Cloudbusting -- Kate
Bush In Her Own Words
When I asked her if she looked to the news for any song inspiration
I got this curious answer:
- Well whenever I see the news it's always the same depressing things.
Wars' hostages and people's arms hanging off with all the tendons hanging out,
y'know. So I tend not to watch it much. I prefer to go and see a movie or
something where it's all put much more poetically. People getting their heads
blown off in slow motion, very beautifully. (1979, NME)
- I think technique has become a big distraction.
Oh, I think everybody is realizing that now actually...
- Yes, I think so.
...Cause the emotion, the song, the tune. I think it seems to do,
the social, economic climate. I think when it comes down to it, real
relationships become more important.
Visa ve, the difficulties of the outside world. In other words,
everybodies got all the cards on the table.
- Yes, I would agree with you. And I think also what that seems to be
doing is making people grab more as well. So there you're getting people being
more emotionally open. I think you're also getting people that are really,
they're just grabbing [Laughs] They're really getting into looking
people up in a bigger way I suppose. I think you've got your two things...
So where's the tie-up as far as you're concerned?
- Where's the..?
The tie up. You know, you got to be more careful yourself?
- Yes, everyone has to be more careful, which perhaps in itself makes
people realize their few good friends more. I mean I think generally everyone
is being much more wary, and careful, and insular. And yet at the same time I
think there's a much bigger need in people to communicate and share. So that's
like a awful conflict between people and I think there's so many big
contradictions with the locals that we're living under, where nobody has any
money and no job and it doesn't really matter. But at the same time, the whole
of society is built on money, which you can only get from jobs. So it's
becoming a big catch-22 situation for so many people. Because I think a lot of
people are seeing now that it's not detrimental to not have a job, it's one of
the facts of this society.
Yes, one it seven out of the population, etc.
- Yes, and it's not something that should make you feel insecure or
inferior because it's just the way it is. But at the same time, they can't even
relax in that situation because they've got to have
money to survive. It just seems... And all
the silly things that are being created for leisure time are so expensive that
most people can't afford them, it's just so contradictory isn't it, really. Um,
I think it's terribly hard for people.
So, I mean, do you see there being any kind of solution?
- Um, I think perhaps...
In regards to the music and stuff, you know.
- But I think the great thing about music is that whenever people come
into hard times, music always flourishes. During the wars... I think music has
always had a big flourish. Because I think when people do get unhappy and lost,
music is one of the things they turn to. Because it brings them great comfort
and so I think in many ways there's a great potential for music to grow and
everything. It's much more the people and people connected to society that are
going to suffer. But I don't think there is a solution for them, other then a
very big shock to the system. Where either we change our monetary system
around, and forget about...
How do you mean?
- I mean, I don't know. One way, one suggestion is perhaps to go back
to the bartering situation, where you swap things that you have for other
things that you want, because you don't have money. So you just, you swap, you
barter, people grow things and make things so that you have something in
exchange for the things that you want. And I can't see any solution other than
something like that, because the whole way our system is built up, it's so, so
dependant on money, and yet there is not enough money for everyone. (1982,
Those earlier songs, `` breathing'' and the `` army dreamers'' had
what you might call a political conscious. Now that so many groups are doing
political musics like the ethiopia relief fund music and that sort of thing, is
your new album going to contain something similar?
- No. No I don't think actually there are any tracks that are
political as such. And I've never felt I've written from a political point of
view, it's always been an emotional point of view that just happens to perhaps
be a political situation. I mean war is an extremely emotional situation,
especially if you're going to be blown up. You know, I think with the whole
thing of nuclear war people are really terrified and increasingly so the more
we hear in the media all the time about it. And I think writers always do have
a conscious about the things that scare them. They want to write about them to
relieve themselves. (1985, March 15The New Music)
If you look at it from the point of view of somebody who is
unemployed or finding it hard to make ends meet, writing an album on that kind
of abstract theme could seem like an indulgent exercise. How would you respond
to that particular criticism?
- I would say, is it right to put this kind of limitation on art? I
think very visually, when I write things, and I particularly saw this piece as
a visual thing. Also, I think perhaps it would be more hypocritical of me to
write about a situation that concerns those kind of people. I don't think I
could understand it enough to make something worthwhile from it. It's very
difficult; I always remember the criticisms of someone like Elton John - How
can someone that rich sing about being poor when they don't understand it?
Margaret Thatcher, how can she understand it? When you're dealing with
contemporary situations, you have to be terribly careful not to insult rather
than do what you want to do, which is "Yeah! Come on,let'sdo
So tell me, how would you vote in an election, if there was one in
the next week or two?
- That's something I wouldn't want to say. I think it's a very
personal thing, voting. I also think it's a crazy situation we are in, where
there is not much choice. You look at the people who are up there, who we have
to choose between - Is that really a solution? I don't think it is at all, is
So what's your opinion of margaret thatcher, then?
- I don't feel I am a political thinker at all. I don't really
On the other hand, you must have opinions about her.
- About her. I don't know, I don't know what I think of
her, or any of them. I think it's incredible, really, don't you, the people we
have to choose between?
I think that there is a shocking limitation in what they aspire to.
- Also, there's the big fib that everyone has, that they
do aspire to these things - but it's just a promotional thing, to
get them to number one! And even if someone in that position
wanted to help, could they? Could they? Because they are so tied
in by the whole bureaucracy of the thing, it's like a big game that's much
deeper than it looks, really.
But margaret thatcher - she has basically attempted to dismantle
the social welfare system.
- That's horrific, that's really terrible, the hospitals... But I
don't know if there is anyone besides her at the moment who would really do it
better, would they? I don't know, I wish there was, it would be good. It would
be great to stop National Health going down the drain - It's disgusting to
think of people having to die because they don't have the facilities to care
for some people. But the unemployment thing is - I don't know. I don't like
what governments do, but I can't talk about individuals because I don't know
enough about them. I really don't. I'm ignorant. (1985, Hot Press)
" Breathing'' now seems more pertinent than ever. Has your view of
human nature become more philosophical and emotional over the past ten years,
even though the sensual world still exists?
[Audience goes ``woah!"]
- Well, I think that my emotional feelings... are as strong, if not
stronger sometimes, but I think there is a philosophical side that is growing
alongside that, and there are a lot of things about human beings that are
extremely unpleasant. And,perhaps my view is more that there are - not that
it's good and evil - but there are opposites that have to exist, almost as a
law of nature, and that for every positive action there will probably be a
negative action somewhere else, and... I take great hope in the fact that the
more young people I meet, they're so attentive and so aware of worldly issues.
They care about the environment. It's uh, I think it's very heartening.
Although the world is very sick, I think young people have a very healthy
attitude. And, that's who's going to save the world, isn't it? Is young people?
[Applause] (1990 Kate
Do you follow world affairs, with what's going on?
- I don't follow it very--I can't think of the word! What's the word?
Ooooooh! Ohhh! [Doesn't transcribe well, does it? It sounds more like a
strained ``uhhhhhh!'' to me!]
- Avidly is quite good. Yeah, I don't really have that much time. I
watch the television; I catch the news. That's really all I get - I don't read
newspapers - watch current affair programs. (1985, Picture disk)
- I don't think I'm politically minded at all. Politics are something
that - they're just not a part of me. I don't understand politics, I don't like
what I see in politics. I don't see politics doing any good for people, really.
It seems a very intellectual preoccupation, you know, it's a kind of action,
isn't it, that does things for people. I think I'm an emotionally based person,
and when political issues reach me emotionally, which of course is how most of
us feel the hard end of them, that would then probably move me to write a song
or something. But I wouldn't ever sit and write about politics - it's not a
part of me. (1989, VH-1)
Having listened to the tracks quite a few times now, it's clear
that there are no strong political messages in the music.
- Well, I think you can cover political issues with the emotion, and
for me, that's what I deal with, really. How things effect people. It's the
emotional angle that I tend to take, rather than a political one. `` Army
Dreamers'' is really sort of about a mother losing her son. You write something
because you've been moved by it. (1989, Greater London)
Cloudbusting / Subjects / Politics