Just been watching some of Yusuf Islam’s concert on BBC Sessions. As always when he was Cat Stevens, great band and stage set. It was nice to see him, like seeing an old friend after many years. I guess the element I missed was the explosiveness that used to set him apart from the usual cosy or laid-back singer-songwriters. While we have the sweetness of Where Do the Children Play? and so on, and that’s fine, it was always the drama of stuff like 18th Avenue, Bitterblue, and Sitting that I responded to as a young fan – he could switch from sweetness to a kind of desperation, with tight, aggressive flurries of drums, percussion and bass; Yusuf Islam is a man whose conflicts are  outside of music – as an educationalist and a spokesman trying (against the odds) to counter the prevailing images of his religion; Cat Stevens was a troubled man who sang a troubled song. But I’m glad he’s found his  way back to playing music  and I don’t wish on him the  angst and ego issues he had at the height of his fame; he’s not who he was then and neither am I. Bless him.

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