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Sunday, July 13, 2014

50 Words For Kate: #45 - Loving

The music scene in the late 1970s in the UK was an interesting jumble. Punk had arrived and succeeded in shocking the establishment with its harsh sounds and anarchic fashions. Disco ruled the dancefloor, the ultimate good-time sound. Matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs fought for chart supremacy with the Smurfs. ABBA and Boney M tussled over the number one spot. And then there was Kate Bush.

It is easy to forget these days, when Kate is rightly acknowledged as an icon, that such a legacy was far from assured at the start of her career. Serious music journalists, while intrigued by Kate, where initially sniffy. First of all, she was a woman, so what did she know about rock? Also, she had committed the deadliest sin of the English: being born into a nice middle-class family.

And yet for all the punk posturing and prog preaching of that era, I contend that the most truly subversive music moment of the 1970s came from Kate. Don't believe me, then read on...

In September 1978, fresh from recording her second album, Lionheart, Kate popped in to have a chat with the genial Michael Aspel on his BBC 1 afternoon children's show, Ask Aspel. Kate seemed relaxed and happy and she and Michael chatted for several happy minutes, answering a range of questions sent in by the young viewers. Then Kate took to the piano to sing a song about two lovers, Kashka From Baghdad, from her new album. Listen carefully to the lyrics.

Just to remind you:
  • It's 1978
  • It's children's television
  • It's the BBC
  • It's a song about gay men
  • It's a song about gay men in a happy relationship
  • It's 1978!!!
And not a complaint was heard and Mary Whitehouse managed to sleep that night, while thousands of impressionable young minds were opened that little bit further.

Not Punk? Pah! No wonder Johnny Rotten bloody loves Kate!

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