Sunday, July 10, 2011

Kate Bush – Director’s Cut and Joyce Seedcakes

Kate Bush - Director's Cut

We were playing around with a new service, MOG (“…the next-generation music subscription service that delivers the highest audio fidelity: 320 kbps.”), on Sonos and found a new Kate Bush album! Woah. The new album is called Director’s Cut (2011) and features four tracks from The Sensual World (1989) and seven from The Red Shoes (1993) – re-recorded. The Red Shoes tracks seem more interesting in their re-recorded versions than we ever remember them on Red Shoes – which admittedly was our least favorite Bush album.

The big story on The Director’s Cut is that the song Flower of the Mountain (a re-titling of the track The Sensual World) now uses the original text from James Joyce’s Ulysses, which was apparently Bush’s original intent but the estate of Joyce didn’t agree to let her use the text back in the late 1980s. Now they have.

The lyrics for Flower of the Mountain come from the end of the novel, in the section called Molly Bloom’s soliloquy. The exception is what we’ll call the chorus part “Stepping out of the page, into the sensual world. Stepping out.” which is the listener’s response to the text. The text from Molly Bloom’s stream of consciousness is shown below with bolded text being what Bush uses in the Flower of the Mountain.

“…and his straw hat the day I got him to propose to me [verse1] yes first I gave him the bit of seedcake out of my mouth and it was leapyear like now yes 16 years ago my God after that long kiss I near lost my breath yes he said I was a flower of the mountain yes so we are flowers all a womans body yes that was one true thing he said in his life and the sun shines for you today yes that was why I liked him because I saw he understood or felt what a woman is and I knew I could always get round him and I gave him all the pleasure I could leading him on till he asked me to say yes and I wouldnt answer first only looked out over the sea and the sky I was thinking of so many things he didnt know of Mulvey and Mr Stanhope and Hester and father and old captain Groves and the sailors playing all birds fly and I say stoop and washing up dishes they called it on the pier and the sentry in front of the governors house with the thing round his white helmet poor devil half roasted and the Spanish girls laughing in their shawls and their tall combs and the auctions in the morning the Greeks and the jews and the Arabs and the devil knows who else from all the ends of Europe and Duke street and the fowl market all clucking outside Larby Sharons and the poor donkeys slipping half asleep and the vague fellows in the cloaks asleep in the shade on the steps and the big wheels of the carts of the bulls and the old castle thousands of years old yes and those handsome Moors all in white and turbans like kings asking you to sit down in their little bit of a shop and Ronda with the old windows of the posadas 2 glancing eyes a lattice hid for her lover to kiss the iron and the wineshops half open at night and the castanets and the night we missed the boat at Algeciras the watchman going about serene with his lamp and O that awful deepdown torrent O and the sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets and the figtrees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little streets and the pink and blue and yellow houses and the rosegardens and the jessamine and geraniums and cactuses [verse2] and Gibraltar as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another [verse3] and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.” [text from]

Bush chose wisely.

As folks who didn’t really care much for the Joyce we’ve read – okay one book is not a good sample - this is really quite a bit of analysis on our part, isn’t it? If only Kate Bush would write more songs based on Joyce’s work, it just might persuade us to read more Joyce.

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