FAME Review: Kate Bush - A Life of Surprises (DVD)
Kate Bush - A Life of Surprises (DVD)

A Life of Surprises

Kate Bush

Pride - PG2DVD139 (DVD)

Available from MVD Entertainment Group.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Let me reveal right off the bat that Kate Bush's tie to Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, in the press still sometimes a source of some speculation, lies in the fact that Gilmour was and is a friend of Bush's family; thus, all errant tales of lascivious innuendo can be discounted, relegated to gossip columns. And this, by the way, is one of many means by which these visual documentary critiques serve excellent ends for those not in the practice of purchasing the plethora of tomes available on various musicians. More, the visual element itself is peculiarly helpful in resolving the strange mystery surrounding Ms. Bush: the supposition that ravishing beauty in a winsome fairyland stage and video presence must presuppose evanescent artistic merit (among myriad other assumptions the public has essayed in the woman's ongoing history). With Bush, such foolishness is gravest error, and A Life of Surprises immediately sets to rectifying it. Where one may rightly perceive the sensuality / sexuality expressed in her art, very purposely so in manneredly hedonistic wont, none of it is the crass modernist variety but rather an ancient literal reading, eros rather than erotic, though erotic as well—delving into life but not simplifying it

Why more resemblances of Bush to Tori Amos and Bjork aren't made, I have no idea, but they're plentiful nathless. All three women are consummate artists, willful in the best sense, and intensely personal, unafraid to stretch borders and challenge audiences while appealing to Romantic aesthetics, Impressionist on one side, Gothic on the other. Despite an effulgent performance nature, Kate's otherwise on the shy side and tends to a retiring personality—no coincidence, then, that she formed an artistic friendship with Peter Gabriel. What Pete once made a powerful presence in music, theater in epic songs, and now mainly eschews, Bush had taken up from the moment of her debut and carried it forward ever more creatively. Many cutaway snippets of her videos demonstrate just how much she made her work an immersion experience.

Here's what's interesting about A Life of Surprises per se as a documentary: disc 2 duplicates disc 1 in essence but from different critics and journalists and with a varied set of contrastive opinions. I've yet to see a documentary done quite like this, and at first there's a "Hey, what the hell?!?!" reaction until it dawns that this method is much like different song versions, here with footage variants, additional revealing data, elongated attentions to detail, and so on. Thus, do you want to see the same story twice…but with a wealth of much different perspectives? But of course! One would be a fool or a Philistine not to. And just the act of the Pride label doing so brings a new wrinkle to the genre, one echoing musical materials themselves. After all, the estimable, very successful,and innovative lass is one of those imaginative souls for whom too much exposure is never enough.

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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