[Here is the article and story that Kate contributed to issue number 4 (Christmas 1979).]
The idea for Heavy People came when I was just sitting one day in my parents' house. I heard the phrase "Rolling the ball" in my head, and I thought that it would be a good way to start a song, so I ran in to the piano and played it and got the chords down. I then worked on it from there.
It has lots of different people and ideas and things like that in it, and they came to me amazingly easily--it was a bit like Oh England, because in a way so much of it was what was happening at home at the time. My brother and my father were very much involved in talking about Gurdjieff and whirling Dervishes, and I was really getting into it, too. It was just like plucking out a bit of that and putting it into something that rhymed. And it happened so easily--in a way, too easily. I say that because normally it's difficult to get it all to happen at once, but sometimes it does, and that can seem sort of wrong. Usually you have to work hard for things to happen, but it seems that the better you get at them the more likely you are to do something that is good without any effort. [In fact, however, Kate says even now that her music still comes very slowly, generally speaking.] And because of that it's always a surprise when something comes easily.
I thought it was important not to be narrow-minded just because we talked about Gurdjieff. I knew that I didn't mean his system was the only way, and that was why it was important to include whirling Dervishes and Jesus, because they are strong, too. Anyway, in the long run, although somebody might be into all of them, it's really you that does it--they're just the vehicle to get you there.
I always felt that Heavy People should be a single, but I just had a feeling that it shouldn't be a second single, although a lot of people wanted that. Maybe that's why I had the feeling--because it was to happen a little later, and in fact I never really liked the album version much because it should be quite loose, you know: it's a very human song. And I think, in fact, every time I do it, it gets even looser. I've danced and sung that song so many times now, but it's still like a hymn to me when I sing it. I do sometimes get bored with the actual words I'm singing, but the meaning I put into them is still a comfort. It's like a prayer, and it reminds me of direction. And it can't help but help me when I'm singing those words. Subconsciously they must go in.
Where did you get the happy/sad face earrings in the club photo?
"I've had a lot of enquiries about those, and a lot of people would like to ge a pair. I'm afraid I can't help anyone to find a pair, as I was given them by a fan."
Do you henna your hair?
"Yes. I use henna wax. Otherwise I don't do anything special. I sometimes plait it and let it dry to make it curl, and for the Christmas TV show I used crimping irons, which was amazing." In James and the Cold Gun did you refer to anyone in particular?
"I've had lots of letters about this, many from people called James, with plenty of suggestions for identities of the "James", but the answer is: nobody. When I wrote the song, James was the right name for it."
In Coffee Homeground, you mention Crippen. Who is he?
"He was a murderer who was arrested after he had escaped from Britain by ship, thanks to the use of ship-to-shore radio. It was the first time that radio was used in this way, so he has a small place in history for that reason."
Is it true that you live in a flat with your brothers?
"I get lots of questions about where I live, usually prompted by inaccurate information in papers. You really can't believe everything you read. We all three live in the same house, but we each have separate flats, which are connected by intercom for ease of communication. [Kate has since re-moved to a house of her own, outside the city. I believe that John has also moved out, but that the apartment building is still owned by the Bush family.] To find the house you take the second turning on the right and keep straight on till morning."
Why did you call your cats Zoodle and Pyewacket?
"Paddy says that Zoodle is a German word for snoot, and I got the name from him. I don't know where the name Pyewacket came from--it just seemed a good idea at the time, as they say. We actually call her Pye." [Kate may or may not be speaking candidly here, but for the record "Pyewacket" is the name of a very popular fictional cat, the "familiar" of Kim Novak's witch-character in the 1958 film Bell, Book and Candle, from the play by van Druten. Based on the wonderful atmosphere and subject of this movie, and the really important role of the cat in the story, it seems very likely that Kate got the name from this film, or from the play on which it is based.]
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©1990 Andy Marvick