September 21st, 2005


Can't you hear the storm rising?

Kate Bush, "King of the Mountain"
First played on Radio 2, 21 September 2005, 10:07 a.m.

['listen again' on R2 with RealPlayer | Download mp3]

It's the first time we've heard so much as a high-pitched squeak from Kate Bush in over a decade, and that's got to be a momentous occasion. Ken Bruce tries to announce the song without too much build-up, but even he can't keep the excitement out of his voice. You can feel the tension building as we all wait for something whose shape we don't yet know. It's in the trees! It's coming!

And when it comes... it's pure Kate. With a voice that shines through the rough, tangled texture of the music like sunlight reflected on steel, she slips effortlessly back into the place that's been reserved for her. "King of the Mountain" isn't a big comeback number; it's just as if the intervening 12 years never happened. The sense of yearning and striving that characterised 1992's The Red Shoes is as strong as ever:
Could you climb higher and higher?
Could you climb right over the top?
and the simple lyricism is set like a jewel in a rich mythical landscape, a fairytale land with dark shadows amidst its snows.

It would be extravagant to suggest that the figure of the "King of the Mountain", the slumbering hero waiting to reawaken and redeem the land, is a suitable symbol for Kate's return to recording; but the mood of the song is one of awakening. It's a restless, windswept swell of rising energy that can't help but stir something into life that lay buried there, that lay buried deep.
The wind is whistling
The wind is whistling through the house
It's a perfect song for the turning seasons; an autumnal song, with the cold wind catching at its coat-sleeves, bringing a promise of winter. It's too early to say exactly what that wind will carry on its currents; but we're watching from the windows, and we can hear the storm rising outside.

I'm wasting all your time

So I was in the kitchen, making myself a cup of coffee, I call it the idiot drink, and decided to have one of the doughnuts that Anne had provided for her birthday, not that a birthday's anything to celebrate, ho ho, 21 again, another year closer to another birthday. And the man who was standing there whose name I probably still won't know when I shake the dust of this place from my shoes several months down the line said "Ooh, they're not good for you, you know," and I laughed and said "Well, ho ho, it'll cheer me up, and that's good for me," and did that slight breathy laugh that you do for laughing at your own jokes not because they're funny but to tag them as jokes because they're not funny and otherwise you might not notice and then it's straight into the valley of funny looks and sidling past in corridors. Then I tried to get out through the door with a cup of coffee in one hand and the doughnut slowly oozing jam in the other, arsing the door open with a huff of the hips and then catching it on a foot or an elbow or an oh as if it matters, and somehow the doorhandle swung into my back, so that I made an involuntary "ngh" sound from somewhere down in my belly, and then I worried for the whole way back to my desk that it had sounded as though I'd made a hoggy little "mmm" sound at the prospect of a big cheap sticky doughnut all scratchy with sugar and full of pink plastic jam. And that was my morning.

(no subject)

I wonder if you can mix All-Bran with Bovril to create a tasty low-fat high-fibre snacky soup experience? There's no punchline here, I'm just bored.

(And when she got there, the cupboard was full of tea.)