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Kate Bush, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie and others expound on the topic of ‘Punk’ in 1979
03.18.2014
05:54 pm
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Getting it or not getting it to varying degrees are Kate Bush, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Cliff Richard, Steve Harley, Mick Taylor, Peter Gabriel, Paul Cook, John Lydon, Meatloaf, and a surprisingly astute young Leif Garrett putting in their two cents on the topic of “Punk.”

According to the caption on YouTube, these comments aired in December 1979 on a program called Countdown on a specific episode called “End Of the Decade.” Presumably this is something from the archives of Australian television. It looks like an editor’s raw “selects” in the formulation seen here.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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03.18.2014
05:54 pm
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Kate Bush, fitness guru
12.06.2013
10:32 am
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Earlier this week Paul Gallagher introduced us to “Kate Bush, comedian”—so why not end the week with “Kate Bush, fitness guru”? All right, I’m overselling it a little, but it’s true that in August 1981 the “extravagantly brainy spiritual sexpot,” as Robert Christgau once termed her, was featured in a segment on Looking Good, Feeling Fit, a U.K. show dedicated to well, looking good and feeling fit.

Interviewer Richard Stilgoe caught Bush while prepping for her bombastic and kinetic “Sat in Your Lap” video with dancers Stewart Arnold and Gary Hunt. As Stilgoe notes, the trio tried out the same strenuous dance routine “at least eight times while we filmed it from different angles.”

It must be admitted that Stilgoe indulges in some inane repartee, such as when he asks, “Now, in the music world there’s a lot of late nights, high living and things, and yet you do not have pimples, spots, and all the things that the rest of us get if we stay out late at night, how do you manage that?” For her part, Bush remains steadfastly humble and sensible throughout, insisting that she does indeed get spots, “everyone gets spots,” and advising viewers of the importance of using the right creams to protect your skin.

Considering that her athletic performances were as integral to her art back then as her bewitching music, it’s no surprise that Bush was in such excellent shape—as she allows at the segment’s close, “I don’t think I’m a healthy person. You see, I dance because I want to dance, not ‘cause I want to keep fit. And it’s just a sort of side thing that I happen to keep fit at the same time. I really like what I do and that that’s what it’s all about.”
 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Kate Bush, comedian
The terrifying beauty of Kate Bush

Posted by Martin Schneider
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12.06.2013
10:32 am
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Kate Bush, comedian
12.02.2013
04:51 pm
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If you think of Kate Bush as some kind of intense Catherine Earnshaw-type, wafting silk scarves while rolling about on the windy moor, then you may be delighted by this clip of Kate duetting with comic actor Rowan Atkinson on the song “Do Bears….” for BBC’s charity telethon Comic Relief from 1986.

It’s an amusing little number and reveals Kate’s finely-tuned ability for comedy. Is there nothing this woman can’t do?
 

 
But this wasn’t Kate Bush’s only foray into the world of comedy, as she later appeared in The Comic Strip Presents in 1990 playing the bride to Daniel Peacock’s uncouth groom in the episode “Les Dogs.” This can be viewed in its entirety here, but a taster, mixing a performance from Kate’s 1979 Christmas Show with clips from “Les Dogs” can be seen below.
 

 
And if that weren’t enough, here’s “Ken” written especially for The Comic Strip Presents GLC—their satire on the rise and fall of London Labor politician “Red” Ken Livingstone. With Robbie Coltrane as a Charles Bronson-esque “Ken” and Jennifer Saunders as a Thatcher-esque “Ice Maiden.”
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.02.2013
04:51 pm
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Happy Birthday Kate Bush!
07.30.2013
04:16 pm
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Happy birthday Catherine “Kate” Bush, born today in 1958.

It’s fair to say that almost everyone loves Kate Bush. She is, after all, one of those rare artists whose work can joyfully unite almost everyone—including the most unlikely though similarly emotionally attuned disparate groupings of virginal schoolboys, Riot grrrls, Goths, Punks, Classicists, Folkies and the likes of John Lydon, who famously once described Ms. Bush’s work as “beauty beyond belief.” And that is a very fair description, for Kate Bush’s music is beauty beyond belief.

Here’s to a very special and brilliant woman—Happy Birthday Kate!

To celebrate this original and unique artist, here’s an unedited interview with Kate, recorded in November in 1985, not long after the release of her brilliant Hounds of Love album, for the series Night Flight. This is the unedited interview, which reveals how the media conduct their question and answer sessions, and how they manipulate and relentlessly seek the answers they want, rather than one given. It perhaps explains why Ms. Bush is so reclusive.
 

 
Bonus clip ‘Hounds of Love,’ after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.30.2013
04:16 pm
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The terrifying beauty of Kate Bush
07.10.2013
12:51 pm
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Yes, I adore her. Yes, I do. But sometimes, like in the very beginning of this video, Kate Bush reminds me of some of the women I’ve fallen in love with over the years that were beautiful, but batshit crazy. The kind of woman who fucks you, tears your heart out and then goes skipping down the lane into the dark forests of eternity.

Now I’m not saying Kate is crazy. Not at all. There are just a few moments in this video that conjure up my own personal memories of when romance walked that thin line between obsession and fear. The eyes, the mouth… the terror.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell
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07.10.2013
12:51 pm
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300 Kate Bush imitators re-enact ‘Wuthering Heights’ video!
05.29.2013
07:51 am
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Shambush! theater troupe gathered 300 volunteers in Stanmer Park, Brighton, England, on Saturday to re-enact Kate Bush’s pop promo “Wuthering Heights.”

The event called “The Ultimate Kate Bush Experience,” was part of the Brighton Festival Fringe, where Shambush! aimed to set a new world record for the number of Kate Bush look-a-likes performing the hit song in one place.

Shambush! describe themselves as:

...a ludicrous troupe of performers. Shambush! specialise in creating immersive, theatrical encounters, performance spaces and nonsensical events.

 
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Brighton’s main newspaper The Argus reported on the event:

The bizarre sight of hundreds of men and women in red dresses, long black wigs and bright lipstick took many visitors to Stanmer Park on Saturday by surprise.

The Fringe event, organised by performance group Shambush, saw fans of the 80s icon spend the sunny afternoon practicing the dance moves before breaking the record.

More pictures and video from The Argus here.

Hire Shambush! for your event here and follow on Facebook here.

Below is a video of rehearsals for “The Ultimate Kate Bush Experience.”
 

 
With thanks to Norn Cutson!
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.29.2013
07:51 am
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‘Wuthering Heights’: Alan Partridge channels Kate Bush
05.14.2013
07:54 pm
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A glorious televisual moment from Comic Relief 1999, when Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan) channeled Kate Bush for stirring versions of her songs “Wow” and the classic “Wuthering Heights”, A-ha!

Bonus: David Bowie plays the recorder.
 

 
With thanks to Tara!
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.14.2013
07:54 pm
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Boosh on the loose! Noel Fielding does his best Kate Bush impression
05.03.2013
12:47 pm
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Although I’ve always been a big Kate Bush fan, I can’t lie to you and tell you that I find her music videos and TV appearances (for the most part) anything other than totally laughable, at least the performances from the earlier part of her career. I mean, come on! Even her staunchest fans would have difficulty defending goofy clips like this one.

Noel Fielding from The Mighty Boosh obviously feels this way, too. Witness his spot-on “interpretive” parody of Bush’s “Wuthering Heights” on the BBC’s 2011 Let’s Dance for Comic Relief and compare it to the original.

One YouTube commenter wrote “I would go lesbian for Noel Fielding.” Another quipped “It really looks like this is something he does every Saturday regardless of comic relief.”

Well, practice makes perfect…
 

 
Update: Below, a comparison video. Thanks to Ana Phylaxis for the heads-up!

 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:

Kate Bush: ‘Wuthering Heights’ slowed down to a gorgeous 36-minute symphony

Kate Bush: Probably her first ever TV interview from 1978

Kate Bush: Splendid concert documentary from 1980

The Dreaming: Some seldom-seen Kate Bush videos, TV interviews & B-sides, 1982

Endearing photos of Kate Bush as a child

 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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05.03.2013
12:47 pm
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Kate Bush album covers as ZX Spectrum artwork
02.01.2013
11:25 am
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Possible geek heaven? A selection of Kate Bush album covers re-imagined as ZX Spectrum artwork.

More here.
 
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More geek heaven, after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
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02.01.2013
11:25 am
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Kate Bush: Probably her first ever TV interview from 1978
01.19.2013
04:32 pm
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This is probably Kate Bush’s first TV interview from March 16th, 1978, when her debut single “Wuthering Heights” hit the top of the UK charts. Interviewed by Denis Tuohy, on the BBC’s Tonight show (fore-runner of Newsnight), who starts off by describing her song as ‘strange, lovely and fascinating’ before asking what was Kate’s attraction to Emily Brontë‘s novel Wuthering Heights, and the character Catherine Earnshaw?

In a sweet, child-like voice, teenager Kate explains it wasn’t so much the book rather the last 5 minutes of a TV series, based on the novel, which she saw as a child that had Cathy at a window wanting to get in. The image stuck, and Kate thought it ‘perfect material for a song.’

Kate started writing songs when she was around 11 or 12. She wrote in secret, and was unable to perform her songs in front of anyone, believing that if she did sing in front of others, then she had to give her best performance - which was something Kate felt she hadn’t quite mastered.

It was through a friend of her brother that tapes of her singing were passed onto executives in the recording industry, eventually reaching Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, who was wanting to help ‘struggling artists’. Gilmour put up the money to pay for a demo of selected songs, which secured Kate a record deal. She was 16-years-of-age.

Over the next 2 years, Kate took time to write new material and worked towards creating a stage persona. When asked by Tuohy what inspired her song-writing, Kate replied:

‘It is very often from other people. I mean people are just so full of poetry, they say it all the time. There are the most amazing phrases that people come up with that aren’t covered, and you can really draw from people’s minds.’

 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Kate Bush: ‘Wuthering Heights’ slowed down to a gorgeous 36-minute symphony


Endearing photographs of Kate Bush as a child


Documentary on Kate Bush’s first only UK tour 1979


With thanks to NellyM
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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01.19.2013
04:32 pm
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Kate Bush: Splendid concert documentary from 1980
01.16.2013
10:46 am
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I’d never seen this rather splendid documentary on Kate Bush before. Made for German television in 1980, Kate Bush in Concert captures what was, and still is so irrepressible about the pioneering singer and performer, and explains the delightful (and naive) charm that caused so many young virginal fans to pine for her. Mixing live performance with an interview, in which we hear how Kate’s brothers’ taste in Prog Rock (Pink Fairies and Pink Floyd) and Folk Music that inspired her, and explaining the difference between her on-stage and off-stage persona.

‘When I perform, there’s just something that happens in me, it just takes over. It’s like suddenly feeling you’ve leapt into another structure, almost like another person, and you just do it. But when I’m not working, it’s me and I certainly wouldn’t dance around a table and sing.’

Och, well, there goes another wee fantasy of Ms Bush dancing and singing around a homely kitchen whilst baking fruit scones.
 

 
With thanks to John Kowalski
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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01.16.2013
10:46 am
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The Dreaming: Some seldom-seen Kate Bush videos, TV interviews & B-sides, 1982
08.06.2012
01:58 pm
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Like many Americans, my first exposure to Kate Bush was via her fourth album, 1982’s The Dreaming, for despite being a chart-topper the world over, and with a 1978 appearance on SNL under her belt, Bush had virtually zero profile in America before it. The Dreaming is also my favorite Kate Bush album, although it doesn’t have a single one of my favorite Kate Bush songs on it.

Even during a period of popular music that produced such off-kilter masterpieces as PiL’s The Flowers of Romance, Japan’s Tin Drum and Nunsexmonkrock by Nina Hagen, The Dreaming was still an album that was difficult—at first—to get your head around. It’s an album that requires three to five listens before it “clicks,” but when it does, the listener is rewarded with one of the most dazzling, ambitious and audacious things an artist has ever attempted, before or since. In this case, by an artist who was then just 23!

As a song cycle, The Dreaming is a complex and accomplished work, practically demanding to be listened to all the way through (if only out of respect for the genius who created it). Although I went backwards through her first three albums, in retrospect, The Dreaming—produced by Kate alone for the first time—is an abrupt (make that very abrupt) break with what had come before. Gone were the intimate observations on life, the intensely passionate musings on love. sexuality and England’s green and pleasant land—indeed all of the pretty songs that her fanbase obviously expected—to be replaced with poetic and cinematic narratives that evoked far off exotic lands, paranoia, fury, a quest for learning, a stymied oneness with God and comedy. The Dreaming is the work of a great talent operating totally free of any outside pressures or concerns. It would be ridiculous to call it the first “real” Kate Bush album, but there is certainly a clear line of demarcation between Never for Ever and everything that comes after it.

Obviously there was always something monumentally idiosyncratic about Kate Bush, but with The Dreaming, the eclectic nature of her mature vision became boldly manifest for the first time.

“Sat in Your Lap” is the album’s frantic opening number. One of the engineers Bush used on The Dreaming was Hugh Padgham, the man responsible for achieving the famous “gated drum” sound of Phil Collin’s “In the Air Tonight” number, and I would imagine he’s probably responsible for the fantastic drum sound on “Sat in Your Lap” (I could be wrong about this because Padgham brought in Nick Launay, PiL’s engineer for the heavily percussive The Flowers of Romance album, for The Dreaming and it might be he who recorded the drums here, I’m not sure) (Here’s a link to a demo of the song)
 

 
After the jump, plenty more where this came from…

READ ON
Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.06.2012
01:58 pm
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Happy Birthday Kate Bush!
07.30.2012
08:44 pm
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The great British singer-songwriter-musician is 54 today. A world that lacked Kate Bush would be a world less sensual, truly.

From the Dangerous Minds archives:

Kate Bush on her favorite vegetarian dishes

Famed zoologist Desmond Morris interviewing Kate Bush on his BBC talk show,1980

Endearing photos of Kate Bush as a child

Kate Bush: ‘Wuthering Heights’ slowed down to a gorgeous 36-minute symphony

Documentary on Kate Bush’s First and Only Tour, 1979

Below, the animated video for the haunting “Eider Falls at Lake Tahoe,” conceived and directed by Kate herself:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.30.2012
08:44 pm
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‘Rock Queen from England’: rare Kate Bush live performance from Stockholm, 1979
07.30.2012
08:27 pm
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Happy birthday Kate Bush, who turns 54 today. Did you know that she’s the same age as Madonna, who also turns 54 in a couple of weeks? That’s a wee bit of a surprise to me, as both artists feel like they come from completely different eras. I suppose Kate had a head start though, having had her first worldwide smash hit at the tender age of 19.

To celebrate Kate Bush’s birthday, here is a rare, live recording from Sweden. The film was made in 1979, on December the 21st to be exact, as part of her Tour Of Life (her one and only full live tour.)  While the footage on this upload suffers from some video warping, the sound is pretty decent, and at 22 minutes long, the five songs featured are:

“Moving”
“The Saxophone Song”
“James And The Cold Gun”
“Feel It”
“Kite”
 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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07.30.2012
08:27 pm
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Lindsay Kemp is on the phone: Scenes from his life from Genet to Bowie
05.03.2012
07:33 pm
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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 from 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 two nurses, dressed in starched whites, symmetrically dabbing her face.

The woman is Mrs. Kemp, and she is about to give birth. Three 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 he had spotted in the city’s 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, and was his lover. He also taught Kate Bush, and choreographed for 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.

I did so many of my productions, including the first version of Flowers and Salome, and Genet’s The Maids . I did many, many things in Edinburgh, I only left when I was doing a production of The Maids, incidentally with Tim Curry, this was just before Ziggy Stardust, late ’71. And that production we were doing at the Close, was scheduled to open at the Bush Theater, and at the very last, we were all there rehearsing, ready to go on, and we got a call from Jean Genet’s agent, who said.

Spotlight on Jean Genet’s Agent, stage right

Jean Genet’s Agent:

No, no. Non.

Light out.

Lindsay Kemp

And we were refused permission to do the London version.
 
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(Kemp examines some photographs on his desk, they appear projected on the screens behind him.)

Lindsay Kemp

I’ve got some pictures here of David Bowie at that performance, we gave just one performance, you see, which was a silver collection, we sold tickets for a collection. I don’t think David put anything in the hat. (Laughs.) Probably not, and I have some pictures here of David with his video camera, and he videoed that show, he videoed it, and sent his scouts out himself to find Genet, who he hoped might give us his permission. I’ve no idea what happened to the video, or if Genet got it, anyway, that was the end of that.

I played in The Maids myself at the Traverse for quite some time, playing Madame. But going back to Flowers, I’ll tell you how I began dancing in a minute, because we weren’t permitted to do The Maids that evening, we did Flowers instead, which was a production I’d recently done at the Traverse. So that production came to the Bush Theater, and it was there that it was seen by Larry Parnes, the pop music promoter, and he kind of restored an old cinema, which became the Regent’s Theater in Upper Regent’s Street, where Flowers began its West End run. From there it went to Broadway, and from there, you know, it went around the world.

I was…eh…I’d just rented a little cottage, a country retreat, in Hungerford in Berkshire, and my next door neighbor - it was one Sunday morning and we were listening to Round the Horne, we all did on those Sunday mornings - and my neighbor across the fence leaned over and said.

(Neighbor leans over a garden fence, Kemp is now sitting in a deckchair, still on the ‘phone.)

Spotlight up on Neighbor.

Neighbor:

Oh hi, I think this book might interest you.

(Neighbor passes Kemp a book. Spotlight down on Neighbor.)

Lindsay Kemp:

Holding up book.

And it was Genet’s Our Lady of the Flowers. And I began to read it, and as soon as I began to read it I could already see it on the stage, and I could see myself as Divine, the central character. And two weeks later, we opened.

Dim lights, then back up to reveal gauze removed and a young Lindsay Kemp performing ‘Flowers’.
 

 
Lindsay Kemp

As the performance continues behind him.

I remember so vividly. I went back up to Edinburgh, and an aunt of mine had left me five hundred pounds and with that money, we put the show on. I collected the actors in those days from Princes Street Gardens, young guys who looked right. And we did this first, semi-improvised performance, not at the Traverse, but in the old Edinburgh Rock Factory, under the Castle, on very much the Fringe of the Festival. And from there it transferred to the Traverse, and then to the Citizens, and then into universities, then onto the Bush and the regions, and Broadway and around the world.

Blackout.

Lights up. Kemp stands center stage, he addresses the audience directly.

Lindsay Kemp:

To begin with, 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.

Well, being born dancing, in Birkenhead, my Father was killed at sea, I mean drowned when, at the beginning of the war, his ship was hit by a German submarine, my Mother took me back to her home town of South Shields, and she enrolled me, at the age of two-and-a-half, in dancing classes because I couldn’t stop dancing.

I just loved it so much, and of course, all the little girls in our street, at that time, all had dancing lessons and all would do this little dance in doorways, and so on, and I began tap-dancing as young as two-and-a-half. I continued dancing and dancing classes and entertaining the neighbor’s children, and during the war years when the bombs were dropping entertaining the neighbors in our air raid shelter.

Straight after the war, going straight up to the local hospital, where I entertained the recovering wounded soldiers, whether they liked it or not, they got my repertoire – all my little dances that had been inspired by movies I’d seen, Carmen Miranda and Marlene Deitrich, and I would sing “Lili Marlene”, I was always an entertainer.

When I reached the age of 10, my Mother thought well, you know, I’ve had enough of this, you know the dancing and theater had become such an incredible passion, I mean I couldn’t think about anything else. This passion fueled by trips to the theater and my Mother taking me to the Christmas pantomimes, where I was totally infatuated with the magic of the theater and its transformations and the theater is a way of life, a very different world form life in South Shields, and I wanted to be in that world.

I always knew what I wanted, you see, really from birth. However, come the age of ten, my Mother thought well he needs is education and I was sent to a boarding school near Reading, the Royal Merchant Navy School, where my mother had hopes for me following in my father’s footsteps and going to sea. But, of course, I didn’t.

Blackout.

Lights up.

Lindsay Kemp is on the telephone. Behind him and to the side, is a school dormitory. Large b&w photographic back projection with about six beds. Lying in the beds are school boys. They have pocket torches with which they use to light a young Kemp’s dance performance.

The young Kemp makes his appearance during Lindsay Kemp’s speech. The young Kemp is dressed in toilet paper, wrapped around his body.

Lindsay Kemp:

At school I survived. It was a very tough school. I survived the bullying and the bullies’ blows by entertaining. You know, with my singing and my dancing, and so on, and putting on little plays.

And that’s when I gave my first performance of Salome.

Young Kemp begins to dance to the lights of the school boys’ torches.

Lindsay Kemp:

For which I was going to be expelled. Not for the sinuousness of the dance, but for the waste of toilet paper, which I’d wrapped around myself.

Spotlight on the young Kemp. He freezes. Lights down. Lights still on Lindsay Kemp.
 
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Lindsay Kemp:

All through school I continued dancing, I danced every day, I danced to entertain, I had my own dancers. Incidentally, that first Salome was very influenced by Rita Hayworth’s Salome, which I’d seen, and also from reading Oscar Wilde, a lot of his fairy stories were an influence on me, but particularly Salome by Oscar Wilde. Years later it was put on the stage.

Blackout.

Lights up. Lindsay Kemp speaks directly to the audience.

Lindsay Kemp:

I always wanted to be an entertainer, you see, I love all forms of theater. I loved variety and circus, and musicals and operetta. I loved it all. And of course now, I have become involved in all aspects of the theater, my dreams, my desires and my intentions, in fact all came true.

Linday Kemp goes back onto the ‘phone, talking to his interviewer.

But I was particularly attracted to the ballet, and at the age of sixteen, before leaving school, I auditioned at the Sadler’s Wells School, which is now the Royal Ballet School. And of course at the age of fifteen, sixteen, I thought I was God’s gift to dance. Of course, I was devastated when I received a letter from the principal saying:

(The words of the letter appear behind Lindsay Kemp, high on a screen. They are typed out word-by-word, as he reads the letter.)

‘Dear Master Kemp, Thank you very much for coming to the audition on September 14th, unfortunately we have to tell you that both I and my board find you both temperamentally and physically unsuited to a career as a dancer. Yours faithfully, Ursula Morton.’

I can see it as clearly now as on that day that I got that letter.

But what if I’d taken any notice? Think what the world would have lost? I’d could have given up and become a coalman…

(Blackout. The ‘phone cuts off. Lights up. Lindsay Kemp talks to the audience. Lights slowly fade during his speech.)

Lindsay Kemp:

I was so determined to become a dancer there was nothing else for me. I did auditions for a load of other dance schools, and drama schools, as I wanted to be an actor as much as being a dancer, and so a painter, come to that, all of those things. I did get a scholarship with the Ballet Rambert School. That was great, but that scholarship didn’t take effect until after I’d had my National Service, you see, because in those days you couldn’t get into university or further education or any jobs until you had done your service for two years.

So, I had to hang around. My Mother moved to Bradford, and worked in a shop, very high class, and that’s where a young David Hockney met me, and David encouraged me to go back to London and try again, and to pursue my dream at all cost.

(Lights out. Lights up.

The telephone rings. Kemp answers it.)

Lindsay Kemp:

Hello, I don’t know what’s the matter. (Pause.) Anyway, we better keep going before it happens again.

I walked into a recruiting office and signed-up for the Air Force on my seventeenth birthday. I couldn’t bear hanging around in Bradford anymore. I met a lot interesting people, the like of which I’ve never met before, very conservative, very right wing, kind of boarding school, very repressed, and I certainly didn’t allow myself to be repressed.

So, I began to do classes at the Rambert during weeks from the Air Force, they gave me special leave so I could train at the Rambert.

Going to the Rambert School was absolute heaven, I was in heaven there. And to meet such wonderful people dancing, other dancers I’d never met before, people with similar dreams and desires as myself, notably Jack Birkett, who later became the Incredible Orlando.
 
image
 
(Lindsay Kemp on Jack Birkett;)

”Jack was Judy to my Mr. Punch, Harlequin to my Pierrot, Titania to my Puck, Herodias to my Salomé, Queen of Hearts to my Lewis Carroll. We shared flats, dressing rooms, boyfriends, bills, good times and bad times, success and failure; a couple of extravagant young dreamers, a couple of aching elders, always entertainers.

Lindsay Kemp:

And Jack said:

Jack Birkett, the Incredible Orlando, appears as an angel and is lowered on a wire from the wings. He is dressed as Eros, with bow and arrow.

Jack Birkett, the Incredible Orlando:

Look.

Lindsay Kemp:

I had another year to do in the forces. Aside No more, because I’d signed on at seventeen for three years. Anyway, Jack said:

Jack Birkett, the Incredible Orlando:

Tell them you’re gay.

Lindsay Kemp:

And I said, To Orlando ‘What’s gay?’

Jack Birkett, the Incredible Orlando:

Tell them you’re gay, dear.

Orlando flies upwards, firing an arrow.

Lindsay Kemp:

Anyway, so, I went to the medical officer and said, ‘I’m gay.’ I had no experience at that time, but I’ve made up for it.

Anyway I was out, there and then, I mean discharged., suffering from what the medical report said was ‘temperamentally ….’

And from there straight back to the Rambert School.

(Kemp addresses the audience.)

I had always put on my own little shows since the age of five years old, and then at boarding school, cajoling other boys to join me and we would put on plays and shows together. And in the forces, during that one year also putting on a lot of plays and performances and so on. And we continued to perform in garages, in fields, in parks, in gardens, wherever we could get a gig in those days, myself and my friends. And bit by bit, that company took on a professional shape so by 1968 or ’69 or something like that, the company as such, the Lindsay Kemp Company made its debut at the Lyric Hammersmith.

(Lights down, then up. On stage the Lindsay Kemp Company performs.)

 
00kemplflwo.jpg
 

In the late 1960s, Lindsay Kemp met a young musician called David Bowie.

Bowie was on the verge of giving up his pop career, and becoming a Buddhist monk, when he met Kemp. The meeting would change Bowie’s life and career.

David Bowie on Lindsay Kemp:

”It was everything I thought Bohemia probably was. I joined the circus.”

Blackout.

 
More from Lindsay Kemp, after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
|
05.03.2012
07:33 pm
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