Flying back from Brazil last week through a long dark night of turbulence in the plaintive wake of Hurricane Bertha, one prevailing thought endured as I clutched the arm rest mercilessly - this bastard plane best not go down before I get to see Kate Bush in concert next week.
To understand such anxiety, one needs to put her live comeback after 30 years in the context of a life-long devotion. I'm sure I'm not alone in having such thoughts since the unlikely announcement back in March, when I had to check the date wasn't April 1st, such was the improbability of it all.
I'm going to come out. You see, my love affair with Kate Bush has been one of the longest and most enduring of my life. The intimacy we share is one that is comparable to that with closest friends and family, and is one that represents a belief in a better self, a better world, even transcending the dull minutiae of life itself. So what if I've never even met her?
I've scrapped this piece numerous times for being too dithyrambic on the page. But how does one best sum up in so few words the impact she's had on my interior world without sounding deranged. But alas, by believing truly in someone's greatness, you believe in your own greatness, or at least fantasise it, thus elevating you to a higher place. That's the crux of fan worship.
The singer John Grant spoke recently of his fondness for Elizabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins in such illuminating terms that could be applied equally to Kate and her fans. He said: 'Back then, she had the power to transport people out of ugly places. She took people out of their ugliness long enough for them to get perspective.'
As an idolater, it was no surprise I'd be drawn to Kate in my formative years. There are those who smirk at this type of love affair and belittle those who hero worship. They'll say it's a mere obsession with an exalted stranger, exacerbated by a lack of meaningful relationship in ones past, or even ones present. I say - so what? What's wrong with a love that can be controlled on your own terms, to a degree. And when it fills your life with so much joy and richness, where is the harm?
As a sequestered teen in the rural Lancashire hinterlands, her records were manna from heaven to me. As Deborah Orr wrote in The Guardian: 'Bush was so poised, so sophisticated, such a seductive messenger of the big, messy, complicated world out there.'
And it's true. During adolescence she was both an education and a musical revelation. Hers was the perfect soundtrack to nascent youth. And I fell hard for her ethereal charms as her songs triggered my imagination, consoling and inspiring. They delved into the dark recesses of the heart and spoke of monstrous passions, sexual awakening and romantic yearnings.
Much of her oeuvre defies definition but through her work, one could discover what it means to be human. Who else had the ability for such diverse narrative viewpoints in their songs, and with such astonishing aplomb? She was a mix of Bronte, Keats, Kubrick and Mozart rolled into one; a musical auteur in an industry of vapid puppets and one-dimensional mundanity.
My first exposure to Kate's music was in a children's TV show in 1986 called Running Scared that used Running Up That Hill as its theme tune. Its hypnotic and haunting percussive opening had a lasting impression, as did her album The Sensual World a few years later, which I found on cassette in my local library. It was like discovering a diamond in a pig's arse. Its inlay cover was battered and all mucky fingerprints but I didn't care. It was the sonic gateway from which a fruitful and at times challenging relationship developed.
All these years later she's still one of those rare artists to retain an air of mystery and magic which is what music-consuming used to be about - before the immediacy of downloads, social media and the insipid laundry-airing celebrity world. By not capitulating to the demands of the record industry and a voracious public, she's led a quiet and ordinary life away form the limelight, thus achieving an extraordinary mythic status.
Amazingly, little has been revealed about these gigs and that is why there's a very acute sense of excitement about them. I feel about them like I did when I was a child counting the days for one of my favourite artists to release a new LP, before cycling to Woolworths with a couple of quid in my grubby pocket.
I've no doubt her live show will be just as compelling and confounding as her records, not to mention subversive, inventive, beautiful and surreal. Surreal because standing in our midst will be Kate at last, perhaps having realized it was an utter betrayal to her songs not to breathe life into them in a live setting. By doing so now, she can reconfigure unperformed classics before a new and eager audience. It'll be akin to a quasi-religious experience.
Having always sung directly to me - or so I like to think, it will be tough sharing her with thousands of others. Like discovering my secret love has been cheating on me and is no longer mine. But it's a small price to pay.
As so many have described her before; the irrepressible; the inimitable; the enigmatic; the utterly individual; the unrivalled; the genius that is... Our Kate. I'll be waiting for her fervently. But no longer just in my bedroom with her on the stereo, but in Hammersmith. And, for better or worse, we'll no longer be alone.