- The Decision That Saved Cats Life
- Jackie Magazine
- January 4, 1969
- No. 261
first record in nine months "Here Comes My Wife" proved that his enforced
absence from the pop world was not wasted. Apart from writing thirty songs, some of which
will make singles for himself and other artists. His illness has given him time for
thought. He has learnt a lot about himself.
He told me how he
discovered his illness. "I was very, very thin and I was coughing a lot and everybody
was telling me I ought to do something about it, so I thought, why not go and make sure?
So I went and had an X-ray." The same evening I was sitting at home watching T.V.
when the phone rang and the doctor said; Ive booked you into a Harley
Street nursing hours this evening They discovered later that it wasnt
pneumonia, as they thought, but a bit more seriousTB.
"I moved into the
country for more treatment and good airto Midhurst, and stayed there for three
months. The last two and a half months were very frustrating, just lying there.
"I spent the time
reading, writing and trying to learn how to read music. I could follow it before, but now
I really know whats going on In a recording studio.
"In the beginning, in
hospital, I was really depressed. That was when I thought I was going to die. I
thoughttheyre not telling me everything. Its more serious than they say.
"Mind you, if Id
left it another three weeks Id have been gone." But luckily he did go to the
doctor in time, and after the initial weeks of depression, his mood lifted, and towards
the end of his stay in Midhurst he was allowed to get up, play snooker and mix with the
other patients and even cadge cigarettes from them; although the hospital staff
disapproved, they didnt forbid it.
"It was a beautiful
place, and the grounds and the countryside around catered for three different
temperaments there were three forests. The first one was thousands of tall trees,
and there was one with short stubbly trees where you could see the sky, and one in between
"They had a games room
and I got quite friendly with some of the people. There was this Indian guy who wore white
silk robeswe played cards and by the third deal he would always know who was going
to win. He was about sixty, and very, very clever.
"I still write to
one-girl I met there she has to stay in for a few years." But a lot of the time he
was alone. He found It frightening at first, and then he began to get used to himself.
"You begin to develop a certain side of yourself, the human side, a feeling for other
people. You start realizing you are really alone, and the only way you can get over this
is to make lots of friends, real friends.
"It also showed me you
can only think so much about this business, it isnt every thing. And another thing,
Ive really got a taste for the country now, its just great; all those green
trees. I used to talk a lot to the birds, and they dont have to talk to you. They
can fly away, and they dont get embarrassed.
Being alone for so
long, It teaches you a lot about peopleyou have to watch them from afar, and you get
to appreciate the simple things."
He appreciated the staff of
the hospital at Midhurst, and a nurse from the Harley Street who brought him a bottle of
wine, and who made a special detour to Midhurst to take him home.
But although Cat recovered
quickly and was allowed home after three months, he still had to rest for six months after
that. But he was content to stay home, do his exercises, relax and watch television, he
had no desire to start living it up and over-exerting himselfalthough hes not
sure that he kept strictly to his doctors orders.
Once home he went back to
his old interests and started a few new ones. He wrote songs, drew, took up mathematics
and made new friends. "I made very good friends of Paul and Barry Ryan. I met them in
Belgium ages ago, and Harold Davison is married to their mother, and hes my agent,
too, so it just worked out fine. Paul is writing a lot now.
"Ive got on to
this cartoon thing in drawing, but it restricts you to laces and Im more interested
in the use of space. A bloke called Jeff who teaches in Pentonville prison four days a
week got me interested in this; hes shown me some photographs of his paintings.
scratching up on my mathematics. It started when I was bored. I hate to be ignorant, so I
started reading simple books on technical knowledge, electricity, the simple basic
rudiments of math, to refresh my memoryalgebra, sound waves and vibrations,"
The purpose of these
particular studies is ultimately to invent something, which is one of Cats main
ambitions now; his dream is to invents new musical instrument.
"It would be a machine
you can sing into, and the note will be changed into musical form, and come out sounding
like violins, sayit would work through vibrations, and five people could use these
instruments together. When Ive made it, Id like to get the instrument
So now Cat is reading all
the books he can find, though he has less time now that he is back working again. "I
went on holiday to Venice and my doctor phoned up to say my X-rays were OK, and I could
start work again."
He rushed back to London to
arrange meetings with publishers, arrangers and producers so that he could start on his
new single." It was a bit like it was with the first record, a nice feeling of
embarking on something new. I appreciate a lot of the things people are doing for me now.
"And Im anxious
to try different things, tooIm going to do some modeling, and I may do a film
commercial. Right now, though, its a question of waiting to see what will