I bought a copy of Kate Bush’s Cloudbusting the other day, because I’d bought her new album Aerial and it made me wistful for her old stuff from the 80s.
I knew that Cloudbusting was about Wilhlem Reich, but back in the old days we didn’t have no Inter Webs, and I couldn’t google around and learn the details. The details are pretty cool. It’s inspired by a book that Wilhelm’s son Peter wrote, about growing up in his father’s care, believing everything his father told him, and realizing only when his father was imprisoned and his books burned by the federal government, that almost nobody believed the things his father believed or thought his father was the genius that he considered himself.
I’d never made out the word “Organon” in the first line of the song (I’d thought it was something like “I still dream of all the noise…” — whoops). And other things about the song’s lyrics, which were puzzling before, become clear when you know what it’s about —
You’re like my yo-yo
That glowed in the dark
What made it special
Made it dangerous
So I bury it and forget
A yo-yo that glowed in the dark? Well… Reich experimented with radium at his laboratory, Organon. A yo-yo that glowed in the dark might well be special… and dangerous.
It’s an especially thought provoking song becuase Reich is such a character. He was in many ways a reprehensible fellow — the word “megalomanic” leaps to mind when one considers that he’s the author of a book-length rant called Listen, Little Man! (which reads exactly how you’d think it reads from the title). And, well, you know, “orgone energy” ain’t exactly, um, real. But… I don’t know. For all the craziness, it seems like at heart he was a man who saw how much society can hurt people, and fill them with anger and fear and hate, and who wanted to do something about it, and who convinced himself he’d found secrets which allowed him to change the world.
I would like to read the book that inspired the song.
Everytime it rains,
You’re here in my head
Like the sun coming out –
Ooh I just know that something good is going to happen
And I don’t know when
But just saying it could even make it happen.