A mere 10 seconds into the new Kate Bush documentary Running Up That Hill—aired by the BBC last week in honor of the reclusive singer/songwriter’s first shows in 35 years—she’s described as “waiflike.” For decades, words like that have been used to sum up what Bush is all about. Too often, those attempts fixate on her physicality. Bush’s body of work , from her 1978 breakout hit “Wuthering Heights” to her latest album, 2011’s 50 Words for Snow,gets examined—but so does her body. And her gender. And, ironically, her introverted nature, which is probably why she prefers not to be examined at all.
Others in Running Up That Hill speak of Bush in terms that range from gender-coded (The Sex Pistols’ John Lydon calls her “hysterical”) to patronizing (her former collaborator Peter Gabriel calls her “a strange creature”). In their defense, they’re clearly trying to be complimentary–like anyone else, the friends and admirers who appear in the film are often at a loss for words when describing her music. And there is something intangible and otherworldly about Kate Bush; her vivid, innovative music videos from the ’70s and ’80s only boost her image as some dimension-traveling elf, hovering overhead while singing songs of magic and moonbeams. READ FULL STORY