In Passion Always Wins
, an in-depth interview with Phil Sutcliffe published in the August 30, 1980 issue of Sounds
, composer and performer Kate Bush said she'd never heard the word paedophilia before.
"Infant Kiss" isn't quite about such taboo subjects, although it comes pretty close. The song was inspired by the 1961 film The Innocents
, which is based on the 1898 novel The Turn Of The Screw
by the American author Henry James.The Innocents
was shot in black and white; set in then contemporary England and featuring Deborah Kerr in the title role as the newly appointed governess of a young girl and her older brother. Almost from the beginning, weird things happen, and the governess senses that her charges, especially the boy, are haunted or possessed by a mysterious man whom she sees, or thinks she sees, intermittently.
In one scene where she puts the boy to bed he asks her to kiss him goodnight, throws his arms around her, and kisses her passionately - the message being, obviously, that it is not the boy but a spirit possession who is kissing her.
The predecessor of the confused governess and her illicit lover had died in mysterious circumstances, but like the book, the film leaves much to the imagination. It has a tragic ending.
Kate Bush was able to get away with this on account of her gender, and because in the 1980s, even the inference of paedophilia wasn't met with the outrage it does today. If such a song had been recorded by the (later) disgraced Gary Glitter, it would have been a different ball game entirely.
Alexander Baron - London, England