Be kind!

People are very weird, even more so on the internet.

Just a couple of days ago, a band I used to follow on every platform, a band that disbanded in 2020, posted a statement that one of their members made a suicide attempt. The statement shared all kinds of very personal information about mental illnesses and it also addresses rumours that have been floating around for years, about said musician.

I am, of course, talking about Anathema and Daniel Cavanagh.

Anathema’s statement on Facebook (I hope the link works, I don’t use FB, I deactivated my account a while ago)

I was indeed shocked to read the statement, because I was heavily influenced by this band during my formative years. Even now, when I need something comforting, I go back to this band’s music, and I am looking forward to the new project that has been announced a while ago – Weather Systems. Now, I am not a die-hard fan, I am not one who reads rumours or comments on posts, but here, I did. And I shouldn’t have.

Instead of showing compassion though, there are comments (on Instagram or Reddit) wondering if the statement is even true or if it is a way of extorting more money from fans – Mr Cavanagh, through a fan of the band, was/is asking fans to donate money to a Go Fund Me campaign to be able to record a new album of his new project – Weather Systems.

Where is all this hate coming from? And why is it directed towards a literal stranger? A man who is on his knees as it is.

There are also the comments telling that they love him and how much he influenced them. Nice ones. But they don’t stick out as much.

I wonder… If I were a musician who was suffering through all this, and decided that it is time to step forward, to strip my soul bare; if I read those comments, the nice ones would certainly give me a lift, but the negative ones, I think they would send me down a downward spiral.

What is happening in this world that people can’t show a little respect, compassion, and empathy towards a man who felt so wrong on this earth that he wanted to erase his existence?

I cannot understand this. Not one bit. It makes me lose faith in humanity.

Be kind. Be gentle. And don’t judge without knowing the facts. Everyone is fighting a battle, even if we can’t see it.

To Dan, I wish lots of strength, love, and patience. The world is a better place with you in it. 💜✨💜

Listen to CATHEDRAL by Weather Systems on #SoundCloud
https://soundcloud.app.goo.gl/4TYve

Goodbye, Anathema

Tonight, news came that the British band Anathema decided to go on an indefinite hiatus (aka split up) after the challenging year that 2020 was.

I admit it makes me sad. The band and their music mean/meant a lot to me.

I was young, barely 16 years old, when I heard my first Anathema song. It was on the free CD Rom that came with a music magazine; the magazine was called “UP”. The first listen of the CD was done in passing and without much interest, but something – a line in the song, made my ears perk up, and I listened again from the beginning and watched the video. Again. And again. On repeat for days.

Later I learned from the small article in the magazine that it was a promo shot for the band’s upcoming album “Judgement” released in 1999.

Imagine young and excited Cathy practically running to her trusted record dealer to buy the entire back catalog, only to be disappointed to find out that the store only had one album in stock. I had no idea that Anathema had been around for years and that their music had evolved considerably in those years too. No one I knew had ever heard of this band. And I was sure that I had discovered a gem. Little did I know that this band and their music would be a soothing and comforting companion for decades.

The first album I finally bought was called “Alternative 4”. It had been released in 1998, and the melancholy gripped me right away. But there was more to it; there were guitar riffs, piano, lyrics… I had never heard anything that touched me in that way. True, I was only fifteen, but all of a sudden, I felt a positive intensity that had not been there before. And I liked that feeling very much.

I was hooked on the music. I didn’t know nor cared about the people making the music. But I cared about the lyrics that touched me right in the feels. Mind you, this was before everyone had access to the internet. My knowledge came from expensive music magazine with monthly issues. I was not fangirling over any of the band’s members. It was just the music. I could not grasp half of the emotions that were sung about yet, but the other half were very familiar.

From there on out, Anathema had a song for every feeling; they had lyrics that reflected my emotions. I felt understood; I felt home. And wow, was that a powerful feeling for a young starving mind as mine. Coming from a broken home, including emotional neglect and abuse, these songs felt like a warming and welcoming blanket. Very far removed from the angry music I had listened to before.

In the year 2000, I visited Paris for the first time, and of course, we had to visit the Virgin Mega Store. It was heaven on earth. I was in paradise. It was where I bought the older Anathema albums. Very different from what I knew by then: still melodic, still meaningful lyrics, but growling, screaming vocals. Not really my cup of tea. But also, it showed me that progress is good. Change is good. And trying and daring to go in a different direction than every one expected seemed possible for the first time ever.

“Sunset of Age” from the album “A Silent Enigma” (1995)

And the band kept releasing fantastic album after fantastic album. Their creative well did not dry up. Year after year, they released songs and albums that became classics in their own right. And even when their record company dropped merged with a different label and decided to drop some of the smaller bands and artists, they continued to create and breathe music.

Between the albums “A natural disaster” (2003) and “We’re here because we’re here” (2010), seven almost silent years passed; at least for me, who was not interested in any band drama and still chose to not buy into any false rumours read on the almighty internet. In 2008, a compilation with new versions of old songs was released: “Hindsight”. It made old songs appear new and showcased the fact that there was not one weak song.

The silent period was a period of change, and the band toured a lot and all over the world. The quality of their playing benefitted of it, definitely. Or so I personally believe.

In 2012, the masterpiece “Weather Systems” was released. I squealed when I noticed that Anathema would tour Luxembourg with this album. For me, they reached their creative peak with this one. Maybe it is also their most commercially accessible album, even if the style is more progressive. With the help of a new producer who pushed the band to step even further out of their comfort zone, an exceptional record was made. It opened the doors to a new generation of fans.

A live album followed. “Universal”. It’s not a perfect album by far, the first minutes are filled with little slips, and the nervousness of the band is palpable. But it is also one of the few live albums that let me feel the energy even though I was not there in Bulgaria. The songs the fans know and love were arrange with a classic orchestra. Strings added an extra special atmosphere to the songs. An intense album indeed.


The sound evolved further. More electronic elements found their way into the music of Anathema. On the album “Distant Satellites” (2014), other new classics can be found. The album in its entirety, did not appeal to me, but several songs and their stories caught me off guard too. And that’s all one can ask for.


“Anathema” is a song for and about the band; at the same time, it is very universal too.
In 2014, I saw the band for the second time. It was at that gig that I planned my memorable trip to Brussels to see Her Name is Calla. So many memories are related to Anathema and their music. They are intensely attached to my life.


But when they release their 2017 album “The Optimist,” they kind of lost me. Maybe I had grown? Maybe too much happened. The band claimed this album to be their best yet. A sequel of sorts to the 2001 album “A Fine Day to Exit”. The album did not really grab me. I wrote a (positive) review about it, it can be found on this very blog too. And yet, I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to see Anathema live again. This time, I went all by myself. I wrote a post about that gig. I was in the middle of a depressive episode; maybe that played an essential part in how I perceived that night too.



In 2014/2015, Daniel Cavanagh, founding member, songwriter/multi-instrumentalist of Anathema, launched a crowdfunding campaign for a solo album. It consisted of cover versions that held memories and meaning for the artist, hence the name “Memory and Meaning”. Of course, I supported one of the people who influenced most of my life. I ordered a handwritten lyric sheet for the song “Everything”.

It is framed and has a special place in my home. A funny one too: it hangs on the wall of my guest bathroom.
As a surprise, the father of my kids ordered a personalised song that was sung just for me. It was “Forgotten Hopes”. And although it is not the best and it sounds as if he was sitting in a tank, I adore the personal dedication and the way Dan said my name. I sent an email to thank him for the note written in red on the lyric sheet, and wouldn’t you know, he replied in a kind way. Bless him.

A long post just to say that I am sad today. I can’t imagine a musical world without Anathema in it. And I seriously hope that every member of the band will find happiness, love, (mental) health, hope, and new ways to be creative. I am sure a decision like this was not made lightly and impulsively. And who knows, maybe they will reunite in a couple of years. Every member of the band has music in their veins, and I am convinced that there is more to come.

Thank you, Anathema, for decades of making me feel understood and at home.
I owe a lot to this band. Without them, I would not be a poet; without them, half of my poems would never have been written. Without them, their dedication and passion, I would not be the person I am right now.

Forever grateful,

Cathy

And just one for the road. A song that lets my emotions flow…

Un-asleep

2:45 am. I can’t sleep. I woke up from a dream – not a nightmare, but unsettling too. I keep trying to recall my dream, but it is gone – lost in the corners of my mind. I just know that I was wrong about something. I did the worst one can do when unable to sleep; I took my phone and checked notifications. I was on Twitter and on a whim, I unfollowed a couple of accounts, the one of my former favourite band too – turns out they are a bunch of pretentious bellends. It took me almost 20 years to see it. I still appreciate their music; it was the soundtrack of my life, and yet… I really don’t like the people they became. Or is it me?

Am I drifting away from the person I used to be? I feel empty and overflowing. Sad and happy. Tired and wide awake.

How did that happen? When did everything change?

In a little more than 2 hours my alarm will go off, and I need to go to work. Early shift. I like that – if only it started later, lol.

Birds are beginning to chirp outside (the window is open); my husband is snoring next to me, and my mind is thinking too loud.

memory lane

As long as there is cum in my balls and a mind in my brain I will never forget you.

I wrote about this one before but I can’t find it anywhere so I will write it down again. This was said to me. Not written, but said. And I thought it was weirdly romantic. He laughed then, saying that it is our kind of romanticism, and he was right. In the meantime, this man is not a part of my life anymore. We knew the day would come but we tried to ignore it until it was there and he left. Which is okay and his proper right to do. But that sentence there, it keeps repeating in my mind. Over and over again. If it is true, then he will not forget me for a long time. I don’t want to be forgotten. Least of all by him. He who meant so much to me at one moment in time and who still does, who will always do.

When I shared this sentence with a friend, she was disgusted and thought it was very disrespectful. And I wondered if I had rose-tinted glasses on to be happy about these words. Now, a long time later, and these words still get to me and they are still disgusting to other people. For me, they are the ultimate declaration of love.

Funny how people see one and the same thing and feel so differently about it. Or maybe I am just weird. By the way, that same man said to me that he felt abject loneliness without me and that I was the only one who could fill the holes in his heart, in his mind and in his soul. Indeed, he is a writer… but come on… Those are amazing words to hear… Alas, love or an infatuation is not always enough. And I am not a romantic person anyway…

(written in August 2016 and still true)