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 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]
- 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
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.
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
- 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
- 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
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
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,
- 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
- 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
Molly bloom's monologue from joyce's ulysses in the song `` the
sensual world", `` wuthering heights'' of course-have other books provided
- 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,
Cloudbusting / Subjects / Books