While wandering the web last night in an effort to procrastinate writing this, I happened upon my nieces blog. I assume everyone on the planet will eventually be so busy with their own blogs that they will never have a chance to read anyone elses. Anyway, she is currently living one of those great roller coaster moments in her life that is both scary and exciting. She just graduated high school, moved into her first apartment for the summer and soon will be moving across the country to go to a college in an extremely cool place (why I opted to be a Tallahassee Seminole instead of a Santa Cruz Banana Slug, Ill never know).
Life plays a nasty trick on you; when you are old enough to really appreciate and enjoy those amazing times in your life, your often too laden with responsibilities to have many more of them. The first crack of personal freedom after high school, with lifes infinite options opening up in front of you, can be a pretty damn fabulous time. It was a blast reading her blog, living vicariously through her as it stirred up memories from my past. It also was doing a great job of keeping me distracted from the fact that I had not started writing my blog entry yet. It was as good a distraction as the usual stuff like diamond mine, reading reviews of Frisbee disc golf courses, getting sports scores or watching clips of the cheesy German Star Trekish show Raumpatrouille on YouTube. http://youtube.com/results?search=Raumpatrouille&search_type=search_videos&search=Search
I read one of my nieces entries where she was tagged and had to list seven songs you are into right now. Her number seven song was the Cat Stevens If You Want To Sing Out. It is a simple little song full of optimism about all the choices life offers all of us. Oddly enough, if I made the same list when I was going through that same time during my life, that song would have been on my list as well. I spent a huge part of my summer before college combing used record stores and flea markets all over South Florida looking for a copy of that song.
It was recorded in the early 1970s for the movie Harold and Maude (which is still one of my top three movies of all time but that would have been a different list). All the songs in the movie were from previously released Cat Stevens albums except for two, so no soundtrack album was ever released in the United States. I eventually found out that a copy of the song was released on a record in Japan, but by the time I started looking for a copy of it, it had been out of print for a decade. Finding this song became a huge quest during my exciting summer before college.
At the risk of sounding old, this was before Itunes, Limewire and such, so if you could not find an old copy of the record or someone that actually owned it, there was no way for you to hear the song. At the risk of sounding really, really old, this was also before most homes had VCR or DVD players. You had to jump at the precious few chances to see an old movie like Harold And Maude when it happened to play at a repertory movie theatre or midnight movie. It is hard being hooked on a song that you had no access to.
Many late Saturday nights my group of my high school friends would pack into a car and drive to some run down theatre on the other side of Miami to see an old movie. If Harold and Maude was playing, I was always trying to drag more people to see this odd life affirming movie about a directionless young man who between his hobbies of going to funerals and faking suicides, falls in love with a woman in her 70s. I was thirteen when I saw it for the first time at a theatre in Queens New York called the Cinemart http://www.cinemartcinemas.com/chc/cc/about_us.asp that used to show a double feature of second run films for a buck. My Mother, of all people, actually took me to see it. I have to assume she already knew I had a bizarre sense of humor.
Not long before I graduated college my quest abruptly ended when If You Want To Sing Out was released on Cat Stevens Greatest Hits Volume Two. By that time, you could also buy a VHS tape of Harold and Maude. It was great being able to hear the song whenever I wanted or watch the movie for that matter, but I must admit it did take a lot of the excitement away from it.
Here is a link to the song, with clips from the movie, shame this technology did not exist back when I was searching for the song… or is it?