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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

50 Words For Kate: #28 - Katemas

Happy Katemas everyone!

You look puzzled... let me explain. Today is Kate Bush's birthday, a day of great celebration not just for Kate and her friends and family, but also for the thousands of fans she has reached through her music. On this day each year, we give thanks for the gift of Kate. Some of us may even gather together, throw a party, or raise a glass in her honour. Being a Kate Bush fan is like being in the loveliest, gentlest and most enthusiastic secret club. Yes we can sometimes fall out over little things, like who loves Kate the most (it's me, by the way), but mostly we are bonded together by the knowledge that there is another person in the world who get's it.

Of course, fans come in many shapes and sizes, and I'm not suggesting that Kate fans are any better than fans of say, One Direction. I'm joking: of course I'm saying that. To be a Kate Bush fan requires levels of fidelity and insanity that a teenybopper can only dream about.  In years to come they will look back with nostalgia and maybe a little embarrassment at their teenage crush, but we'll still be waiting for Kate. Always waiting.

I remember when four years between albums seemed like a lifetime. Kate would disappear into her studio and we'd [figuratively] lurk outside, hoping for scraps of information. Finally she would emerge, usually when we were on our last shred of hope, with something beautiful that made the absence feel like mere seconds.

We've weathered 12-year gaps between albums and 35 years between live shows. We think we have Kate all worked out, then she does something like release two albums in the same year. That is the best thing about being a Kate fan. We just never know what's coming next; we just know it will be brilliant.

The fan community around Kate has many clans, but they are not competitive or warring tribes: we are a nation of friendly states. For me, those many long gaps were made bearable by the regular arrival of Homeground magazine. Launched in 1982,  it was a carefully crafted and always loving tribute to everything Kate. Its founders, the "strange twins" Peter, Krys and Dave, were so welcoming of other fans and still are to this day. Homeground has ended its life in print after 79 glorious issues, but lives on as part of the Kate Bush News and Information website, created by Se├ín in 1998. There is also a great online forum attached to this site, where all the latest tidbits on her Kateness are shared.

Earlier this year, Peter, Krys and Dave published two meticulous anthologies, gathering together the best material from Homeground. It stands as a fine testament to Kate and her fans. It's available on Amazon (hint, hint).

More recently I have been welcomed into the pond. FishPeople is an online community of fans on Facebook, named in honour of Kate's record label, where the only rules are:

[1] Be nice. [2] No ads & commerce. [3] Be a FishPerson - in the best Katy way you can be.

Us Fishies are regularly swapping rare photos, clips and sharing our thoughts on all things Kate.

So as you can see, we're not just Kate fans, we're family. This year's Katemas is particularly sweet, as in a few short weeks we will get the chance to breathe the same air as Kate again and witness what comes Before The Dawn.

Happy Birthday Kate x

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