Lindsay Kemp is on the phone: Scenes from his life from Genet to Bowie

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Opening Scene:

Curtain up on a starry night. Comets fire across the sky. Center stage, one star shines more brightly than the rest, its spotlight points towards a globe of the earth, as it spins form a thread. Glitter falls, as a white screen rises, the lights glow brighter filling the stage.

Blackout.

Single spot tight on a woman’s face

We are unsure if she is in pain or ecstasy. No movement until, at last, she exhales, then pants quickly, rhythmically. Her face glistens. The spot widens, revealing 2 nurses, dressed in starched whites, symmetrically dabbing her face.

The woman is Mrs. Kemp, and she is about to give birth. 3 mid-wives are guided by house lights through the audience to her bedside. Each carries a different gift: towels, a basin of hot water, and swaddling.

It’s May 3rd 1938, and Lindsay Kemp is about to be born.

Blackout.

Though this maybe a fiction, it is all too believable, for nothing is unbelievable when it comes to Lindsay Kemp.

Lindsay Kemp has agreed to give a telephone interview. He is to be called at his home in Italy, by Paul Gallagher from Dangerous Minds, who is based in Scotland. We never hear the interviewer’s questions, only Kemp’s answers and see his facial expressions as he listens to questions.

Photographs of Kemp’s career appear on screens. We hear a recording of his voice.

Lindsay Kemp:

I began dancing the same as everybody does, at birth. The only difference was, unlike many other people, I never stopped. In other words, you know, I love movement. Movement gave me such a great pleasure, such a great joy.

Dance is really my life. I’ve always said for me ‘Dance is Life, Dance is Living, Dance is Life and Life is Dance’. I’ve never really differentiated between the two of them. It’s always been a way of life, a kind of celebration of living.

Kemp is an exquisite dancer, a fantastic artist, and a brilliant visual poet. No hyperbole can truly capture the scale of his talents.

In the 1960s and 1970s, his dance group revolutionized theater with its productions of Jean Genet’s The Maids, Flowers and Oscar Wilde’s Salome.

He shocked critics by working with non-dancers. At the Traverse Theater in Edinburgh, he often cast his productions by picking-up good-looking, young men in Princes Street Gardens - good looks, an open mind and passion for life were more important than learned techniques, or a classical training. His most famous collaborator was the blind dancer, Jack Birkett, aka The Great Orlando – perhaps now best known for his role as Borgia Ginz in Derek Jarman’s Jubilee.

Kemp was the catalyst who inspired David Bowie towards cabaret and Ziggy Stardust. He taught him mime, and directed and performed in Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from mars. He also taught Kate Bush, and choreographed her shows.

As an actor, he gave outrageous and scene-stealing performances in Jarman’s Sebastiane, Ken Russell’s Savage Messiah and Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man.

“I’ve never really differentiated between dance and mime and acting and singing. I’ve always loved all aspects of performing, though I still can’t play the trumpet, but I’d like too. Well, it’s never too late to learn.”

He has performed across the world, from department stores in Bradford, through the Edinburgh Festival, the streets and cafes of Italy, to London’s West End and Broadway.

Kemp is a poetic story-teller, and his performances engage and seduce as much as the words that spill from tell such incredible tales. His voice moves from Dame Edith Evans (“A handbag!”) to a lover sharing intimacies under the covers.

A house in Livorno. A desk with a telephone. A chaise longue. A deck chair and assorted items close at hand. Posters and photographs of Kemp in various productions are back-projected onto gauze screens.

Kemp makes his entrance via a trap door.

The phone rings once. Kemp looks at it.

Rings twice. Kemp considers it.

Rings three times. He answers it.

Lindsay Kemp is on the ‘phone.

Lindsay Kemp:

Hello. (Pause.) Where are you in Scotland?

(Longer Pause.)

My grandparents are from Glasgow. I always pretend to be Scottish because I was born accidentally in Liverpool when my Mother was saying bye-bye to my Father, who was a sailor, and he was off to sea from Liverpool’s port, you see.

(Longer Pause.)

Well, I don’t quite know where that came from, unless I said it one drunken night, maybe when I chose to be more romantic than Birkenhead, where I was in fact born. I was born in Birkenhead on May the 3rd, 1938, but my family hailed form Scotland, between Glasgow and Edinburgh, and for many years I lived in Edinburgh, when I returned there for the first performance of Flowers, that show that put me on the map, you know.
 
Lindsay Kemp> debuts his new production Histoire du Soldat (‘A Soldier’s Tale’) by Stravinsky on 5th May, in Bari, Italy. You can buy tickets for the World Premiere here.

Lindsay Kemp – The Last Dance is a film currently being made by Producer / Director Nendie Pinto-Duschinsky – check here for more information.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Lindsay Kemp and David Bowie’s rarely seen production ‘Pierrot in Turquoise’ from 1968


 
The full interview with Lindsay Kemp, after the jump…
 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Endearing photos of Kate Bush as a child
04.19.2012
09:47 am

Topics:
Art
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
Kate Bush


 
Here’s a lovely b&w mega-photo post of Kate Bush as a charming and spunky young lady. It’s pretty evident that she was a fairly fully-formed version, even then, of who the world would come to know.

I simply adore every photo posted. What a face!

Photos are by Kate’s eldest brother, photographer and author John Carder Bush.


 

 
More of a young Kate Bush after the jump…
 

Written by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Kate Bush: ‘Wuthering Heights’ slowed down to a gorgeous 36-minute symphony

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My word, this is something. “Wuthering Heights” by Kate Bush slowed down to a 36-minute symphony of gorgeous spookiness and thrills by Looking At Blue from the Kate Bush News and Information forum.
 

 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Kate Bush on her favorite vegetarian dishes, 1980
01.11.2012
01:49 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Food
Music

Tags:
Kate Bush
vegetarianism


 
Another BBC curio from the vaults, here we have Kate Bush talking about her favorite vegetarian dishes on the TV show Delia Smith’s Cookery Course in 1980. Smith is a bit of a legend of British broadcasting, having hosted cookery shows since the early 70s, That doesn’t stop the food in this clip looking a bit, well, bland I’m afraid, but Bush aficionados will be glad to hear the story of how she turned vegetarian, and overjoyed to have this first hand peek into her eating habits:
 

 
Thanks to Philip McEachen!

After the jump, the video for Bush’s 1993 single “Eat The Music”...

Written by Niall O'Conghaile | Discussion
Kate Bush: Vintage TV Show from Christmas 1979

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By heck, Christmas is getting earlier every year. It may be Rosh Hashanah, but the good citizens of Heywood, Lancashire, England, have their sights on Christmas, and have already lit up the town with their flickering festive lights.

Bah humbug, maybe, but I found it difficult not to share this freshly uploaded winter treat - the whole of Kate Bush’s Christmas Television Special from 1979. Filmed in October of that year, the show stars the beautiful songstress, together with her band and Peter Gabriel. While we have shown one song from this before, we have never managed to find the whole program online until now - and it’s been worth the wait. Enjoy.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Kate Bush: Live at Hammersmith, London, 1979


 

 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Kate Bush: Live at Hammersmith, London, 1979
09.24.2011
04:03 pm

Topics:
Heroes
Music

Tags:
London
Seventies
Kate Bush

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I hated Kate Bush the first time I heard her voice warbling “Wuthering Heights” on the radio, early one cold, winter morn. It was exam time, and in my annoyance suddenly understood why old people hate the music of the happy-go-lucky young. You see, I was prematurely middle-aged. It didn’t last, of course. A week or so later, and I was, like every other schoolboy, smitten by this delicate, pre-Raphaelite beauty, with the powerful, ethereal voice and her wayward, drama school dancing. I became a fan and her records were added to the collection and played with the reverence of a love-sick Montague.

Alas, I never saw her one and only tour On Stage in 1979, by then I was writing poems for undeserving girls, who preferred boys in leather with B.O. and bikes and a liking for Gong. Therefore I’ll always be grateful Kate’s performance at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, was recorded for posterity on May 13 1979. O, what joy is that?

Find out for yourself, and check the track listing:

01. “Moving” 
02.  “Them Heavy People” 
03. “Violin” 
04. “Strange Phenomena” 
05. “Hammer Horror” 
06. “Don’t Push Your Foot on the Heartbrake” 
07. “Wow” 
08. “Feel It” 
09. “Kite” 
10. “James and the Cold Gun” 
11. “Oh England My Lionheart” 
12. “Wuthering Heights” 
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Rare documentary on Kate Bush’s first and only tour from 1979


 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Documentary on Kate Bush’s First and Only Tour, 1979

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Kate Bush was only sixteen when she signed to EMI Records in 1975, on the recommended of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour. Over the following eighteen months, Kate prepped, wrote and recorded her first single, “Wuthering Heights”, which went to number one in the UK, and her debut album The Kick Inside, which hit No. 3 in the UK charts.

Following on from her chart success, Kate Bush presented The Tour of LIfe, her first and

only

ever tour, consisting of twenty-eight shows across Britain during April and May of 1979.  The BBC’s quirky news and features series, Nationwide (previously responsible for a fascinating insight into David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust… tour), made this 30-minute behind-the-scenes special of the tour and Kate’s preparation for it.
 

 
Bonus documentary on Kate Bush plus original live TV performance of ‘Wuthering Heights’, after the jump…
 
Previously on DM

Seldom Seen Kate Bush Christmas Song


 
With thanks to Damien Smith
 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Seldom Seen Kate Bush Christmas Song

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To jolly us along with a festive feel, here’s Kate Bush singing a live version of “December Will Be Magic Again” from her 1979 BBC Christmas Special.
 

 
With thanks to Misty Roses
 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
The Naked Ape: Why Are Human Beings So Hairless?
09.21.2009
10:02 pm

Topics:
Science/Tech

Tags:
Kate Bush
Desmond Morris

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I have to admit the question of why humankind is so hairless compared to most other mammals has crossed my mind, but it never occurred to me that Science itself would not actually know:

For most of the past century it was assumed that the problem had been solved. Raymond Dart, the anthropologist who recognised the significance of the famous Taung baby’s skull in 1924, began promoting the idea that while the apes’ ancestors stayed in the trees, our ancestors moved onto the open plains. There the males became hunters, got overheated in the chase, and shed body hair to cool down.

The problem with that theory is that no other mammal has resorted to this method of cooling down. Hair insulates animals against the sun by day as well as against the cold by night. The hominid females are not thought to have become overheated hunters, so they would merely have suffered the downsides of hairlessness - being cold at night, more prone to abrasions, and having no fur to provide a handhold for infants to cling to. Yet they ended up even more hairless than the males.

Dart’s solution, while the front-runner for more than 50 years, failed to win everyone over. In 1970, Russell W. Newman from the US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine argued in Human Biology that hominids could never have evolved on the plains with their “unique trio of conditions: hypotrichosis corpus, hyperhydrosis, and polydipsia”. In other words, too little hair, too much sweat, and a need to drink little but often. Newman’s paper ran counter to contemporary beliefs and was largely ignored.

William Montagna, the most indefatigable student of primate skin of his generation and then at the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center, regretfully reported in 1972 that after years of research his investigations had “failed to explain the unique feature of man’s skin - his almost complete nakedness. We are left with the major objective… unattained.”

And it keeps going. Many intelligent people and big name scientists have come up with plausible sounding theories and they all get shot down, sooner of later. The fact is, they really don’t know!

Speaking of Naked Apes, here is zoologist Desmond Morris interviewing Kate Bush on his BBC talk show in 1980:

 

New Scientist: Why are we the naked ape? 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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