I hardly ever
think of Cat Stevens
– but when I do, I instantly
think of one thing. And it is not
a particular album or song. It is
not any one greatest hits
compilation. It is not the
fact that it was the soundtrack
to any drive along the Napier-Taupo road
for my high school years. And it is not even
the university chum who was convinced
that Cat Stevens was a paedophile because
of his penchant for writing songs like
(Remember The Days Of) The Old School Yard
Where Do The Children Play?
Those are not the things
I instantly think of. I instantly
think of one situation whenever Cat Stevens plays.
The thing I think of is
when my father used to play
the Greatest Hits CD in the
car, relentlessly, and in an effort
to engage with him on this
subject, 13-year-old-Me said
“this is a good CD, I particularly like
the song Father and Son”
(this would later turn
up on the university
chum’s list of suspect-songs too).
The car arrived home
with us in it. The way it
usually did. And
the throwaway conversation was over
. So I got out of the car
and went inside.
My father stayed in
I was in my room later that
night doing homework. And my father
arrived saying, “that song you
mentioned early…I think
you were trying to tell
“Yeah I was”, I said, “I was
trying to say that I liked
that song, it’s probably my
favourite on the album. And
so that’s why I said that to you”.
But my father looked at me
as if I had said:
“How can I try to explain, when I do you turn away again. It’s always been the same, same old story. From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen. Now there’s a way and I know that I have to go away. I know I have to go”.
I was actually about to
ask him what year
Norman Kirk died in office. But
he was busy preparing his
look, adjusting his head as if he
was about to reply:
“It’s not time to make a change, just sit down, take it slowly. You’re still young, that’s your fault, There’s so much you have to go through. Find a girl; settle down, if you want you can marry. Look at me I am old, but I’m happy”.
The 13-year-old-Me struggled
to convince him it was just a
good song. And in the process of
doing that I fell instantly out of
love with the song. Never to have
any interest in it ever again.
The curse being I would play in
a covers band on and off for
about three years where that song
was part of the nightly repertoire.
My mum told me that
the reason I got out of the
car and dad stayed in the
car that night was because
he sat and listened to
the song three times to
try to understand what he
thought was being said