Saturday, 30 January 2010

Swiss Cottage Manoeuvres

"On a Christmas cake day one Friday in August in a bookshop in Charing Cross Road I first set eyes on a girl and at once I did know ..." Al Stewart has a song called Belsize Blues, which is available as a bonus track on the expanded edition of his best-selling work. Back in the days of teenage punk rage I considered Al Stewart's Year of The Cat to be the enemy, along with Elton John and Supertramp. It would be many, many years before the early works of Al Stewart won me over. His first LP, for example, contains a lovely little London song, Swiss Cottage Manoeuvres. It's a very Donovan-esque tale of the original bookshop casanova, who falls for a girl with eyes like a poet and hair like a rainbow, who just happens to be the daughter of a judge from St Albans. It's a bit of a 'will she, won't she, should I, shouldn't I?' tale, but I won't give away the full story. Let's just say the path of true love or lust is never smooth. The Swiss Cottage setting seems to fit perfectly with Al Stewart's early bedsit balladeer persona. The question is whether I should give Year Of The Cat another go?

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