When I left Tracey Baxter's copy of Hounds Of Love at a Southampton bus stop in 1985, Kate Bush was not the rare beast she is today. A new album? Not to worry, there'll be another along in a minute, a bit like the bus we got on not realising the bag we'd put down for a just a moment was never to be seen again. Kind of like Kate today really.
So yesterday I nearly died when I actually got to see this most enigmatic, magical, wonderful of creatures IN THE FLESH.
I've always been a fan, but I've become much more so in recent years. I thought Aerial was amazing, and I'm still getting used to 50 Words For Snow. That said, there was a time when Lionheart or The Kick Inside were never off my turntable, and I comfortably own everything she's ever released in this country and beyond, some of it I've paid a small fortune for too. But of course, that's what you do when it's Kate. You have to get what you can when you can. She's inventive, creative, never boring, always surprising. The fact she doesn't court publicity makes her all the more fascinating.
Anyhoo, I knew she was nominated for a South Bank Sky Arts Award for best album, along with Adele and PJ Harvey, but I never dreamed for a moment that even if she'd won she'd actually turn up. But turn up she did. I didn't see her arrive, but when Tom Jones announced she'd won she had to come all the way up through the room from the very back, and seeing as my table was just at the foot of the stage by the only steps up, she had to brush right past me. I was but feet away. I resisted the urge to touch her or shout out how much I love her - I'm a fortysomething year-old man, after all - and I'm very rarely starstruck, but that was one of those moments.
The room was packed with the likes of Michael Frayn, Felicity Kendal, Lynn Ramsay, Lenny Henry, Tom Stoppard, Jane Asher, Claire Tomalin, Brenda Blethyn, Rob Brydon, Jason Isaacs, Dominic West, Felicity Jones, and everyone else from the highbrow arts world - only on Saturday night was I at the British Soap Awards, and frankly there's no crossover - but I only had eyes for Kate. I savoured the moment. I drank her in. I'm almost 100 % sure I'll never see her again. In fact, the 300 people in that room are among only a handful of the public at large who have seen her in the last 20 years.
Of course, she could have brushed her hair and her leotard days are far behind her, but hey, I've seen Kate Bush. Another ambition realised.