Cloudbusting -- Kate
Bush In Her Own Words
If vegetarians are against the killing of animals for food, why
don't they object to them being killed for leather?
- I think there are a lot of vegetarians who are against animals being
killed to make leather, and they do go out of their way to wear rubber and
plastic shoes and belts, but I think that there is a practical side to it, as
well. Leather is very warm, and it's nice to look at, but it does require a lot
of effort for most of us to make a different choice from the normal, and I find
myself that I do wear quite a few leather shoes. Not that I consciously buy
them because they're made of leather, but I do have a few, and I think it's
something to do with the tradition of leather being used in clothing. But
there's no excuse for the mass production of leather, and I think it comes down
to effort and how far you really want to go. It's up to you in the long run.
You are a vegetarian and yet you wear fur coats. Why?
- I don't wear fur coats. I haven't got one. I don't own one and I
don't believe in wearing them - I may have occasionally been in photos with
one, but it wouldn't have been mine. It would have been one that I'd borrowed
because it was very cold; for instance in Switzerland, when I did the Abba
special. [In fact, as far as I know, that was the only time kate has ever
been seen in a fur. - ied] But I don't believe in people wearing fur coats,
I think it's very extravagant and again, I think people don't tend to associate
the clothes with the animals they come from, especially the rare animals that
some of the coats are made of. You can get incredibly good imitation ones now -
I've seen ones that I thought were real fur and they weren't. They're really
fantastic, and they cost less, too.
Do you follow vegetarian recipes from books, or do you make up your
- I do follow recipes from books, but I find that normally I don't
stick to them, especially if I haven't got all the ingredients, and I tend to
substitute different vegetables. If I'm feeling really brave, occasionally I
base a meal on a recipe and make the rest up. Cooking is quite a logical thing,
really, and you soon learn the things that go together - what works and what
You say in interviews that you don't eat meat because you don't
believe in eating life. But you eat plants, and they are living things. Why?
- I do eat plants, and I know they're living, and I'm fond of them,
but I think you have to find your own level. I could live on pills, but I don't
think it's very human to do that - that is something we dream of in the space
age: food without texture or mass. I don't think plants mind being eaten,
actually. I think they'd be really sad if no-one paid that much attention to
them. I appreciate them very much for the things they give me. I'd be very sad
if there weren't any vegetables, and normally it isn't the actual plant that's
killed - it's the fruit or vegetable that's taken off. I think this is the
purpose of plants, that they grow to be eaten. The only problem is that it has
become a very mass-produced market, again, and that the really natural,
unchemicalised environment doesn't really exist. Too many chemicals are used on
plants, but while there is a demand for brightly coloured food in pretty
packets, that's how it will carry on. But you can get fresh, organically grown
vegetables. You can grow them yourselves, and if you look around and ask,
you'll find that there are a few shops and some local farms that sell
vegetables that have not been grown in chemically fertilised ground. (1980,
- I just couldn't stand the idea of eating meat - and I really do
think that it has made me calmer. (1982, Company)
- People probably eat so much pre-packaged food because it's always so
easy to get in shops, and they don't connect it with live animals. If they
actually had to kill the animal themselves, they would probably have great
difficulty in doing it. People who live and work with animals can be aware of
what they are doing when they kill an animal. They realise that they're going
to be eating it, rather than it being sent off to be sold in supermarkets. On
some levels this seems to be all right, because it's on a one-to-one basis: you
feed and look after the animal for a certain length of time and then it repays
you by becoming your food. But it's the mass-production of living creatures
just to be eaten, and the fact that people aren't really aware of what they're
eating, that I don't like.
- These days it seems more and more probable that fish are likely to
contain pollution - which can't do you any good - as they have no choice but to
eat all the muck that's in the water. But hopefully people's general awareness
is getting much better, even down to buying a pint of milk: the fact that the
calves are actually killed so that the milk doesn't go to them but to us can't
really be right, and if you've seen a cow in a state of extreme distress
because it can't understand why its calf isn't by it, it can make you think a
- Working in London, I often have to go past meat markets, and when I
see all those people working in there with blood all over them, and dead
animals strung up from meat-hooks, just waiting to be devoured, it's like
something out of a horror film. When I realised that, I didn't want to eat meat
any more. I became more conscious about the things that I did eat. I think this
helped me to learn more about food, because I had to start thinking what the
nutritional value of something was, and I'm still learning about things I
didn't think I could eat, which is really good. Just the discipline of not
eating meat is a very good thing. It's like giving up anything you like - it
hurts at first, but then you feel much better for it. I don't know whether it
was just me, but when I first became a vegetarian I was really hungry a lot of
the time, but I'm not now, and I wonder if that's because my stomach has
adjusted. When you eat meat, you do ten to eat more than you need, and the body
has to work a lot to break it all down.
- It's interesting how the traveling that I've done reveals things
about people's diets. In many European countries it's very hard to get
something that hasn't got meat in it. There was one instance in Germany where I
asked for a bowl of tomato soup and, having been assured that it contained just
tomatoes, I tucked into it. But about halfway through the soup I could see all
these lumps floating around at the bottom, and of course they were all
meatballs. They just naturally do things like putting bacon and meatballs into
vegetable soup, without even thinking about it. So many shops are
meat-oriented: it's all sausages and pies, and the only other things you can
really get are just potatoes and salads, when there is such an enormous variety
of non-animal foods that can be eaten. Looking forward to a breakfast of toast
and marmalade, and then getting a couple of slabs of cold meat and white bread
pushed under your nose, isn't the way I like to start my day.
- Japan seemed to be more vegetable-oriented. They take great pride in
their vegetables, although they're greatly into fish, and this is causing them
and the dolphins a lot of problems. I found Australia very meat-oriented, too,
and this might have something to do with it being such a young country, and
it's true that meat does give you a lot of energy. I suppose there was a time
when a slab of bacon fat for breakfast might have been necessary for somebody
working in a heavy manual job. But I've found that if I keep an eye on the sort
of vegetarian food that I eat, I don't have any problems about dancing and
singing on it.
- It all comes down to looking more closely at the sort of food you
are just used to having and saying to yourself, Do I really need to eat this,
or is there something that will be better for me? The more people who get into
good vegetarian food, the easier it will be for us. If I go into a restaurant
with friends, and they settle down to a feast of meat and sauces and so on, I
usually end up with salad and chips - which is OK, but that's about as far as
most restaurants can go in the direction of vegetarian food. (1980, KBC 5)
sort of diet do you keep? Are you anything special?
- Ah, well I'm vegetarian. But I'm not very good about what I eat,
actually. I'm not that disciplined. I like chocolate and rubbish. But I
But why are you a vegetarian?
- Because I don't believe in eating life. I try to avoid eating life
as much as I can. I mean there are things that I eat that probably have fat in
them, and that. And, to a certain extent, I wear certain leather things. But I
just don't believe in us considering ourselves so superior that we just go
around killing everything and eating it.
Were you brought up this way?
- No, no. None of my family are really vegetarian. But it's just
something I feel strongly about.
You don't think it's just a phase.
[Laughs] aye! [Laughs and pauses.] (1979, personal call)
long have you been a vegetarian, all your life?
- No, I haven't. It's about five years now.
And what made you decide in the first place?
- Well, I think ever since I've been quite young I've always felt, not
bad, but a bit guilty about eating meat because the fact that animals are
killed and in a lot of cases in a very necessary way, you know, where it's a
big exploitation of animals. And one day I just had this feeling and tried to a
bit of meat and this feeling - it was so raw that I just identified immediately
with the fact that it was an animal. That this thing was alive and it had been
killed for me to eat it and I thought, ``no, I'm not into this.'' So I thought
I'd become a vegetarian. And I didn't have a clue, I had no idea what I could
eat all I knew was that people didn't eat meat or fish. And I used to eat a lot
of chocolate, so I lived for the next week off chocolate and tea.
Well that's not very good...
- Well, no. This is what I thought so eventually through meeting other
friends that were vegetarians and books and things I managed to get a diet
together. And it's fantastic, because when I ate meat I wouldn't touch
vegetables, I hated them. But since I've become vegetarian I'll eat really only
vegetables, you know. So it's really broadened my diet.
Now, in front of us here you've got some of your favorite
vegetarian dishes. Is this the sorta typical thing you'd serve if you have
friends coming 'round?
- Yes, it is really. My sister-in-law in fact cooked this. She's made
a selection of salads, but probably what I'd do is just put it all in one, just
make a big salad. But it is what I wold cook.
Let's have a look at this one first. This is vegetable, what sort
of vegetables are in here?
- Well, you've got carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes, onion, and peppers.
And they're just sorta cooked in their own juices.
- Yes, she did them just naturally. Home cooked them all. She even
cooked them in [Marlma ???] - that's like a good gravy substitute and
soy sauce is very good. All sorts of things.
That's going to be served with it?
- Brown rice.
And how do you cook the brown rice?
It's very easy, really, you just boil it in water and salt.
- It's really nutty and crunchy.
It's wonderful, it's so good for you. You know, it's the real
Now, this here, what's this mixture because this really does look
- Well, that's roasted sunflower seeds and sesame seeds and they're in
I see. So it's a little bit of soy sauce just to give them a
flavor, and roast them. And how do you eat them.
- Well you just kinda like just sprinkle them over salads, which is
But in fact it's quite nice by itself. It makes you feel a little
bit like a parrot. [Interviewer laughs] but they're really good.
And this here?
- That's yogurt with cucumber, and chives on top, and it's got garlic
And what would you serve that with?
- You'd serve it with a salad, just put it over the salad or on the
sides, sprinkle in. It's very good with honey.
This salad here, what's this from?
- It's called a waldorf salad...
They ran out of waldorfs!
- Yeah! But I put waldorfs in it!
[Laughs] but it looks like a [Harfast ???]
- And celery and walnut with mayonnaise. That's fantastic, actually.
Yes, that looks lovely. And I notice you've got the skins [???
- Well they're so much natural goodness in skins that you just throw
away and it's really silly, because there's half the goodness there.
And you also get so much more color.
- I think so, yeah.
Well that looks really interesting, that one next door. What's in
- Well there's oranges, been sprouts, brussle seeds, and water [???
And would you put a dressing on that?
- You could do, yeah. I personally don't plan to dress mine so much.
And you've just got the cool flavor.
- Well, I [??? Inaudible] that's a very fresh salad, that one,
it's very [??? Inaudible]
Lovely. And what's next store?
- Well, this is yogurt with honey.
And does that go with the fruit salad, or...?
- Yes, it does. You could use it separately, but it's obviously
designed [??? Just like a cream]
What have you got in your fruit salad?
- It's fresh fruit, which I think is the only way to make fruit salad.
I can't believe that people make them out of [??? Tunes], you know it's
- This [??? Can] is something that my sister-in-law made up.
You put concentrated apple juice in it.
Oh that's good.
- And it's fantastic, because it sets everything up and it's such a
And instead of using the dreaded sugar.
And you've got some nice hazel nuts in there that have been soaking
in the juice, which must give it a nice punchy texture.
- Yeah, I think it's very good to put nuts in fruit salads, before you
put them in cakes. They are things that I think people miss out because they
think nuts in chocolate - or, you know, there's a very selective area where you
can use nuts, and I think you can put them in anything.
I agree. And so you're quite happy with your vegetarian diet, so
you'll go on being a vegetarian.
- I really hope so, yeah.
And you're quite into cooking now, I think.
- Yeah, I love cooking. One thing
I find hard is getting the time. And also sometimes when I cook and I make like
phone-calls and that so by the time I've come back with the phone there's this
sizzled thing sitting in the oven.
[Laughs] that's what cookery books never allow for.
Anyway, thanks very much kate for sharing with us.
- Thank you, my pleasure. I hope people will think about it because I
really do think there's a lot in vegetables. (1980, Delia Smith's Cookery)
kate decide to become a vegetarian, and what were her reasons for becoming a
- I was sixteen and I think I've always loved animals and I've always
not loved the idea of eating things that have been killed for me to eat. And
just one day I happened to be eating some meat that really made me aware of
what I was eating, that it was an animal and that it was dead and cooked and
sitting on my plate. [Laughs]
So you turned around and not been tempted back?
- No I haven't actually.
So what do you eat, just vegetables...
I mean do you eat eggs...
- Yes, I do.
- No, I don't eat fish. But I eat dairy products, yeah. So I'm not a
Yeah, that's really heavy duty...
- Yes, that's very strict.
Cause in this business, and it's a business after all that you're
in when you're traveling and touring and you're busy, it's very difficult to
maintain a disciplined diet, cause you have to kinda eat when you can, what you
- It's really difficult, yeah, it really is. I think that's why most
people that become vegetarians in this business tend to go... they tend to
revert back to eating meat because it's so much easier, they can't find good
Maybe if there was vegetarian fast food available people might be
more tempted to turn to...
- Yeah! But then it would be not good for you, would it? It would be
rubbish. (1982, Unknown BBC interview)
She is kind to animals, refusing to eat or wear them, but gives in
to a fish dish occasionally.
- Once, that would have been impossible for me. But later I decided we
have not to be so hard on ourselves or other people in terms of eating habits
or anything else. It's like me and smoking. It's such an awful thing to do,
it's so obviously bad for us, but we gaily carry on. I've cut down a but I
can't kick the habit. (1989, You)
- I like to cook, vegetarian stuff mostly, although we do eat fish
sometime now, and I'm always trying to give up smoking but can't. (1989,
Cloudbusting / Subjects / Vegetarianism