Song written by Kate Bush. Originally released on her eighth studio album Aerial in 2005.

Cover versions

‘Mrs. Bartolozzi’ was covered by G√∂teborgs Symfoniker, The Hounds Of Love and Niki Romijn.

Kate about ‘Mrs. Bartolozzi’

Is it about a washing machine? I think it’s a song about Mrs. Bartolozzi. She’s this lady in the song who…does a lot of washing (laughs). It’s not me, but I wouldn’t have written the song if I didn’t spend a lot of time doing washing. But, um, it’s fictitious. I suppose, as soon as you have a child, the washing suddenly increases. And uh, what I like too is that a lot of people think it’s funny. I think that’s great, because I think that actually, it’s one of the heaviest songs I’ve ever written! (laughs)
Clothes are…very interesting things, aren’t they? Because they say such an enormous amount about the person that wears them. They have a little bit of that person all over them, little bits of skin cells and…what you wear says a lot about who you are, and who you think you are…
So I think clothes, in themselves are very interesting. And then it was the idea of this woman, who’s kind of sitting there looking at all the washing going around, and she’s got this new washing machine, and the idea of these clothes, sort of tumbling around in the water, and then the water becomes the sea and the clothes…and the sea…and the washing machine and the kitchen… I just thought it was an interesting idea to play with.
What I wanted to get was the sense of this journey, where you’re sitting in front of this washing machine, and then almost as if in a daydream, you’re suddenly standing in the sea. (Ken Bruce show, BBC Radio 2, 1 November 2005)

Well, I do do a lot of washing [chuckles]. I’m sure I would never have written the song if I didn’t… You know, just this woman, in her house, with her washing. And then the idea of taking the water in the washing machine with all the clothes, and the water then becoming the sea… and I also think there’s something very interesting about clothes. They’re kind of people without the people in them, if you know what I mean? [Kate laughs] They all have our scent, and pieces of us on them, somehow. (Front Row, BBC4, 4 November 2005)

Lyrics

I remember it was that Wednesday
Oh when it rained and it rained
They traipsed mud all over the house
It took hours and hours to scrub it out
All over the hall carpet
I took my mop and my bucket
And I cleaned and I cleaned
The kitchen floor
Until it sparkled
Then I took my laundry basket
And put all the linen in it
And everything I could fit in it
All our dirty clothes that hadn?t gone into the wash
And all your shirts and jeans and things
And put them in the new washing machine

Washing machine
Washing machine

I watched them going ’round and ’round
My blouse wrapping itself around your trousers
Oh the waves are going out
My skirt floating up around my waist
As I wade out into the surf
Oh and the waves are coming in
Oh and the waves are going out
Oh and you’re standing right behind me
Little fish swim between my legs
Oh and the waves are coming in
Oh and the waves are going out
Oh and the waves are coming in
Out of the corner of my eye
I think I see you standing outside
But it?s just your shirt
Hanging on the washing line
Waving its arm as the wind blows by
And it looks so alive
Nice and white
Just like it’s climbed right out
of my washing machine
Washing machine
Washing machine

Slooshy sloshy slooshy sloshy
Get that dirty shirty clean
Slooshy sloshy slooshy sloshy
Make those cuffs and collars gleam
Everything clean and shiny

Washing machine
Washing machine
Washing machine

Credits

Piano and Vocals: Kate