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Bush matters – a female perspective

Jane Shillingford on a British phenomenon

Yesterday it was announced that Kate Bush’s first tour in thirty-five years later this summer – now amounting to 22 dates – had sold out in fifteen minutes. Naturally, despite my reservations about the entire project, I had my secretary go online ten minutes before the tickets went on sale and picked up four of the precious items, albeit sadly situated only in the upper tier, and shall take my place in order to worship The Goddess at the cathedral setting that is London’s Eventim Apollo.

My aforementioned misgivings are not dissimilar to those expressed by my National Rust colleague, music expert Mark Stuart – viz. the risk La Bushness is taking with her own legend by coming back at all at her age. It is a dilemma that confronts all famous popular musicians – think the Rolling Stones, who became a bit of a self-parodying joke in about 1985 but have since survived the problem (literally in Keith Richard’s case) by somehow proceeding to ‘national treasure’ status for just being alive and still performing.

Kate Bush did not need to make a come-back. Her position in the pantheon of great British rock artistes was already secure – indeed, partly so precisely because she retired from active participation in the music business at the height of her fame, long before she had a chance to outstay her welcome or fall out of favour.

Thus, for her, returning to live performing is a double-edged sword. If she dazzles, intrigues and triumphs, she will enhance her already iconic status. However, if she disappoints the stratospheric expectations of her fans, she may dismantle her reputation for all time.

As my regular readers well know, I care not for political correctness. For the main part, the truth is that men never really ‘got’ Kate Bush, well apart from when she chose to writhe around sensuously, wearing a leotard and little else. She was a female heroine at a time and in an industry where testosterone and male macho culture were completely dominant. As a result – being feminine, sassy and steadfastly ploughing her own furrow – she stood out starkly amidst her contemporary female performers, most of whom tried to ‘ape’ male attitudes and posturing, and thereby justifiably attracted a legion of hopelessly devoted girl fans.

Here are some of the reasons why, as superbly described by fellow scribe Lisa Armstrong today on the website of the DAILY TELEGRAPH

 

About Jane Shillingford

Jane spent the bulk of her career working on women’s magazines. Now retired and living on the south coast, she has no regrets and 'would do it all again'. More Posts