubber gloves, a head scarf, ma's kitchen
apron, her wooden broom and a small brown teddy-bear for one of our
- Arriving in Germany, we were met and taken straight to the TV
centre, where we were to spend the day. The rehearsal went well - borrowing
some toy guns from the TV people, and a broom which I'd forgotten to bring as
hadn't looked like a prop standing in my hall as I left for the airport. It was
time for the performance. I was Mrs. Mopp, and the three army dreamers were
somewhere in the building, waiting, too, for the call. As I came down the
stairs, receiving many funny looks at my dress, I saw three men in uniform
standing in the doorway with black, made-up faces looking very heavy and
official, and it was not until I got very close and noticed the grinning,
familiar faces that I realised who they were. Everything went very well; and,
joined by two MM [Melody maker] scouts, we had a great time. The show
was done, and out to dinner, incorporating an MM interview. The Germans looked
after us very well, and at one point in rehearsals we had been hesitant that
people around us were offended or worried by three Englishmen dressed in Army
uniforms strolling around the studio with little guns, but no problem - it
shows how little these people hold grudges that we were still suspicious of.
again, was to be performed abroad, this time in Venice. Venice is an extremely
beautiful place, and if you ever get the chance to see it, please do, it really
is magical. Water is the way of everything there - even lampposts are on water.
I took lots of photos, and we've included one of a canal. The hotel that we
were staying at was beautiful, with an incredible view of the ocean out of my
window. For this TV show Gary [Hurst] and I had rehearsed a duet which
we had made up the night before. Often this has strangely good results; maybe
it is due to adrenalin. Gary had hired a suit from Moss Bros. the day before,
and I'd pulled out an old dress which I used to wear when I was in the KT Bush
Band and we performed in pubs. This TV show was live, and as the studio was
only across the road (the other side of the hotel backed onto one of the few
pieces of dry land in Venice), every performer dressed and made up at the hotel
and walked to the TV studio fully equipped .
- Our turn came, and as we hit the street we saw silver-suited
spacemen; red-, blue-, green-haired people; electric guitars; pantomime horses;
one yellow submarine and two dancing bears spilling in and out of the TV
centre. We squeezed past the various brightly coloured suits and smiles, did
our bit and squeezed past them again on the way back to the hotel. In many ways
it reminded me of Noah's Ark: two of every kind in a place on the water.
- Just as we entered the hotel we met Peter Gabriel, plus band, who
were also on the same show and were on their way out. We exchanged very English
greetings on foreign land: ``Break a leg, old chap!"; and Peter headed on his
way to the bizarre circus. Meanwhile, we had heard that there was a TV room
upstairs, so we rushed up to a mini-circus where all the artists that had
already performed were sprayed around the floor, glued to the television,
expressing kind words of comradeship in the relevant language to whomever was
on the screen at that point in time; an unusual live, friendly feeling. Peter's
performance was powerful and stood out amongst all the others, and the
viewing-room certainly seemed to agree.
- The next version of `` Army Dreamers'' was to be the promotional
video. For a long time my vision of `` Army Dreamers'' on screen had been in
green woods, heavy and sad, and the extent of the visual production I wanted on
this occasion would only be possible where we had the time, opportunities and
budget: not unlike an unknown TV studio, where you have no control over the set
or lighting - you go for the simplest, easiest concept possible without
spoiling the image. I drew a storyboard from which we worked. I have never had
a talent for drawing [I don't agree at all. A very clever and sensitive
landscape drawing by kate, dated 5th november 1978, appeared in issue number 14
of the newsletter. it shows great style and natural ability which
kate, unfortunately, has never developed. - ied] and so I got a lot of
laughs, as well as being able to communicate the ideas in a more concrete way.
The cast had to be big - we were to represent an army unit, therefore needing a
Sergeant-Major. I gathered all the people that I knew would not only look good
but act the part; the choice was obvious - the band, Andrew [Again last name
not given] as our Sergeant-Major. Phone calls were made, and I couldn't
have asked for a more positive reaction from everyone concerned, to the point
of someone putting off a session. A second phone call was made immediately
afterwards to find the size boot required for the uniforms. This became very
Pythonesque, especially when people replied ``Size 9.'' Everyone involved was a
natural actor and performer, and a rehearsal was called. The cast were to turn
up at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, Keef at 2 and Rocket and Barry (who were the
two cameramen) at 3. From 2 until 3 Keef and I excitedly worked out the
details, using my storyboard (which certainly got a giggle out of him) and
bouncing ideas that we would get in turn. Most of my inspiration came from
every war movie I have ever seen, from the original All Quiet on the
Western Front to Apocalypse Now, and this was then applied
to the subject matter and concept of the song. When Barry and Rocket turned up,
Keef and I were bursting with anticipation of letting them in on the epic.
They'd hardly got in the door before I thrust my storyboard under their noses
and Keef was talking special lenses. Rocket and Barry are the two best
cameramen I have worked with on a frequent basis. They soon joined in the
``Ooh!"s and ``Hey, what if we...?"s and ``Well, we could try..."s, and we were
away on a very challenging prospect, having to wait just for the confirmation
of safety before we could definitely write the jerk-jacket into the script (we
will talk more about this fabulous device later). 4 o'clock arrived, the band
arrived, and the good weather had arrived; so we were set for an outdoors
rehearsal. It went so smoothly, and all the cast were so professional, that
Barry and Rocket could not hide their respect, and neither did we for them (you
can see Barry being charged and Rocket being jumped over in the photos). The
rehearsal broke, we sabotaged the crew as they left, and we all went our ways
to prepare for the big day tomorrow.
- It was a very early start, having to reach Pinewood by 8 a.m., and
everyone's prayer for mild weather had been answered uncannily. The sun lit up
the fern-swamped woods in a way I could never have hoped for; it was a good
omen for a good day. Philip and Graham are two child actors; they both have
pure white hair that, in that day's sunshine, shone and glittered, and they
behaved very professionally and looked stunning on the screen. The day was long
and full, and so much was achieved that apparently in film terms the amount we
covered would have taken a week, which was encouraging to hear. Everything had
gone as planned, all the action shots covered, and everyone looked superb.
There were some magical moments created both on and off screen by the talent
and humour of those people who I'd be lost without. Jay took some incredible
shots during the day, which perfectly catch the moods and the lighting of those
people and woods. Lisa [Bradley] took some fabulous movie-film which
expressed not only the effort that was taken, but also, again, the comedy of
the personalities involved. Al was blown up as beautifully as could be of
course only in terms of video fantasy land; Paddy somersaulted and fired,
Stewart tripped and danced, Andrew roared and soared, Brian was flying, Preston
kept his vest on, Kevin was in heaven, we all tumbled and ached and played
soldiers until all was finished, bar the jerk-jacket.
- We had lost our daylight by now, and as the trees echoed the screams
and yells of musicians and dancers in soldier's clothing, I turned to see them
leaping over the camera in the most dramatic light I have witnessed outside a
studio. Two huge spotlights leaking smoky light across the clearing in the
wood. It's these little moments I lock away as thrills of the theatre manmade.
It was time to get into the jerk-jacket. The idea was to finish the video with
myself symbolically representing my son, as well as being his mother. We wanted
a very violent movement of my body, ideally being thrown off the ground. The
effect we used was the jerk-jacket, which we would film and then put into slow
motion at the editing stage. The jacket consists of a harness and a wire, with
a man manually pulling the wire via a pulley system. The wire is connected to
the back of the harness, with a hole through various layers of clothing to
allow the wire to be straight when taut. As the man pulls the wire, the person
wearing the harness is pulled off their feet backwards, landing on an
appropriately camouflaged, padded area to soften the landing.
- I was very excited at the prospect of experiencing the feeling, and
with the professional help of stunt-men it was an unforgettable event - very
exciting - and we got the footage we'd hoped for.
- Everything over, wires being wrapped up, vans driving off, cameras
tucked in for the night and us off to do the edit of that day's filming. The
edit was in my opinion the most complete so far: it was like a well-made wooden
jigsaw, with all the edges smoothly planed, and by two in the morning, with the
excellent help of our visual engineer, Brian, we had made and edited the movie,
and it was now complete and very satisfying.
- It was a busy week. The next day, an Austrian interview and mixing
``Warm and Soothing'' were on the schedule, and off to Holland the next day to
do `` Babooshka'' and yet another slightly different version of ``Army
Dreamers'' in Holland. [See paddy's description of the holland performances
in his newsletter article, memoirs of an army
dreamer, in the same issue. (reprinted in the garden)] I was feeling
tired when we started rehearsing the routines that evening for the next day,
and by the time I had packed and finished rehearsing, it was about five in the
morning; and so, as I was being picked up for the airport at 6:15, I ended up
without that night's sleep.
- At one point I looked at Pyewacket, my cat, and said, ``Help me,
Pye, I'm so tired.'' And she looked at me and said, ``Me'ow?'' It became one
very long day, and my energies were going, but they survived with much help
from those around me.
- The show went very well, including the floor-manager being searched
as part of our routine. It went out very late at night and, as it was the first
one in the series and was live, everyone was very relieved when it was over. At
last, a few hours' sleep before leaving early next morning for Munich and then
Hamburg on a two-day radio/press tour; which was fun, meeting up with Werner
from EMI-Munich. He was very good to me: earlier, he had given me the copy of
Bowie's album before it was released here, and on this trip he did exactly the
same with Stevie Wonder's new record. It is an incredible album [The
Secret Life Of Plants], and I was lucky enough to see him tour when he
was here. The whole of the arena was dancing and laughing - I've never seen
anything like it. And by coincidence Paddy bumped into none other than Werner
while leaving. It certainly was a happy concert, and was marked with many ticks
by me, alongside The Wall and others. (1980, KBC 12)
And perhaps you would set up this particular track, `` sat in your
lap'' Maybe tell me the story about that.
- Okay. When I went to see the Stevie Wonder gig and it was
incredible, it was really good. And the next night I went into our home studio
and wrote the song in a couple of hours and that was it, one of the quickest
songs I've ever written. (1982, Dreaming debut)
- Since my promotion has eased off, the nights are drawing in. It is
colder, and I must soon draw to a close. I have spent as much time as possible
on writing - and I think that shows by the length of this introduction! I'm
more than happy to be concentrating on my songs at the moment.
- I hope all of you are feeling happy and looking forward to Christmas
as much as I am.
- It's wonderful to know that December will be let out of
the chimney this year - I was worried that it might get sooty. Have a very
happy Christmas, and as children have the best time, why don't we be children
at Christmas, too? (1980, KBC
So what are the new songs like, then?
- They're much more up. I'm getting to work much more easily with
rhythm boxes and synthesizers at home, and I've got some time. That's what I
need, and this year is the first I've really had any time to breathe. I'm
experimenting all the time and finding new things. It's great, all the toys
that are around to play with - digital delay, chorus pedal, you could write a
sound purely round the sound. (1980, Zigzag)
How do you see the decade of the 80s?
- I think a lot is gonna happen. A lot that hasn't happened for maybe
thirty, forty years. There's so much building up. And looking at the music
business, especially the end of this year, I've never known so many top acts
bringing out albums, all of them. And it seemed reflective of how bad a year
we'd had. It's almost like all that really bad, negative energy has made all
the creative people go, ``right, I'm going to channel it and write it down.''
And it helps, cause if you've got lots of really good music to listen to then
it helps you too, you know. You listen to it and think ``yeah!!! I can channel
it to.'' So its all up to us, this ten years, it really is. Its up to all the
human beings alive, to do what they can, isn't it? (1980, Profiles In Rock)
Have you had a family christmas this year?
- Yes, yes. I think we normally take that time to get together. I
think most families do, because it's one of the few times of the year when
there is a gap. And it's really good, to, to see your friends and people. I
think you forget to take enough notice of them during the year, so it's a time
to say hi, I, I love you. (1980, BBC)
Kate, if we go beyond the current charts and look beyond this
program and beyond the parties we'll be attending tonight, into 1981, what are
your immediate plans?
- Well, my immediate plans now are to make another album. That's what
I've been doing the last couple of months: writing, too, and trying to demo.
It's been a really good time for me, actually. I love writing. That's the thing
I'd like to do all the time.
As you have had three lps, do you find that the songs come quicker,
or they kind of take longer?
- It definitely goes in phases. And I find that if I'm not busy
working on something else, then the songs are going to flow in much easier.
There does seem to be a, a brain - sort of cooperation thing. If it's busy
working on something else then it won't allow me to use up the back bit for a
song [Laughing]! But if it's vacant, then I can fill it up! (1980,
Kate, many people would like to know if they will be able to see
you in live performance again in 1981. Do you think that's a possibility?
- It is a possibility, but I wouldn't like to say any more than that,
'cause, uh, you know, things take so much time. It's incredible. The album is
the thing that I've decided that's happening, and we'll see what happens after
that's out of the way!
Have you enjoyed 1980?
- Um... Yes, on the whole, but I think, to be quite honest, it's been
a really hard year, and I think so many people will be glad when it's over.
It's been a very testing year. In many ways it's almost been saying ``All
right, let's see if you can get through this, and if you can then one up to
you.'' And I think an awful lot of people have really coped with this year
coped with this year fantastically well. So, uh, here's to them, and here's to
Reason to celebrate.
- Yeah! (1980, BBC)
- I very much enjoyed doing the Radio 1 programmes with Gamba.
[Paul gambaccini, who invited kate to co-host two programmes on december 30
and 31, 1980, during which she played many of her favourite pieces of music by
other artists.] He is a very funny man, and it was wonderful for me to have
the freedom of choice in music. I felt it very important to concentrate on
music and artists that I felt were either very underestimated or relatively
unknown, and that were very special to me. We all know how hard it is to get
airplay if you're not happening ``at the moment.'' If you happened to hear it,
and there were any that you particularly liked, there is a detailed list
further on. [See part iv, under influences/favorite artists] In fact,
I'll be looking up a couple myself, as some of my copies are worn out. (1981,
Cloudbusting / Story /