The singer Kate Bush has been appointed Commander of the most excellent order of the British Empire in the New Years Honours List of 2013; she attended the ceremony at Windsor Castle and was presented with her medal personally by the Queen, see: http://www.nme.com/news/kate-bush/69666#I8F3sloGI4wwMu0q.99. Kate commented to the press: "I feel incredibly thrilled to receive this honour which I share with my family, friends and fellow musicians and everybody who has been such an important part of it all. Now I've got something special to put on top of the Christmas tree." I feel enormously dismayed by this news story; has Kate Bush turned coat?
Kate Bush is one of the most talented singer-songwriters in the world and she has been one of the most influential musicians on my own life; she was also my first ever celebrity crush... when I was about four years old I think. I've related the story several times about the unforgettable childhood memory I have of when I first saw the video of her song Cloudbusting in the cinema, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hF813vmbcQY. It haunted and consumed me for many years, and I had no idea why. It was a very long time later that I discovered that the track is a ballad about the life and works of Wilhelm Reich. It features Donald Sutherland playing Reich, and it's very unusual for a famous cinematic actor to star in a music video. Wilhelm Reich was a maverick scientist who developed radical ideas about life, energy, UFO's, psychology and human sexuality. He was ridiculed and rejected by the academic community and persecuted by the government. He was eventually put in prison where he died; see here for more details: http://hpanwo-radio.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/programme-36-podcast-peter-robbins.html. As I listened more carefully to Kate Bush's music I understood that she is a deeply nonconformist and unique thinker. She's not an overt political radical like John Lennon, Bob Dylan and many other musical acts, but her subversion takes on a more subtle and mystical form; she's more akin to Pink Floyd or The KLF. This kind of rebellion is no less important than the more conventional kind; in fact it's an essential ingredient without which the other forms of rebellion would flounder, and indeed those who reject it have. Kate shuns publicity and gives very few interviews; she guards her personal life fiercely, but it didn't surprise me to learn that she was once a member of a local UFO club which operated near where she lives. This is why when I see her curtsy before the Habsburg harridan it feels like a betrayal. Why didn't she refuse, like the famous poet Benjamin Zephaniah, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Zephaniah? Am I overreacting? Am I being too hard on Kate Bush? Possibly. It could be that Kate doesn't understand exactly what she's done... I hope so anyway.