On Music: Kate Bush and other muses…

Kate Bush turns 60 today, and I am reminded now of her extensive catalogue of creativity, and the impact her music had on me as a young one. The debut of Kate, and many other female artists who emerged in the mid 70’s and 80’s, gifted to me some powerful, creative role models to admire and each of them were inspirational to me in believing that there was nothing wrong with having dreams and creative visions, whatever your gender and background.

I will always be influenced by music in general, and there are women from past and present that I love to listen to, from Judy Garland to Pink to Florence Welch and many, many others. However, this is my tribute to Kate and to these incredible women in music that I was listening to in my formative years; the soundtracks that accompanied my coming of age and beyond.

This list evokes not just an era of development and discovery, but also a rich and sensuous collection of talent, strength and individuality, more powerful because every one of them have endured and are still creating. It also reminds me that no matter the light or shade of the day, I was, and am, in the best of company. When the voices in your head get too loud, turn that music up!

Note: While I would love to include favourite songs and images, being mindful of copyright infringements, I am linking to official websites only. 

 

KATE BUSH

Mesmerized from the first time I saw her ethereal performance of Wuthering Heights. Website HERE

 

SUZI QUATRO

Guitars, leather and catchy rock songs sung with a voice that could shatter glass, what’s not to love! Website HERE

 

STEVIE NICKS

Still singing to my soul, a goddess! Website HERE

 

BLONDIE (Debbie Harry) 

Show me a woman of my generation who didn’t worship Blondie! Seriously! Website HERE

 

CHRISSIE HYNDE

A bad girl with good intentions, Chrissie keeps rocking! Website HERE

 

GRACE JONES

Fierce. That is all. Facebook Page HERE

 

ANNIE LENNOX

From The Tourists to the present day, Annie is spectacular! Website HERE

 

SHIRLEY MANSON

I played the debut album Garbage to the death! Website HERE

 

SINEAD O’CONNOR

In awe of her talent from Mandika to present day. Website HERE

 

The Librarian’s Cellar: Hail, Jones, full of Grace

Grace Jones epitomizes the avant-garde movement of fashion and music in the 70’s and 80’s. Iconic and influential for her striking gender-defying beauty and theatrical flair for all things experimental, I’ll Never Write My Memoirs is as honest as it is compulsive – an insightful glimpse into her extraordinary journey from early beginnings in Jamaica to the heights of fame in Paris, New York, London and indeed, the world! Enduring a childhood that was controlled by a brutal disciplinarian, yet always loyal and loving to her family, Grace, without self-pity or fear, moved out of that strict, religious upbringing to make a remarkable life for herself. No excuses and no apologies, she tells it like it was – as she remembers it; turbulent, provocative, extreme.

‘My goal was never to be controversial for the sake of publicity, of self-promotion. I wore what I wore – or didn’t wear – and acted like I acted because it was who I was, and I was making myself into a performance. I acted the same way before I was famous. I did it when I was a no-one, when no one was looking, and I would have kept doing it even if I had stayed a no one. The craziness is there. I went to extremes. That didn’t come with fame. It became part of fame, because that was already me. It was how I learned to guard my body from evils. The craziness was the fire I lit to keep danger at bay.’

The standout theme of this memoir is her integrity throughout. No matter how wild and crazy life became, or becomes, Grace Jones never compromises. Staying true to her identity, her uniqueness, her legacy. It’s hardly surprising that some of her most iconic images have influenced, and been imitated by the likes of Rihanna and Kim Kardashian, but Grace was there first, the innovator through her collaborations with Helmut Newton, Jean Paul Goude, Andy Warhol, Issy Miyaki and so many more. Her philosophy on body image and aging is empowering – while she loves the idea of metamorphosis in her performance, of her persona being infinitely malleable, able to transmit that notion that anything is possible, she does not place any importance on age and states that she would never consider cutting herself to pretend to stay young. Stripping back prejudice, rejecting normal, she is the ultimate feminist – just don’t call her Diva – call her Jones!

A delightfully wicked read!

I’ll Never Write My Memoirs: Grace Jones as told to Paul Morley | Simon & Schuster | 2015