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Christine Kelley

Christine Kelley writes about speculative fiction, popular music, radical politics, and revolutionary Christianity. She debuted on Eruditorum Press with her now semi-retired project Dreams of Orgonon, a song-by-song study of Kate Bush. Currently her main project is Nowhere and Back Again, a psychogeography of J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth. Expect queerness, radical compassion, wizardry, and the death of capitalism.Support Christine on Patreon.

15 Comments

  1. Titus_Brendronicus
    January 18, 2019 @ 10:32 am

    Fascinating read! I’ve studied Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights” a couple of times in respectively different circumstances, and it’s interesting the extent to which it seems to haunt Bush (and, indeed, how Bush responds to Bronte through this song). The red dress video tho is incredibly capital-R Romantic

    Reply

  2. Jack Graham
    January 18, 2019 @ 12:09 pm

    Wow, this is much better than the usual guy.

    Reply

    • Christine
      January 18, 2019 @ 5:21 pm

      The other guy’s problem is he doesn’t write much about Kate Bush.

      Reply

      • Matt Moore
        January 24, 2019 @ 5:26 am

        Hard agree.

        Reply

  3. Dave Dukes
    January 18, 2019 @ 2:31 pm

    Loved this, thought it was a great read. I’ve been meaning to listen to more of Kate Bush and this project may be what I need. I saw “Kate Bush at the BBC” over christmas and I loved it, such a charasmatic performer coupled with lyrical images no-one else can match. I found her genuinely enthralling.

    Reply

  4. (Not That) Jack
    January 18, 2019 @ 3:05 pm

    This takes me back. A long way.

    The second video for the song was how I encountered it in the opening weeks of MTV, where the main requirement for airplay was “existing.” This meant that Juice Newton went beside of Iron Maiden and beside of Kim Carnes and beside of roughly 20 videos by Rod Stewart, and, yes, this sublimely weird song about a book I knew my sister had read. I had no idea until a long time later that it was a massive hit in England, so it was just an oddity, a curiosity.

    (In keeping with the Doctor Who theme around these parts, I had moved the previous year, from an area that played Doctor Who on PBS to an area that didn’t play it, and I didn’t see Doctor Who on TV again until the summer of 1983. Doctor Who had been reduced to a book from the Science Fiction Book Club that was an omnibus of the novelizations of Genesis of the Daleks, Revenge of the Cybermen, and Terror of the Zygons. Were I to write about Doctor Who, most of it would be writing about the gaps in time where the show haunted me until 2005.)

    And, I have to admit it, I didn’t like the song. I was fourteen years old and was falling into the world of heavy metal, so Kate Bush was kind of surplus to requirements. But it clearly stood out to me, because it’s one of the few songs of the early MTV era from artists I didn’t like that I still remember to this day, where a lot of early MTV has drifted far from mind.

    Except for all those damn Rod Stewart videos. He must’ve made a LOT of them.

    Reply

  5. homunculette
    January 18, 2019 @ 6:32 pm

    congrats on the new venue!

    Reply

  6. Brian B.
    January 18, 2019 @ 10:36 pm

    Welcome aboard, Christine! That was a marvelous read; you’ll fit in here nicely. In general, except for her extraordinary ‘the Dreaming’/ ‘Hounds of Love’, Kate Bush’s music is more something I admire/ like-well-enough than love. It looks like you’ll be doing your best to fix that, and I hope you do.

    Reply

  7. Jarl
    January 19, 2019 @ 6:52 am

    God he looks like Rufus Sewell in that pic.

    Reply

  8. Sleepyscholar
    January 20, 2019 @ 2:18 am

    Very much enjoyed this essay. I’ve been through distinct phases in appreciation of Kate Bush (somewhat disturbed by the recent ‘Tory’ wobble in which I made the same glib assumption as so many), but after her pop mastery around the Hounds of Love, I found myself really loving the confident sensuality of The Sensual World and The Red Shoes (especially the title track of the former, and Lily, on the latter). These, of course, came straight after The Whole Story, so I’m curious what you make of her revised take on the vocals of Wuthering Heights?
    From a purely musical point of view, Kate’s mature vocals are easier on the ear and more sophisticated, but do you think they lose the intensity? My wife doesn’t like Kate Bush much (especially earlier songs), and complains that she sounds dangerously insane. I wonder if this sense of being on the edge is more prevalent in the earlier version?

    Reply

    • Christine
      January 20, 2019 @ 4:48 am

      The new vocal has its high points – I love Bush losing her shit towards the end. But generally I think it’s a pointless redux done mostly to satisfy Bush’s perfectionism.

      Reply

      • Sleepyscholar
        January 21, 2019 @ 10:21 am

        I agree with you. I put it in the ‘Keith Richards doing a version of Satisfaction with the saxophone his fuzz guitar was original a placeholder for’ category. An affectation by an artist a little too close to the work to recognise that ‘flaws’ can be an essential part of a work’s appeal.

        Reply

  9. Michael
    January 20, 2019 @ 7:56 pm

    I’ve never had much of an interest in Kate Bush, however, I found that I largely enjoyed your essay. Also, having just searched ‘Orgonon,’ I’m intrigued and look forward to your entry on that!

    Reply

  10. mx_mond
    January 22, 2019 @ 10:31 am

    Thanks for this. It’s a great essay about a song I don’t think I’ve heard before. I look forward to discovering other KB songs with your essays.

    Reply

  11. Przemek
    January 22, 2019 @ 1:57 pm

    This is one of perhaps three Kate Bush songs I actually know, but nevertheless I found the essay no less than wonderful. I especially enjoyed the focus on haunting, on ghosts that are able to move freely between fiction and reality. I am very much looking forward to reading more of your writing.

    Reply

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