The Complete
published writings
of Kate Bush

Kate's KBC article
Issue 3 (November 1979)
& Interview

"Hammer Horror"

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[Here are Kate's contributions to the third issue, called the "tour issue" (November 1979).]

I hope it doesn't seem too strange having a special issue about the tour four months after it's finished. I think it's nice to have a chance to remember it all, especially as it's been uppermost in my mind recently, as I've been doing the mixing for the EP, which is out now. I've been in the studios a lot recently, recording new songs for the next album, and that has meant working with a lot of the band again, and I was really happy to work with Gary and Stewart [Gary Hurst and Stewart Avon-Arnold, two dancers who have worked with Kate as dancing partners over the years] again when we did the video for Top of the Pops [the video for the live EP version of Them Heavy People. ] I hope to be able to tell you about the songs I've been writing and recording soon. Take care.



Hammer Horror

The song is not about, as many think, Hammer Horror films. It is about an actor and his friend. His friend is playing the lead in a production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, a part he's been reading all his life, waiting for the chance to play it. He's finally got the big break he's always wanted, and he is the star. After many rehearsals he dies accidentally, and the friend is asked to take the role over, which, because his own career is at stake, he does. The dead man comes back to haunt him because he doesn't want him to have the part, believing he's taken away the only chance he ever wanted in life. And the actor is saying, "Leave me alone, because it wasn't my fault--I have to take this part, but I'm wondering if it's the right thing to do because the ghost is not going to leave me alone and is really freaking me out. Every time I look round a corner he's there, he never disappears."

The song was inspired by seeing James Cagney playing the part of Lon Chaney playing the hunchback--he was an actor in an actor in an actor, rather like Chinese boxes, and that's what I was trying to create.

Making the video of Hammer Horror was the first time I had worked with a dancer. I wanted to do something different with it, using a dancer, and I was sitting in a hotel room in Australia when it suddenly came to me--the whole routine happened before my eyes--and the next morning at 9 a.m. the dancer turned up to start work. We'd never met before, and in ten minutes we were having to throw each other around. He was so inspiring that we did the video that same afternoon. I did it again in New Zealand, when we arrived late, so I went straight into the routine with a dancer I'd never met before who had learnt it from the video. It was the strangest experience--I got to the chorus and suddenly this total stranger appeared behind me doing the routine perfectly. I just couldn't stop laughing, and we had to do about three takes.

In the show I wanted to use the same routine, but I couldn't possibly sing it and dance at the same time, and I thought it was important not to mime it, as I wanted it to be a dance number, totally dedicated to dance, so I could let rip more. It was important that everyone should know that it wasn't a cheat, so I decided to dance to a backing track, and it was the only number in the show that wasn't live.


Who is John Carder Bush? Where were the photographs on the "Moving" and "Lakeside" posters taken?

"John is my brother, the eldest in the family. I have one other brother, Paddy, and no sisters. John took the photographs used on the posters, and they were taken in Holland."

Why did you leave the echoing "He's here!"--on the single of The Man With the Child in His Eyes-- off the album version? And was the mix of Wow on Lionheart different from that of the single?

"It was the other way round with The Man With the Child in His Eyes: I added "He's here!" to the single. Otherwise, the mix of all the singles has been the same as on the albums."

What is the noise at the beginning and end of Moving?

"The noise is whale song. Lots of members have written to ask what I think about whale hunting. Well, I'm dead against it. It would be a terrible tragedy if those beautiful and noble animals were wiped out by our greed."

In Them Heavy People you mention Gurdjieff. Do you follow his teachings?

"I've read some of his work, and recently saw the film Meetings With Remarkable Men, and had tea with Peter Brook, the director, afterwards. Pa and my brother John are into him seriously, and I'm hoping to persuade John to write an article about him for a future Newsletter." [John has so far not done so.]

Is it true that you're going to make a film called The Gold Plated Dream Machine with the motorcycle stunt rider Eddie Kidd?

"No, it isn't, and I've never even heard of it. You mustn't believe everything (or anything?) you read in the papers. Quite a lot of articles irritate me because of their inaccuracy. It would be so easy for a journalist to send me the copy of what they've written so I could check up on the facts--not of their opinion, which is their own business--but on the facts; and so far, not one has done so. Nearly every interview is distorted in some way. That's one of the reasons for starting this club, so that I can give you the genuine facts that you want to know."

Is it true that Saxophone Song was written about David Bowie, and do you know him personally?

"The song isn't about David Bowie. I wrote it about the instrument, not the player, at a time when I really loved the sound of the saxophone--I still do. No, I don't know him personally, though I went to his "farewell to Ziggy Stardust" concert and cried, and so did he."

Why, Oh why didn't you turn up at the Cricket match at Paddington on September 16th, as advertised, when so many of us came just to see you?

"I'm really upset about this. I really wanted to go. It would have been such fun. But it shouldn't have been advertised, and it was very naughty of whoever did it, because it was never confirmed. Again, you mustn't believe all you hear through the media. That was the day I was making the video for Them Heavy People, from the On Stage EP, for Top of the Pops. I'm really sorry for those who had a wasted journey."

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