Comic Relief (’86)

My Patreon is doing tremendously well, having gotten over the $200 threshold thanks to my amazing backers. This is a huge deal for me. It means being able to survive off work that doesn’t interfere with my disabilities and allows me to focus on my writing. I can’t thank y’all enough. Yet nothing is quite nailed down – $300 is the point where I’ll be able to comfortably live off Patreon income until my seasonal job resumes, and the page has stalled at $206. So here’s some fun: at $225, I’ll cut a podcast with Daniel Harper (yes! the guy from “I Don’t Speak German!”), and at $250, Jack (the other IDSG guy!) will cut a podcast on “Alien” and “The Shining.” You don’t want to miss out on that now, do you? Of course not. Feel free to back, or at least share my work. Every bit helps. Thanks so much.


“Outside gets inside, through her skin
I’ve been out before, but this time it’s much safer in.”

A refugee of fire and radiation self-sequesters in the only shelter it knows. It’s safe in here, it lies to itself, seeking the consolation of its comforting abode. Mother, where are the angels? I’m scared of the changes. Mother is silent, smothered by the asphyxiating light in the night sky. The being responds accordingly, attempting to preserve itself the only way it can: breathing, inhaling every last respirable substance in its vicinity. There are two possible trajectories: out and in, a cyclical dichotomy of breath its hope for life relies upon. Yet its perambulation towards personhood is mutable and futile. If the being is inducted into humanity, its christening into personhood will be a hydrodynamic baptism by fire. It is the first and the last, the honored and the scorned — its story begins where it ends. This is how Kate Bush imparts the awful truth: the world will end, now, and we will hear every syllable of its last, desperate cries for clemency.

What energy did Kate Bush put into her best song? “Breathing” was her “little symphony,” as Bush diminutively but proudly deemed it. Wrought over three tormented days at the tail end of Never for Ever’s Abbey Road sessions, “Breathing” had a rigorous parturiency. On some days, Bush worked for 20 hours, sometimes stopping to rest (often failing) or get high (keyboardist Max Middleton notes this seemed to relax Bush, rather than helping with any creative breakthroughs). More energy was spent on the sessions than Bush’s, however — far from accepting her band playing instruments like craftsmen, Bush was a spiritual taskmaster, making her session musicians play the song again and again until they “felt it.” Eventually it became a ritual, almost a spiritual transformation, which shaped “Breathing” accordingly. Even poor Brian Bath, who claims that Bush drove him to record his guitar part “about 200 times,” admits that “the song had changed, there was this extra thing happening in it.” Max Middleton insisted on amending his Fender Rhode part for each take, trying to make every performance more unnerving than the last.…

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