[Here are Kate's writings from the Kate Bush Club Newsletter, issue Number 1 (January 1979). Following the article is a brief "interview" with Kate, in which she responds to fans' written questions.]
"Well, I wrote [Wuthering Heights] in my flat, sitting at the upright piano one night in March at about midnight. There was a full moon and the curtains were open, and every time I looked up for ideas, I looked at the moon. Actually, it came quite easily. I couldn't seem to get out of the chorus--it had a really circular feel to it, which is why it repeats. I had originally written something more complicated, but I couldn't link it up, so I kept the first bit and repeated it. I was really pleased, because it was the first song I had written for a while, as I'd been busy rehearing with the KT Band.
I felt a particular want to write it, and had wanted to write it for quite a while. I remember my brother John talking about the story, but I couldn't relate to it enough. So I borrowed the book and read a few pages, picking out a few lines. So I actually wrote the song before I had read the book right through. The name Cathy helped, and made it easier to project my own feelings of want for someone so much that you hate them. I could understand how Cathy felt.
It's funny, but I heard a radio programme about a woman who was writing a book in Old English, and she found she was using words she didn't know, but when she looked them up she found they were correct. A similar thing happened with Wuthering Heights: I put lines in the song that I found in the book when I read it later.
I've never been to Wuthering Heights, the place, though I would like to, and someone sent me a photo of where it's supposed to be.
One thing that really pleases me is the amount of positive feedback I've had from the song, though I've heard that the Bronte Society think it's a disgrace. A lot of people have read the book because of the song and liked it, which I think is the best thing about it for me. I didn't know the book would be on the GCE syllabus in the year I had the hit, but lots of people have written to say how the song helped them. I'm really happy about that.
There are a couple of synchronicities involved with the song. When Emily Bronte wrote the book she was in the terminal stages of consumption, and I had a bad cold when I wrote the song. Also, when I was in Canada I found out that Lindsay Kemp, my dance teacher, was in town, only ten minutes away by car, so I went to see him. When I came back I had this urge to switch on the TV--it was about one in the morning--because I knew the film of Wuthering Heights would be on. I tuned in to a thirties gangster film, then flicked through the channels, playing channel roulette, until I found it. I came in at the moment Cathy was dying, so that's all I saw of the film. It was an amazing coincidence.
[This is certainly a confusing account of Kate's process for the writing of Wuthering Heights. On other occasions she said that she had seen "a BBC film" called Wuthering Heights --apparently, then, the Timothy Dalton telefilm of about 1972-- before she read the book.
The trip to Canada was apparently undertaken after the initial success of Wuthering Heights, and may have coincided with the trip to New York for the appearance on Saturday Night Live, which took place in October of 1978. Perhaps Kate was referring in this article to the original 1930s production, which starred Lawrence Olivier and Merle Oberon.]
When were you born, and where?
"Lots of people want to know this, and there's been a lot of dispute about whether it is the same date as Emily Bronte, who wrote Wuthering Heights. I was born in a nursing home in Erith, Kent, while my parents were living where they are now, in Welling. The date was July 30th, 1958."
Is that you singing with the female vocalists at the end of Dave Gilmour's There's No Way Out of Here?
"I can see how this question came up, as I'm so indebted and grateful to Dave Gilmour for everything he's done for me, but the answer is no, it isn't me, though I'd love to work with him some day."
In Strange Phenomena, what do the words "om mani padme hum" mean?
"Club member Matthew Toreson has sent in an explanation, which he found in an encyclopedia. It is a form of adoration of the Buddha, and means, "Oh, the jewel in the lotus." Thanks, Matthew.
Is your single Wuthering Heights issued with a picture bag?
"Yes, it is."
Thanks, Kate. We're looking forward to another interview next issue.
"Great! Thanks, everybody, I'm looking forward to more questions, too."
KaTe's Newsletter Writings Table of Contents
©1990 Andy Marvick