[Here is Kate's article for the thirteenth issue (summer 1983).]
It's been a long time since our last issue, and I must apologise for the long absence, but due to lack of activities, there has really been very little to tell you about.
Last year, after the album was finished, I decided to promote it as fully as possible. When you've spent nearly a year making an album, you can't let it go out into the world without helping it. In fact, the business has certainly changed in the last couple of years. Everyone has to work much harder, and with an absence of two years from the public eye, I had to show my face again, to prove I was still alive. I did lots and lots of press--I haven't done so much since the first album. It was refreshing to find that the majority of journalists actually really appreciated and understood the album, but I had to explain time and time again that the album hadn't taken two years to make! [I suppose that in 1989, when KBVI is finally released, she will have to explain time and time again that the album hadn't taken four years to make! ]
I also did some TVs in England and Europe, with two dancers: Gary, who you all know, and Dougie, a dancer I had met years ago when he was working in Lindsay Kemp's company.
We worked in Italy and Germany, and the response was wonderful. It was interesting that as we worked more and more on the routine, The Dreaming, it became tighter and tighter, and little bits were added here and there, until it was so much better than the video that I wished we had had made the video after the TVs.
It was a very interesting trip--we went to Rome, and as Lindsay Kemp was visiting at the time, we got a chance to see Lindsay, and we had a lovely evening. He cooked us a meal, and after we were so full that we could hardly move, he got out boxes of his old photos and we fingered each one with magical memories: shots of Flowers from The Collegiate Theatre, the first time I saw Lindsay perform. Lindsay dressed as Mr. Punch, leaping for joy. I remember the theatre being full of adults rather than children, and all of us shouting "Look behind you!" and "Oh, no, you don't!" Adults transported to childhood in a matter of moments--but that's the craft of Lindsay's magic.
Fond memories spread across the floor--the passionate and dramatic, Lindsay's shows in photo form. We carefully put them all back in their boxes, a farewell dance and a big kiss goodbye.
There is a fountain in Rome where you can make a wish and throw a coin--a very magical place [the Trevi Fountains]: marble horses, pulling themselves from marble waves, being driven by a marble Neptune. They say the wishes come true. I've yet to see. And there's a hotel in Rome where we stayed, and on the night we arrived, there was a diplomatic meeting on a higher floor. The hotel was full of young soldiers--boys with guns just in case of any trouble. It was a very sad sight.
I had to rehearse my number in my room, and not having a European plug, I took the old one off and began to stick the bare wires into the plug socket, which was hidden behind the table. All the lights went out in the room, so I ran into the hall--no lights. I was half expecting to see soldiers cocking their rifles, having traced the source of the light failure. I went into my room, and a few minutes later the lights came back on. Gary and Dougie came up later, and when I told them they started laughing--apparently the whole hotel had blacked out, and the soldiers in reception had been a little on edge, to say the least. So I won't do that again, and I recommend calling reception to see if they'll help you out if you ever find yourself with two bare wires in a foreign hotel!
We travelled to Milan, and then to a place near Venice, where they were holding the Venice Festival. We performed The Dreaming. The festival is held in a theatre with an audience of a few hundred, and goes out on TV at the same time, so it was a live event, but performed to pre-recorded backing tracks. The Italian audiences are absolutely wonderful, they adore anything to do with art and applaud quite spontaneously if they like something. Each time they liked a step in the routine there would be a ripple of applause, and it was quite hard to keep going without badly needing to smile because it was such a lovely feeling.
The video The Dreaming had been made in between press and radio and the trip abroad, and we were very lucky to be able to do all the shooting in one day. It was an extremely ambitious shoot, which included live birds, lasers, flying wires, people being buried completely under sand, not to mention a beautiful set which was built of polystyrene rocks, dead spikey trees and a cardboard moon and sun.
As the hours rolled on, we were sure we would have to leave at least one idea out, but with a crew who were just as eager as us to see the film complete and as it should be, we worked on into the night--past the rope made of laser light and the painted men who walked out of trees to a mouth moving in the sand (all we can see of a man deep under the sand; somehow it looks remarkably like Paddy, and it's the last shot in our video).
Within two months we had done Europe, P.A.s and two other videos. I have never made so many videos in such a short space of time, but there was too much to do, so no more time could be spent on them. A video of There Goes a Tenner was made to promote a single in this country, and a video of Suspended in Gaffa was made for the single release in the rest of the world.
As we all know, There Goes a Tenner bombed in this country, with no airplay and a handful of the worst (and funniest) reviews I've read. The video was not shown at all, but a compilation video called Kate Bush: The Single File is due out some time soon, so keep your eyes open for an official release date in the music papers. Perhaps then you could get a chance to see it, along with all the others. There Goes a Tenner was set in a derelict old room where there was a big safe. There are five of us in the gang, and you might just recognise two of the faces belonging to two of my favourite musicians in the band!
Although the single in this country did not do well, it is nice to know that in Europe, Suspended in Gaffa has been quite warmly received.
The video of Suspended in Gaffa was to be done as simply and quickly as possible; as always with very little time to complete it in, the simpler the better.
I saw it as being the return to simplicity, a light-hearted dance routine, no extras, no complicated special effects. [In fact, however, there are many very sophisticated and subtle technical effects in this video, and the production design is very impressive.] As we were all so pleased with the previous sets--put together under the supervision of a very clever man, Steve Hopkins--we asked him to build another, this time an old barn with large gaps in the walls where we could allow the light to streak through. We used a combination of natural and artificial light, and everyone was thrilled with the sense of realism that the set achieved. Steve brought in huge branches of trees that were behind the gaps in the set, and a dedicated helper called "Podge" sat up on a piece of scaffolding for six hours and enthusiastically shook a piece of tree to make the light move and dance as if motivated by a furtive wind. The video did remain uncomplicated--just a few effects and just one extra: but a very special. one. There is one section where a child's voice says, "Mother, where are the angels? I'm scared of the changes." And there was only one person that could be addressed to--my mother.
When I asked her to appear in the section, contrary to my concern about her nerves, she was more than obliging and said, "Yes." She was definitely the star of the day, and waited patiently hour after hour as we slowly moved through the bulk of the shooting to eventually reach her debut. I was amazed at her grace and stamina: as all of us began to wane and wilt, my mother continued to blossom and glow, and her only worries were getting back home in time to get dinner and hoping she would not succumb to an attack of giggles during the vital moments of being on screen.
She needn't have worried, for she is a natural professional, a real star and my favourite mum. (You can see us together in action on the back page.)
Besides all the promotional activities, because of the decision to release another single, a 'b-side' had to be written. It is always this way for me: even if things are carefully planned, things always happen at once--and in a big way. I've always loved the idea of singing in a foreign language, and I thought this b-side would be a perfect excuse for doing so.
Really the only language I know enough of to be able to work creatively with is French, so I thought of all the odd words I know, and tried to piece a story together. It's surprising how inspiring it can be to work from a slightly different tangent.
The tune came straight away, and I filled in all the lines that I had no proper words for with pseudo-French sounds. Luckily Patrick, who worked on Lionheart with us in Superbear [Studios, in France] was staying with Paddy to work on some tracks, so, between him and a friend Vivienne, we worked out the complete lyrics, and Ne T'enfuis pas was put to tape.
Just one more trip abroad, to Paris and Germany to promote Suspended in Gaffa, and that was nearly the end of the promo, and the year.
I had a wonderful Christmas, very quiet--a nice end to a very busy year. This year has been very positive so far. It doesn't have the same air of doom that '81 and '82 seemed to hold--I hope it's the same for all of you.
I'd like to take this opportunity to say a big thankyou with a hug and a kiss for all of you who sent the beautiful Christmas presents and cards. I'm afraid I can't thank you all personally, but they're very much appreciated. It's incredible that so many of you should think of me when there's always so many people to think of at Christmas. Also, thank you to all of you for the feedback on the album. I've had so many letters saying that you really like it. It's wonderful that you are all so open enough to try to understand it. It means a lot to me that it's got through to the people that matter.
It was also really good to see those of you that made it to the P.A.s again. Your feedback on the album was so positive--I really needed it then, it had only just been released and it certainly helped to ease my anxiety a little.
Already that seems such a long time ago--last year, all over. I was really hoping to put a show together this year, but it just seems impossible yet again. Will it ever happen, I wonder? Yes, but when? I don't know.
The problem is that if I don't make an album this year, there will be at least another two-year gap before another one, and the way that business and politics are, it would be a negative situation. [We can all be grateful now that Kate resisted the "business and politics" enough to take two full years, after writing this letter, to complete Hounds of Love. ] So here I am writing away, or trying to write--determined to get a new album together. If only time would slow down a little for me, I could do it all and go away on holiday!
I seem to have hit another quiet period. I intend just to keep on writing for this first part of the year, so yet again I slip away from the eyeball of the media to my home. [Actually, Kate was busy moving to a new home outside the city during this period.]
It's almost impossible for us to put an interesting newsletter together while all my energies are channelled into the creative side of making an album, and so, if you can bear with us for a while, we will only be issuing a magazine when we have enough information and pictures to fill it, and will probably not be able to bring a quarterly issue this year, but hope that our part-colour issues will make up for this.
Thank you for being so patient.
Thanks for all the feedback.
Thanks for caring.
Lots of love,
KaTe's Newsletter Writings Table of Contents
©1990 Andy Marvick