Friday, August 05, 2016

"There's Light in Love, You See"

One of my all-time favorite singer-songwriters, Kate Bush, celebrated her 58th birthday last Saturday. Happy (belated) birthday, Kate!

To mark the occasion I share this evening "Kashka from Baghdad," a track from her 1978 album Lionheart. It's accompanied by an excerpt from Richard Scott's article "Mysteries of Desire: Kate Bush, Beyond the Hits," which eloquently and insightfully explores the daringly groundbreaking nature of the song. Enjoy!

Written in 1978, homosexuality had only been legal for fourteen years [in Britain] when Kate Bush sang "they know the way to be happy" as Kashka and his unnamed boyfriend twirl to an LP of oud and joza behind the net curtain of their rented room. Kate Bush, just like us, is outside their boarding house room – nose pressed up against the steamy windows watching their slender bodies move. Kashka is teaching his boyfriend to dance, his capable hands touch every part of him. She longs to be inside, to be warm, to be with them. We hear something like the wooden stick of a violin bow hitting the strings or an irregular carriage clock storing up its ticks before releasing them in a flurry – and when she plays the piano her hands are Kashka's hands moving over the body of his lover, his hip-bones, his nape, his spine. "I long to be with them", she sings. She must be so lonely. We become as lonely – and the music of her song becomes the music spilling from Kashka's room onto the grey London street. Grumbling neighbours and commuters pass by and tut at their waltzing shadows as Kashka whispers, "Left. Right. The other foot. I love you." "They never go for walks." Why? She doesn't give homophobes the satisfaction of affecting their behaviour or infiltrating her song – she gives Kashka and his boyfriend dignity – "the moon's not bright enough", she sings, certainly not as bright as their love. "La lune! La lune!" Even that beautiful queer moon is seemingly dimmed by their impressive passion.

– Richard Scott
Excerpted from "Mysteries of Desire: Kate Bush, Beyond the Hits"
The Quietus
September 2, 2014

Kashka from Baghdad lives in sin they say
With another man
But no-one knows who
Old friends never call there
Some wonder if life's inside at all
If there's life inside at all
But we know the lady who rents the room
She catches them calling à la lune

At night they're seen
Laughing, loving
They know the way
To be happy

They never go for walks
Maybe it's because the moon's not bright enough
There's light in love you see
I watch their shadows
Tall and slim in the window opposite
I long to be with them
'Coz when all the alley-cats come out
You can hear music from Kashka's house

At night they're seen
Laughing, loving
They know the way
To be happy

For more of Kate Bush at The Wild Reed, see:
Celebrating the Unique and Influential Kate Bush
"A Dark Timelessness and Stillness Surrounds Her Wild Abandonment"
"Can You See the Lark Ascending?"
Quote of the Day – August 17, 2014
Scaling the Heights
"Oh, Yeah!"
Celebrating Bloomsday in St. Paul (and with Kate Bush)
"Rosabelle, Believe . . ."
Just in Time for Winter
"Call Upon Those You Love"
A Song of Summer

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Love at Love's Brightest
A Dance of Divine Light
Sex as Mystery, Sex as Light (Part 1)
Sex as Mystery, Sex as Light (Part 2)
What We Mean by Love
"Make Us Lovers, God of Love"
The Light Within
The Longing for Love: God's Primal Beatitude
The Art of Surrender
To Be Held and to Hold
Liberated to Be Together
Same-Sex Desires: "Immanent and Essential Traits Transcending Time and Culture"
Remembering and Reclaiming a Wise, Spacious, and Holy Understanding of Homosexuality

Opening image: Subject and photographer unknown.

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