Belfast Telegraph

Rab's week: Kate expectations as brilliant Bush re-enters the stage

Welcome to the sideways world of our star columnist

By Robert McNeil

The big news of the past week was undoubtedly the announcement that singer/songwriter/goddess Kate Bush is to play her first live dates for 35 years.

Fear not if you're unfamiliar with the KB corpus. We'll be discussing wider issues of creativity, stardom, limelight and Londonshire.

But, once we've done that, here's what you must do: go out and buy all the albums up to Hounds Of Love, the apex of her oeuvre.

Also, search out the DVD Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, recorded during her one and only UK tour in 1979. It remains the best musical/dance performance of modern-ish times.

Why the 35-year absence? Well, the performances were exceptionally demanding physically, and the tour took it oot of the lassie. Also, a roadie died on the tour, which upset her greatly.

And, lastly, Kate felt she'd become something to look at, as it were, an objectified being, a bird to ogle, when deep down, she was a right feminist.

Lack of touring led the Press to describe her as a recluse when she was nothing of the sort. She just lived a quiet life and didn't liked dealing with the media anymore.

All perfectly normal but, being creative into the bargain, she got labelled bonkers, a cheap insult for someone who inspires extraordinary affection and touches something deep in the soul of millions of folk.

Sometimes I wonder what magic produced that. Her essential self, where she lived, the crucial support of her fabby family, and the time she lived in, all conspired benevolently to produce something special and good with a big, huge Gee.

I first saw her, I think, performing Wuthering Heights in an STV afternoon time-filler. A bunch of us, men with hair down to our feet, watched in awe. Then, after a five-minute silence, someone said: "What the hell was that?"

It was magical, but too poppy a phenomenon for us rockers at the time. It was only later that I got into her after her Don't Give Up duet with Peter Gabriel helped pull me out of a rut.

Since then all original female talent has been compared to her, with the wonderful Joanna Newsom genuinely inheriting the mantle.

As for the gigs, London papers referred repeatedly to a 'UK tour': 15 nights in London.

I won't be going myself. But I'm glad she's coming back.

Saturday: So, get off your fat a**!

Bottom news – and scientists at Tel Aviv University have warned that too much sitting down makes the controversial body part enormous.

Evidently, it accelerates the growth of your lipid droplets, which feed fats into the buttockular area.

Don't stand up either. It can make you dizzy. Take the middle option: lie down.

Sunday: Flipper's not feeling too chipper after being on the cider

Swimmers have been warned to stay away from the Dastardly Dolphin of Doolin.

If that makes Dusty, the cetacean under advisement, sound like a monster, I apologise. Although it's true that she's been attacking humans, she has good reason.

The warning to stay away was issued by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) after a young female swimmer suffered rib damage in an unprovoked attack off the Co Clare coast.

That swimmer was innocent. Others not so much. Dusty was "abused", it says here, by a group of drunken young campers who tried to pour cider down her blowhole. Dusty is a bottlenose dolphin, a species not particularly fond of cider. More importantly, they have an aggressive streak, killing porpoises, smaller dolphins and even their young if there's nowt on telly. And that's without a drink. My advice: never swim anywhere for any reason.

Monday: Keep the dream alive, Rachael

Limavady schoolgirl Rachael O'Connor has vowed not to give up on her dream of pop stardom following her elimination from BBC talent show The Voice.

The 17-year-old singer wants to follow in the footsteps of yonder Kylie, one of the world's leading Minogues, who mentored her.

Rachael will get over the disappointment, particularly once the more exciting possibilities of a mortgage, puking babies and a steady office job become available to her. I'll just read that last sentence back. Hell with it. Sing, gal! Sing like a lintie! Stick in at school, but never give up on your dream...

Tuesday: Egalitarianism just the job to get rid of poverty

Poverty in a rich society: it doesn't make sense. The Western World's conundrum is mirrored in the Third World: wealth in a poor society.

You'd think it'd be easy for a supposedly advanced species to put this right. But that presumes egalitarian measures. And what is egalitarianism, readers? Why, that's like communism, innit? Communism didn't work, so we'll just have to hang on to good old cutthroat competition as the basis of our compassionate society. Result? One-in-four people in Northern Ireland living in poverty, with the poorest getting poorer. What can you do, eh?

That despairing question directly impacts the 400,000 people affected. A report by the New Policy Institute, written for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, notes much of the poverty is among people in part-time jobs. The foundation called for an increase in better paying jobs. In an advanced, wealthy society? Dream on.

Wednesday: Fishy business, ma'am

What did yon Queen think she was playing at, asking a fishmonger at a Buck House reception if he'd brought any fish with him?

Was she taking the piscatorial or what?

The controversial incident erupted at a swanky do for Irish guests who've made a contribution to top empire Britain.

Fortunately, the Irishman remained cool and dealt with the faux pas in a diplomatic manner, instead of saying: "No, did you bring your teeth?"

Experts have described the Queen's remark as "light-hearted".

But critics say you can't continue as leader of Britain if you keep asking silly questions about fish.

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