Rosa, I kept thinking of that poem as I threaded the Pre-Raphaelite post together, especially when I read of Lizzie's coffin filled with her coppery hair! And hair is fascinating - from its DNA roots to its split ends... It has so many cultural and religious associations, from shaven monks to sacred sadhus, and is indeed a very powerful and fascinating symbol.
I know the Kate Bush & the Pre-Raphaelite posts are long, so thank you so much for reading through them...
The connections are rather striking, aren't they? The religious and spiritual associations are what really fascinate me, and the idea, I think, that as a dream symbol it symbolises ones life force and power. Also what I find fascinating is the idea of cutting hair in mourning, or as the symbol of the ending of life or a life phase. To me, it's a very powerful symbol of life, and the web of life and death.
I am falling Like a stone, Like a storm, Being born again Into the sweet morning fog.
Hair color, hair length, body hair, waxing and waning hair... Victorian lockets and mourning hair jewelry... Lion's Mane and Lionheart...
All fascinating stuff![/color]
To see hair in your dream, signifies sexual virility, seduction, sensuality, vanity, and health. It is indicative of your attitudes. If your hair is knotted or tangled, then it is symbolic of uncertainty and confusion in your life. You may be unable to think straight. To dream that you are cutting your hair, suggests that you are experiencing a loss in strength. You may feel that someone is trying to censor you. Alternatively, you may be reshaping your thinking or ambitions and eliminating unwanted thoughts/habits. To dream that you are combing, stroking or styling your hair, suggests that you are taking on and evaluating a new idea, concept, outlook, or way of thinking. You may be putting your thoughts in order and getting your facts straight. A more literal interpretation suggests your concerns about your self-image and appearance. To dream that you have long hair, indicates that you are thinking long and carefully before making some decision. You are concentrating on some plan or situation. To dream that you are losing your hair, denotes that you are concerned with the notion that you are getting older and losing your sex appeal/virility. You are preoccupied with aging and your appearance. Losing you hair also signifies a lack of strength and that you do not possess the power to succeed in an undertaking. You may be feeling weak and vulnerable. To dream that someone smells your hair, indicates sexual curiosity and your need for some sensual stimulation. You have a lot to learn about a relationship. The way yours or someone else's hair smell may remind you of a particular person. To dream that you are reaching for someone's hair, suggests that you are trying to connect with that person on a spiritual or intellectual level. It also refers to sympathy, protectiveness, and fraternal love. To dream that the wind is blowing through your hair, signifies freedom to express uninhibited feelings. You are "letting your hair down". To dream that your hair is white or turns white, indicates that something important has just been made aware to you. It is a symbol of wisdom and insight. The dream may also be a metaphor suggesting that you are feeling "light-headed". www.brilliantdreams.com/dream-dictionary/dream-dictionary-h.htm
So I searched through KaTe's lyrics and found hair of doormat and hair of Bush...
Famous Blue Raincoat And Jane came by with a lock of your hair She said that you gave it to her That night that you planned to go clear -- Sincerely, L. Cohen.
Kate Bush: "The Hair Of The Hound"
The Craft Of Love I know how you like to kiss. I'll ask you what you're thinking. Silvers in our dark hair. The sheets are soaked by your tiny fish. The craft of love, The craft of love, The craft of life, The craft of love, Oo-ooh...
Organic Acid ("Before the Fall") He got her drunk very quickly: holding hands they found the broom cupboard where he had control as far as the fall. When his hand covered wet hairs she took over among furniture wax, dust, the cloying yellow of polishing cloth. When he was sick she comforted him...
Room For The Life Night after night in the quiet house Plaiting her hair by the fire, woman With no lover to free her desire...
Lord Of The Reedy River Black was the night and starry. I loosened off my garments And let forth my hair, In the reedy river, In the reedy river...
The Handsome Cabin Boy Her cheeks they were like roses And her hair rolled in a curl. The sailors often smiled and said He looked just like a girl. But eating of the captain's biscuit Her colour did destroy, And the waist did swell of pretty Nell, The handsome cabin boy...
The Red Shoes Feel your hair come tumbling down Feel your feet start kissing the ground Feel your arms are opening out And see your eyes are lifted to God...
How To Be Invisible Eye of Braille Hem of anorak Stem of wallflower Hair of doormat...
Nocturn The stars are caught in our hair The stars are on our fingers A veil of diamond dust Just reach up and touch it...
The stars are caught in our hair The stars are on our fingers A veil of diamond dust Just reach up and touch it...
HOUNDS OF LOVE The Front Cover Photography: The Pre-Raphaelite Kate...
JCB: "Elaborate environments, such as forests, mountains, palaces, etc.--places for the Hounds to run that would suit their style--were rejected as too busy. The cover had to have a strong, full image of Kate... So we decided on a close-up of Kate and the dogs, and a made-up background...
"So a week later I took my studio to the dogs and constructed a scaffolding for the overhead shot; a bed of lilac net and silks for Kate; and around her, a tent of lilac material to reflect and diffuse. And when I looked through the lens at the little room, it looked like an illustration from Dulac's Arabian Nights... When the film was processed, it was very exciting to see how the various elements were coming together, and how close we were getting to the album cover that existed inside our heads. There were a lot of small points to iron out, but they presented no problem, and I looked forward to the big day.
"When it came round, Kate asked Clayton Howard, the make-up artist, and Anthony Yacomine, the hair artist, to do their magic, so for three hours of painstaking work they added the colours and shapes that were necessary for the right atmosphere. I reconstructed the scaffolding and rebuilt the set, and after lunch we were ready to go. Kate lay down in the tent, and Howard and Anthony arranged the final touches of nuance. The materials were placed in just the right places, and I climbed up into the scaffolding. When I looked through the lens, it was fairyland underneath me...
"Choosing the final photo, deciding how best to present it on the cover and what sort of typeface to use for titles is yet another story."
The sky’s above our heads The sea’s around our legs In milky, silky water We swim further and further...
HOUNDS OF LOVE The Back Cover Photography: The Ninth Wave Ophelia...
JCB: "This was in many ways much simpler to organise, but a lot harder to take. Because it relates very specifically in image to The Ninth Wave, Kate had to be in water. To be comfortable in the right clothes--in this case a Victorian nightgown--the water had to be warm *... It was while I was printing up the best shots that I noticed that the viewer's perception of the scene changed dramatically when I altered the natural horizon by printing the photo slightly out of true. So actually, in the original negative, she is obviously lying on her back in water, but in the final print she appears to be standing or floating or running or flying [or falling: "When down her weedy trophies and herself Fell in the weeping brook", Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 7]. Also, this change of perspective made the "sea" into a very surreal backcloth, so that you wonder is she part of it, is she in it or what?"
* The JCB/KB photoshoot for TNW recalls Lizzie Siddal sitting for Millais's Ophelia...
Various members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood depicted images of Shakespeare's Ophelia, the victim of Hamlet's manic behavior. Ophelia is a symbol of innocence gone mad. A dutiful daughter, she is manipulated into spying on Hamlet and must bear his humiliating and brutal remarks. Ophelia, spurned by her lover and abandoned by the absence of her brother and the death of her father, is driven mad and drowns. Millais's depiction of Ophelia remains perhaps the most famous and infamous artistic account. To create the effect of Ophelia drowning in the river, the Pre-Raphaelite stunner Lizzie Siddall posed for Millais in a bath full of water. Millais found a decrepit old dress rich with embroidery for Siddall to wear while lying in a bath. To keep the water warm some oil lamps were placed underneath. On one occasion, the lamps went out and Siddall lay silently in freezing cold water; Millais was so engrossed by his painting that he didn't even notice.
The surpassing beauty of 'Helen of Troy' led to the most famous war in literary history. Helen, the face that launched a thousand ships, was a tantalizing enigma from the very first. She was flesh and blood certainly, but she was also immortal, since her father was none other than Zeus. Her mother was the beautiful Leda, queen of Sparta, who was ravished by the father of the gods in the form of a swan. Helen or Helene is probably derived from the Greek word meaning "torch" or "corposant" or might be related to "selene" meaning "moon".
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Helen of Troy (1863) www.victorianweb.org/painting/dgr/paintings/9.jpg A Greek inscription on the reverse of the painting, from the 'Agamemnon' of Aeschylus, describes Helen as 'destroyer of ships, destroyer of men, destroyer of cities'. Each of the three Greek words begins with the syllable 'hel', repeating the first syllable of Helen's name.
Rossetti's 1863 work Helen of Troy depicts a stunning woman shown in three-quarter length. The model was Annie Miller. Her sumptuous robes and long flowing hair are painted in rich and fiery tones; they seem almost to glow. A typical Rossettian type, Helen has pale skin, full red lips, and big, expressive eyes. These eyes are perhaps the most important element of the woman's face. They gaze into the distance but seem almost blind, signifying that the woman's focus is directed inward. Thus, Helen of Troy can be read as a portrait of self-contemplation and an exploration of interiority.
Several clues in the painting attempt to explain just what Helen is thinking about. First, her hands are clasped around a pendant decorated with a fire emblem. One finger seems to both caress this ornament and to point to it, emphasizing its importance. Secondly, the space behind the figure of Helen is filled with a hazy representation of burning rooftops and spires. One might propose that this is meant literally, indicating that Helen stands with her back to the burning city. However, the indistinctness of the background seems to indicate that it is not meant as a literal landscape but rather as a type of dreamscape. The chaos of the flames and the edges of Helen's hair and body are not well defined; the entire canvas is united by similar tones. The fiery vision and the woman are inexorable connected, as though the vision is not behind her but rather an extension of her.
Several aspects of the composition support a reading that the fires exist only in Helen's mind. Evidence has been provided, in the form of the pendant, with which Helen toys. She is holding an image of fire to signal her thoughts of fire and, presumably, of the burning of Troy. If she is aware enough of the conflagration to think of it, then she likely has not turned her back on real flames. She would hardly appear so calm and detached. The calm atmosphere of reverie that pervades this image lends credence to the idea that the flames behind Helen are meant to show a vision or dream. Rossetti has painted a woman who is lost in thought, and has attempted to depict the content of those thoughts behind her. The apocalyptic hallucination could be read either as a premonition of what is to come or a regretful memory of the horrors of the past.
KATE BUSH and LIONHEART and HAMMER HORROR
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
The influence of Pre-Raphaelite art is everywhere. The allegedly Pre-Raphaelite singer composer Kate Bush owns a picture painted by an unidentified artist, entitled "The Hogsmill Ophelia". It depicts an infant (or a doll) floating on its back in a dirty gutterlike area, and is a satire on Millais's 1851-52 painting, "Ophelia".
Various different models posed for Rossetti, but his pictures are not portraits. Their titles refer to stories of beauty or love from all times and places in history, legend and literature.
The sensual presentation of Rossetti's figures is emphasised by compositions that bring them startlingly close to the viewer. Rossetti draws a relation between hair as a sign of erotic power and as a figure of entrapment. In Helen of Troy he uses rich, fiery, glowing tones, and big, expressive eyes that tell of interior exploration.
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) gaffa.org/reaching/ir79_pc.html
'Lionheart' is the epithet of Richard I. Like Joan of Arc, he is an enduring, iconic figure known for great military leadership. On Lionheart, Kate Bush is photographed startlingly close to the viewer. Her seductive beauty is extolled especially by the "erotic entrapment" of her beautiful hair, and by her big, expressive eyes. She is photographed in rich and fiery tones that seem almost to glow. IMHO, Lionheart presents us with a typical Rossettian beauty! ...
BLOWUP: The Lionheart Photoshoot...
He's got a photo Of his hero He keeps it under his pillow
On the attic cover of Lionheart, Kate's slender, 'heroin chic' frame is photographed on top of a signed crate. What is hiding in the attic crate? What spot does the 'Pandora's box' mark? What is Kate concealing? A lionheart? A hero? ... What story does the cover tell? ... Don't Look Now! ... Kate looks startled, perhaps guilty... What is it, Miss Bush? I do not understand. What is it you fear? There must be more...
The game seems over. A phallic candlestick stands to the right of her sleeping male mask, its shaft covered in hardened white wax. Sunlight pours into the attic room, and Kate is all lit up...
The attic room reappears in Kate Bush's 'Running Up That Hill' video, and similar costume and lighting effects are present in the video for 'Suspended In Gaffa'. On the cover to Never for Ever, KaTe opens her 'Pandora's Box' attic crate...
"Experiment IV" was the one new song on Kate Bush's hits album The Whole Story (excluding the re-recorded rendition of "Wuthering Heights"). "Experiment IV"/"Wuthering Heights (New Vocal)" was also the only single release from The Whole Story.
The song tells a story about a secret military plan to create a sound that is horrific enough to kill from a distance. The song is notable for featuring Nigel Kennedy on violin, who at one point replicates the screeching violins from Bernard Herrmann's famous scoring of the shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 film Psycho (wiki). This (musical) link between Experiment IV and Psycho is interesting because there seems to be a (narrative) link between Psycho and Mother Stands For Comfort. Has KaTe got a thing for Alfred Hitchcock or Norman Bates? see: katebush.proboards6.com/index.cgi?board=houndsoflove&action=display&thread=1717
At the end of Experiment IV a helicopter is heard. It is the very same helicopter sound heard in Pink Floyd's The Happiest Days of our Lives[/i][/b] from their 1979 album, The Wall.
Kate Bush on The Wall: "It got to the point when I heard it [Pink Floyd's 'The Wall'] I thought there's no point in writing songs any more because they'd said it all. You know, when something really gets you, it hits your creative centre and stops you creating...and after a couple of weeks I realized that he hadn't done everything, there was lots he hadn't done." "Paranoia and Passion of the Kate Inside" (1980) gaffa.org/reaching/i80_mm.html
And Rosa, the Helen of Troy paintings and the Kate Bush photos are indeed strikingly similar! ...
Pre-Raphaelite art is unbelievably sensual, dreamy, and ever for ever!
"The rise of Fantasy as a film genre in the late seventies and eighties brought the need for coherent secondary worlds, and that is exactly how the Pre-Raphaelites depicted the Middle Ages, as an idealised romantic time, a coherent world of fantasy. It is hard for me to say how far this influence goes in general, but the Pre-Raphaelite connection is certainly visible in John Boorman's Excalibur (1981). And the ideal Pre-Raphaelite woman seems to have a lot of features in common with the standard type of medieval queens, princesses and maidens in popular films. Whether it is Guinevere Excalibur, Lady Marian in Robin Hood (Reynolds, 1991), Linet in Sword of the Valiant (Weeks, 1982) or Guinevere in First Knight (Zucker, 1995) they all look like Jane Morris: sensual, enigmatic, long dark hair and melancholy eyes" (Keuchenius, 1998).
'A Picnic at Hanging Rock' (1975) and 'Sirens' (1994) are also wonderfully dreamy and 'Pre-Raphaelite'! ...
Hecate is famously synonymous with dogs, driving the Wild Hunt across the skies and chasing the lost souls of the dead into the Underworld.
A fourth century BCE marble relief from Crannon in Thessaly was dedicated by a race-horse owner. It shows Hecate, with a hound beside her, placing a wreath on the head of a mare. Her attendant and animal representation is of a female dog, and the most common form of offering was to leave meat at a crossroads. Sometimes dogs themselves were sacrificed to her (a good indication of her non-Hellenic origin, as dogs along with donkeys, very rarely played this role in genuine Greek ritual).
In the magical papyri of Ptolemaic Egypt, she is called the she-dog or bitch, and her presence is signified by the barking of dogs. She sustained a large following as a goddess of protection and childbirth. In late imagery she also has two ghostly dogs as servants by her side.
You and me on the bobbing knee. Didn't we cry at that old mythology he'd read! I will come home again, but not until The sun and the moon meet on yon hill.
The photography for Hounds of Love was taken by John Carder Bush. HE snapped KATE and the dogs against a made-up background. IMHO, the Hounds Of Love photographs are strikingly pre-Raphaelite, reminiscent of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his muse, Elizabeth Siddal.
So could the JCB images of Kate Bush on the cover of Hounds Of Love represent a Pre-Raphaelite Rossettian rendition of "Hekate attended by her hounds"? ...
^ Yes, the documentary is a "must see" for Love-Hounds...
A pop star is a celebrity par excellence. And as that wise American sociologist who spent his life investigating the mysteries of celebrity, Orrin E Klapp, wrote: "[The] feeling of being public property is not an illusion; it reflects the truth that the public has adopted the celebrity as an image of a certain kind and expects him to perform the functions of that image. He is no longer just a person but has become an institution. Since he is 'our' Will, 'our' George, 'our' John, the public assumes the right to criticize, guide, and make demands. Celebrities often complain of requests made of them by strangers, who ask for loans, gifts, or advice or claim relationship of one kind or another. The status of celebrity as public property also helps explain intrusions on his privacy, familiarities by strangers, people who crowd into photographs with him, and even the curious 'touching mania'. The Duke of Windsor remarked that while he was Prince of Wales, people used to try to touch him by any means, prod him, even hit him with folded newspapers." (Symbolic Leaders) So has Kate complained about being stared at and touched by strangers. But the starers and touchers doubt she exists. Her appearance is like a Hoover vacuum cleaner coming to life. No wonder they're fascinated. But can she really excite curiosity and then hide? Or put her subjectivity on the market and them complain of lack of privacy? I'm not sure. (The Secret History of Kate Bush & the Strange Art of Pop, Fred Vermorel, London: Omnibus, 1983, p.58)
DOUG: When I first heard the title of your new album Hounds of Love, a long time before the album was actually released, it seemed to me like a reference to fans. It sort of conjured up the image of The Beatles constantly being hounded by their adoring fans, who would attack them, because each fan wanted a little piece of their idols. So the title "Hounds of Love" seems to hint at a love/hate relationship with fans. The Love/Hate relationship also seems to be symbolized on the picture sleeve to "Running Up That Hill", where you are aiming a bow that could be Cupid's bow, but is also a deadly weapon. Did you have these things in mind? KATE: No, I'd like to say straight away it's absolutely nothing to do with a love/hate relationship with fans and, in fact, that, as far as I am concerned, is something that doesn't exist. I have no resentment or dislike for any of the people that like my music, at all. If anything, it's a great honor for me that such nice people are attracted by the music. And that song has nothing to do with fans -- it's about love -- it's about someone who's afraid of being captured by love, and it's seeing love as a pack of hounds that's coming to get them. [Doesn't remind me of fans, at all....] As something that they're frightened of -- not willing to accept. DOUG: Well, I would sort of maintain that any love relationship is a love/hate relationship, in that... KATE: Yes... DOUG: ... there are always problems that come along with... KATE: I would totally agree, but it's got nothing to do with my fans. |>oug's famous Kate Interview www.gaffaweb.org/dreaming/doug_int.html
We are now close to those dark places where Hinckley stalked Jodie Foster and Chapman waited for Lennon. Where the gruesome culture of autograph hunters turns mad. But the fan haunted by a star, who assumes the star's identity, then seeks out the star's flesh to possess, or even kill the star, is really only working out a transformation invited by pop. Which is an apt, even an elegant, formulation of its logic. Only a fool or the New Musical Express would imagine (as they did and ran the "story" for three issues) a CIA plot when it is the industry the NME serves, its own logic, the moods it exists to create which "brainwashed" - as they quaintly put it - and "directed" Chapman to his sordid apotheosis. What a blind panic of bad faith must reign in Carnaby Street! The same bad faith with which The Fan, a Hollywood movie, ascribed a fan's murderous frenzy solely to his psychosis. Without ever mentioning Hollywood's systematic art of incitement: its art of arousing longing, envy and resentment - a more important and conspicuous Hollywood art, after all, than acting... We do have institutions, of course, to prevent such horrors. Fan clubs, for example. Which control and contain, and also rather desperately try to jollify and trivialise the fan's fanaticism. So they solemnly elect presidents and treasurers, hold meetings, debate the authenticity of mementoes, mail out newsletters, trade honestly in relics, and supplicate "appearances". Even so there is no thinking so consistently fantastic, no emotional tone as hot or rhetoric so manic as the pop fan's. To find a parallel for their odd mixture of calculation and hysteria, their volatility and wishful exegesis, you have to go back to Christianity's most opaque and feverish moment: to medieval religious hagiography: to the cult of saints, martyrs, miracles and relics. (The Secret History of Kate Bush & the Strange Art of Pop, Fred Vermorel, London: Omnibus, 1983, pp.60-61)
Kate Bush: "I think that as a very young child, perhaps I aspired to becoming something like a great actress." The Tony Myatt interview (1985)
NEGATIVE TRIGGERS and DANGEROUS THINGS: Putting Kate's quote/unquote in context...
Do you think about death much? K: "Yes, my imagination's got a lot of negative triggers. Images are always much stronger when they're negative." Blitz, "Wow! (Revisited)", Jim Shelley, September 1985 www.gaffaweb.org/reaching/i85_bl.html
I: Well I hate to keep harping on this, but I'd really like to find out where your influences are. Um, I know that The Innocents is one of your favorite movies? K: Yes, it is a favourite film of mine. I: Right. And it is one of mine, actually, and I've heard that you have a lot of negative triggers in your imagination, that's a quote of yours, right? K:I think quotes are very dangerous things. Because quite often, in an interview situation, you're saying things just to, to string words together, half the time. It's not necessarily something that you mean. I think you say something you think "Hang on, I don't really mean that" so it's always um a frustrating process where you're being re-quoted from things you were saying at other points in time. I: But would you say that you have negative, triggers? Uh, let me take this um I don't want to put you on the firing line, but Mother Stands For Comfort? K: Yes. Night Flight, Unedited version, November 1985 www.gaffaweb.org/reaching/iv85_nf.html
Kate's reveries are broken by the phone ringing. Good news and bad news. The good news is that her record has jumped straight into the Top Ten--"Another number one would be terrific, fantastic, amazing." The bad news is that the album artwork must be changed immediately. Side Two of the disk, a concept piece called The Ninth Wave, has been wrongly coupled with a verse from Alfred Lord Tennyson's The Holy Grail. The quotation turns out to be from another poem altogether [The Coming of Arthur]. The connotations of this faux pas are immensely embarassing to Kate. [Maybe KaTe felt she'd found The Holy Grail with The Ninth Wave, hence the Freudian wrong coupling.] "What Kate Did Next", 1985 www.gaffaweb.org/reaching/i85_what.html
The back cover also included an excerpt from a Tennyson poem. The album credited this as being from a piece called 'The Holy Grail'. It was in fact from 'The Coming of Arthur'. The embarrassing mistake was spotted by Homeground fanzine and corrected in the UK. ~ Kate Bush, Jovanovic (2005, p.162)
The sleeve quotes a chunk of Lord Tennyson's poem, The Coming of Arthur. Was that the initial inspiration for the piece? K: "No, actually it was the other way around. I wanted a title for the whole thing. I was looking through some books and found this quote. In his poem he's talking about the secrets of waves working in nine--like a complete cycle, with everything building up to the ninth wave and starting again. I've always liked using quotes for things." ZigZag, "Lassie", Kris Needs, November 1985 www.gaffaweb.org/reaching/i85_zz.html
This article uses feminist theory to walk through the landscapes of Kate Bush and to show how such an investigation of traditional (patriarchal) metaphors and attempts to break free of them is staged in an excellent fashion.
"IS THERE SO MUCH HATE FOR THE ONES WE LOVE"
"What concerns all the nonsense that Henry and Harry were talking about, the necessity of "I am God" to be able to create (I assume they mean "I am God, I am not a woman") - this "I am God", that makes the creation to an act of loneliness and pride, this picture of God that creates heaven, earth and sea, this is the picture that has confused women." (Madw., Anais Nin, p. 3).
In "Running up that Hill/Deal with God," the first song on Kate Bush's latest record "Hounds of Love/The Ninth Wave" (85), we meet a scenario not unlike the one proposed by Anais Nin. We here meet the Woman who would, very much, like to arrange a swap with God or somebody in a similar position:
"And if I only could I'd make a deal with God And I'd get him to swap our places"
A swap like that would make the woman able to control the outer world, from which she locked herself in in "Get Out of My House." And she would no longer run away from something, escape, she would run with aim, with direction.
"Be running up that road Be running up that hill Be running up that building"
This song, that I will refrain from exploring in greater depth due to the length of this article, describes a Woman, "free" from "anxiety".
In the next song, "Hounds of Love" we meet this Woman's direct opposite, the mirror image, let us call her an innocent Snow White... Here we meet Snow White, as we have chosen to call her, as an innocent child, filled with fear as to what the outer world (dominated by men) has to offer:
"When I was a child Running in the night Afraid of what might be Hiding in the dark Hiding in the street"
Then the text returns to the present where we meet the Woman, confused by what Anais Nin called "this image of God as lone creator of heaven, earth and sea, this is the picture that has confused the woman."
"I've always been a coward And I don't know what's good for me"
This Woman is chased by the Hounds of Love, a repressive love that strives to keep her down by pointing out that her will is not independent. By doing this the woman, in my eyes, is transformed into a "Monkey of the Working Class," or, I should say, into a different kind of bird than we are going to meet later - not into "this Blackbird" - but into a parrot. The Woman, who, in "Running up that Hill", wanted to swap places, puts herself back into "her proper place". By making the Woman confused, the Hounds of Love make her repent; she'll feel better if she remains in her prescribed role:
"I've always been a coward And never knows what's good for me Here I go - Don't let me go - Hold me down..."
"Do you know what I really need Do you know what I really need I need love, love, love, love..."
In these two songs the listener/reader has been presented with both (Song 1) a kind of theme for development or dramatization of the Woman who must acquire the male (and phallic) pen in order to not (Song 2) continue to be a hunted victim, a Snow White fleeing through shadows, forests and streets. Or put in another way: "Patriarchal texts have traditionally suggested that every angelic, unselfish Snow White must be hunted, if not haunted, by an evil and selfish stepmother; for every glowing portrait of humble women trapped in family life, there exists an equally important negative picture that encorporates the blasphemous devilishness that William Blake called 'The female will'" (p. 28).
But as the quote indicates, every Snow White has to have an opposite, a negative mirror image. We get a glimpse of her in the fourth song, "Mother Stands for Comfort." We meet the child that has - in her own opinion - done something that is illegal. The Mother knows this, but keeps silent:
"She knows that I've been doing something wrong But she won't say anything" ... "Mother stands for comfort Mother will hide the murderer"
This fits the child well as the mother lets the child live out its monstrous aggressiveness (the child as murderer), the opposite of the harmless Snow White. Still, the child is bothered by this situation, because the aggressiveness has come to her from the outside, it has not been created by herself.
"It breaks the cage, fear escapes and take possesion Just like a crowd rioting inside"
"It" makes her do things:
"Make me do this, make me do that, make me do this Make me do that"
Is she the hunted or is she the hunter? In the mothers eyes she is hunted, not a hunter, and here we might see a thematic conflict. The mother, the very sign of "comfort", chooses to see her daughter as an innocent victim, an unselfish Snow White. The child sees herself as someone who has taken on the image of a very young stepmother and acted out a symbolic murder. The murder can be interpreted both as a murder of Snow White and as an acquisition of the male pen.
Is this an elegant dramatization, from the Woman who wants to "make a deal with God", to a fully developed "son", a Woman who must accept and enter the male world on these terms, by becoming a man? With the last song of "The Hounds of Love", "Cloudbusting", with it's music filled with victory, one is tempted to answer "yes".
"Cloudbusting" is directed towards a father figure, Daddy, as opposed to the last songs Mother/Mum-figure. The father represents something ambiguous, the same way the mother does. Kate Bush here uses an image of rain for Daddy:
"You're making rain and you're just in reach when you and sleep escapes me"
She has used this image in "Get Out of My House" from "The Dreaming":
"This house is as old as I am This house knows all I have done They come with all their weather hanging around them"
This rainmaker as equated with a luminous yo-yo. What made the yo-yo unique - the fact that if was luminous - was also what made it dangerous. Therefore it had to be buried, hid away, let us call it "repressed".
"You're like my yo-yo that glowed in the dark what made it special made it dangerous so I bury it and forget"
The rainmaker has this luminous ability, he is a sort of god on earth with creative superiority. This makes him dangerous. Why?
"Everytime it rains you're here in my head Like the sun coming out"
This makes the cycle of nature, which God created - this image of male creativity - defined, every time, as a male act. And it is this luminous symbol of manhood that has to be buried if the Female is not to remain a dominated culture. Or it has to be sublimated, possessed and become a natural part of her. It seems as if this is what happens - or what is at stake - in "Cloudbusting," described as the Woman's change into the Rainmaker's son.
"Oooh, I just know that something good is going to happen And I don't know when But just saying it could even make it happen"
The song ends with this symbolic transformation:
"Oh, God, Daddy - I won't forget Your son's coming out"
In the second part of this record, "The Ninth Wave", which is an allusion to Tennyson's "The Coming of Arthur", we meet a somewhat different thematization of this situation than we have encountered earlier. However, here it is not the acquisition or the destruction of this "I am God" as symbol of creativity that is focused on. Instead we meet the exploration of female motives that one could call The Mirror Motive, The Painful Discovery that The Other Woman, The Monster or The Mad Woman in the Attic, in fact is the Woman herself.
Let me start with the closing lines of the first song, "And dream of Sheep," where the journey starts when "They" say that they are going to bring the Woman (that has acquired the light in "Cloudbusting") home:
"And they say they take me home. Like poppies, heavy with seed. They take me deeper and deeper."
This "home" soon reveals itself as a gallery of images of women that the Woman has earlier been bound to. In "Under Ice" we are presented with the Mirror Image and the Other Woman. The woman above the ice is skating and enjoys the speed and the control. The the picture is soon changed:
"In the ice, splitting, splitting sounds Silver heels, spitting, spitting snow"
Something is moving, trapped under the ice. One is tempted to equate the ice to a mirror. There is something that's trying to break free, but it doesn't seem to manage it. In one, frozen moment, the skater painfully realizes that this dangerous something that is trying to get out, is herself, trapped behind this scarred ice-mirror.
In "Waking the Witch," a song with Faustian shape, with the witch-trial as theme - throwing the witch into the water to see if she floats - we meet a scene where the witch is going to confess her sins to a Priestly figure. "Under" this scene we can also hear another voice, the trapped bird we almost met in "Get Out of My House," but that changed into a mule. One of the reasons is explained here. The bird, now a "Blackbird", is described as tied, trapped.
"(Help this blackbird, there's a stone round my leg)"
Neither this metaphor nor the witch-metaphor fits this Woman who wants to see her "real" mirror image. Both the witch and the blackbird is in the domain of the water which is the domain of the patriarchy. Something that is expressed in the line "I am responsible for your actions," which is said by the Priest, a hellish figure in "Waking the Witch." [This voice is of course that of Kate Bush, suggesting that the Witch-Finder General represents her inner patriarchal super-ego, bearing the responsibility of her libidinal actions through guilt.] One could carry on, dig deeper in. And I will, but I will only sketch it out, as I have already written too much. In "Watching You Without Me" we meet the Invisible Woman in "her father's house," where she is reduced to nothingness, where she comes and goes like a ghost. The invisibility does, however, give her one advantage. She can objectify Him, explore Him and at least have her invisibility and freedom of motion to herself.
"You didn't hear me come in You won't hear me leaving"
One should say more. But that will have to do, even though we haven't been introduced to the old woman, the Fortune Teller in "Jig of Life" or the Woman in "Hello Earth" that has replaced God and is controlling the world for a while, or the Woman in "The Morning Fog" who is reborn, but really just "repairs" everything she has done when she conquered "the light," how she becomes a nice girl again and fills the role as an all-loving mother:
"I'll tell my mother I'll tell my father I'll tell my loved one I'll tell my brothers How much I love them"
You'll have to look yourselves. What is left is simply a classical summation of what is caught in the article's mirrorframe: "And when self-conceiving women from Anne Finch to Emily Bronte and Emily Dickinson stepped out of the glass coffin of male-authorized text, when they burst out of the queen's mirror, the old dance of death turned into a dance of triumph, a dance of authority."
...She circled him with the secret web she wove as her strong hair grew. Like a golden spider she wove and sang, "My love is tender and true." She combed her hair with a golden comb and shackled him to a tree. She shackled him close to the Tree of Life. "My love I'll never set free. No, No. My love I'll never set free."
How to win ... A Mercury award First, be a girl, and you're 80% there. Next, have amazing hair. Hair that is Kate Bush referencing in its tangled, tumultuous, untamed wildness; a sort of follicular statement against everything that is groomed and straightened and Waggish/X Factor-y in aesthetic. Or hair that is so androgynous, angular and splendidly ginger it could be extremely modern furniture. Next, dress crazy. Wear spangles on your eyelashes and tight-fitting lamé on your legs, fashion a gilet from peacock feathers, and never leave the house without a gold-plaited headband. Do that - or be the poster girl for the 80s revival: embrace an aesthetic that is half Fish from Marillion, half Pepsi and Shirlie from Wham!. (If anyone tells you that the clothes are undermining your artistic integrity, tell them to piss off. You are the post post-feminist female - you can do what you like.) Fourth: do not smile. Be either vague and wistful, or rock hard and sneering at all times. Finally, if your mother happens to be Sergeant June Ackland of The Bill fame - like La Roux's is - never talk about it. Ever. The Observer, Sunday 6 September 2009 www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/sep/06/how-to-win-mercury-award