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on 21 March 2012
I would consider myself a long-term lover of Kate Bush's music; I cherish it, and what she has brought to music over the years.

So I thought I would give this a go, based on the rave reviews here: somebody with something new to say about Kate's music perhaps?

I have to say at this stage, I'm struggling. Don't know if it's my age (a few years younger than Ms Bush herself) or my native language (English English, not American English or Jargonese)... but, what does some of this actually MEAN? The writing style is very strange. Is this the language of academia? It's certainly hard work.

Use of the word "foreground" as a verb? Use of the word "normatively"? What's wrong with plain old "normally"? And sentence structures such as "The song also creates space for transgendered subjectivities can emerge if the meaning of the 'trans' prefix is taken to mean movement across multiple sites of gender." The more I look at that "for" and "can" the more they leap out and poke me in both eyes. I do know what "trans" means, thank you; but the sentence itself? No idea.

The Kindle edition is also confusing in that passages which seem to need italics or other forms of difference from the rest of the text don't have that, so one can lose track of which voice you are hearing. I'll carry on with it for a bit but I wish I'd downloaded a sample before buying this.
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on 7 January 2011
A perceptive Kate Bush fan will tell you that fans of KB are as varied and eclectic as Kate's individual songs. Opinions and theories about Kate and her music are richly varied. Some of them you may agree with completely. Others may send you howling from the room. But whether or not you agree with them, I am certain that a true Kate fan would appreciate the fact that Kate's music inspires her listeners to create, dream, construct and above all, FEEL. Kate's inspired and loving music is a Muse within itself that sends us off in different directions to write, to paint, to dance, to sing, to emote. And let's face it -- for many of us, Kate's music is a deeply rooted and highly prized gift. It is often a focal point in many lives. Thus, Kate's music -- and often, her very ESSENCE -- can be a touchy subject that won't have everyone in one accord.
Ms. Withers has created an unusual and thoughtful book. I happened to have found it exciting and confirming many things that have come to my mind when listening to the Bush catalog. But I realize that may not be the same with everybody. The question you have to ask yourself is this -- Will you be able to read another's opinion about Kate and accept those possible differences?
Everyone knows that Kate Bush lives on Planet Kate. As one reviewer put it, "She is an individualist who wears her creativity without shame." Well, Ms. Withers happens to live on Planet Deborah, and this is how one individual looks at Kate's music. Honestly, which passionate Kate fan out there DOESN'T have a specific set of words and feelings to describe her music? And who doesn't love comparing one Kate fan's opinion with one's own?
From Kate's first creation, The Kick Inside, right up to Aerial, Ms. Withers is an interpreter of Kate's music, videos and dancing. With a PhD on the subject, one could easily imagine her book to be a dry and lifeless text filled with bloated, intellectual overload. As one of Bush's songs declares -- "Not This Time!" It is breezy, refreshing, funny way that Ms. Withers looks at, in her own words, "The polymorphously perverse Kate, the witchy Kate, the queer Kate; the Kate who moves beyond the mime."
Dubbing the essence of Kate's music as the "Bushian Feminine Subject," or, BFS, the author weaves the BFS through gender and cultural studies, music and history into a tapestry that is thoroughly Kate. Seeing Kate's musical progression as a cycle of birth, transition, fruition and eventual rebirth, Ms. Withers' theories on Kate's creative evolution will have you reacting and thinking -- and maybe even contemplating the reader to bring to life their own Bushian theories so that others may enjoy reading them. This is what I'd like to stress -- this book is an inspiration, through Kate, to express and create.
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on 2 April 2010
Withers' book is a very queer read indeed, full of anal humour and obsession. 'The Artist Known As Kate Bush' is treated as *the Bushian Feminine Subject* ("the BFS") throughout. However, Withers' treatment of "the BFS" is somewhat obscured by her considering The Red Shoes album and film *before* The Ninth Wave (and there is no reading of The Sensual World album).

Lionheart gets an interesting 'Orientalist' and camp analysis, and Withers' take on The Line, The Cross and The Curve is also well done. But her reading of The Ninth Wave is less convincing - e.g. Waking The Witch is treated as having a male voiced Witch-Finder, when we know this is Kate Bush, "the BFS", distorting her voice/identity further; and Jig Of Life is treated as having a lesbian other, rather than Bush's own future BFS self. [The Babooshka video also gets a sexploitation lesbian treatment.]

Hounds Of Love (side A), The Sensual World, and A Sea Of Honey are not covered. Never For Ever is only partially covered (and with a very queer reading of Egypt). The Dreaming section explores the ontological breakdown of "the BFS" and offers a white supremacist racialised reading of Sat In Your Lap. The Ninth Wave and A Sky of Honey are read as rebirth narratives.

Overall, the book is interesting and a must-read for the Bush-obsessive fan.
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on 10 March 2010
It could be said that there is nothing more to write about with regard to Kate Bush and her music to the present date. There have been thousands of articles written, countless interviews, reviews and numerous books.

So here is yet another book about Kate.

But it's not about Kate. And it's not another male journalist behind the pen. It's an alternative viewpoint, opinion, and is full of humour. This is a book about 'the BFS.' The subject of the book changes shape, gender, sound; taking on an ever shifting guise on its journey through each album and zeitgeist of each release. The cyclical nature of The Ninth Wave and A Sky of Honey are expanded throughout the story of the BFS. The birth, life, continuity, change, breakdown, death and rebirth are explored with reference to folklore and fairy tales, colonialism, nationalism, gender, oh and a little bit of Orientalism thrown in for good measure.

Brave, funny, silly, informative and best of all: utterly QUEER. This isn't a book for the Kate fan wanting to read yet again about the career of Kate Bush. It's a lot more and a lot less than that. A Marmite of a book.

I loved it.
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on 26 June 2010
I loved this book - inspirationally, it makes theory accessible, playfulness serious and seriousness playful, and is written with a great mixture of insights spiced with a genuine passion for music, feminism and changing the world. Debi Withers makes creative and imaginative use of analysis and her love of ideas shines throughout.
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on 5 June 2010
At last KB starts to get the academic credit she deserves. Bet the right-wingers in her fan club (and there are a few!) didn't take too kindly to this great queer reading of the 'Bushian Female Subject'.
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