KT Cloudbusting -- Kate Bush In Her Own Words


Are there any writers who've really influenced you alot. Print writers like bob gurdjieff [??? And another writer I couldn't figure out the name of!] that you want to talk about?

I don't know if there are any writers that have really influenced me. Particular books certainly have. But again they're much on a novel level rather than a reality level.

Uh, huh. Well like let's have a couple of examples.

I used to read quite a lot of Kurt Vonnegut and C. S. Lewis when I was a kid was one of my biggest ones. I also think when you're very little, like I don't know if you were ever read fairy stories by your mother, I think those kind of things get in very, very deep. And when I was really little, one of my favorite writers was Oscar Wilde and his fairy stories. And I actually think that they got in quite deep. I think his sense of tragedy and poetry is something that still moves me very much.

I didn't know he had fairy stories.

Yes, he does indeed.

Oh, really?

Oh yes, and they're beautiful!

Can you like describe one?

Well one of them. [Coughs]. Just trying to think what it's called. ``The Happy Prince'' is one of his stories. It's about this huge statue that stands in the middle of a city. And it's incredibly beautiful, it's coated in gold, his eyes are rubies, he just sparkles. He's a beautiful statue of the prince. And there's a little swallow who's flown in and nests at the feet of the statue overlooking the city. And the statue speaks to the swallow and says does he realize how much poverty and sadness is going on in the city. So bit by bit the little swallow strips the statue of the gold and the rubies and distributes it around the city to all the poor people. So eventually the Prince is just like a lead blob. He eyes are taken so he's blind, and he's just left completely alone, all his great finery has gone to the poor. And it's winter and the swallow should really migrate or it will die and the swallow will not leave him. And the tragedy is the closeness between them - that the swallow should go or it will die and how beautiful he was and now he's completely stripped. The little swallow dies and eventually they just sort of pull the statue down and stick him in the dump. [Laughs]

Oh, no.

But the way it is written and it's so beautiful and so sad! And there was one... you know, at the point where the swallow was discovered I always used to cry as a child.

So you like to write songs like that that are sorta so archetypal in a way?

I think his sense of tragedy in telling a story attracts me tremendously. And I think it's very similar in a way to a lot of the traditional music that I was again influenced by when I was very little... by my family. My brothers were really into folk music. And a lot of folk music is so into telling stories. And it's in a way something that doesn't feature so much in contemporary music any more. I think contemporary music is used to help relationships a lot of the time. Like you go to the disco and you meet someone, so you have a song, and it's your song. It's more about that then actually telling stories. Like the traditional things are. And I think that's a big fascination for me. (1985, MTV)


Much of your music is very literate. Is reading a passion of yours? I'm curious, in fact, whether you're in tune with authors like doris lessing or iris murdoch; Sometimes I describe kate bush to people as being a sort of doris lessing of rock.

I'm sorry, Doris who? I'm sorry, but I don't know the author. But reading was once a very big passion. When I was about eight or nine, for about three years I got through dozens and dozens of books and was very much into reading, mostly fiction. But as soon as I began writing poems at school - basically, as soon as I started getting into writing songs - everything else seemed to go out the window. I'd sit down and read a book, and think how I could be writing a song rather than reading It's only really in the last few years, when I get the time to read a book, that I realize how incredible it is. During journeys by car, I've got into reading again. It's very good, I really, really enjoy it. There's nothing like reading a good book. The sense of involvement - and, you know, you actually feel you're one of the people in the story. That sense of involvement, it's incredible, it's good. But I'm such a slow reader and, unless I'm on holiday, which is a very rare thing, I always feel that there's something better, more productive, that I could be doing. So I tend not to read, as I always feel guilty, and I think I should be doing other things.

Del: I think that's just an excuse, I think you should make time to read.

And especially if songs like `` cloudbusting'' come out of it.

Yes, but I read that so long ago and it's just been waiting to come out for nine or ten years. The thing is, I had to wait till I was at the right point to write that song in such a way that I could do it proper justice. (1985, Musician)


Let's throw you a hard one here and ask you a question you haven't prepared for. What books have inspired you?

What books? Well, my problem with books is that I used to read a lot more than I do now, and so I think my book inspiration is now coming from television, films, newspapers - you know, all the modern media. But I really do think that all the books I've read have had a tremendous influence on me because of their strong imagery. I think books really are a fantastic form of inspiration. (1980, BBC)


Any more new songs based on books in the offing?

Do you know, it's never occurred to me. I'd like to write another song connected to a book if the story was strong enough. It's not important though. I just want to carry on exploring. I like to write music about subjects I haven't touched before. That's my favourite thing. (1978, Record Mirror)


Do you get a lot of ideas from reading books, and from films?

I think whenever I have the time to read I'm always inspired by it. The problem is that I just shun it, in that I feel that there are more important things to do with my time. It's rubbish really, but I do always feel guilty when I sit down and read a book, because I think I should be doing other things. And it takes me such a long time to read. But in a way there is no other experience like it. An intimate relationship between yourself and a book is incredible, and it's very sad that things like television and films - sort of, uh... although it's great, because they're encouraging books by using their scripts for films - I think it is taking something away from that whole world of books. But particularly films do inspire me. I've always had a television, I always used to watch lots and lots of television when I was a kid, and I really enjoy watching films. (1985, Homeground)


Is most of your reading concentrated on nineteenth-century literature?

I read very little. I'm really terribly ignorant, just like my politics. As a child, I used to read lots and lots, but I just feel guilty now when I pick up books. I think I should be doing something else. It's really an incredible experience--it's so intimate, just you and the book. And you create so much of it. That's what's so nice about it. You are involved with the effort. And I suppose that's why I don't do it much!

I suppose I got that impression starting off with `` wuthering heights''

Right, well it always affects me. Every book I've read has really affected me. It's that special, you do create a relationship, really. And that was such a huge story... Oscar Wilde was one of my earliest influences - his fairy stories. I could still read one of them - definitely - and cry. Terribly tragic stuff. (1985, Hot Press)


*Do you do a lot of reading?

No, not really, because I just don't get the time. But whenever I do it really sparks things off in me. The last book I read was The Shining and it just blew me away, it was absolutely brilliant, and that definitely inspired `` Get Out Of My House'' because the atmosphere of the book is so strong. (1982, Melody Maker)


What types of books and authors do you like reading?

I don't think I'm obviously well-read. I think that's something that's, perhaps, presumed. I get very little time to read, it's something that I feel quite guilty about cos i'm a very slow reader and if I'm sitting down reading a book I feel I should be doing something else that's more important. I do get time to read in the car, but I don't really read like I would like to and my favorite kind of books, I would say generally are fiction. (1985, Open Interview)


*Well, one of my favorite authors is Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. I think he's amazing. And the reason I love him is that it's science fiction and I think his writing style is amazing... (1979, Personal Call)


[ A jacket blub that kate wrote for the book Give Me One Wish:]

What could be worse than losing someone you love? They are both losing each other, Both trying to make it easier for each other. A mother and daughter with so much courage and love, It hurts just to read it. But you should.


Molly bloom's monologue from joyce's ulysses in the song `` the sensual world", `` wuthering heights'' of course-have other books provided inspiration?

Every book I've read has had a very big effect on me. At the moment it's a conscious decision that I'm trying to do a lot more reading. When I was very little I read a lot,but not that much in my twenties. I think people should read more; we've all got conned by the cheap thrill of television. Reading a book does not just make you think,it makes you explore. I think The Shining is terrific; its the only book by Stephen King I've read. It's atmosphere ended up in a couple of my songs, and `` Get Out Of My House'' was very inspired by it. I think literature is the most powerful form, but all works of art inspire artists; I find films very inspirational. (1990, Q Special)


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