Princess Stomper

Why Everett True is right

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Kate Bush

By Princess Stomper

Why Aren’t There More Kate Bushes?

“Do you make this kind of statement about male artists? You should. You really should.” – Everett True, 2011

Tell you what: I’m going to sit this one out and let the little angel and devil that sit on my shoulders slug this one out. I’ll let you decide which is which.

Why does everybody pick on Kate Bush, like that’s the only talented female they can think of?

It’s a numbers game. Using the grand science of finger-in-the-air, let’s assume that one rock band out of 20 has a female member and one band in 100 is all-female. Solo acts in that side of the spectrum – leaving aside the female-dominated pop ranks of Kylie and Madonna – are rarer still. So when everyone picks on Kate Bush as being an example of a woman who changed the way that we think about music and music performance, it’s because we’re not overwhelmed with alternatives.

And yet there are many men as great as Kate Bush?

I could point to David Bowie or even Thom Yorke for having that lack of inhibition – that willingness to make themselves look ridiculous, but come out the other side and be awe-inspiring. I could point to their oft-imitated, distinctive voices. I could point to their ability to be vulnerable and aloof at the same time. I could point to many things … before asking myself why I’m only naming two men.

Let’s just pick on one little teeny-weeny short-lived scene: the No Wave movement of New York at the turn of the 80s. I’ve only heard a couple of Ut tracks, but they were extraordinary. Lydia Lunch is patchy, but I can think of a fair few acts of either gender that simply would not exist without her. As for Kim Gordon, well, you know who she is. So that’s three game-changers from 30 years ago. With my finger-in-the-air mathematics, surely that means that we should be able to find maybe 150 all-male genre-defining acts from that post-punk era. I mean, it’s a numbers game, right? So how many can you name? Acts who have had that kind of impact; that kind of legacy. Acts who have passed beyond ‘genre leader’ into legend. How many did you get to? 10? 15?

Let’s be generous and say 20. That’s not counting the 130 other post-punk acts that were pretty good or very good but just didn’t quite make the grade. They reflected and toyed with music as it stood but they didn’t change it into something new. I’m an equal opportunities drill instructor: if I’m not letting the ladies off the hook on this one, the gents don’t get a free ride, either. According to that particular piece of pretzel logic, if only 20 stand where 150 should be, then my three women are 7.5 per cent more accomplished than their male counterparts. Or, if you prefer, there’s a 92.5 per cent deficit of male talent.

(continues overleaf)

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4 Responses to Why Everett True is right

  1. polarbearisdying August 2, 2011 at 7:37 pm


    you get some number of 7.5 percent by entirely arbitrary means, and then say that means some peoples are 7.5 percent “more accomplished” which has NO MEANING whatsoever BECAUSE YOU CAN’T JUST ARBITARILY PUT PERCENTAGES ON THINGS. AND THAT’S BEFORE WE CONSIDER CAUSE AND EFFECT which you haven’t even begun to sort out. are the fewer female bands (as noticed by you) a CAUSE or an EFFECT. i would argue that the two are intertwined.

    it’s NOT friggin’ mathematics. it’s some awful perversion.

  2. nick August 3, 2011 at 3:04 am

    the first truly awful piece i’ve read on CB. ugh indeed.

  3. Everett True August 3, 2011 at 3:11 am

    I have a post lined up in response, Nick. I think Princess Stomper is making way too many assumptions in this article.

  4. Princess Stomper August 3, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    “According to that particular piece of pretzel logic …”
    “You can’t just arbitrarily put percentages on things”

    Oh. Does that equally apply to other types of equations?



    “the first truly awful piece i’ve read on CB”

    I don’t think you understand how this works, Nick. Responses should be in the form of 200 words or more about why it’s awful, preferably accompanied by an amusing infographic. If you’re going to say it sucks, we need to know if you mean like a Dyson DC26 Multi Floor or a Hoover Hurricane Light. If it both sucks and blows, you should include its approximate level on the Beaufort scale.

    Mention, of course, should be made on where exactly the suckage occurred: was it in word choice? (I haven’t reached the giddy heights of Charlie Brooker, though I did have a warm cider with Caitlin Moran once at a festival, which has to count for something.) Was it in the use of colours? (Started out as pink and blue but that was a bit hard on the eyes.) Or was it that you disagreed? (Which bit? That Arcade Fire aren’t worthy of their acclaim, or that Thom Yorke is uninhibited?)

    You really haven’t put much effort into this, have you? Must Try Harder. C-, see me after class.

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