Viewing posts by Christine Kelley

Blow Away (For Bill)

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Blow Away (demo)
Blow Away

After the Tour of Life wrapped, Bush stayed out of the studio for a few months, giving herself room to breathe in between albums. By August, she’d gone to Abbey Road with engineer Jon Kelly to mix the EP On Stage, a collection of four live recordings from her tour and the only EP she’s ever produced herself (other Bush Eps have been promotional efforts by EMI). Shortly afterwards, Bush and Kelly moved to London AIR Studios to record Never for Ever. The initial 3-and-a-half-month-long sessions that followed heralded the masters of “Violin,” “Egypt,” “The Wedding List,” and “Blow Away.” Given that “Violin” dates from around 1976 and Bush wrote “Egypt” for her tour, “Blow Away” ...


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Egypt live at Manchester
Xmas special

While Kate Bush was staging her only tour, the 1980s were being born. The Labour government of James Callaghan collapsed, and Margaret Thatcher’s Conservatives came to power, a major step towards the austerity policies and neoliberalism that’s defined the last forty years.  The Camp David Accords were orchestrated by American President Jimmy Carter, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, and Israeli Prime Minister Menachim Begin, and the Egypt-Israel Peace treaty, effectively terminating the Israeli occupation of Sinai while also seeing to it Egypt began supplying Israel with oil. Soon afterwards, Carter lost a presidential election to Ronald Reagan, the American half of neoliberalism’s early regime. CNN was established, arcade video games were becoming a viable commercial presence, and John Lennon was killed in New York. To be an artist is to be a cultural marker for a moment in history. To be one in 1980 was to ...

The Tour of Life

Tour of Life
Hammersmith Odeon
Manchester Apollo
Let It Be
I Don’t Remember
Nationwide documentary

The touring career of Kate Bush consists of 29 shows across 6 countries in roughly 6 weeks, with performances of 2 existing albums and a burgeoning third. Bush’s singular tour defines her career as much as “Wuthering Heights,” Hounds of Love, and her 12-year moratorium on new albums between The Red Shoes and Aerial. The difference between that music, that gap, and the tour, however, is accessibility. You can listen to Bush’s music pretty much whenever provided you have the physical media, or a steady Internet connection. The Tour of Life is Bush’s only tour — if you wanted to see her do a full concert outside of the UK, you could only have done so in April or May 1979. Sparseness is a key ingredient of Bush’s career, one that perhaps makes her especially suitable for a project like this blog. She builds her work piece by piece, letting it be an accumulation of important steps.

Planning for Bush’s tour (known then and during its existence just as the Kate Bush Tour) began at the end of December 1978 with a brainstorming session ...



A good landmark of an artist’s prestige is when they start doing music for films. A new star will show up on the scene and filmmakers will take advantage of their star power to grab a young, hip audience for their movies. There was a period a few years ago where young bands like Florence + the Machine and Paramore gained traction by recording songs for the Twilight Saga. Of course the inverse is also true, as long-established stars are also likely to help a film earn more press. The UK’s bestselling single of 1979, Art Garfunkel’s “Bright Eyes,” is inextricable from its haunting appearance in Watership Down. Just as a song can mark a film, a film can mark a song.

Of course, this is in no way an assurance of a song or movie’s quality. A song and a movie can both be deservedly forgotten. Such is the case with “Magician,” which, while a footnote in Kate Bush’s wider career, still marks the beginning of a trend for her.

“The Magician,” or “Magician” as it’s usually called, was written by lyricist Paul Webster and composer Maurice Jarre for the virtually unseen film The Magician of ...


Wow (album version)
Video 1 (Keith Macmillan)
Video 2 (The Whole Story)
San Remo
French TV
Tour of Life

It begins with the sound of an orchestra warming up, strings humming in anticipation of an incoming trobairitz. Then, a four-note synth loop, which is played for nearly the entire first minute of the song, when it gives way to the song’s rhythm section. Twenty-nine seconds in, the wail of a processed guitar ushers in the vocal of Kate Bush, who delivers the opening line. “We’re all alone on the stage tonight,” she sings with equal trepidation and excitement. “We’ve been told we’re not afraid of you.” With that, the audience is hoisted onto the stage, and “Wow” commences.

The similarities between “Wow” and “Wuthering Heights” are largely structural. Both songs have arpeggiated hooks (“Wow” opens with the notes of a C major chord), followed by tense, melodically wrought verses, before breaking into the song’s triumphant chorus. “Wow” is shorter, its album version capping off at four minutes, compared to the four-and-a-half minutes of “Wuthering Heights,” with its intro which is built into the verse, keeping the song moving after its chorus. The chorus and ...

Coffee Homeground

Coffee Homeground
Tour of Life

“Coffee Homeground” comes at the tail end of Lionheart, when the album’s slower and quieter tracks have all trailed off. As the album’s penultimate track, it provides Lionheart with a relatively bombastic and staunchly theatrical climax. For all that Lionheart explores stagefright and theatrics in depth, it’s a much quieter album than that description might suggest. There are few especially up-tempo songs on it, and Bush’s piano guides her backing musicians through her songs. “Coffee Homeground” almost sounds out of place on the same album which has “Oh England My Lionheart” and “In the Warm Room,” with Bush’s camp attempt at a German accent and Kurt Weillian orchestral scoring. It’s by the grace of Lionheart’s strong thread of camp that “Coffee Homeground” is allowed to work, exploding into full blown theatrics at the end of an album which previously treated them as something more to be discussed than outright embraced.

As we’ve discussed at length in this blog, Kate Bush is a consistent purveyor of camp. Her mime training, her focus on character in her songwriting, and a constant awareness of form are camp attributes of her songs thus far. When we get ...

Pass by Catastrophe

No Dreams of Orgonon post this week. I've been preoccupied with finals and a move. Here's a short story I wrote for a class and revised for Eruditorum Press. 

Iran annexes Ukraine | Entire US Cabinet Found Dead of Lead Poisoning | Immanuel Kant Cloned | Rabbit Kills 70

Wednesday, 6th of May, 20 _ _

The Pedagogic Courier

Reni Abbasi

As Metzger University resumes operation in the aftermath of its nuclear explosion, the university’s administration is working hard to earn back its students’ trust. The families of the deceased have been offered compensation fees of $20,000 per casualty, plus a partial tuition refund for both deceased and living students. Metzger has asserted student loans are not forgiven under any circumstances). All students have received automatic 4.0 GPAs, and adjunct professors have received a 6% raise in their salary. The university has embroiled itself in a bout of some controversy over the 56% salary increase its administration has given itself. “With an unprecedented catastrophe like this, we felt Metzger University owed its students some financial support,” says University President Charles McDonnell. “And with their recent ...

Symphony in Blue

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Symphony in Blue
Xmas special
Tour of Life

The premiere track of Lionheart is a synecdoche of the entire album. “Symphony in Blue” is introspective, troubled, and, most importantly, aestheticist. Throughout these essays, we’ve hit on how despite the constraints of its production, Lionheart manages to says some intriguing things about stagefright, aesthetic and music as both a mode of survival and an abstract horror in its own right. Lionheart’s answers are more complex than the ones The Kick Inside offered, and adjusts the trajectory of future Bush albums.

“Symphony in Blue” is almost essayistic in its structure: it has two verses, two choruses, and a brief outro. Additionally, each verse is separated into two halves, each with a distinct focus. Each verse starts with a section about a color, and ends with a thesis on a sensation or emotion. The songs forms a series of propositions on the relationship between interior experience and aesthetic expression.

There’s been a strong visual component to Bush’s work in general work — she’s almost as famous for her music videos as she is for her songs. It’s impossible to imagine “Wuthering ...

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