Yes, please. If that’s alright with you.
Kate Bush asked me this, years ago. Well ok, so she asked everyone else too, but still. I’m pretty sure I saw her and her Mum in Laura Ashley in Bath, when she and I were about 18. The location is plausible enough. Maybe we did actually share a moment. Certainly eye contact, the way you do over the years. Mine have included Kate O’Mara round the back of Sadler’s Wells and Pamela Stephenson (or to you, Lady Connolly as she styles herself now that her TV career has expanded from having a grenade stuffed down her blouse on The Professionals) getting off a Tube train I was getting on.
We didn’t, you know. Speak or anything.
But what-ifs aside – actually no. We’re living in the middle of the biggest what-if in England ever. What if we left a successful trading union that brought us countless benefits, had government ministers telling lie after lie after lie about how easy and successful it would be, had an Old Etonian Prime Minister who thought it was funny to call black people picaninnies in the papers, cut our exports by 68% overnight and 99% of the media told us it’s all totally brilliant? It would be laughable except for the fact that it’s true.
But Kate Bush. And this is true as well.
I went out one night. Drink was taken. I met this girl and we got on brilliantly, went back to mine and duly fell asleep. And asleep, you dream. I do, anyway. In my dream I met Kate Bush at a party. We’d both been drinking, which was plausible enough, not least as there’s video of her actually smoking a cigarette, which for me was like finding a film of the Pope with a remarkable command of Anglo-Saxon having a fight with a nightclub doorman.
Kate told me in that honeyed voice that this was something special. That she wanted to remember this. She didn’t want it to be just a drunken fumble that got out of hand. And in the morning it was going to be wow, wow, wow, wow, wow (wow) unbelievable.
I thought I took it on the chin. I didn’t ask for an actual printed receipt about the morning. I didn’t say there’s nothing wrong with a drunken fumble that gets out of hand. I did what you have to do (which in those days was an abortive fumble above the waist on the off-chance and dutifully heard the expected and resigned ‘Go to sleep’) and went to sleep. Hey, it was the ’80s.
When I woke the other side of the duvet was turned down. The sheet was warm where she’d lain. There are noises from the bathroom. There are actual noises of toothbrushes and soap dishes from my bathroom. I heard the bathroom door open and light, female feet in the hallway.
In about 30 seconds she’s going to open my bedroom door and step into my bedroom. There will be no morning-after dog-breath. Her hair will be well, like Kate Bush’s hair. See above. It’s going to be In The Warm Room in quadrophonic surround sound. My life is going to be complete, better than the way it was when I drove halfway across America to visit Hunter Thompson.
29, 28,27, 26 and the door is opening and …..
And suddenly there was a wrenching, churning pain in my stomach, an overwhelming feeling of loss, as if something had fallen out of me. I sat up in bed, arm outstretched, pointing at her. At the awful realisation, as I cried out, that …..that…..that….
You’re not Kate Bush!
The person who wasn’t took it quite well, considering.
So yes, Kate, or yes, as you were back then, anyway. I still want to know how it feels. Any time you want to finish that conversation is fine with me.