One proof that blokes are, like me, of A Certain Age is whether they bought The Kick Inside and Lionheart – on vinyl of course – when a young solo artist called Kate Bush burst on to the music scene at the end of the 70s. I plead guilty to still having both, filed away somewhere along with other long playing memorabilia. And Ms Bush was not merely another pop star: she was, well, different.
Kate Bush many, many years ago ...
And one thing that set her apart from the crowd was her iron determination to do things her way, to maintain total control over the music making, and ultimately to make that music whenever she wanted. So there were, on occasion, long gaps between new work as she started a family and spent more time being herself. But now Kate Bush has returned.
A new album called 50 Words For Snow has been released, and with it came a nomination for an Ivor Novello award, with P J Harvey and Adele completing an all-female shortlist. But Graeme Thomson, writing in the Guardian, doubted that Ms Bush would attend even if she won: “It’s been a full decade since she last made a scheduled public appearance” he warned.
... and collecting her award yesterday
Famous last words, though: yesterday Kate Bush came back, appearing in person to receive the Novello from Tom Jones. But what should have been a happy occasion, and celebration of a career spanning 35 years, was soured by the joint efforts of legendarily foul mouthed sorcerer Paul Dacre and his yet more unpleasant apprentice Martin Clarke, as the Mail laid into her appearance.
“When she took to the stage her russet-coloured locks were gone and in their place was a mane of dyed jet black hair, leaving fans hard-pressed to recognise her” told the eponymous Daily Mail Reporter, pausing only momentarily to remind readers that the singer was now “the 53-year old star”, and putting the boot in with zero subtlety by reporting that she was wearing “a baggy black dress”.
And the past image of Ms Bush could not be allowed to be let go, so there are three publicity shots of her from more than 30 years ago. This, though, has not impressed most of those moved to comment on the piece, who are generally more than happy to see her again, and not slow to remind the Mail that their hacks should not be surprised that people may look different over three decades on.
This time, the Mail has misjudged it badly, being sneering and judgmental when most of its readers – and anyone who cares about Kate Bush and her unique contribution to music – want to celebrate her achievement. Good for her.