Magazine article The Spectator

Good or Bad Timing

Magazine article The Spectator

Good or Bad Timing

Article excerpt

KATE BUSH by Rob Jovanovic Piatkus, £16.99, pp. 240, ISBN 0749950498 . £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655

'There are no childhood pics, ' says my girlfriend. 'What's the use of an autobiography without any childhood pics?' 'It's not an autobiography. It's a biography, ' I tell her.

'Is it authorised?' 'No.' 'Oh.' And that, in essence, is the problem with the rock biography, or at least this one.

Once you have disregarded all the things it isn't and won't have in it, you are left with . . . well, what exactly? Rob Jovanovic has previously written books about REM, Beck, Pavement, Nirvana and Big Star, not to mention Nottingham Forest FC, so he should know how to put together a book like this. And he has one crucial advantage: good timing. This very month Kate Bush releases her first new album in 12 years.

Simply by not actively courting publicity during this time, she has been routinely portrayed by the press as, at the very least, a recluse and, more frequently than seems decent, a complete nutter. So for Rob to publish his biography right now -- and, crucially, for there to be no competing biographies coming out at the same time -- is to ride the wave of media interest the new Bush album has generated. Put it this way:

this book has already been widely reviewed, and at any other time I doubt it would be.

Bush, of course, is a considerable figure.

Hers is not a huge body of work -- the new album is only her eighth in 27 years -- but in an industry that habitually belittles everything women do she is almost alone in being universally respected. Her music, from the start, was exciting, different and wilfully uncommercial, and yet people instantly loved it. …

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