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Monday, August 25, 2014

50 Words For Kate: #2 - Queen

When I was a child (running in the night), things like record sales, chart positions and awards mattered to me. I always wanted Kate Bush to sell more, climb higher and win accolades and was disappointed when other, less deserving acts beat her. I remember my best friend at high school, Ben, was a Madonna fan, and we would race to see whether Hounds Of Love or Like A Virgin was number one that week in the album charts. We argued over who was more talented, I listed Kate's many musical abilities, Ben pointed out Madonna played the cowbell.

As an adult, somewhere in my forties, I have learned to appreciate what matters most is not what the rest of the world thinks about something, it's what it says to me and how it moves my own heart that counts. Of course it's lovely when the artist you love is appreciated by the wider world, so it was a pleasure to see Kate recognised in three significant, if very different ways during 2012 and 2013.

In April 2013, Kate was at Windsor Castle to be awarded Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, or CBE for short, from Her Majesty the Queen. Kate later posted this "thank you" on her website:

I feel incredibly thrilled to receive this honour which I share with my family, friends and fellow musicians and everyone who has been such an important part of it all.
Now I've got something really special to put on top of the Christmas tree.
The 'everyone' in the quote above of course includes all of you.  Thank you so very much for all your fantastic support and encouragement.  I feel extremely privileged to still have an audience.  It's you that have made my work, which would otherwise have just been creative projects, into a success.
Many, many thanks to the best fans ever,
Kate  x

It was not the first time Kate had met the monarch. At a Royal Academy of Music event in 2002 Kate had asked the Queen to autograph her programme for her son, not realising that Her Majesty does not do such things. As Kate later said: 

“I would do anything for Bertie, including making an a***hole of myself in front of a whole roomful of people and the Queen.” 

On this occasion, there were no such lapses of etiquette. The smile on Kate's face says it all.

A year earlier, Kate beat the current critical darling, PJ Harvey, and multi-million selling Adele to win Best Pop Award for 50 Words For Snow at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards. Kate made another rare public appearance to collect the award:

The third honour was potentially the most exciting. It was rumoured that Kate was going to be performing live! Yes, the Closing Ceremony for the London 2012 Olympic Games was to be A Symphony Of British Music, and was set to feature some of the most legendary names in British popular music. Naturally those legends included Kate, and the rumours reached fever pitch when it was reported that she was shooting a new video for Running Up That Hill featuring Jude Law! This photo was apparently a leak from the set:

I had deserted London for L.A. the year before, but managed to tap in to the live streaming of the event. Just as well, as the US broadcaster decided to cut Kate from their delayed prime-time presentation! As predicted, the opening bars of Running Up That Hill began and the commentators seemed to think it was really happening to ya... 

I swear I watched the whole thing expecting she would appear, even to the bitter end I thought she might jump out of that pyramid, like a stripper out of a birthday cake. Oh well, I guess that confirmed the fact that she was never going to play live again. At least we got a lovely remix of R.U.T.H. It even reached number 6 on the UK charts!

What a lovely, triumphant year that had been for Kate. Now we all just had to wait and see what she'd do next...

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