I found a book on how to be invisible Take a pinch of keyhole And fold yourself up You cut along the dotted line You think inside out And you’re invisible
Eye of Braille Hem of anorak Stem of wallflower Hair of doormat
I found a book on how to be invisible On the edge of the labyrinth Under a veil you must never lift Pages you must never turn In the labyrinth You stand in front of a million doors And each one holds a million more Corridors that lead to the world Of the invisible Corridors that twist and turn Corridors that blister and burn
Eye of Braille Hem of anorak Stem of wallflower Hair of doormat
Is that the wind from the desert song? Is that an autumn leaf falling? Or is that you, walking home? Is that the wind from the desert song? Is that an autumn leaf falling? Or is that you, walking home? Is that a storm in the swimming pool?
You take a pinch of keyhole And fold yourself up You cut along the dotted lines And think inside out You jump ‘round three times You jump into the mirror And you’re invisible
"How To Be Invisible" is played 1 hour 39 mins into the show. Here's what the interview clip said, on why she called the album "Aerial":
What I liked about the word was that it's got so many levels to it, it actually means "of the air" and also, you know, I always have an image of 'aerial' suggesting height as well so it felt like it worked very well with the second disc, you know, with the theme of birds. Also, an aerial is something that collects and gives out sound waves and we've all got aerials connected to our televisions and mobile phones and I just thought it was an interesting word that had lots of puns.
I'm so excited about it coming out, it took soooo long to make, I jut thought I was never going to finish it. It just took so long to piece it all together and to try and make it work and there was so many times I just thought I wasn't going to have the energy or the strength to finish it so it's fantastic really to have it all done. When I first finished it I felt like I'd been let out on good behaviour and it's great because I can do other things. The response from other people has been soooo positive. I'm sooo excited.
I think I did worry about there being such a long gap, I was worried that, I suppose, you know, in some ways, without wanting to sound sentimental, I was worried that people would forget about me, but actually I think quite the reverese has happened.
I think it's to show her aversion to being famous, maybe sometimes she wishes she were invisible, and then she wouldn't have to be a celebrity.
"My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods. Time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath- a source of little visible delight, but necessary." Catherine Earnshaw, Wuthering Heights.
Mark: Were you always reluctant to be a celebrity right from the beginning? KB: Ah, but I don't think of myself as a celebrity. I don't think I am. To me that's a dirty word, really. Mark: Well, reluctant to be a pop star or reluctant to be famous. KB: I don't like pop star either. Mark: I know you don't, you've laughed... Mark: Famous. You can't argue with famous. KB: Infamous, I would prefer.
The phrase "How To Be" sounds like the title of an existential tome... And here KB is exploring how to be invisible... At various stages in life and in certain situations people might feel invisible, e.g. old people speak of social invisibility; people get drunk or intoxicated or go on holidays to forget themselves, to disappear; mythological heroes (and villains) seek invisibility to achieve certain goals, etc; and of course the dead are invisible (unless you possess the sixth sense! ... Then again, some people feel terribly visible, e.g. the paranoid, the socially awkward, the famous and the infamous...
Is KB wanting to be invisible so that she might blend in with the everyday or achieve a greater, heroic goal? ... The song is full of gothic, narcotic, classic and literary imagery… Spells, potions, dares… The Sorcerer's spellbook found in a dusty attic… A pinch, not too much, not too deep; the eye of the seer, the hem of the trivial, the stem of the garden, the hair of the home... But the quest for invisibility has its dangers, temptations and warning signs... The Sorcerer's Apprentice could not control the magic that he tried to use... This is a hero's quest and not to be undertaken lightly... Maybe the Minotaur stalks the labyrinthine corridors? Or maybe the pitfalls of suicide and introspective madness? ... Yet the Romantic wild wind and leaves dead speak of ghosts, spirits and the Fantasia of 'being' invisible...
'fold... cut... line...' - These could be instructions found in a Woman's Fashion magazine. And everyday fashion patterns and coupon offers strive to make us all alike, all following the same pattern, all lost in the same invisibility... 'fold... cut... line... blister and burn... mirror...' - These also suggest drug use paraphernalia, losing oneself in the blur of forgetting...
'Is that a storm in the swimming pool?' - Now, does this line reflect 1086 Sunset Boulevard? Norma Desmond is essentially invisible. But for Max, she is completely forgotten. Her fame is as dead as the monkey under the Udolpho-esque veil. She has become fixed at the moment of her greatness, and now lives in the past with her 'waxworks'. Like Dracula, she and Max live in gothic decay, with Max feeding her with phoney fan mail to reinforce her self-deluded visibility and dreams of "return." Each time the mirror cracks, she attempts suicide... "Oh, wake up, Norma. You'd be killing yourself to an empty house. The audience left 20 years ago!" ... The arrival of Joe Gillis prompts her "return" to the outside. But the outside grows too loud for Norma and she shoots it down. Her fantasy to escape invisibility leads only to the very visible storm in the swimming pool! ... As a moral tale, Sunset Boulevard (1950) is like a book on how to be invisible which every would-be Hollywood hero should read before attempting a deluded Salome-esque comeback...
Incidentally, inside the Aerial booklet is a photograph of KB seemingly taken underwater in a swimming pool... ...'Is that a storm in the swimming pool?'
I wonder about Kate's spiritual perspective. Her partially Catholic upbringing combined with the world view shared by her brothers and father I suspect have shaped her philosophy tremendously. Her beliefs are a pirivate hybrid that we can only see glimpses of in her lyrical and, in the past, physical presentations. 'Maybe somewhere in between Gurdjieff and Jesu...seriously. An evolved and enlightened 'Lilith' perhaps
Aerial, I think, expresses her arrival at a less tumultuous - even peaceful - place. She seems confident, by my appraisal, in how the world works. The energy of vibrations and the joy of a free spirit is, I believe, an underlying theme from Sky of Honey all the way through Sea of Honey. The importance of family and a lifetime journey of honest introspection has strengthened her voice from outrage and question to exaltation and celebration.
'fold... cut... line... blister and burn... mirror...' - These also suggest drug use paraphernalia, losing oneself in the blur of forgetting...
EDIT: Is that a storm in Michael Barrymore's swimming pool?
KB: "I really love distortions" - gaffa.org/reaching/ir80_r1.html KB has never been afraid to add controversy. There's the infamous line in 'Wow'. And at the time of releasing 'Army Dreamers', there weren't many places outside Northern Ireland that a young British soldier was gonna get killed in action. 'The Infant Kiss' and 'The Man With the Child in His Eyes' verge dangerously close to treating grooming and paedophilia. TKI plays with incestuous devices. And TGaT could be a 1930s 'anti-treaty IRA' bomb job.
So is KB being controversial with the line, 'Is that a storm in the swimming pool?' ...
This storm made headlines in the UK press for months, from Mar 2001 to Sep 2007 (wiki)...
"MICHAEL Barrymore force-fed Stuart Lubbock cocaine on the night he was found dead in the star's swimming pool, it was claimed yesterday." Sunday Mirror, Oct 21, 2001
"A second partygoer has told the inquest into the death of a man found in Michael Barrymore's swimming pool that he was offered cocaine by the television star." BBC News, Sep 13, 2002
There are similarities to the infamous US case of Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle...
"Michael Barrymore: Once Britain's highest-paid entertainer, Barrymore, 52, fled in panic when the body of a party guest, Stuart Lubbock, was found in his swimming pool [in March 2001]. "Fatty Arbuckle: Silent movie star Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle was arrested in 1921 for the sexual assault and manslaughter of an actress at a party in San Francisco." - www.ezilon.com/information/printer_5842.shtml
So when, on Aerial (2005) KB sings "Is that a storm in the swimming pool?" is she making a controversial reference to the Stuart Lubbock and Michael Barrymore 2001 storm in the swimming pool?
Paranoid Fun: I found a book on how to be invisible...
I wonder if KaTe found either of these two books in the library? The Essential Guide details all the different ways to protect privacy from prying eyes, illustrating that true privacy is a luxury, and a pricey one when taken to the extreme: "How to Be Invisible is paranoid fun. If you find yourself practicing all the techniques in the book, you're probably nuts. But, then again, you might just be an international man (or woman) of mystery yourself."
How to Be Invisible: A Step-By-Step Guide to Protecting Your Assets, Your Identity, and Your Life by J. J. Luna (Hardcover - Jun 2000)
How to Be Invisible: The Essential Guide to Protecting Your Personal Privacy, Your Assets, and Your Life by J. J. Luna (Hardcover - 18 Mar 2004)
In How to Be Invisible, international man of mystery J.J. Luna details all the different ways to protect privacy from prying eyes. Luna has devoted most of his adult life to obscuring himself from various institutions and authorities. He doesn't tell us exactly why. That might compromise his privacy . . . . Get it?
The book is a light and fun read (if you're into this kind of thing), going point-by-point through all the different means that governments, corporations, lawyers, and private detectives use to track and find you, and how to defeat them. Different chapters go into the mail system, using "ghost" addresses, trash and utilities, cell phones, bank accounts and money transfers, computers, and so on.
Without intending to teach broader lessons, the book does. It reveals the high cost of privacy, or at least the high cost of privacy fastidiously kept. Luna takes and recommends some extravagant measures to protect information. He illustrates through example that true privacy is a luxury, and a pricey one when taken to the extreme.
The book does have ideas that can be useful for ordinary people in structuring their financial affairs. Appearing impoverished, or at least not rich, can be very helpful in avoiding lawsuits. Keeping assets in obscure corporations can create the impression of modest means to all but the best investigators. Luna constantly talks about the technique, though he doesn't exactly describe how to do it.
Luna insists on obeying laws, though he does condone selective lying. By repeating his no-law-breaking mantra, he stays on the right side of the line, but he might have a toe or two on the other side. And how couldn't you with the swarm of anti-privacy laws descending on us from all directions?
How to Be Invisible is paranoid fun. If you find yourself practicing all the techniques in the book, you're probably nuts. But, then again, you might just be an international man (or woman) of mystery yourself.
That's amazing, Tannis! Kate must definitely be alluding to this book. She is afterall and international woman of mystery. I read an interview in which the interviewer mentioned that Radiohead had written a song called How to disappear completely and Kate didn't like the idea that her song had a similar theme. It's strange then that she might copy the titled so exactly (presuming she did).
With the help of a music industry lawyer, she set up Kate Bush Publishing and Novercia, a management company with herself as MD and her parents and brothers the board of directors. Thenceforth, these companies licensed her work to EMI. KaTe: "Because my family were involved I was with people I could trust," she says, then breaks off. "I'm sorry, I feel quite worried about mentioning the companies' names." But they're on the album sleeves. "They are, aren't they? You're absolutely right. It's my paranoia again! There have been things in the past.. . Oh, I can't remember. When you're doing interviews you have to be almost like a security guard sometimes. Anyway, for me, one of the most important things to come out of managing myself is the fact that I could decide how long I spent on each album." Q, "Iron Maiden", November 1989 www.gaffaweb.org/reaching/i89_q3.html
Yes, Amy, isn't it amazing! KaTe is often seen as guarding her privacy fiercely, like the Bonnie & Clyde Weimaraners, fearless guardians of family and territory!
KaTe is certainly an international woman of mystery, and the Luna book is bound to have appealed to the paranoia and passion of the KaTe inside! So, I too am sure that KaTe's HTBI was inspired by the Luna book.
Below is the extract from the Badhorn interview you mentioned. She does seem annoyed (compare KaTe's comedic response to "Rocket's Tail" in the NME). And as you say, it is rather strange that KaTe may have copied the title from the Luna book, considering that she states, "I hate that one of [my ideas] wouldn't be original."
Indeed, implicit in KaTe's response to Philippe Bradhorn is the claim that How To Be Invisible was her 'original' idea. So, if the Luna book had inspired the song, then, by claiming the idea as her own, KaTe is surely guilty of plagiarism. No wonder KaTe wants to protect her privacy from prying eyes...
Philippe Badhorn: The theme of the song "How to be invisible" is close to the one of a Radiohead song ("How to disappear" on Kid A). They took it from a book. Kate Bush: Really? (she seems a bit annoyed). Should I had known it I wouldn't have written it. Everybody has ideas and I hate that one of mine wouldn't be original. I was very afraid of that all these years. That the theme of my songs would be used by others before me. Rolling Stone (France), February 2006 gaffa.org/reaching/iv06_rollingstone_france.html
ROCKET'S TAIL (For Rocket): "Rocket's my cat, but it was written for the Bulgarian girls. Ridiculous collection of images, <Just read the lyrics and you'll see immediately that Kate is deliberately deflecting the request for an explanation. This is not a "ridiculous collection of images"! -- IED> nothing to do with Rocket, really. He just started it all off. "At the time the only song I could think of that mentioned rockets was Rocket Man <which, by the time she was working with the Bulgarians, Kate had already agreed to record a cover version of for the forthcoming Elton John/Bernie Taupin tribute album>, but since then there have been about three of them. I feel a bit like the Python sketch with that guy making eight-millimetre films, saying, 'Hitchcock had his Rear Window out while mine was still at the chemists'." NME, "In the Realm of the Senses ", October 7, 1989 www.gaffaweb.org/reaching/i89_nme2.html
How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found is a book by Doug Richmond, originally released in 1985, which is a how-to guide on starting a new identity, and has been described as "one of the odder self-help titles on the market". It has the subtitle Planning a disappearance, arranging for new identification, finding work, establishing credit, pseudocide (creating the impression you're dead), and more. The book recommends a method of disappearing by assuming the identity of a dead person with similar vital statistics and age, and also includes a section on avoiding paper trails which, due to the age of the book, may no longer be relevant or useful.
Things start getting a whole lot better on How to Be Invisible (the title reminds me of the Radiohead track How To Disappear Completely). The song has a much fresher sound with a spattering of jagged guitars and electronic noises on a flatbed of Kate's unyielding keyboard playing and not a cringe worthy lyric in sight; I could see this being another single! icScotland, November 8, 2005 gaffa.org/reaching/revaeweb2.html#icScotland02