[Here is the first of the many articles which Kate's brother Paddy has contributed to the Kate Bush Club Newsletter since its early days. It appeared in issue number 4 (Fall 1979). (N.B.: Kate's own complete published writings--including lyrics and articles--are found in Volume Two.) As usual, all remarks in parentheses are the original author's; all remarks in brackets () are the editor's.]
Hello. I'm sorry that I've not found time to write to you all before, as we have been very busy since the Tour ended. We've been to the studio to put down some basic tracks for the forthcoming album [Never For Ever]. We've been doing some experimenting with building a multi-track harmony between Kate and myself to create an effect like a choir, with Kate singing very high and me singing as low as I can. On some of the tracks we tried out quite a few unorthodox instruments with some interesting results, which I hope you will hear in the near future. The opportunity of playing with such incredible musicians is one of the things that never ceases to amaze me. Recently another musician has been added to the musical line-up of the stage band for recording purposes: Max Middleton, an exceptionally talented keyboard player. His style instantly set my imagination on fire trying to figure out how some guys can get so good.
The last few weeks, however, have been spent preparing for the BBC Birmingham special that we were asked to do [Kate, the "Christmas" TV special]. The BBC asked us for one forty-minute show that could be put out hopefully over the Christmas period. So, after much thinking and rapid rehearsals, we all caught the train to Birmingham and recorded the programme at Pebble Mill. The show has several new numbers, including Violin. For those of you who saw the stage show, you will already be familiar with the giant Violin costumes that we used in the song, and I think that this may be an opportune time to go into some of their history. The costumes were operated by myself and Andrew [Paddy's unidentified --perhaps Andrew Bryant, who later wrote an article for the Newsletter.] If you saw Coffee Homeground performed on stage, you will have seen Andrew dressed as a plumber falling out of the "torn wallpaper" in the scenery. Andrew and I have been colleagues since we were at college together, where I was studying musical construction; and it was there that we learnt of the work of a brilliant German professor of Musical Instrument Technology: Siegfried Fiddlegruber. It was from him that the secret of the Violin costumes originates.
In his handbook, Clinical Aspects of Violunacy, he sets down clear instructions on how certain problems can be overcome. Vision is the main problem, as well as lack of air. It can be pretty dark and hot inside a violin suit if you haven't read your handbook properly. Anyway, as I've received so many letters about this problem, and I just don't have the time to write to you all individually, I wrote to the good professor and he allowed us to reproduce a page from this epic masterpiece showing how the suit should be worn and how to ensure a good all-round fit. [A diagram drawn by the professor, unreproduceable here, appears opposite the original article.]
The operator places his feet under the toe-grips of the specially constructed double-bass neck-strectching mechanism and, taking the padlock, fastens the collar just underneath his chin. This is attached to the stretching mechanism. When the handle is turned, the drive gears are set in motion, causing the neck collar to be lifted slowly upwards. Any Violunacy- costume-operator standing with his feet gripped firmly and the collar thus fastened around his neck, is likely to have his head stretched up to twenty-four inches (61 cm) from his shoulders.
The assistant quickly helps the performer into his suit, his position now altered to fit the awkward shape of the violin neck--amazingly clever, don't you agree? It explains why Andrew and I are the only two people qualified in this country to operate these dangerous Violin suits, and I hope that when you see us both on TV you will appreciate the severe discomfort we are both going through in order to add a pinch of spice to the show. Anyway, Andrew assures me that it was all worthwhile, and when I next visit him in hospital I'll give him the special polo-neck sweater you all so kindly knitted for him.
I hope you've enjoyed this little explanation. There are many more where this one came from. Unfortunately, Clinical Aspects of Violunacy went out of print many years ago, but I am working on a translation which should keep me busy when I am not working with Kate. I hope this article will come in handy if anybody is thinking of going to a fancy-dress party over Christmas. Have a wonderful time over the holiday and above all, like us, be sure that at all times you stay both sensible and normal.
©1990 Andy Marvick