The world is full of love. Billions of people loving billions of others. All that love will turn to dust when our resources die.
- kevin feige: believe me, i'd like for black panther and captain marvel to get movies, really i would
- kevin feige: but what can i do
- kevin feige: i'm just the marvel studios president of production
There’s a man called The Doctor. He lives on a cloud in the sky…
The system was, apparently, nail-bitingly tense and casino-level frustrating: to buy Kate Bush tickets, one had to choose a particular date at a particular price point. While the computer calculated that, no, sucker, there were no further spots available to meet your requirements, the other dates were gone too. All of them. “Why couldn’t you have put in multiple requests? What’s wrong with people? What’s wrong with the internet?” I haven’t had the same conversation so many times since they changed the large domestic bins in Lambeth to the small ones.
Fifteen minutes into the process, 77,000 people had got lucky, and legions hadn’t – currently we know not their number, but we will be able to collect that data by sales of the “No, I have not got any Kate Bush tickets” T-shirt. A sellout that fast, even of 22 dates, doesn’t necessarily tell you very much, except that middle-aged, middle-class people have too much money, or rather, are no longer able to afford middle-class things such as houses so have a surfeit of money for leisure. This, coupled with a nouvelle vogue for never growing the hell up, makes a lot of today’s cultural consumption “post-nostalgic”; you drop 200 quid going to see Take That, not because they evoke the past, but because you get to spend the night being indulged, as children are.
Going to see Kate Bush live isn’t remotely like that. In a world built on fake exits and stage-managed yearning, she left everybody genuinely wanting more. She has been a hermit, as far as performing is concerned, for 35 years; she’s a one-off, a prodigy, a creative heatball, an experiment of the species – dazzlingly successful but unreplicable. Her lyrical romanticism is questing and ambivalent, rather than needy and predictable. Her voice is wild, her melodies only make sense when you submit to them. Her physical world is perhaps the greatest of her idiosyncrasies, abandon and urgency at its poles, creating the magnetism that one would once have called “sexy”, but for the fact that the word now means “identikit gyrating in hotpants”. She is what music sounds like when it is the authentic creation of its author, and there are no strings being pulled by marketing guys or Svengalis.
Taking her as a creative ideal, I realise I’ve been having the wrong conversation about female pop stars. I spend a lot of time wondering about female creativity as it’s represented in music. What does it actually mean when Miley Cyrus leaps around faux-masturbating all the time? Could that ever be called a genuine expression of her sexuality? When Lady Gaga makes a video with R Kelly that looks like a slickly produced advertisement for date-rape drugs, is that collusion with the patriarchy or a subversion of it? Can Beyoncé, through sheer force of will, emancipate herself from the craven re-domestication agenda of her lyric: “If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it”?
The pattern with mainstream music is that a young woman is fashioned into an image of sexual desire concocted by some sleazy 50-year-old guy (or, more likely, a focus group full of them). She is then rounded on by feminists from the left and social conservatives from the right for being naked or (this is worse) naked and too thin.
She says, “What are you talking about? I’m doing what I want. Isn’t that what feminism is supposed to be all about?” And just as you’re about to explain – to Geri Halliwell, or whomever are her successors – that what she’s doing has nothing to do with her own imagination, and she’s just a cipher for someone else’s, it dawns on you how ridiculous it is to tell a woman what you think her self-expression should look like, on the basis that she shouldn’t be letting other people tell her what her self-expression should look like. If you say that Britney Spears was just the unwitting victim of the quasi-pederasty of her early oeuvre, then you’re infantilising her as much as the first guy who dressed her in school uniform and used her virginity as a calling card. Absurd! It’s all so circular and self-defeating.
But then you think about Kate Bush, or Janis Joplin, or Nico, and realise that it doesn’t matter whether or not Miley Cyrus is a feminist or whose fault Taylor Swift is. What matters is what the culture loses, as a whole, when mainstream music is comprised almost entirely of a male version of female creativity, women funnelled through male objectification, women’s self-expression totally subjugated, essentially absent. It loses its Kate Bushes. It loses, at a conservative estimate, half its genius.
Kate Bush: All Her Studio Albums As Books
I’ve finally completed my project - a whole year in the making - of reimagining all 10 of Kate Bush’s studio albums as collections of books. The image above is the The Red Shoes print. But the project began this time last year with Hounds of Love (below).
When I made this print, of my favourite Kate Bush album, I thought I’d leave it there and carry on making other prints of my favourite albums by various artists. But no, I couldn’t resist making a print of The Sensual World:
But then, why not make a print of The Kick Inside too? And so…
I think it was at this stage that I began to think about covering all of Kate Bush’s studio albums. I like sets of prints, I like the way they sit together or maybe don’t, I like noticing differences between prints in groups, and so a group of ten prints became an enticing prospect. Aerial was next:
I decided that I’d take the colour cues for these prints from each album’s artwork (Aerial's bright oranges, umbers and yellows being, I think, a particularly successful example). At the same time, I wanted them all to hold to a kind of central palette. What better way to test this than with perhaps the most grey/black album cover in the Kate Bush oeuvre, 50 Words For Snow:
Here I was able to keep in enough warmth (through the agedness of the books and the way sunlight on them over the years has in some ways warmed them) that it fitted in with the rest of the prints. Back to direct warmth, though, with Lionheart, which includes one spine that directly alludes to the pattern on the wallpaper in the background of the cover photograph (well, an approximation thereof anyway):
After this, it had to be Never For Ever:
The Red Shoes came next (but you’ve already seen that at the top of this post). Two more to do: Director’s Cut and The Dreaming. With Director’s Cut I wanted a set of colour rhythms that would echo the sprocket holes in the celluloid film seen in the cover photo, as well as its cold-warm-ness:
The last print was The Dreaming. How appropriate that, for an album that caused Kate Bush such problems in production, this print was an absolute devil to balance. I went through at least 10 proofs trying to get the close tones of the books I’d photographed to relate to the sepia-plus-orange-plus-green of the original album cover photo. But perseverance pays off:
…and the whole thing has a slight late-1930s look to me, which I like.
So there you are. A year’s work. The prints are available in the Standard Designs Etsy shop.
✨ Last night my friend took me to see Kate Bush, it was a very weird, wonderful and inspiring experience. I’ve never witnessed anything quite like this show. The visuals were the most amazing I’ve ever seen. During the night this note fell from the sky ✨ #KateBush #BeforeTheDawn #inspiring #NotesFromTheSky #magic thank you @lisaannejenkins for an amazing night x (at Hammersmith Apollo)
“There is room for everything. Something that is quite common though, and I’ve noticed it even though things have changed a lot, is that there always seems to be room for a lot of male singers, and they don’t get asked to duel. You have Jay-Z and Kanye West being best mates. There’s always room for many male characters. “Yeah, still it’s like ‘Christina vs. Britney’. Why? I don’t want to be put in a position where I have to attack her. I thought it was really weird and unfair when M.I.A. and Joanna Newsom were asked about Gaga and then because they didn’t like her music, it was immediately big news online and they had to shoot each other down. It’s like the three new, most happening female pop girls, the same kind of age, and they had to shoot each other down! Guys are never asked to do that. It’s just ‘the more, the merrier’, you know?”—
I thought I would post this brilliant quote because I recently saw Kate Bush live…after 35 years since her first & only tour. Everyone who knows Bjork knows she was/is inspired by Kate. In fact - she was there on opening night watching Kate just like I was. I cried (along with everyone else) as Kate performed. It was as if EVERYONE was rooting for her up there. Bjork supporting another woman as she attempts to return after 35 years. I just appreciate the fact that Bjork (and apparently Madonna was there as well) was there to support Kate as if she was just another big fan. I think we are all guilty of comparing women in the industry to one another - but just think of this quote before we delve into stan wars 24/7.