How We Made 'The Kick Inside', guest publication - Paul Becker and JOAN Publishing
I began a kind of doodling whereby I was gathering together guitar leads, speaker cables and various inexplicable wires and repurposing them, sometimes winding them up into objects or, as I had with the string, stretching them out around the room into a kind of network. I would strip off conduit and rip out the copper wires from all the leads. I began to disembowel the mixing desk, pulling out its entrails: green, white, red, brown leads. I fixed all the wrong type of wiring to the wrong type of power and then I would turn the whole system on again to see what happened.
The book, ‘voiced’ by Kate Bush, is a fictional inhabiting (via the Guardian’s ‘How We Made…’ feature) of the production of her remarkable first album. A meditation on the idiosyncrasies of the creative process and what constitutes an artist’s sensibility, and then an unravelling towards a manifestation of that process and the strangeness, the rapture, that can follow.
‘The first part of this short book is the most alive and profound, intensely specific and supernaturally communicative sequence of insights into the process of making art I have ever read. And then. I don’t actually have the words to describe what comes next. My mouth fell open. My mind fell open. I think you’ll just have to read it.’
– Kate Briggs
‘I used to think that Anthony Burgess had a rubber stamp with which he printed the words ‘His best book yet’ for every publication he was sent to review. I have never read anything by Paul before and don’t get asked for my opinion much, so I would rather not waste this opportunity with disingenuousness. This is a fascinating book with a brilliant conceit as its impetus. I never knew Kate Bush was so interesting and then again, maybe she still isn’t.’
– Stephen Sutcliffe
‘This is writing as dance, an extraordinary choreography of crystalline images and rare tableaux. It moves in (im)perfectly controlled ara- besques toward a crescendo as exciting as anything in contemporary writing. It’s a summa, a guide, a Fellini-esque sleight of hand, and it represents a powerful condensation of what Bush/Becker describe as ‘instinct, grounded, earned and achieved through knowledge.’ It’s art, in other words. Rare and beguiling art.’
– John Douglas Millar
'Becker has found a way to hide an hallucinatory description of the artistic process inside a Kate Bush documentary. (It may not even need the Kate Bush part—she can look after herself.) The result is a rapturous, peculiar fantasy, a confessional about the psychological experience of making things.'
– Dan Fox