Benedict’s Guilty Pleasures of the 80s Incarnate
Throughout my 25 year-long career in the Security business, I’ve had to hide the passion I have for the Arts.
Working internationally as a security expert throughout the 70s to the 90s, the notion of divulging my love for Romantic-Comedies, Modern Paintings and Pop Music seemed insane – a form of professional suicide.
My secret shame was in direct violation of, what was at the tine, a certified standard of masculinity. Especially amongst middle aged men, who either remembered those lost in the world wars or had been directly involved in it, the idea of revealing my obsession with Prince would’ve seemed almost disrespectful. As if I was dishonouring those that had died in the Wars that engulfed our planet, only a handful of years ago.
There remained in Germany and America, where I did most of my work, a gold standard for the way men are suppose to live. It often meant open enthusiasm for sports (which I’ve never enjoyed) and women (whom I love but have never been in love with), usually in the form of some kind of debauched display of ‘locker-room talk’.
Had I been born a few decades later, I might well have been able to express my love for all the guilty pleasures that I was forced to accumulate – especially during the 80s. So many wonderful female singers came to prominence during this time. Instead of being able to buy tickets for their shows, or proudly display their posters in my home, I had to settle for surreptitiously tapping my toes whilst in a restaurant or café.
Idols such as Madonna and Cyndi Lauper, although heavily sexualised for a male audience, were not the kind of music that men openly listened listened to at the time. So, it was with a heavy heart that I missed seeing wonderful female performers in there prime – such as Whitney Houston and the irrepressible Kate Bush, when they came to the towns I was working in.
Thankfully I had the chance to see the next best thing this evening at the Georgian Royal Theatre.
Maaike Breijman is a performer from Haarlem in the Netherlands, a beautiful country that I’ve had the good fortune of working in before. At the theatre, where I had the good fortune of meeting my fellow writers just a few months ago, I saw her and her band perform songs from Kate Bush’s back catalogue – complete with costume changes, scenery and props to match.
Breathlessly transforming from one song to the next, Maiike embodies what I remember seeing of Kate in the music videos of the time. Often overly theatrical, interweaving Bush’s rich narratives with an inventive and varied stage performance, Maaike understands how to make the most of her source material.
A dark intensity emanates from her eyes as she roams the stage with her backing band playing the role that they’re meant to: providing note perfect backing, whilst allowing Maiike to take centre stage and slip into the role seamlessly.
The stage show, taken as a whole, is almost cinematic in it’s scope. Considering the relatively small size of the space here in Richmond, it’s truly impressive to see what this small company can achieve on, what we presume, is a pretty tight budget.