Friday, January 19, 2007

The recent revival of Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) has got me dusting off his greatest hits - and it's surprising just how many greatest hits there are for someone who decided to quit the music scene at such an early young age. Well done to his son for bringing a guitar into his house and helping him realise just how much the world was missing by his self-imposed exile. I don't claim to understand his religious reasons behind turning his back on music - to me, whichever God you might believe in, I find it hard to understand why music would not be an integral part of worship. Imagine life without U2, Cliff Richard, Larry Norman - a darker place indeed! I wonder if Yusuf had ever considered changing his style to one that might be seen as more acceptable to stricter Islamic beliefs that he might have continued to play - or did he feel that that as his own style was perhaps unacceptable, that he should cease to play. On his website he talks about the fear of music getting in the way of religion.

So the next question is, would Greenbelt be prepared to invite him to play the festival? I still remember the hypocrites who booed when Sal Solo introduced his band which contained a Muslim - I guess we've moved on a long way since then. There will still be the critics who seem to forget the phrase "love your brother as yourself" and instead go down a path that welcomes all and no one. I guess Greenbelt is OK with the idea - Muslims on panels is not unusual and I got the OK this year to invite a very well known Muslim as a speaker. And most of all, the main reason for inviting Yusuf Islam would be because he believes in many of the things Greenbelt believes in.

The first late night at the office of the year this week. Nice having a private club in the basement as I was able to have a quick drink with the over-nighters (probably 50% of bid team live elsewhere in the country so have to live in London for several months during the week. Also saw the end of the Newcastle defeat. Makes our hic-cup a week ago seem quite mild!

Despite being very busy I am having to deal with a load of emails from the States at the moment - it all sounds very promising but I will wait and see if ideas turn into reality.

Also caught up with Hey Gravity's manager today - sounds like the French are loving them, and the band loving France. Below is a picture from last Friday's TV show.

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