Friday 18 August 2017

Bush gives her fans a reason to re-Joyce

Kate Bush, whose new album Director's Cut revamps tracks she'd already recorded two decades ago, has always been defiantly highbrow, frequently taking her inspiration from literary sources, beginning with her 1978 breakthrough hit, Wuthering Heights -- though apparently what moved her there was not Emily Bronte's novel but a television adaptation of it.

James Joyce's Ulysses, though, appealed to her directly and the title track of her 1989 album, The Sensual World, was based on Molly Bloom's end-of-book soliloquy. In fact, Bush would have used Molly's actual stream of consciousness were it not for the famously unhelpful Joyce estate, which refused her permission to do so.

Recently, though, it relaxed its obdurate stance and Bush (right) was told she could replace her own song words with those of Joyce, which she's duly done on the new album, also changing the song's name from The Sensual World to Flower of the Mountain.

Whether you think the result is daft or brilliant depends on what you think about this quirkiest of singer-songwriters. For me, both adjectives fit the bill.

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Andrew Morton's William and Catherine: Their Lives, Their Wedding must have set some kind of publishing record, being released by Michael O'Mara Books just three days after the royal nuptials last month.

Still, as Morton had obviously written all but the final triumphant chapter in the months before the event, maybe his achievement isn't that remarkable, and certainly not as impressive as the working methods of George Simenon, who wrote over 400 books, dashing off most of his Maigret novels in less than two weeks.

Other speed-writers include Anthony Burgess, who polished off A Clockwork Orange in three weeks, and Jack Kerouac, who churned out 200 drug-fuelled short stories in less than two months during the early 1940s. And the fact that nobody would want to read them is neither here nor there.

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