Saturday, December 15, 2007

It’s a Gas

I guess everybody who grew up in the 70s had a cousin who was way into Cat Stevens. If you’re “troubled” by Cat Stevens, this little video clip won’t help matters. It comes from a live concert, not too long before he converted to Islam. It’s worth watching because you can see clear flashes of rage and frustration in Stevens’ eyes during some of the between-song banter, and I think he even has a hissy fit at one of his roadies for not setting his mic at the right angle or not having a flower on his stand somewhere on this video. Anyway, he reveals himself to be a certain sad, lamentable character type: the malevolent hippie. Someone so torn up by inner anger that he has to resort to this sort of cartoon antithesis of his true nature in an attempt to hide themselves from themselves and everyone else. I’ve known several of these guys. They try, perhaps admirably, to conceal their violent and aggressive tendencies under a veneer of stoner laidbackness, but it’s a transparent sham. They want to strangle and beat people, and they can’t face up to it. I’m not saying that Cat Stevens was all those things, just that you can see in his face that the hippie ethos wasn’t working for him. Perhaps Islam was a better fit. More structure.

I don’t even really want to spoil this little clip for you. JP and I sprung it on Lefty one night, and I think it may have scarred him.

"Banapple Gas" - Cat Stevens (live video)

Ok, if you endured that, you deserve some sort of reward. Here's a Cat Steven's treat. This is old, pre-beard, back when Cat was a swinging London dandy. The production is beautiful, and, of all the versions of this song, I'd have to say that Cat Steven's (he who wrote it) is the bestest.

No disrespect to Rod Stewart, who seems to get a lot of unnecessary disrespect.

1 comment:

Rod... said...

... saw himn in the les cousins folk club in london just before he became famous - and he was a jerk then... don't think much has changed...