Post by CopyOfCpt (just say Cor) on Jun 3, 2005 13:17:21 GMT
When I am a man I will be an astronaut And find Peter Pan
Nice how kids can dream of things they really see as reachable...
I just heard an interview of mrs. Bush about "Mother stands for comfort" and She told basically it was written from a male perspective. This song again has been written from a male point of view... is this something recurring?
Odd that I'm listening to "A Coral Room" right now as you were (on my birthday nonethess ) talking about grandma moments as this song totally reminds me of that.--------------But anyway Kate was only appproximately 7 years or so older than Bertie when she wrote "In Search of Peter Pan"---the 3 wishes thing in "Bertie"--do you see a connection?
John Carder Bush: "I am programmed in my emotional life by the first work of fantasy that got through to my heart. For me it was Barrie's bitter, sad condemnation of adulthood. Peter Pan has soured so many children into seeing growing-up as an end to something more real. For Cathy, I would guess that it was Oscar Wilde who first led her into that trickly land of tear puddles." (1986, Cathy).
Kate Bush: "There's a song on it called In Search of Peter Pan and it's sorta about childhood. And the book itself is an absolutely amazing observation on paternal attitudes and the relationships between the parents - how it's reflected on the children. And I think it's a really heavy subject, you know, how a young innocence mind can be just controlled, manipulated, and they don't necessarily want it to happen that way. And it's really just a song about that." (1978, Lionheart Promo).
A tender song capturing childhood anxieties, disappointments, pressures, fears, etc. The opening lines could suggest any turmoil a child might face - divorce, loss, school bullying, abuse, etc… They upset ‘the fun’. Hence, ‘They took the game right out of it…’
The adult voices don’t achieve the reassurance they offer. The child sees but seems to have no voice. So maybe the adults do not see what they're doing? Adult and child worlds can be exclusive; (word) misunderstandings can heighten fears, self-doubts, and achieve their opposite effect; and from the child’s perspective, the (adult) world can be impossible, frightening, horrid, etc.
[The vinyl run-out message on The Man With The Child In His Eyes / Moving: Side A is The child hides in the light. In 1980, Pat Benatar released Crimes of Passion, featuring 'Hell Is For Children' ("They hide in the light, so you can't see their fears") AND her cover of WUTHERING HEIGHTS.]
‘Dennis’ is a confident child whose heroes are real people (‘photo’). His heroes are functioning vehicles into adulthood. His confidence (unintentionally) heightens the other’s fears of emptiness and disconnection. So the other retreats into and uses the secret 'reassuring' world of Peter Pan to negotiate his/her transition into adulthood... or Neverland... Such is the endurance of Peter Pan, the boy who refused to grow up!
When I am a man I will be an astronaut And find Peter Pan...
J. M. Barrie based 'Peter Pan' on his friends, the Llewelyn Davies boys. His relationships with the Davies boys continued well beyond their childhood and adolescence.
"Ooh, he's here again. The man with the child in his eyes..." "Ooh, he scares me! There's a man behind those eyes..." (TIK). 'Cathy: The child with the woman in her eyes.' (JCB, 1986). "This little girl inside me Is retreating to her favourite place..." (UTI)
The statue of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens was supposed to be modeled upon old photographs of Michael Llewelyn Davies dressed as Peter Pan. However, the sculptor decided to use a different child as a model, leaving Barrie very disappointed with the result. "It doesn't show the devil in Peter", he said. Michael, with whom Barrie corresponded daily, drowned (1921) at a known danger-spot at Oxford, one month short of his 21st birthday. It was speculated that the drowning was a possible suicide pact with his friend and possible lover Rupert Buxton. Barrie wrote a year later that Michael Llewelyn Davies' death 'was in a way the end of me' (wiki).
I found this narrative study on Lionheart, and since LH is often ranked low in the Bush canon, I decided to quote the essay at length...
It seems no coincidence that a figure such as Peter Pan should feature prominently on Lionheart, an album that celebrates the sliding between genders and bodies in performance as a means to negotiate escape or stall the inevitability of one’s sexed and gendered position. In the figure of Peter Pan, we see embodied an intransigent resistance to the norms of adulthood with its conventions and rules that oppress people through narrow and segregated gender roles. Peter Pan escapes the adult world precisely because he can (despite the use of the gendered pronoun) escape gender, or at least, the character has the advantage of experiencing being both, due to his androgyny...
Peter Pan is a highly appropriate figure through which to express the anxiety felt by Bush regarding the extreme limitation of roles available to women within patriarchal society, as well as using Pan as a vehicle to comment on the (unnecessary) pain of gender socialisation. Reading the song with this in mind, I would argue that it is rich in its critique of normative gender roles that we are forced to comply and contend with from birth. The title itself is suggestive of yearning and movement, or the yearning for movement. The song is told from the perspective of a speaker who is on the cusp of growing up, their gender is not stated and shifts fluidly in the song so that it cannot quite be pinned down, and like Peter Pan, remaining in an indeterminate gendered state.
It’s been such a long week, So much crying. I no longer see a future. I’ve been told, when I get older That I’ll understand it all But I’m not sure if I want to.
In the last three lines of opening verse we hear the voice of the child that has been told by authority figures that they will learn to accept the rules and conventions of society when they grow up and consequently, lose large parts of themselves in order to fit into it... In the second verse the speaker is consoled by their granny who chides them for being ‘too sensitive’ – typically feminine behaviour – and that this ‘makes me sad. /She makes me feel like an old man’, that again conjures up interesting gendered allusions and confusions. The chorus is equally destabilising on this point: ‘When, When I am a man/ I will be an astronaut, /And find Peter Pan’. It is interesting that this yearning is exclusive to men: only when the speaker is a man can they grow up to be astronaut. This yearning is emphasised by repeated and insistent ‘when,’ accentuated by how this statement is delivered - rising up like a spaceship before scattering like stardust. With the knowledge of the gendered status of the author, coupled with the deliberately ambiguous gendered status of the speaker in the song, I think it is possible to read the chorus as critiquing the limited spaces of transgression and flight for women in society. However the song also creates space for a trans-gendered subjectivity to emerge, if we take the meaning of the ‘trans’ prefix to mean the movement towards the transformation of gender identity: from a little girl wishing/wanting/waiting until she can become a man. The figure of the astronaut here becomes a crucial metaphor as a figure suggestive of action, movement, flight, daringness and imagination.
‘In Search of Peter Pan’ further destabilises heteronormative gendered and sexual positions by containing an instance of male narcissism: ‘Dennis loves to look in the mirror,/ He tells me that he is beautiful’. This later becomes a larger allusion to homo-eroticism, ‘He’s got a photo,/ Of his hero,/ He keeps it under his pillow’. The speaker on the other hand has a pin up of Peter Pan that they ‘found…in a locket, I hide it in my pocket’, with the locket being a traditionally female symbol that again confuses the boundaries of gender. In both cases there is an element of secrecy and shame about coveting these pictures: one is hid under a pillow, while the other is hidden in a pocket. This may of course simply be part of the ‘game’ of being a child, but it could also be an awareness of the transgressive gendered and sexual desires that the song dramatises, and that these statements make publicly known. Ultimately I think that ‘In Search Of Peter Pan’ offers a subtle yet convincing argument for the right of all people to be free of the gendered expectations that society places upon us. The use of ‘When you wish upon a star’ from the Disney film Pinnochio at the end of the song, further stresses the plaintive innocence of this statement while also connecting it with the Pan mantra that is quoted directly in the chorus: ‘Second Star on the right/ Straight on ‘til morning’. The closing message of the song affirms that it ‘Makes no difference who you are,’ so that all people regardless of class, gender, race and all the other categories that structurally subject us, can have freedom to access this dream of possibility and realisation. In this song Bush creates a fluid, shifting and ‘transgressive’ gendered subject in order to critique the restrictive heteronormative and patriarchal gender roles and conceptions of time.
from: Debi Withers (2006), 'Kate Bush: Performing and Creating Queer Subjectivities on Lionheart.'
Post by rosabelbelieve on Apr 27, 2008 0:08:36 GMT
^ Very interesting essay. Although I have always thought the speaker in ISOPP was male, I could certainly see the writers point about Lionheart focusing on transcending societal limitations, of gender or many other things, and moving between different dramatic masks...
I am falling Like a stone, Like a storm, Being born again Into the sweet morning fog.
Yes, the essay is an interesting analysis. And Lionheart does 'move between different dramatic masks' ...
LH could be considered a series of stage performances, a one-woman show produced by Kate 'Andrew Lloyd Webber' Bush...
In two of your songs you refer to Peter Pan. Is he a particular favourite of yours? KT: "I refer to Peter Pan because he stands for a lot of things. He always has and he always will. People just don't want to grow up, so I think he's everyone's favourite whether they like it or not." Kate's KBC article, Issue 5 (April 1980), "With Love from Kate" gaffa.org/garden/kate6.html
Dennis loves to look In the mirror He tells me that he is beautiful So I look too, and what do I see? My eyes are full But my face is empty...
Doctor: You see, her eyes are open. Gentlewoman: Ay, but their sense is shut. ~ The Tragedy of Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 1
He's got a photo Of his hero He keeps it under his pillow
How did you pick the name of Lionheart for your latest album? KB: "Well that was really from the title track called 'Oh England, My Lionheart'. And I just think it's a great word, it sorta means hero, and I think hero is a very clichéd word, so I thought Lionheart would be a bit different." "Personal Call" (1979)[/b][/color] gaffa.org/reaching/ir79_pc.html
I see "In Search Of Peter Pan" as a reference to a turn-of-the-century (19th-20th) stage actress Maude Adams. Some very similar traits exsist between Ms. Adams and Kate Bush.
Ms. Adams lived a reclusive life, openly promoting her current works, but never discussed anything about her private life. (sound familiar... ) But more than just fiercely private, her life was shrouded in mystery, and she was often photographed with a somber, melancholic expression. She was never seen in public with a "significant other" which led to rumors that she was lesbian or even asexual.
Interviewer: "It is because the public loves you that it wants to see and know more of you." Maude Adams: "If it really loved me it would leave me alone."
Maudie left the stage at the hight of her fame, as the highest paid, most popular actress of her time.