Archive for the ‘CULTURE’ Category
Sitting in my seat admiring the art deco splendour of the Hammersmith Apollo, I really had no idea what to expect from Kate Bush’s return to the stage after 35 years. As she walked onto the stage the emotion in the audience was palpable and she was clearly delighted by it and responded graciously and gratefully. Any worries that she might be nervous or stiff performing were soon dispelled as she launched into an energetic and evocative rendition of Hounds of Love, note-perfect and immediately, amazingly bringing back all sorts of happy emotions from my childhood – a kind of musical muscle memory.
I found myself wondering, how did she get to be so confident? This woman who was writing songs like The Man With the Child In His Eyes and Wuthering Heights as a teenager and bringing them to life with such fearless vision. Where does that imagination and absolute conviction come from? All the snide comments about how she’s – gasp, clutch skirts – grown older makes my blood boil. No, she isn’t a teenager anymore, she’s a grown woman with a teenage son of her own (who performs with terrifying confidence, he is truly his mother’s son). But you can easily see the ghost of that eerily precocious, creative girl in the woman today – there’s the same strength and sweetness in her face and that haunting, unique voice remains pure and clear as a bell.
**I didn’t break the ‘no photos’ rule btw, this is an official pic!**
It also struck me that Kate Bush is totally, absolutely English and this performance – right down to the ever so slightly am-drammy bits – could only ever happen in England. You could’t imagine Kate Bush shakin’ her booty ‘in da club’ – she’d more likely be striding across bleak grey fells in a stout jersey or hamming it up in a unitard. She’s goofy, eccentric, never cynical or arch and I think that’s part of the reason people are bewitched by the music she makes – her lyrics and those dreamy soundscapes are often challenging, sometimes downright weird, but because she offers them with such honesty, you have to respect her. That and she writes a bloody good pop song.
In that respect she makes me think of other ‘out there’ female artists – the likes of Bjork, Tori Amos, Paloma Faith – they charm their fans because they are unselfconscious, there’s no pretension. They couldn’t care less about being ‘cool’ or ‘sexy’ – and by virtue of that fact (and because they are insanely talented) they are infinitely more attractive than any sad pop puppet. It’s not about age, size or whether someone is or isn’t conventionally attractive – it’s an innate quality, some charisma that you just can’t manufacture or fake.
I can’t really put into words how I felt seeing songs that are such a part of me performed live before my very eyes. Kate Bush has been an icon in the truest sense since I was small, reassuring me that it’s not only ok to be a bit weird and to stand apart from the mainstream, it’s actually something to embrace and celebrate. I will remain forever grateful to her for that knowledge, which I clung to like a lifebelt through choppy youthful waters, and for giving me a truly unique experience to treasure one night in Hammersmith.
Oh and some thoughts on gig-going etiquette:
If you have to go to the toilet three songs into a show maybe don’t drink so many pints?
And if you really need a drink so badly you have go to the bar in the middle of a once in a lifetime show you paid good money to see rather than wait til the intermission then you definitely have problems. FFS.
Also, please don’t ‘sexy dance’ at the Kate Bush concert. Or anywhere for that matter, but definitely not ever at the Kate Bush concert.
Have you seen BBC4’s newest Skandi crime drama Crimes of Passion? As is my way I’d decided I didn’t like the look of it based on the trailer, then caught the second episode and sheepishly had to admit that it is Really Rather Good. And the best thing about it is Puck Ekstedt and her amazing wardrobe. Yes the detective hero Christer Wijk looks like a smiley Don Draper and granted his best pal Eje is also a swoonesome Swede, but its Eje’s fiancee Puck who had me at hallå.
I’ve been a bit fed up with my style recently and Puck has saved me from the fashion doldrums. I didn’t want a total makeover you understand – that’s never advisable, both in terms of budget and just because the results are never entirely convincing (think of Tai in Clueless). No, I mean more of a refresh – using stuff I already own, just styled in a slightly different way, with a fresh silhouette. When you encounter a woman – whether real or fictional – whose look you really admire, it can help you rediscover the essence of what makes a good outfit – whether it’s the length of a trouser leg or the way a shirt sleeve is rolled just to the elbow – and even if you have a totally different style or body shape, you can incorporate that tiny detail into your own look and reboot it.
Puck is an English lit student (like me!) Independent, brave, intuitive and emancipated (um, like me!), with piercing blue eyes (ok, not like me) that seem to burn into the soul of every suspect, ferreting out secrets large and small by intuition alone. And she wears the coolest clothes, in the most amazing way. High-waisted cigarette pants, crisp blouses with wide, flat collars and nippy little cardigans are perfectly suited to the fresh Swedish summer.
Her trademark outfit is clean, simple, elegant, chic – Katherine Hepburn with an indie twist. While the other women in the show are wafting around in full-skirted summer frocks or slinking about in pencil skirts, Puck can run, jump and bop aggressive men on the head in her boyish threads. She is the ultimate gamine crime fighter.
The reissue of Radclyffe Hall’s seminal lesbian novel The Well of Loneliness (£9.99, Hesperus Classics) is one of our March picks on our book blog over at Twin magazine. We have three copies of this new edition to give away so for your chance to win one, just email your name and address to [email protected] and we will pick three winners at random!
After a short break over December and January (see Instagram for further details) we’re back blogging here at Pamflet and are also delighted to announce a special collaboration with our favourite style biannual Twin‘s blog.
From February we’ll be their new book bloggers, posting monthly book reviews and recommendations as well as reports on literary festivals and happenings. We’ll mostly be covering fiction (classic and contemporary), style, fashion and pop culture titles (what else really?) and can’t wait to get started!
Keep an eye on Twitter and Twin for our first roundup which is coming very soon.
‘Early in May 1983, I got a call from my mother, Cis Corman. She was casting Scorsese’s new film, The Last Temptation of Christ and she’d just auditioned a woman I really had to photograph. “She’s an original! I’ve never met anyone like her!’ … The woman was Madonna, and the part she’d auditioned for was the Virgin Mary.’ American photographer Richard Corman‘s introduction to Madonna NYC 83, a new (and MDNA-approved) book cataloging his encounter/collaboration with the queen of pop which is published this week.
I will never get tired of looking at old Madonna pix and within a month of her madgesty launching her latest creative/hype/humanitarian project, Art for Freedom, MNYC83 is a reminder of why and how she became famous in the first place – her moves, her face, her style and her attitude. Even after 30 years her flirtatious joy, brazen ambition, clutch of cultural references (give Boy George his hat back) and raw NYC nothing-to-lose-ness are still as fresh and as challenging as ever in Corman’s photgraphs. Here are some of my favourites… Read More…
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