Barry Cain dismisses doubts about authenticity of 1982 Flexipop! feature in which singer describes teenage loneliness
The co-founder of a cult music magazine of the early 80s has stood by the authenticity of an article first published 35 years ago, in which Kate Bush, now revered worldwide as a singer and songwriter, recalled her days as a bullied schoolgirl “with hooligan instincts”.
The article, first published in Flexipop! in 1982, and now reproduced in a book of highlights of the magazine’s three-year lifespan, quotes Bush recalling the miseries of being a shy outsider at St Joseph’s Convent grammar school in Bexley, south-east London, bullied psychologically and occasionally physically.
The article had been reproduced on some fan sites over the last 30 years, with caveats about its authenticity given that Bush, who returned to live performance in 2014, 35 years after her last tour, is famously protective of her private life.
It quoted her saying: “I was too shy to be a hooligan but inside I had many hooligan instincts. I became very shy at school. There were people who picked on me and gave me a very hard time. It was a very cruel environment and I was a loner.
“My friends used to play this game whereby they’d ‘send you to Coventry’. My friends sometimes used to ignore me completely and that would really upset me badly. I still tend to be vulnerable, but I’m much better at fighting back if people are nasty to me today.
“I used to get the most terrible crushes on boys, always much older than me. And it was terrible. I used to think they were so beautiful. But I’d never get anywhere with them. Just the old fantasy trip of getting off on someone, was what it was about.
“My life as a teenager was interesting and difficult. And it was important, because it stirred up all sorts of things in me. But I was very lonely. And even after I left school, there were times when the loneliness became desperate.”
A spokesman for Bush said, when doubts about the authenticity of the piece resurfaced: “We have no further comment at this point.”
Barry Cain, a music writer and publisher, was a co-founder in 1980 of Flexipop! which often extracted far more startling revelations than Bush’s from a string of pop stars. He insisted the piece was genuine, written in the first person but based on an interview.
“All the artists featured in Testament Of Youth were interviewed at the time and the articles were all written in the first person. The piece in the book is a straight reproduction from the magazine and when it originally appeared there were no complaints whatsoever. In fact, we were even provided with a photo of Kate at her school. The Testament Of Youth series included highly personal interviews with the likes of Paul Weller, Simon Le Bon, Boy George, Kim Wilde, Siouxsie, Adam Ant etc.”
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