After 22 years it's yes, yes, yes to Kate Bush and Molly Bloom


IN A move described as “remarkable” by Joycean scholars, the singer Kate Bush has said she has been given permission to use Molly Bloom’s famous soliloquy from Ulysses in a song to be released next month.

The Joyce estate, whose main trustee is the writer’s grandson Stephen Joyce, are notoriously protective of the writer’s work and have brought numerous lawsuits against scholars and artists attempting to quote from the writer’s work.

Kate Bush, whose mother is from Co Waterford, originally approached the Joyce estate in 1989 seeking permission to use extracts from Molly Bloom’s soliloquy in a song called The Sensual World.When denied permission the singer wrote her own lyrics to the song but has spent the last 22 years trying to get the Joyce estate to change their mind.

“Originally when I wrote the song The Sensual WorldI had used text from the end of Ulysses but was disappointed not to receive permission,” said the singer.

“But when I came to work on this current project I though I would ask for permission again and this time they said yes. The song has now been retitled Flower of the Mountainand I am delighted that I have had the chance to fulfil my original concept.”

Bush – one of the foremost musical artists of her generation – was first struck by the power and potency of Bloom’s soliloquy when she heard actor Siobhán McKenna reading it.

“Because I couldn’t get permission the lyrics I wrote to The Sensual Worldhad Molly Bloom stepping out of the book into the real world and having these impressions of sensuality,” said Bush in a 1989 interview.

“When I heard Siobhán McKenna read it I thought: ‘My God! This is extraordinary, what a piece of writing!’ It’s a very unusual train of thought.”

Bush’s album will contain Flower Of The Mountainand sees the singer revisit two previous albums and record new versions of the songs. It will be released on May 13th.

It is believed to be the first time Joyce’s work has been used in a popular music song. Perhaps one of the reasons the estate has given permission for Bloom’s words to be used is because the copyright on Joyce’s literary work expires in 2012.

Under EU law, copyright expires 70 years after the author’s death.