If Fleetwood Mac can be introduced to a new audience because someone posted a clip of themselves on a skateboard drinking juice half-lip-sync to Dreams – a whole group of people who hadn’t just heard of it because of the Corrs! — then of course Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) will end up being the sound of summer 2022.
Her 1985 single/stone-cold classic is leaping up the charts and, according to the number of search-engine-friendly headlines I’ve seen, a new generation is tapping “who is Kate Bush?” into the search bar. Which means an older generation is inevitably tutting about them needing to ask who Kate Bush is in the first place. Let’s see how that works when you’ve got a question about the TikkyTok, grandma.
Running Up That Hill came to prominence again because it features in a crucial scene in the new season of Stranger Things, though to say it features is to underplay its role. It is part of the action and drives the story. According to the show’s music supervisor, Nora Felder, getting permission to use it was no easy task. (You might say they had to run up… actually, let’s leave it, it’s been a long bank holiday for everyone.) Bush does not often allow her songs to be used in films or on TV and was given full descriptions of the scene and context before she made her decision, though it turned out she was a fan of the show anyway.
Stranger Things is not the only nod to the power of Running Up That Hill that has appeared in recent years – Fiona Apple refers to it in her song Fetch the Bolt Cutters as a metaphor for an industry that constrained her – but it is remarkable at harnessing its potency . Television and film are full of moments that reach for glory in music, but it is rarer than you’d think for it to end up being truly memorable. The ones that work end up changing the way the song is heard, potentially for a long time to come, which has its pros and cons, though it is never set in stone. Think of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’, a masterful end note for The Sopranosbefore it was dunked in cheese by Glee.
If any song can steel itself against over familiarity, it’s Running Up That Hill. Whether it is for the first time or the 500th time, you still hear it now and think, what the hell was that? And then you play it again.
Christine Baranski: Good Fight will pull no punches to the very end
The fact that The Good Fight got as far as six seasons is astonishing. Maybe the television executives who kept saying yes to more episodes were microdosing as much psilocybin as Diane Lockhart, played by the fabulous Christine Baranski. (That’s the woman who gave Elon Musk the evils, for those who prefer memes.) The series, ostensibly about a legal firm in Chicago, ended up being a madcap interpretation of the rampant and incessant real-life news cycle, which, you might reasonably argue, has enough madness to it as it is. Yet it has been utterly brilliant, and criminally underwatched, and Baranski’s performance is one of the all-time greats.
Sadly, all fine television must come to an end and its forthcoming sixth season will be its last. Its creators, Michelle and Robert King, told the Hollywood Reporter that they realised they were “tired” and that an ending was near. Still, for a show that has worked in Weinstein, Epstein, Russian compromat and a musical skit about censorship in China that was actually censored in the US, it promises to go out swinging.
“Season six focuses a lot on an upcoming civil war,” said Michelle King. Oh, good.
Elliot Page: the courage to defy Hollywood conventions
I am not usually a fan of “in their own words” type celebrity interviews, because they often feel like a cop-out, but I very much enjoyed Elliot Page’s American Esquire cover story this month. The actor revealed that he was transgender at the end of 2020 and offered his eloquent and often moving thoughts on transitioning, identity, joy and pain (as well as sport, books and dogs).
Page also talked about starring in his breakout film, Juno, in 2007, before his transition, when he played a teenage girl who got pregnant by her boyfriend and ended up in an adoption tangle. He said that he wanted to wear a suit on one of the red carpet events, but the studio insisted on a dress. It’s worth looking up the images of what his co-star, Michael Cera, wore during those same promotional duties; you may not drop dead with shock to see that he is in casual trousers and scruffy trainers. I found this oddly infuriating, years later, not least because Juno the character is a jeans-and-shirt type in the movie.
The whole cover story is well worth a read. It struck me as particularly generous. I can barely begin to imagine how exhausting and demoralising it must be to explain your right to simply exist as a transgender person. Page doesn’t have to put himself out there and discuss his darkest moments with all the world, but in doing so, there is hope, that just one person reading it might gain a new, greater understanding.