Viewing posts by Christine Kelley

Of Human Bondage Episode 4: Harry Potter and the Thunder of Balls (Thunderball)

The Bondage crew (we're working on a name) returns to tackle the first truly forgettable James Bond movie, 1965's Thunderball, director Terence Young's last outing with the character, and Sean Connery's penultimate Bond film before his first retirement from the role. We do our best with the material, and we come out pretty well. 

Not un... dundundundundun... like THUUUUNDEEEEEERBAAAAAAALL!

There Goes a Tenner

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Music video

Like the cinematic heists it pastiches, “There Goes a Tenner” is both defiant and preemptively defeated. Bush’s least successful single ever, it died on the charts, slouching at a staggering #93 in the UK, was largely ignored by radio stations and TV programs, and faded into the ether with a paucity of fanfare. Following the resounding 15-month gap between the releases of “Sat In Your Lap'' and The Dreaming and the title track’s subpar chart performance, the lack of public response to Bush’s twee ballad of panto Cockney robbers is perhaps a predictable outcome. In the weeks preceding and following the release of “There Goes a Tenner,” the UK Top 10 encompassed a cadre of new wave and R&B hits from Culture Club, Tears for Fears, Marvin Gaye (with “Sexual Healing,” which we’ll talk about someday), and Kool & the Gang, an overtly goofy caper homage single seemed at best like a hard sell and total commercial folly at worst. 

Even on The Dreaming, “There Goes a Tenner” feels rudimentary and extrinsic. It’s a piano/bass/drum-based track like the majority of Bush’s earlier material, which lends it a vintage ...

All the Love

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A mostly unloved dirge on The Dreaming’s tails-side, “All the Love” exists as a buffer between the uxorial laments of “Night of the Swallow” and “Houdini.” Little distinguishes it from its fellow LP tracks — its lyrics scan like an embryonic “Houdini” or “Suspended in Gaffa,” presaging future such Bush songs as “Hello Earth” or “Never Be Mine.” Admittedly the song’s points of intrigue are mostly limited to what comes after it, with “All the Love” mostly existing to get The Dreaming to ten songs. 

Sonically, “All the Love” sounds like a callback to Never for Ever, to the point one wonders if the song is a holdover. The song’s centering of melody over rhythm is an aberration on the rhythm-preoccupied Dreaming, with Stuart Elliott’s drums quietly accentuating things rather than taking a “lead instrument” role. The relatively high position of Del Palmer’s bass playing in the mix also feels superannuated and reminiscent of “Blow Away (For Bill)” or “Egypt,” some of the oldest songs in Bush’s studio career. “All the Love” has some flourishes characteristic of the mid-80s — the sampling of phone conversations is the sort of thing ...

Of Human Bondage Ep. 003: One Chin Shared Among Four Million (Goldfinger)

The third episode of Of Human Bondage, the podcast where Kit Power, Sam Maleski, myself, and occasional guests talk about the Eon Productions James Bond 007 films, is now publicly available. This week we're talking about 1964's alleged classic Goldfinger, and, spoilers, we all detest it on artistic, moral, and political grounds. We discuss the politics of luxury, classism, the heightened cinematic language of director Guy Hamilton, race and Oddjob, and that scene. 

Massive trigger warning for this one. From the beginning we clearly delineate the time stamps for the relevant segment of the episode, but we there is a long digression about the rape scene that occurs near the end of Goldfinger. It gets pretty raw, as we're talking about a scene endorsing the sexual assault of a queer woman. There's a part of the conversation where I discuss my experiences with sexual trauma, so if you want to avoid triggering autobiographical material, you may want to skip that part of the episode.

We're very proud of this podcast though, and the triggering segment is clearly marked for anyone who wants to skip it. After we recorded this one we all agreed we ...



Patreon pledges have declined precipitously, sometimes descending below $300, which is my baseline for comfortably living off the blog. Furthermore, my day job as a college tutor is getting an hours cut, meaning my outside income is jeopardized. These are stressful circumstances that can make concentrating on work difficult. As a disabled 21-year-old working class trans woman who has complex PTSD, ADHD, major clinical depression, and chronic anxiety, this gig is mostly what puts food on my table. It’s survivable for now, but if you could help me get to $350, I’d be immensely grateful.

The Dreaming’s sessions with Nick Launay exemplify the album’s episodic production. The songs originally engineered by Hugh Padgham explore relationships between headspace and environment and how unreleasing trauma and mental illness can be cathartic. Bush and Launay’s songs are teeming with trauma and catharsis. Frequently they anatomize historical subjects, particularly subaltern or marginalized narratives. An overarching focal point tends to be enunciating the unspoken. Perhaps this was Bush’s way of asserting agency over a largely masculine music industry that had thus far limited her and kept her from true leadership positions in the creation of her albums. “[It was] very dark and ...

Lord of the Reedy River

(Donovan, Goodbye Again)
(Donovan, If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium)
(Donovan, HMS Donovan)
(Hopkin, Postcard)
(Bush, “Sat In Your Lap” B-side)

CW: brief discussion of rape.

Cycling several incarnations before appearing on record, Scottish singer Donovan Leitch’s “Lord of the Reedy River” is a minor classic of his career. Getting performances on a 1968 TV programme and a 1969 celebrities’ demo reel romcom before appearing on Donovan’s 1971 double LP HMS Donovan. Serene, erotic, creepy, and sensuous all at once, Donovan somehow manages to make the Greek myth of Leda and the swan, a fable in which Zeus seduces or rapes (depending on the telling; Ovid, surprisingly, removes the rape, while Yeats writes about it as one) the Aetolian princess Leda. Donovan’s telling is a strictly romantic and erotic one, rejecting the sexual violence of the tale in favor of a sensuous, mythical love affair (“she fell in love with a swan” has no business sounding as beautiful as it does, but that’s Donovan). It’s a stunning piece of work that fixates on the uncanny and eerie aspects of the tale (“he filled her with song,” “she in my boat long hours/he in his royal plumage”). The ...

Of Human Bondage Ep 2: Istanbul Not Constantinople (From Russia With Love) feat. Chris O'Leary

Hello all!

Apologies for taking so long to update this show. We've been having some technical difficulties and life difficulties largely caused by lockdown. Such is life (and death I suppose). Dead men record no podcasts with the exception of Chris Cantwell.

Anyway, Of Human Bondage, the podcast where Kit Power, Sam Maleski, and myself watch and analyze the Eon series of James Bond 007 films, has returned. This month we're discussing From Russia With Love, the first true classic Bond movie, for all the polysemic pregnancy of that phrase. And for the first time, we're joined by a guest, the brilliant Chris O'Leary, author of the (ostensibly) now completed and sublime David Bowie blog Pushing Ahead of the Dame, its two-part book adaptation Rebel Rebel and Ashes to Ashes, and currently, the delightfully sprawling blog 64 Quartets, which is exactly what you think it is. He's a great addition to our little entourage, and we expect we'll speak to him again down the line (about a much worse movie, per Chris' request). 

It's a great time. Sam, Kit, and I always walk away from recording sessions feeling elated after laughing and commiserating ...

Suspended in Gaffa

Suspended in Gaffa
2018 Remaster
Houba Houba (France, ‘82)
Bananas (West Germany, ’82)
Music video

Hey, all. Sorry to shill for myself once again, but the Patreon has been slipping a little. $300 is the bare minimum where I can comfortably live This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is gaffa.jpgoff my blogging, and the Patreon has dipped below that slightly. Any help is appreciated.

After a few weeks working with Bush in Townhouse Studios, a mollified Hugh Padgham was called to musical duties elsewhere. Bush commissioned the younger Nick Launay, who was coming off production duties on Public Image Ltd.’s drums-and-reverb LP Flowers of Romance, to replace Padgham. The close ages of the two collaborators (Bush was 22, Launay was 20) assisted their rush into youthful creative maximalism. “[It] really was like the kids are in control,” effused Launay. “I came from the punk rock thing, and to me she was punk rock.” Bush and Launay’s work together produced an attitude of kitchen sink realism, if you define kitchen sink realism as “we’ll throw the kitchen sink off a cliff and it’ll sound real neat!”

Bush’s newfound role as producer is at the heart of The Dreaming. For all intents and purposes ...

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