I must be one of the only people in the world that doesn’t have a good memory of Fat Cat. I know, not everyone likes everyone but Fat Cat just annoyed me. His constant caterwauling, playing guitar all night and napping all day. I couldn’t stand it. He may have helped my wife to leave me with all that noise but I am willing to admit that it was probably me.
We were living in Camden Town when Fat Cat entered our lives. We had a garret flat overlooking the lock and Regent’s Canal. There were a lot of musicians hanging out in Camden and new bars and clubs popping up all the time.
I preferred reading and owned a second-hand book stall in Camden Market. I wasn’t doing very well or making much money and it was causing a big strain on my marriage. Sarah and I would argue all night. She wanted me to give up the books and get a proper job that paid proper money. I couldn’t abandon my passion though. On Sundays, I would travel all over London on my bicycle searching for first editions and rare manuscripts. I would often cycle up the canal to Portobello Road and hunt through the antique shops.
In retrospect, my biggest mistake might well have been opening a book store in Camden instead of Portobello but I couldn’t afford the rent further west. So, Camden it was, surrounded by fashion, cool kids and music. It seemed that no one appreciated real books anymore, let alone old or antique ones. At least not in Camden. Everyone would rush past my stall, glued to their mobile phones, trading Spotify playlists or whipping out their e-readers. The world had moved on from paper and my wife knew it.
The flat next door to us had been empty for some time. The walls were thin and the previous owner had been an older lady who had passed in hospital at the grand age of 95. So, when someone moved in, we knew immediately. We could hear them padding around, arranging things. We were keen to see who had moved in but before we even got a chance to bake a welcome cake, there was a loud crash, a tinkle of piano keys and the dissonant twang of a guitar falling over. We rightly assumed it must be a musician but had no idea who it was.
My wife muttered something about rich musicians always having fun and walked back into our sitting room. I could sense another argument coming on. I knew she would rather go out and eat at a posh restaurant, go dancing in a club and be treated like a princess. I just couldn’t justify the expense on the wages I brought in. We only just managed to pay the rent and bills. Sarah began telling me to let go of the books and find something better when an almighty drumroll reverberated through our flat. Piles of books swayed and wobbled as a bass guitar kicked in. A whole stack fell over when the sound of a distorted guitar crashed through our flat.
I am sure it was music of the highest quality but I hadn’t asked for it and my head started to ache. Our arguments tended to last for a few hours and this was one was no exception, except now, we had a backing track. As we argued, it was as if the music rose and fell to the sound of our voices. I swear, sometimes, I thought he could hear us and was just playing along. We decided to talk to him the next morning.
We awoke, tired from our fight and tired from the impromptu all-night concert. I plucked up the courage to knock on his door and introduce myself. But there was no answer. I couldn’t hear a sound. He must have been napping. I tried all through the day to rouse our new neighbour but to no avail. That evening, the same thing happened. Clattering and banging, shuffling and then bam! Loud music to all hours of the night. I couldn’t take it. I knocked on the walls and the doors but the music just kept on playing, sometimes in time to my fist, pounding on the wall. Who was this maniac?
Well, our arguments got worse and the music continued. It went on like this for months. No one would answer the door in the morning and it seemed like he couldn’t hear us banging at night. I talked to the landlord and he just said that Fat Cat was a high-paying client with the Spice Cats and could do whatever he wanted. Occasionally we would get some peace. There would be no music and we assumed he was out playing a gig.
One day it all came to a head. I was arguing about money with my wife. She wanted to take a loan to start a new business and I didn’t think it was a great idea. Our capital was tied up in some new books I had just bought and she wasn’t happy. If I could just make one good deal, she would see that all the hard work was paying off. As our argument reached fever-pitch, a small piece of folded gold cardboard dropped through the letter box, making a sharp clipping sound as it hit the floor. It was an invitation to a party, that evening, at Fat Cat’s place.
We jumped at the chance to finally meet him and tell him to turn down the music. Although, secretly, I think my wife enjoyed it. I wanted to meet this hooligan who slept throughout the whole day and played music all night.
After an hour our of aimlessly wandering around, nibbling hors d'oeuvres and drinking pale bubbly glasses of liquid, I started to get annoyed. Yet again, this strange, disappearing, eternally sleeping, noisy cat was ruining my evening. I could have been at home reading my latest antique book. My wife was nowhere to be seen either. She seemed to relish the chance to talk with a bunch of musos and artists. I spied her in the kitchen, sampling mysterious cocktails whipped up by a flamboyant barman wearing feathers and eyeliner.
As I moved toward the front door, preparing to leave, there was a small commotion. A door I hadn’t noticed before, that must have led onto the roof, was suddenly flung open. In strolled Fat Cat, in a cloud of dry ice, holding a big red electric guitar! The whole room cheered as the band struck up and he started grooving to the beat. His sense of drama and style was something to behold. People started dancing and cheering, with my wife in the very middle of her new friends, twirling her summer dress as she spun around.
When Fat Cat finished the number, he jumped off the makeshift stage, grabbed a drink and started chatting to his guests. The band continued on. My head was hurting by this time and I wanted to go home. I decided to give Fat Cat a piece of my mind. I strolled right up to him and introduced myself as his next-door neighbour. His face split into a wide grin. “Ah yes, the couple next door. You sure make a lot of noise! Very inspiring. Thanks so much for coming. Help yourself to whatever you want.” I was about to reply when a big man with lots of shiny rings and a big diamond in his ear pulled Fat Cat away to meet someone who looked rather glamorous.
I was mad! Fuming! Fat Cat disappeared again and so had my wife. I stormed out of the apartment and back to my flat. I tried to read but couldn’t concentrate. The music was pounding through the thin walls. I ended up burying my head under the pillow. I felt useless. I didn’t get a chance to confront Fat Cat about the noise, my business was failing, and my wife was happier next door than with me.
I must have fallen asleep because I woke up very late, my head throbbing. It felt very still in the flat. I shuffled to the bathroom. There was no noise from next door and no noise from my house. Things looked different but I couldn’t put my finger on it. My house felt strangely empty but I wasn’t sure why. I opened the front door, expecting to see people and mess everywhere but the hall was spotless. A man in a suit was coming out of what looked like a very clean apartment next door. I asked where Fat Cat had gone and he told me that the flat was empty. Fat Cat had moved house.
I rushed back to my apartment and picked up the gold invitation from yesterday. I read the small print. It was a farewell party! Fat Cat was leaving! Or rather, he had already left and I had slept through the whole thing. Confused, I walked back and stared at the empty room. There was a note on the bedside table from Sarah. She couldn’t take it anymore and left me to go live with her mother. She wanted to start a new life. She had taken all her things in the middle of the night as I lay under the pillow. That was why the house felt strange and empty. I had got what I wished for, a peaceful life, Fat Cat had gone and Sarah had left me with nothing but my books and an empty bed.
“Single "I Wonder"”
Release date: 2023-01-24
Artists: Fat Cat ft. Costie Payne.
This is one of my most emotional songs to date. I wrote this with a fellow band member as a tribute to a beautiful singer we used to work with. The track is a smooth RnB Gospel memorial
a homage to love lost and opportunities missed.
Single "I Wonder"
Fat Cat and I go way back. I first met him in Paris, in what some would say was his most creative period. As we all know, Fat Cat ended up playing piano for The Spice Cats but before he got that gig, he was trying out a bunch of new musical styles and ideas, playing with as many people as he could.
Fat Cat had previously developed his ‘Crazy Cat Beats’ in Hamburg and then played a lot of blues in Warsaw but I don’t think he had an opportunity to express himself in the way he really wanted. In Paris, he found an eclectic mix of artists going beyond rock and blues. The scene was full of jazz, rap, funk and a thousand other styles.
I first heard Fat Cat in this little club in Montmartre where anything could happen. The club was filled with musicians from across the world and we were jamming all kinds of songs and styles. The atmosphere was electric. This little ginger cat gets on stage and takes the crowd even higher than I thought was possible. His chops were off the charts! We jammed on a few songs, got chatting, had a few drinks and that was the start of a long friendship.
As it turned out, I happened to be looking for a guitarist for my jazz band, Big Game Collective. We were messing around with new ways of playing, blending funk and acid jazz with our more traditional approach and I thought Fat Cat would be a perfect fit. I had some amazing musicians already playing for me but thought we could do with some fresh talent.
Nicoli ‘Fingers’ Novak from Croatia on the piano, he was the steady career guy, had a wife and a kid. Jimmy ‘Bones’ McCormack on the bass. He could lock into any drum beat on the planet. Tony ‘Tick Tock’ Valentino, the finest drummer this side of The Seine, me of course, Claude ‘Hotlips’ Fontaine on trumpet, and the stunning Olivia Bellerose, singing vocals. She was something else. Radiant, powerful, entrancing. When she sang, you could hear your own heart beating in your chest!
Fat Cat came and played an audition for us and fitted straight in. He immediately struck up a friendship with Nicoli, gravitating toward the piano. Nicoli taught him a lot about keys and shared a few secrets about his life with Fat Cat. Fat Cat got on with everyone though. He seemed to lift them up with his energy. The only person who didn’t seemed affected by his charm was Olivia.
Olivia was otherworldly, like she came from a different dimension. Maybe it was her beauty, maybe it was her mastery of singing, or perhaps it was the tragedy of her story. She had grown up without a father and her mother had died young. She found an escape in music, hanging out in bars and clubs from an early age. She loved to sing, dance and drink. Everyone wanted her but she never wanted to start something – in case it finished too soon.
After a while, it was plainly obvious that Olivia was completely in love with Nicoli. A hundred men would throw themselves at her after every gig but she only ever had eyes for one man. I don’t know to this day if they ever took it further than their musical relationship. Maybe they had slept with each other, maybe not. Anyway, the fact of the matter was that whilst Nicoli seemed to represent stability for her, like the father she never had, he was married with a child and would never leave his wife. As I said, he was a solid guy. He wouldn’t have told anyone either, except maybe Fat Cat.
When Fat Cat joined the band, everything went well for a while. We made some great music, played some amazing gigs and had a lot of fun. But nothing changed for Olivia and Nicoli. She still wanted him and he would not or could not do anything about it. I could see her getting more and more desperate. Her performances become more emotional, more heart wrenching. It was as if she was spiralling into this place of deep grief that she let out in her music. We could all feel it.
One night, we played what would be our last gig with Olivia Bellerose. You couldn’t make it up. We were playing a venue called La Bellevilloise in Belleville. We were the headliners and Olivia was wild, ethereal, and almost out of control. The concert was amazing and I don’t think anyone there would ever forget it. As soon as it finished, Olivia left. Normally we would all stay for a few drinks, chat with the crowd and meet some friends but that night she just left. We didn’t think much of it back then but that would be the last time we ever saw Olivia alive.
The next morning Nicoli rang me in a panic, desperation and grief pouring down phone. Olivia had been found dead in her bathtub in the early hours of the morning. The water had run over and was leaking into the downstairs neighbours. The police suspected drink and sleeping pills but I suspected she had died of a broken heart.
When Fat Cat joined the band, Nicoli had started paying less attention to her, teaching Fat Cat piano. He loved playing music with him as much as her. Fat Cat was and is a genius, on the same level as Olivia. I think it made her realise that Nicoli would never leave his wife. Nicoli loved the music and not her. It must have broken her heart to see that there had probably never been a chance for her and Nicoli.
The band played on for a bit after she died but Nicoli went into a deep depression. He had lost his best friend and musical partner, his songbird. We didn’t know what to do without her and eventually the band split up. Fat Cat took his new piano skills to The Spice Cats and the rest of us drifted apart. I stayed friends with Fat Cat and we wrote a few songs together. I wonder, if Nicoli had not been married, would they have got together and Olivia still be singing?
“Single "Up At Dawn"”
Release date: 2022-11-18
Artists; Fat Cat ft. Clay Agnew
Memories are funny things. Some fade quickly and live as distant images on the edge of your mind whilst some feel like they happened yesterday. Some memories are so strong, you can still feel them in your bones, smell the air, hear the music and connect to every little detail that happened. Perhaps it is the fun we have, maybe the enjoyment of the music, but I am more certain that it is the people we share those memories with.
My most vivid memory is an old one but it was the most amazing experience of my life. I was in Germany, somewhere near Stuttgart when we heard about some underground parties in the Black Forest. These parties were starting to get famous amongst all the kids and musicians nearby. Nobody knew when a party would happen, but if they did, it would be on a Saturday. We didn’t have mobile phones or google maps back then so the only way to find out would be on the grapevine.
We went to a pub in the musician’s quarter in Stuttgart where they told us that the best way to find the party would be to travel to a roadside tavern in the Black Forest called “The Dove” and hang out there. If we were lucky, someone might turn up and tell a contact where the party would be that night.
We were young and adventurous and really wanted to see what these parties were all about so we decided to take a chance. The next Saturday, we drove out to The Dove. When we got there, loads of people were hanging out, drinking beer and looking cool. It was a complete surprise to find such a crazy bunch in a forest pub in the middle of nowhere.
After a few hours, it was getting near closing time when a guy in a brown cap, colourful striped scarf and green trousers walked in and whispered in the ear of a tall girl holding a battered trumpet case. I just happened to be watching the girl, when this happened. Her face lit up when he spoke to her, as she flicked her long blonde hair over her shoulders. I knew something was happening.
She then walked over to a short guy with long dreads sitting in a corner drinking a wheat beer. After a few words in his ear, he scuttled round the room like an ant, talking and nodding to various people. It was like he had shaken up a bee’s nest and in a very short time the pub was almost empty.
We got swept up in the madness and very quickly found that the party was just a few miles from there, down a thin track in the forest, just after an old quarry. Well, everyone jumped in their cars and sped off in search of fun. It didn’t take us long, following the other cars, occasionally stopping to listen for the music riding on the wind. It was like an exciting treasure hunt and the prize was the night of our lives!
Electric lights and candles were strung up around the clearing, in jars and on lines. Pools of green and blue lit up the trees, as red firefly lasers danced through the canopy. There were hundreds of people there, laughing, smiling, dancing to the infectious music coming from the stage. A band was playing, and in the center of them all was Fat Cat, holding a sunburst Gibson, playing the coolest, funkiest music I ever heard in my life. It didn’t take me long to lose my friend. We both got caught up in our own adventures. She got chatting to some cool hippies who were dancing like they were on fire. I stood near the stage, entranced by the music.
It was like a fever came over me. My feet couldn’t stop moving to the beat and I threw all kinds of shapes across the dance floor. I kept looking up at Fat Cat. Everyone seemed to follow him. The musicians glistened with sweat, light in their eyes. I opened my mouth and started singing along to the melodies, as if I had heard them all before. Fat Cat played on, like he was taken by the spirit of the forest, as if nothing but the music mattered. Every now and again, I would catch his eye and we would smile at each other, until the next beat took us back into the music, him playing his guitar, me dancing through the crowds.
After a few hours, the band slowed down and Fat Cat jumped off the stage. Another group of musicians immediately jumped on in their place. I don’t even remember the music stopping. Suddenly, Fat Cat was next to me, smiling that smile, although I sensed a sadness in his eyes for a moment. We started talking. He asked me if I liked music, and I told him I love to sing and dance. Of course, he was carrying a guitar in his hand, and he asked me if I wanted to go to a cool spot he knew to sing some more.
We walked deeper into the forest until we came to a small cliff overlooking party. The moon lit up the trees below as we sat on a blanket and talked into the night. We talked of music, travelling, adventures and loss. He told me he had left his hometown a few months ago, in search of something new. He had lost some good friends but even though he was sad, it just inspired him to write more songs. He played me a song he had written about the experience. I listened with wide eyes as he poured out his soul.
We lost track of time and I even forgot most of the words we said. He got me to sing, and we sat there all night, playing guitar, singing duets, making up harmonies and living a dream of freedom, youth, and music.
Eventually the sky started to lighten, and I realized that the sun would rise directly in front of us. Fat Cat had taken me to a special look-out point. The party had gone on into the night, nobody had slept. We were singing the sun up, watching the world awaken. It was an amazing feeling to be up at dawn.
As the sunbeams touched my face, Fat Cat looked at me and said thank you, I had restored his faith in people. He said he had a better time singing with me than playing the concert, kissed me on the forehead and walked off into the trees. I didn’t see him again that weekend, but he left me with a warm glow, the best, most vivid memory of my life and a feeling that we would meet again one day.
“Single "Be the One"”
Release date: 2022-08-30
This song is from 2019. Artists: Fat Cat feat Janet Tabaka.
I had a really strange evening last week. So odd in fact, that I thought I was living in a parallel universe, looking back on the life I had just lived. Just like those near-death experiences you hear about, everything flashed before my eyes.
My wife Anna and I had been to visit some friends in Poland. We haven’t had a holiday for a long time and couldn’t wait to leave the country and see something new. Our friends live in Warsaw and like all capital cities, it is a melting-pot of people, languages, culture and music.
On our second night, our friends took us to a smokey blues club, hidden in the backstreets of the old town. They had heard that a cool band was playing. The guitarist was supposed to be amazing. We love music, having grown up surrounded by parties and musicians. When we arrived, the night was already in full swing, beers flowing, people dancing and the music pumping. I never knew blues could be so upbeat. The atmosphere was electric!
I got a round of drinks from the bar, my feet tapping to the beat. I told our friends these guys were great but my wife just nodded and stared into space. I handed her a beer and she barely noticed. The usual questions came tumbling out of my mouth… What is wrong, what did I say, do you want to go home?
That is when the crowd parted for a second and I got a glimpse of the stage. Standing there, sunburst Gibson in hand, feet wide, paws moving like lightning was Fat Cat – the best musician I had ever heard play. Fat Cat from high school. One of the most popular guys in our town, maybe even more than me, and I was captain of the basketball team!
Anna had this lost look in her eyes, like she didn’t know what to say, like she had a secret, as if something had awoken in her that she had forgotten about. I recognized that look… And that’s when it all came crashing back.
A girl at school… Cristal. She was pretty enough, not my type though. One of the strange ones that didn’t have many friends. She was one of the few people in school that wasn’t obsessed with Fat Cat and probably, that was why they were good friends. I never really saw her hang out with anyone else. I didn’t know them very well because I was into sports back then and they were into music.
“Single "Eyes Full of Tears"”
Release date: 2022-07-20
Fat Cat feat Janet Tabaka.
I stood there staring at him as if I had seen a ghost. All the emotions and events from years ago came crashing back as if they were yesterday. I couldn’t believe it was him. He looked different, but there was no doubt it was still the same cool cat.
Fat Cat was on the stage holding a shiny red guitar in a random blues bar in Warsaw, waiting for his band to start the song. None of our friends had seen or heard from him for years. There was a rumor that he played music all over Europe but he had never come home again – that is for sure.
My mind wandered, memories overwhelming me. It all started at school… Sofia was my best friend. We were inseparable, unbreakable, typical girls. We always walked to school together, sat at the same table, and had our best-friend secrets. We loved the same things, took the same classes, and listened to the same music - we shared everything. Then, one day, as is common in these stories, she started to hang out with the coolest cat in class. Like most of the girls, I liked him too. He was very good-looking, kind, and sensitive. One of those cats you just want to stroke all day. Of course, he was a musician. The best one in town in fact. He started to play at forest parties and bars when he was 16 years old. He always had gigs and money and used to buy us all drinks. He never expected anything in return. I think, back then, all he needed was music and my best friend. But then it happened, just after we graduated from school. We were all still friends but something had changed, as if we could see beyond school now, into the future of our lives.
There was this party. A pretty big party in the house of one of our former classmates. His parents were rich and they had left for vacation so the house was all ours. I can’t lie. I liked Fat Cat… I liked him a lot! Even knowing that he was the cat friend of my best friend. I used to talk to him every day because we all hung out together. Sofia never got suspicious, even when we talked all night. But that evening, at the party, I drank way too much - everyone did. I thought he might want me to make a move. Something inside me thought he wanted something more than just talk. I wanted to stroke him. And that is when I broke it all. I sacrificed my closest friendship for the possibility of one night tickling his ears. Unfortunately, (or perhaps fortunately) it turned out different than I had imagined. He was faithful to her and didn’t react to my tickles. As always, he was very polite and friendly, full of honor but still untouchable.
All his music stuff had disappeared, his phone was off and no one knew where he was. A week later his parents spoke to her and said that they met him the following day. He asked them not to tell anyone where he was going. He just packed his gear, got on the train, and left the country. I know it was all my fault. Meeting Sofia every day, seeing her cry, not understanding why he left, thinking it was her fault - it made me die inside. I knew that he left because of my lies. I was selfish and wanted him for myself. There was no excuse. I felt terrible. I probably felt as bad as they both did but I also knew it was all because of me. I had to come clean. I had to tell her. I don’t want to explain Sofia’s reaction, but needless to say, I got what I deserved. It is no surprise that we have never talked to each other again. I don’t blame her. I was young and stupid. I was drunk, needy, and misguided. All I can say is that everyone makes mistakes. I wish I had never made this one though.
Suddenly I was back in the present, my husband standing next to me. Did Robert remember Fat Cat from school? They were always at the same parties. Looking at him on stage, I know I have to be honest one more time. I have to tell Fat Cat the truth. I don’t know if he will recognize me, let alone listen. I don’t even know if Sofia is still on her own or has another cat. Would the truth make him drop everything and go home? And what should I say to my husband? I feel like a teenager again – my eyes full of tears.
“Album "Moon Songs"”
DescriptionMy future album “Moon Songs” is coming out in 2023.
Each and every song will contain the moon’s presence in them. Before I take my well needed catnaps
I often think about the dark skies
stars and the Moon. They are so magical and give me tons of inspiration. So let me guide you into my world of the Moon.
Interview with Jeremy Bregman about music and not only!
Oct 13, 2023
Fat Cat Affair’s ‘Empty Bed’: A Soulful Odyssey of Love and Redemption
Sep 14, 2023
Fifth single "Empty Bed" is OUT!
Aug 15, 2023
Fat Cat Affair released his fifth single “Empty Bed” on 29th August 2023.
Fat Cat Affair released their fourth single “I Wonder” on 24th January 2023.
Jan 18, 2023
"I don"t plan anything as I live in the present."
Jan 9, 2023
"My style is a mixture of Bedroom Pop & Smooth RnB"
Jan 9, 2023
"This one is really close to my heart"💛💛💛
Jan 9, 2023
Romantic Pop Ballad "Up At Dawn" is OUT!
Nov 18, 2022
Fat Cat Affair released his third single “Up At Dawn” on 18th November 2022.
Fat Cat starts cooperation with LIAA
Oct 24, 2022
“I am driven by a good tune and great lyrics.”
Jul 4, 2022
First single "Eyes Full of Tears" was released on July 20!
Apr 18, 2022
Fat Cat is not just a great musician but a talented designer too!
Jan 13, 2022
Song "Be the One" is out!
Jan 13, 2022