Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Life and Times of Sigmund Turing

I did not want Under the Ivy to end - I read the acknowledgements, the bibliography, the discography and was considering the index before I let it go. It was almost as if this was not only the end of the biography but of the meaningful, music-releasing career of its subject. I do hope that is not true and to Kate Bush herself I am sure that either way matters not a jot. Anyway, what about the meat of the thing rather than just the vaguely empty feeling it leaves on completion. Graeme Thomson is not afraid to say bad things where he thinks it's due but I seem to disagree on some small points. I have listened to all her official releases over the last few days and while I agree on the general greatness of The Hounds of Love and the measured genius of Aerial, I actually like The Dreaming rather a lot - it rocks and far from being over produced just seems the product of a extraordinarily active mind.

I've just switched the Media Player to it and here it is bouncing in my ears, clear and powerful, a misty and dirty window on a strange outlook. But regardless of my petty fan-boy quibbles with the opinions of the music, the book itself is a must read for any real KB fan and a brilliantly written diversion for anyone, even those who do not like the music. I know that Kate Bush divides opinion like Marmite but even an intellectual loather would find much to satisfy them in this book. I am amazed that Thomson has managed to get such detail about the recording process and more so that he manages to weave this information in a chronological layout so that it does not appear like anal fan-boy notes.

After the first few chapters it dedicates about a chapter to each album as far as I can recall and this chimes with the recent view of Bush popping up every few years with some new album and then vanishing again. However, this view of a mad recluse is pretty much debunked by the book. She values her privacy and it just happens that fame means that everyone wants information. She wants her music to be the statement of intent and because a lot of that music is so unreadable, the papers and the music magazines are not satisfied. This book does a great job of the detail and has a laudable stab at understanding without going into the pretentious territory of Vermorel's Secret History of Kate Bush. And better than all this, it is a great read filled with a spirit like that of a good piece of fiction. All of which resulted in my desire for it not to end and my slight sense of sadness that the end of the book might actually be the end of the story. There was a nugget of hope in that Del Palmer reports progress on new music. Can we hope for something with the greatness of Hounds of Love?

In other news, we have mostly been enjoying the new series of Horrible Histories which is as on-form as it ever was with skits about everyone from the Stone Age to The Second World War. I especially liked the Viking Heavy Metal Rock video which was pitch-perfect. It looks like as much fun to make as it is to watch.

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