That Cat’s Something I Can’t Explain

I would describe this as essentially a Bond theme about a Siamese cat. I’m a big fan of Syd Barrett, but have a deep pool of loathing for Roger Waters. I would call it an irrational hatred, but I feel like I could come up with plenty of reasons for my loathing. My mother is a big Pink Floyd fan, so I’ve had plenty of exposure over my lifetime to fuel it.

I also find a lot of the discourse about Syd’s withdrawal from fame quite irritating. Like he’s clearly a man who was plagued with a lot of mental and physical health problems, but a lot of the things you see written about him act like he was extra crazy for backing off from rock star fame and going back to his modest little house in Cambridge (I have seen it, it’s not exciting at all). Like “you lived the dream, you must have something really wrong with you to not want to do it any more”. Maybe that wasn’t his dream at all, even in the modest stages of Pink Floyd’s fame before they became a giant business colossus after he left. His songs are full of joy and spontaneity and just the pleasure of being creative, and I imagine that level of money focus would have totally crushed that.

Also, in terms of joy-crushing, I spent far too long in London around people who thought Hardcore Was the One True Music and anything too far from HxC was weak, suspect and uncool. Liking Syd Barrett was something I did that was apparently particularly uncool (also-see Nick Drake, Jeff Buckley, Shirley Collins). Imagine having that little joy in life.

On a more cheerful note, my MA supervisor, George Hardie, drew the cover for Dark Side of the Moon. At the time he did it for a lump sum of I think about £50 (he did a lot of other album covers too at that time). Imagine the riches if he’d got a royalty percentage. I don’t think he really cares though, he has had a successful and happy life as an artist. Of course the best gift to get him is the worst bad knockoff Dark Side of the Moon merch you can find. Someone gave him some hideous boxer shorts of his own artwork and he thought they were hilarious. He also collects rulers, especially useless ones that have something wrong with them. I got him a silicone one from a Salvador Dali exhibition that was too flexible to actually rule a line with, but the holy grail I was looking for was a really bad Dark Side of the Moon ruler. I never did find one. A+ MA supervisor, even if my scruffy lines and love of scribbling sometimes made him despair.

I also used to have a beautiful Siamese cat called Oscar. Or perhaps I should say he decided I was his person. He was actually my mum’s cat and lived with her, but was very clear on the fact that he considered himself to be my cat, and was really quite annoyed that I didn’t live in the house. He tried his best to be haughty, aloof and magnificent, but was really just a big fluff who lived for belly rubs (and had a very plush velvety belly). Sadly he died last year of a tumour, which Siamese cats are prone to.

That cat’s something I can’t explain

I don’t currently have any pets. Landlords in London who allow cats or dogs are a rare breed. My housemate has a tropical aquarium, and I don’t fancy getting hamsters or mice, and don’t have space for rats. So no pets other than fish for us.

mitzi 2 sm

My mum has two cats, Oscar and Mitzi. Oscar decided at some point I was his person, and he gets very disappointed when I visit and turn out to not be moving in. I got his hopes up too much when I housesat for a couple of weeks in 2013. They are brother and sister, from the same litter. The mother is a Bengal cat, the father a Siamese. Oscar has come out almost completely Siamese though.

My mum retired and came into some money, and bought a house in a small town in France, so the cats now have their own passports. (Small french towns are full of older english people- all the young french people want to go Paris or London.) There’s an english family who live on a farm near her, who have a really friendly ragged old ginger barn cat named Henry. Henry likes to come in to my mum’s place, and sleep on the bed or sofa with her two cats (as close as they will let him- Henry gets flea treatments, so it’s ok if they did) and have a taste of their food. Oscar and Mitzi don’t get aggressive or territorial with him, they just sit there with mortified politeness like they’re going “well we didn’t invite him, but it would be rude to throw him out, can’t you do something?” like they’re children whose parents have organised a playdate with another kid they don’t like, while Henry purrs away like a rusty engine.

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Pussies Galore


My mum’s got 2 kittens now, about 12 weeks old. She’s had them for about 2 weeks now, so they’re still getting used to things.


This is Mitzi, the girl. She’s cream with beige stripy legs. She’s more outgoing, and is a ferocious little hunter.


This is Oscar, the boy. He’s also cream, but with brown tips. He’s a little reserved, and has a skeptical little look on his face, but he’s affectionate when he’s got to know you.