Friday, 30 November 2007

The Kate Bush Tactics Truck #1

In these fractious and turbulent times (and I sincerely hope someone's enjoying that cream horn I was saving for later, chiz chiz), we look for guidance to the great artists of history. A world of shifting consequences can, we hope, be imbued with some sense of order if we study the classics. And nowhere, surely, is there a greater repository of spiritual and geopolitical wisdom than the video oeuvre of Kate Bush.


Let's start off with something accessible and basic. Nothing particularly legendary about this track, manifestly ace though it is, and positively fantastic for a fourth-off-the-album potboiler. But the Bush attention to detail didn't slack at these moments, as the gloriously overwrought video shows.

1) 'It's a film...'
We start off with loads of dry ice, and various historical figures including a WWII pilot standing about and waving, which is clearly a reference to A Matter of Life and Death. Er, or Close Encounters. Or The History of the World Part One. Anyway, it's a film reference of summat or other. Oh, and here comes Kate. Notice how, at this stage of her career, she somehow manages to be mumsy and girly at the same time. (Furtively adjusts Adidas bag on lap.)

2) Springwatch 2086
What every well-dressed post-apocalyptic twitcher should be sporting as they perch nimbly on a basalt plinth to watch the sky boil away. (Time Machine-style giant scorpions not pictured.) Here Kate's just about to hand over to Bill, who's got some terrific news about the family of house martins in that Swaffham rectory.

3) 'S-T-I-M-I-L-A-T-I-N-G! Stimulatin'!'
A kestrel for a knave, or rather for no other reason than it looks great. This sleek bird of prey is never more at home than in front of the Life on Earth title sequence. (Kate also turns up at about this point dressed as Napoleon while someone empties a watering can over her head, which is self-explanatory, really.)

4) Qua-diddly-qua-qua!
Time to step things up a gear, with the tried and tested gambit of flamenco dancing furiously towards the camera with a bunch of oddly-dressed mates. Ten years later, R&B videos would consist of nothing else, but here it's just another choreographical dumpling in Kate's cultural stew.

5) Taking Tiger Mountain by Dancercise
How many videos during this period ended up in a big warehouse full of rubble with loads of blokes with flags running about? Red Box, Killing Joke, Duran Duran, er... Bad News's Burning, Looting, Raping, Shooting... you can think of a hundred more. The end result: when the Berlin Wall finally fell, those delirious, epoch-defining 'hands across No Man's Land' parties looked strangely familiar.

6) 'Hey, Superman, where are you now..?'
Genesis's Land of Confusion, there's another! Which also featured a bloke dressed as Superman, though not running about as prattishly as this one.

7) Going to a Go-Go
Never let it be said Kate lost her sense of goofy fun at this point. The Ninth Wave may have been a tad heavy on the conceptual song cycle roughage for some listeners, but she wasn't above ending her videos with a joyfully daffy auntie-left-alone-with-the-Bailey's-on-Boxing-Night wig out. 'See you next time, on Blockbusters!'


A Kitten in a Brandy Glass said...

Bravo for bringing this stuff to cultural prominence. I am especially entertained by the Bad News reference, although I believe that the correct title for the "political" ditty in question was "Warriors of Genghis Khan"...

Phil Norman said...

Oh, am I confusing the two Bad News films again? Boh!

Five-Centres said...

You can't go wrong with Kate, can you?

Now, if you can dig out her frankly startling performance of There Goes A Tenner on Razzamatazz then I really will be impressed.

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