Sunday, July 30, 2023

“Here I Go . . .”

One of my all-time favorite recording artists, British singer-songwriter Kate Bush, celebrates her 65th birthday today.

Happy Birthday, Kate!

Left: Kate performing in her “Before The Dawn” show in 2014. The 22-night concert residency, held at the Hammersmith Apollo in London, sold out within 15 minutes online, 35 years after Kate’s last tour.

To celebrate Kate’s birthday here at The Wild Reed, I share Mojo magazine’s 2014 spotlighting of Kate’s 1986 single, “Hounds of Love.” At the time, Mojo identified this song as Number One in a feature highlighting the “Top 100 Songs of Kate Bush.” In the magazine’s review of this particular track, love and the surrendering to another are deftly explored, to the extent that “Hounds of Love” is declared “an astoundingly vivid, brilliantly concise depiction of a moment when life could change forever.”

And hopefully in a good way.

“Here I go,” indeed!


Released in May 1985, Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms was the first album to sell a million copies on compact disc. There was, however, a more fitting herald of the CD age on the way. That September, the release of Kate Bush’s fifth album marked the elevation of a thoroughly modern pop edifice – shiny, silvered music seemingly made for the new format.

The casual observer, noting the singer’s performance of the title track on Top of the Pops in February 1986 (speeding the song on its way to Number 18 in the UK singles chart) might have wondered if this signalled the assimilation of a free spirit by the earthbound ’80s. Here was Bush wih big hairspray hair, in a double-breasted pants suit offset by a demure red bow, a world away from the eccentric personae – ballet dunce; Aboriginal space woman – she’d assumed to deliver songs from The Dreaming, three years previously. But the casual observer would have been mistaken. Beneath its thin patina of sophistication, “Hounds of Love” is a song that comes surging straight from the hindbrain, propelled by the primal impulse of fight-or-flight.

No matter how refined the circumstances of its creation – built at leisure in Bush’s new 48-track studio – or how newfangled its production -- still tangible in the hi-tech stabs and pads of Fairlight, and the crispness of Jonathan Williams’ cello – “Hounds of Love” is red in tooth and claw, its breathless, atavistic fear of capture mixed with almost supernatural rapture. Love is thundering through the psychosexual woods, hunting down somebody terrified of what it means to surrender to another person.

The song opens with a quote from British horror film Night of the Demon [“It’s in the trees! It’s coming!”] but that’s the only moment it feels like theatre. From then on, “Hounds of Love” maintains a dizzying emotional velocity, the relentless double drumming of Charlie Morgan and Stuart Elliott stamping down on the accelerator. Bush’s voice might dip and soften, but those drums are merciless, while the strident backing vocals, like a hunting horn call, goad her on if introspection threatens to slow her down.

In its unstoppable forward thrust, it has the inarguable logic of a dream, although not the way meant by Rolling Stone magazine in its cold review of the album: “Still a precoocious, coddled child at 27, Kate Bush loses herself in daydreams and then turns them into songs.” But it is a mature, womanly voice that rings out of “Hounds of Love,” not a fey or elfin one, and certainly not one that asks to be patronised. Neither is this a song ignorant of the ways of the world. (Coincidentally, the album pushed Madonna’s Like a Virgin from the top of the UK charts, another record named after a single that wasn’t quite as unworldly as it appeared.) The line “I’ve always been a coward / And I don’t know what’s good for me” speaks of experience, but not as much as the delirious cry of “Here I go . . .” uttered in full awareness that the ground is about to give way under her, that is the very second before the falling begins.

This is a woman who’s been here before. She knows what to expect. The Dreaming closed with the complete retreat of “Get Out of My House” – “I am the concierge chez-moi, honey / Won’t let you in for love nor money” – a shutting down, a locking of door, a definitive no. Four years after Hounds of Love, Bush's next album would open with the blissful multiple-yeses of “The Sensual World.” Right in the middle is “Hounds of Love,” torn by competing instincts, trembling on the brink. Here I go. Don’t let me go.

It is part of “Hounds of Love”’s startling power, however, that this is not the song’s only exhilarating emotional drop. It never lets up, every line heightening the pitch, closing the distance between song and listener. “Take my shoes off / And throw them in the lake” might be a ploy to shake the hounds off the scent, but it’s delivered with such guttural, throaty abandon that it’s hard not to feel that it’s a rejection of every trapping of convention. The need for freedom is so great, she’s prepared to run into oblivion: "I’ll be two steps on the water." There’s also the image of a fox, caught by dogs: “He let me take him in my hands / His little heart it beats so fast . . .”

The shout-out to the dead in The Red Shoes’ “Moments of Pleasure” might come close, but this is surely the most instantly, unexpectedly heart-breaking moment in Bush’s work. The tenderness, this moment of compassion amid all the hectic human drama, is incredibly moving – a reminder, too, that tamed creatures can be more savage than wild things. No wonder this bolting, racing, shoe-hurling woman is scared of standing still.

She talks herself around in the end, or so it seems, but the song remains an astoundingly vivid, brilliantly concise depiction of a moment when life could change forever. It ends with a suddeness that makes it seem like she’s hit the ground and you’ve hit it with her, breathlessly waiting for an answer to the question: “Do you know what I really need?” The uncertainly, however, is not reflected in the confidence – the perfect, dazzling completeness – of the song’s execution. On “Hounds of Love,” Kate Bush is going at full pelt, chasing the horizon, running her vision to ground. Not really the hunted, but the hunter all along.

– Mojo: The Music Magazine
October 2014

About the song’s music video, which Kate herself directed, Wikipedia notes:

It was inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller film The 39 Steps (1935) and a Hitchcock lookalike features in it (a nod to the director’s famous cameo appearances in his movies).

Related Off-site Links:
Here’s Kate Bush’s Best Songs to Celebrate Her 65th Birthday – Matthew Doherty (We Got This Covered, July 30, 2023).
Kate Bush Says “A Light Has Gone Out” as She Pays Tribute to Sinéad O’Connor – Zoe Delaney (Mirror, July 28, 2023).
The Kate Bush Song Inspired by J. Robert Oppenheimer – Jay Tayson (Far Out, July 25, 2023).
Hounds of Love: Why Kate Bush’s Classic Album Still Connects
– Joe Tiller (Dig!, September 16, 2022).
Big Boi Suggests a Kate Bush Collaboration May Be On the Way – Jack Whatley (Far Out, July 27, 2020).
Ranking All of Kate Bush’s Studio Albums – Jack Whatley (Far Out, July 30, 2020).

For more of Kate Bush at The Wild Reed, see:
The Kate Bush Renaissance of 2022
“A Kind of Elemental Force”
Elizabeth Aubrey: Quote of the Day – June 19, 2022
Ben Hewitt on the 40th Anniversary of Kate Bush’s Never for Ever
Happy Birthday, Kate! (2020)
Mark Beaumont: Quote of the Day – July 20, 2018
Celebrating the Unique and Influential Kate Bush
“A Dark Timelessness and Stillness Surrounds Her Wild Abandonment”
“Can You See the Lark Ascending?”
Nick Coleman: 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
“There’s Light in Love, You See”

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Out and About – Spring 2023

Well, we're well into summer here in the northern hemisphere. All the more reason to take a look back on the spring of earlier this year via the latest installment of The Wild Reed’s “Out and About” series.

Of course, if you follow this blog, you would know that I experienced autumn during part of my spring this year. This was because for the month of March I was in my homeland of Australia.

For The Wild Reed’s “Australian Sojourn – March 2023” series, see:
Central Station
Last Days in Australia

I must admit it was difficult to leave Australia’s beautiful and warm autumn weather and return to Minnesota’s gray and cold in-between time; that time when the snow and ice of winter have mostly gone but the greening of spring is yet to emerge.

Still, return from Australia to my life here in Minnesota I did. . . . And following is a review of the people, places, and experiences that were most meaningful to me in the weeks of spring following my April 4, 2023 return.

The most fulfilling aspect of my life in Minnesota is my work as a spiritual health provider (or chaplain) on the interdisciplinary Palliative Care team at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, a northern suburb of Minneapolis.

Above: With all but one of my Palliative Care team members (Stephanie was away the day this photo was taken). From left: Kari, Jenna, Kate, me, Maddie, and Nikki.

I mentioned how fulfilling I find my work as an interfaith chaplain. Here’s some feedback I’ve recently received that speaks to this experience of meaning and fulfilment.

• You have a beautiful God-given gift! I want you to know how much my sisters and I appreciated your genuine words of support and prayer when you visited with us in our mom's hospital room. Thank you for allowing God to work through you in wonderful ways! You make a difference! (We know mom appreciated you as well!)

• Thank you again for all of your time and words of comfort. You really made a difference, and mom loved the time always. So, when you have a bad day and maybe question your influence, look here and know you DO make a positive difference.

Above: Lunch at Soberfish with my friend Lauren – Saturday, April 22, 2023.

Soberfish is a wonderful Thai restaurant and sushi bar in my south Minneapolis neighborhood of Seward. A few weeks after this photo was taken Lauren joined her spouse in Australia to begin a new life.

I’m wearing my Marianne 2024 t-shirt in support of author and activist Marianne Williamson’s second shot at the U.S. pesidency. She is challenging President Joe Biden for the Democratic party nomination.

For The Wild Reed’s spring 2023 coverage of Marianne’s campaign, see:
Marianne 2024
Marianne Williamson Launches 2024 Presidential Campaign
Progressive Perspectives on Marianne Williamson’s Presidential Run
More Progressive Perspectives on Marianne Williamson’s Presidential Run
Ben Burgis: Quote of the Day – March 10, 2020
Despite the Undemocratic Antics of the DNC, Marianne Williamson Plans on “Winning the Nomination”
Marianne Williamson on The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton – 05/30/23
Marianne Williamson in New Hampshire
Voters, Not the DNC, Should Choose the Nominee

Unfamilar with Marianne Williamson’s 2024 presidential campaign?

Following is the 2-minute video that Marianne released when she launched her campaign on March 4, 2023.

Above: With my friend Pete – Thursday, April 13, 2023. We’re at Axebridge Wine Co. in the North Loop of Minneapolis.

Above: On Friday, May 12 my friends Kathleen and Rita hosted a lunch for a group of our mutual friends. From left: Mary Lynn, Tom, Rita, Kathleen, and Mike.

Above: Friends Kathleen and Rita – Friday, May 12, 2023.

Above and left: Spring blooms!

For more images of the beauty of spring in Minnesota, click here.

Above: Adnan – Sunday, June 4, 2023. We were at the Seward Co-op, located close to my home in south Minneapolis.

Above: On the weekend of June 17-18 I visited my friends Angie and Bryan at their camper in the Pelican Lake RV Resort.

Located just outside of the town of Glenwood in Pope County, Minnesota, Pelican Lake is about a two hour drive northwest from the Twin Cities.

Angie and I first met in 1995, which was my second year in the U.S. after my relocation to Minnesota from Australia. At the time, both of us were students at the College of St. Catherine (now the St. Catherine University) in the Twin Cities. Angie’s hometown is Montevideo, west of the Twin Cities, and back in the late 1990s and early 2000s I spent many happy summer weekends and Thanksgiving holidays in Montevideo with Angie and her family, who welcomed me as one of their own.

Above: Friends Amanda and Tim – Pelican Lake, Saturday, June 17, 2023.

Above: In Glenwood, MN – Saturday, June 17, 2023.

Above: Sunset at Pelican Lake, MN – Saturday, June 17, 2023.

Above: With Amanda and Tim – Sunday, June 18, 2023.

Left: With Angie and Byran – Sunday, June 18, 2023.

When your world moves too fast and you lose yourself in the chaos, introduce yourself to each color of the sunset.

Reaquaint yourself with the earth beneath your feet.

Thank the air that surrounds you with every breath you take.

Find yourself in the appreciation of life.

Above and right: On the evening of May 23, my dear friend Joan and I saw Billy Porter at the State Theatre in downtown Minneapolis.

And, yes, it was a great show.

Above: My friend Deandre and his beloved animal companion Tyga – June 5, 2023.

Above: Tyga! – May 15, 2023

Above: Friends Pete and Jeffrey – April 13, 2023.

Above: Friends (from left) Noelle, John, Scott, Alicia, Liana, and little Amelia – Sunday, April 9, 2023.

Above and below: Amelia, demonstrating two of her many creative talents.

What a difference four months can make!

At left is my moon-gazing hare sculpture almost completely buried in the record-breaking snow of Minnesota’s winter of 2022-2023. Fast-forward to May 2023 (above) and this same ornamental hare is surrounded by fragrant and colorful spring blooms.

Above: On Sunday, May 23, friends and I attended a talk on the war involving Ukraine, Russia, and NATO by peace activist Medea Benjamin, co-author with Nicolas J. S. Davies of War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict. (Pictured from left: Sue Ann, Carol, Medea, and me.)

For more about Medea’s presentation and to read similar progressive perspectives on the war by Cornel West and Marianne Williamson, click here.

Above and below: Thanks to my friend Deandre, I was able to purchase a bicycle this spring for a very reasonable price. Deandre has a real knack for finding sweet deals online.

Since early June I’ve been regularly cycling on the bike paths along both sides of the Mississippi River near my home in south Minneapolis. It’s been a great way to both decompress after my work day and get in better shape!

Above: A spring 2023 self portrait.

Spring 2023 Wild Reed posts of note:
Progressive Perspectives on Marianne Williamson’s Presidential Run: “There’s No Downside to Her Doing This”
When Neutrality Is an Inhumane Choice
Andrew Harvey on Our “Divine Identity”
More Progressive Perspectives on Marianne Williamson’s Presidential Run
“The Mistreatment and Discrimination Against Palestinians Is Not Unprecedented – It’s Baked Into the Foundation of the Political System in Israel”
Ellen Yaroshefsky: Quote of the Day – March 31, 2023
It’s Not Just Trump: Ralph Nader on the “Lawlessness” of Other U.S. Presidents
From Spiritual Death to Rebirth
A Vortex of the Miraculous
Tomb Time
He Is Risen, and So Are You
Jeff Sharlet on the Fascist Ideology of Donald Trump and Marjorie Taylor Greene
Justin Jones and Justin J. Pearson: “We Are Still Here, and We Will Never Quit”
Robert Reich: Quote of the Day – April 11, 2023
Remembering and Celebrating Dusty
April Vignettes
Despite the Undemocratic Antics of the DNC, Marianne Williamson Plans on “Winning the Nomination”
A Visiting Spring Breeze
Finding Balance in the Presence of the Beloved
Beltane and the Fire Within
Liz Theoharis: Quote of the Day – May 3, 2023
Ed Simon on Why We Need a Pagan Theology
Barbara Anne Kozee on Knowing the Divine in “Queer Time”
In the Garden of Spirituality – Peng Roden Her
Norman Solomon and the Speech That Biden Should Give
Digging Deeper With Benjamin Booker
Rhone Fraser: Quote of the Day – May 24, 2023
In This “Global Fascist Moment,” a Message to the Target Corporation: Giving In to Fascism Doesn’t Prevent Violence. It Emboldens It
Remembering Tina Turner
May Vignettes
The Biblical Roots of “From Each According to Ability; To Each According to Need”
Marianne Williamson on The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton – 05/30/23
The Latest on the Return of Dr. Algernon Edwards
Marianne Williamson’s 21st Century Economic Bill of Rights
Three Progressive Voices on the War in Ukraine
Why Trump’s Case Is Unique
What Life Taught Tina Turner

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Out and About – Winter 2022-2023
Out and About – Autumn 2022
Out and About – Summer 2022
Out and About – Spring 2022
Spring . . . Within and Beyond (2022)
Out and About – Autumn 2021
Out and About – Summer 2021
Out and About – Spring 2021

For previous Out and About series, see: 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022

Images: Michael J. Bayly.