I first heard “Wuthering Heights” at 15, on the radio in my mother’s car. I thought it was the strangest thing I’d ever heard, and my mother singing its praises made determined to hate it (I was going through my “phase” where anything that didn’t have guitars or screaming didn’t really appeal).
Nevertheless, I ended up singing it in a Feis. If you’ve never been at a Feis, you’re missing out. It is a uniquely Irish experience – scores of kids lining up to sing the same song one after the other, in varying degrees of competency. You have to hand it to the adjudicator. There really only is so many times you can listen to “NEAR BANBRIDGE TOWN IN THA COUN-TEE DOWN…” without wanting to slap someone.
In my town, they were gracious enough to allow us pick a pop song to sing in a “Modern Song” competition, which was probably the most anticipated event in the Feis. Everyone got dolled up and took great joy in speculating on who would win the coveted first-place trophy. Everyone also bitched about those who probably would win the first-place trophy.
“Good luck! You’ll be great!” Yeah right. We were all really thinking “I HOPE YOU FUCK UP. I’LL LAUGH.”
I chose “Wuthering Heights”, which looking back was quite an odd choice. I can only imagine that witnessing a 15-year-old girl howl like a banshee about this Heathcliff fella when everyone else was singing Shania Twain/Mariah Carey was rather amusing.
I can’t remember if I won a prize or not. No matter.
What mattered was I had found this song, and in turn Kate Bush. It’s true that Florence Welch is a breath of fresh air in today‘s music scene, but is she really that original? Kate was doing the flowy-dress, interpretive dance-y thing yonks before Flo even discovered she was “quirky”. There’s quirky, and then there’s downright strange.
Kate Bush is downright strange. Enigmatic, a recluse, shunning celebrity – she releases albums only to disappear from public life again. She rarely performs live, due to her perfectionism and fear of flying. She’s all about her music, which is interesting considering how much people want to adore her publicly. She’s obviously batshit. It’s amazing.
What a lady. And she’s not finished yet – she is currently working on new material, and has just released an album with reworkings of songs from her earlier albums. She is 52. Same age as Madonna.
Only Kate Bush does not have to writhe around on stage wearing little more than fishnets to continue receiving attention. Just a hint of a rumour of new material has music lovers foaming at the mouth.
…and that’s why Kate Bush is cool.
Soz Madge bbz.