Diary of an old cheeser

Hi there! Like other blogs, this is my chance to wax lyrical (some might say talk utter cr*p) about a) what's happening in my life b) all of my pet obsessions in particular music, tv, movies, books and other generally connected things, quite often of the retro, old and "cheesy" variety. Hence the title of my blog. Feel free to leave a comment if the mood takes you. There's nothing like a good chinwag about one's favourite topics and besides I love to meet new people! Cheers, Simon

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Video of the Fortnight - Kate Bush - Army Dreamers

Here's another choice vid, boys and girls. And high time that La Bush got a look in.

I wasn't a Kate Bush fan to start with. In her heyday she was regarded as a bit of a weirdo and had the p*ss frequently ripped out of her for a number of reasons. Her "individual" lyrics/songs. Her mad, theatrical dancing style. Her hilariously am-dram videos (well the early ones at any rate). Not to mention her overwhelming middle class feyness, which often manifested itself through her singing: "Heathcliff!!! It's meeee, I'm Kaaaaathy!" "Oh yeeeeah you're aaaamazing!" "Wowwwww!!" Etc, etc.

However paradoxically it's many of these things that actually make Kate Bush so endearing and I won't deny that she grew on me. The power of Kate is that she was SO DIFFERENT to many of her musical peers of the time. She dared to write about topics different to your run of the mill love song. She also composed and produced much of her own material. So she had a head start over many of the more manufactured pop stars. The moment when she really (or should that be weally?) grabbed (gwabbed?) my attention was the release of the 1985 album, "Hounds of Love". An absolute masterpiece and proof of Kate's genius, fusing memorable songs with some highly unusual lyrics. One side of the album "The Ninth Wave" is a concept piece based around the story of a drowning girl and is captivating. The singles "Running Up That Hill" and "Cloudbusting" are two of my all-time faves too.

Anyway I'm running away a bit here...Here is a video from earlier on in Kate's career (1980) , but one in which she's starting to be more experimental and move away from the studio-based, 20p budget ones in which all she does is dance (even though admittedly she does it well). The subject of the song is about a young soldier who goes to war and is killed. I love Kate's army fatigue look - very butch (she still wears eye liner though) and the choreographed movements with the guns. The synchronised blinking with the cocking-of-the-gun noise. And the bit when Corporal Kate sees first the young boy, then the soldier by the tree and runs to him, only for him to vanish. Freaaaaky, man.


  • At 12:51 am , Blogger TimeWarden said...

    Terrific little waltz, this, and should've been a bigger hit than it was! Kate's my all-time favourite female pop singer possibly because I'm always attracted to the weird and unusual!!

    I wasn't a fan to begin with either, though was by the time of her second single "The Man With the Child in His Eyes" still my favourite Kate song. I'm also very fond of "Breathing", the pop equivalent of the "Doctor Who" stories "Fury from the Deep", "Inferno", and "The Green Death". "Breathing" is as relevant today as those "Who" stories, and for the same obvious reasons.

    Kate's early songs, especially on "The Kick Inside", "Lionheart", and "Never Forever", are, for the most part, harmonically interesting. Her later songs are less so because she became more interested in building the kind of textures you create with multi-tracking, essentially over drones. Essentially, the same path that Bryan Ferry followed!

  • At 8:29 pm , Blogger matty said...

    Oh, seeing that clip brings back memories.

    You know, and I'm not sure if this says I've led a very dull life or not, but one of the most exciting moments of my life was -- at 12 years of age watching a show that ran in the US after midnight --- and the vid-clip of Wuthering Heights came on.

    One of the very few times when I heard something that was totally and completely new to me. I had never seen or heard anything like that and I've loved her work ever since.

    She has never received the credit she deserves. However, I'm sure that, at some point, she will be fully recognized.

  • At 1:31 pm , Blogger Old Cheeser said...

    Tim - Indeed, "Army" is one of my Kate faves too I think. As you say she's weird and unusual but has made a virtue out of it.

    True, "Breathing" was very ahead of its time - even before the TV series "Threads" and "The Day After" - at the start of the 1980s we were all very frightened about the prospect of nuclear war! So quite brave of Kate to comment on it.

    I know what you mean about Kate becoming more production-focussed on later albums. "The Dreaming" whilst a fan favourite is probably my least liked Kate album for this reason - some totally weird and not always very melodic stuff! On the other hand it showed that she was prepared to experiment and try something new. She couldn't have stayed doing those piano and guitar type albums forever.

    For me the perfect melding of production and tunes is "Hounds of Love". I thought "Aerial" was a good, though not brilliant comeback. Ms Bush's voice isn't as strong as it was (maybe something to do with her fondness for spliffs and red wine taking its toll?)

    But anyway she is still a pioneer and her work will stand the test of time I think! Many female artistes see her as an inspiration too - the legacy of La Bush!

    Matty - No I can see your point - I think "Wuthering Heights" took everyone by surprise, as you say it was so different and unusual in comparison with other chart stuff of the time (remember this was also the heyday of punk).

    Don't you think she has received credit? I beg to differ. Maybe she's not as prolific or successful as she was but at her height, she definitely made an impact and had an influence on the music scene (certainly in the UK, I have the feeling she wasn't so successful in the US?)

  • At 10:43 am , Blogger Steve said...

    Ah - the unsurpassable Kate Bush. One of my favourite female artists too. I'm sad emough to be proud of the fact that I own nearly all of her records including all of the original 7 inches (minus Suspended In Gaffa). Kate has true longevity though I agree that Ariel wasn't quite the return to form that I was hoping for. I still rate The Dreaming very highly as an album and Never For Ever is just so wonderfully evocative.


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