Kate Bush was fifty the other week.
This came as something of a shock to me (although I already knew that her fiftieth was approaching) because I always think of the nineteen year old woman who first entranced me when she sang ‘Wuthering Heights’ way back in 1978. For me, it was the start of a relationship of sorts (she has been a constant in my life although she hasn’t the faintest idea who I am) which continues to this day.
Kate has provided the soundtrack to my life. At every important moment, her music has been there for me and with me, encouraging, consoling, vivifying, and always enrapturing me. Each of her albums has its own personality and every one is now a friend; I spent time in the company of one, then another. And certain of her songs are now forever associated with the most profound moments of my life, so that when I hear them, I am instantly transported back to a particular time, a particular moment, a particular feeling.
Kate is also the only artist whose career I have followed unfailingly all these years. Others have come and gone; she alone remains, ever present. But although I class myself as very much a ‘fan’, I am astonished when I meet other fans and realise that their fandom far exceeds my own; although I think I know much about her music, it could really be the subject of one or two theses, and still there would be material left over.
And the music is really what it is all about. I don’t subscribe to that class of fandom which makes you think you have a right on that artist, who remains a private individual despite their celebrity. Kate has always been very protective of her privacy and I am glad about that; it is hers, to do with as she chooses. But it also means that there will forever be a mystique about Kate – something which is all too lacking in these days of pop culture, celebrity for the sake of celebrity and the over-keen desire to appear in every tabloid and magazine. Kate Bush bucks that particular trend and she does it in a skilful and very experienced way, and I am glad about that.
Happy Birthday, Kate…