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Book Review

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Book Review: The Cat Who’ll Live Forever

by Lang Reid

You would have to like cats before picking The Cat Who’ll Live Forever by Peter Gethers (ISBN 0-7679-0903-8, Broadway Books 2002) up from the shelves. Having just recently lost a very favourite feline member of our household, the title caught my eye immediately. Pets like these do live forever - in the minds of those who remain.

This book is called “the final adventure of Norton, the perfect cat and his imperfect human”, and deals with the final months and the death of his cat. It is Gethers’ third book about his cat, a Scottish Fold.

It begins with author Gethers placing his location near Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, New York City. He writes that he moved there because his cat wanted to live there. “Do me a favour and please don’t ask how I know that this was his abode of choice. I know many strange things about my cat and I’d rather not discuss them because anyone who’s not a cat fanatic will think I’m insane and anyone who is a cat fanatic will not even question the above statement.” This sets the tone for the book.

Gethers writes in the first person, directly involving the reader, and exhibits a dry and wry sense of humour all the way through. For example, in the pages you meet a woman who keeps a llama in her back yard and another who travels with her pet pig, just in case you think author Gethers who travels with a cat is somewhat weird! In essence, the book shows a little of what it is like to live with a famous cat.

The review copy was made available by Bookazine and had an RRP of B. 550. A hefty price for a fairly slim paperback, but it has some hefty prose and even heftier personal thoughts between the covers. I am not ashamed to say that the final chapter of this book brought me to tears. While author Gethers believes his Norton was a ‘perfect’ cat and writes that some of his feelings of grief were because “There is not so much of that perfection thing going around that we can afford to lose it without grieving”, I would take him to task on that. My cat was not perfect, in fact he could be right proper willful little beast when he wanted, but like Gethers’ Norton, my Roi loved his human and I grieved. Gethers mentions Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem “Margaret, Are You Grieving?” postulating that when we grieve we are really mourning our own mortality, but I rather take his simpler explanation, that when we grieve we are mourning our own loss. I think that anyone who has lost a loved one, person or pet, would agree.

This is a beautifully written book, touching on a subject that touches us all one day. And despite the very touching ending, it is a book describing the joys of being owned by a cat. If you are a cat lover, get this book. If you have a friend who is a cat lover, get it for them.

Mott's CD Reviews: Pink Fairies - Kings Of Oblivion

Pawed by Mott the Dog
re-mastered by Ella Crew

***** 5 Stars

What a band. Everybody loved the Fairies. On their night - the best band in the world; on their off days - well, the least said the better. They played every free festival there was, always turning up for them, but sometimes forgetting to turn up to the ones that they were supposed to be paid for. Touring with the equally infamous Hawkwind, ending every concert with a set of “Pinkwind”, where everybody got up on stage for a jam that would either be marvelous or, depending on the state of the respective band members, a complete shambles.

The Pink Fairies were well known for their excessive Rock ‘n’ Roll lifestyle, ultra cool looks (denim, leather, very long frizzy hair, cowboy boots and eternal shades), couldn’t care less attitude, and excellent musicianship. Unfortunately the later was generally ignored by the press, but mind you, they didn’t exactly help themselves with their barely concealed contempt for the press or the music business hierarchy in general.

This dog’s favorite Fairies’ story is that of turning up at Maidstone Civic hall to witness the Fairies in motion. After a very under-rehearsed Fairies had blown the roof off with a ramshackle 40 minutes set including encore (“City Kids”, “Lucille”, “Johnnie B. Goode”, “Well, Well, Well”, “The Snake” and a 10 minutes “Uncle Harry’s Freak Out”), we were greeted by a very annoyed looking Larry Wallis announcing from stage that the management had told them they were booked for 90 minutes and if they didn’t play 90 minutes they wouldn’t be paid. The band then came back on stage and played exactly the same set again, only with “Uncle Harry’s Freak Out” including an extra 10 minutes drum solo. So the band got paid, management were happy, and the audience all got to see the Fairies twice.

This album under review, “The Kings Of Oblivion”, was the Pink Fairies third official release (after “Never Never Land” in 1971 and “What A Bunch Of Sweeties” in 1972). But to say the lineup had been consistent was like saying that the English cricket batting lineup was reliable. Already come and gone through the revolving fairy door had been ex-Pretty Things drummer Twink (off to play in “The Stars” with fellow spacemen Jack Monk and Pink Floyd’s Syd Barret), ex T. Rex man, Steve Peregrine Took, Trevor Burton of Move Fame, Mick Farren, and Larry Wallis (who both came back), Paul Rudolph (lured away by promises of fame and fortune by Hawkwind ... another fine mess) and Mick Wayne, who, although only in the band for 6 to 7 gigs, wrote their surprise hit single “Well, Well, Well”.

But when Mick Wayne was kicked out, this left the way for the glorious return of Larry “Lazza” Wallis, who’d been showing off his wares with “Blodwyn Pig” and “U.F.O.” (Wallis’ parting shot to U.F.O. after being fired for not turning up to rehearsals had been “You May Rehearse, I Create”). Joining the nucleus of Duncan Sandersand on bass and Wildman of Rock Russel Hunter on drums, the Fairies then enjoyed a period of stability (18 months) during which they recorded this remarkable guitar driven album.

There is no doubt that this is Wallis’ album, having a hand in writing all the songs, singing, playing guitar, production and engineering credits.

The album opens with the classic “City Kids” (which Wallis was to take with him when he formed “Motorhead” with Lemmy after he was kicked out of Hawkwind. All gets very incestuous, doesn’t it?) here in its original version, all crunchy guitars, rock solid bass and drums with a catchy chorus, which you are singing along second time around. All the songs here are 24 carat solid gold easy action; it is one of rock music’s great injustices that this is not regarded as one of its all time classics.

Out of all the Fairies albums this is possibly their best, certainly their most refined studio effort. But it should be played at 11 for maximum effect.

Over the years there have been many Pink Fairies reformations and comebacks, at one time there were four different versions of the band on tour, plus up to eighteen albums released under the Fairies banner. But take my word for it, anything with Larry Wallis on it is sheer class.

As for “The Kings Of Oblivion”, who can resist a cover with three flying pink pigs on it, all wearing shades?


Larry Wallis - Lead Guitar, Big Guitar, Lead Vocals
Duncan Sanderson - Bass Guitar, Lead Vocals
Russell Hunter - Drums

Track Listing

1. City Kids
2. I Wish I Was A Girl
3. When’s The Fun Begin?
4. Chromium Plating
5. Raceway
6. Chambermaid
7. Street Urchin

To contact Mott the Dog email: [email protected]