some lovely stuff from Fabulous 208 8th July '67. The whole issue was edited by the 19
year old Cat. Check out these Rare and Wonderful childhood family photographs of a very
young Cat Stevens.
This is only one article from
this amazing magazine issue. There are more articles edited by young cat. So stay tuned to
read all these amazing articles. This article and the ones to follow from this Fab 208
issue comes courtesy of Murphy Anderson.
From Kitten to Cat
We were delighted when Cat offered to use these pages to you
something of his life so far, because usually we have to dig around to find out for
ourselves. We were doubly delighted because Cat genuinely doesn't like giving of himself
away, and he made a big sacrifice in searching his memory for the intimate story FROM
KITTEN TO CAT
so to speak.
When I was a kid I was a rebel
from the first to last, so if I tell you something about my life history _ all nineteen
years of it_ I hope youll fill in the spaces and try to imagine I was a nice kid now
and then. Because most of my memories are about the times when I was a handful.
I was born in The Middlesex Hospital in
London and spent my first birthday in Sweden, where we had hundreds of relatives. My
brother David soon found the right name for me. I was so mean with my sweets he use to
call me Diddle Mingy Adams.
Eventually, I pulled myself out of my mean
stage. My parents always gave me everything I asked for, so I didnt take advantage
of them. I would ask for the five shilling when I really needed seven and six, then I
would ask a friend for the half crown.
I use to live two lives when I was a kid.
One was bright and happy, and that was for home. At school there were times when I was
very, very unhappy. I could never actually mix with the other kids. They were all after my
accent. For some reason they thought it was posh. To me it was normal. I had very bad
times. One day one of my best friends __not now! __ Suddenly started bashing me, for no
reason I can think of, and from that day on he never stopped beating me up.
And then I had this talent for art, and
because of this they all pushed me out of their scene. They just seemed to live for
playing football, and I was no good at that, I always got knocked down.
I remember distinctively that I started
thinking before they did. Really thinking. When I failed the eleven plus it was
like the end of the world to me.
The thing is that I was even given the
piece of paper with a crossword on it and I got involved with the crossword puzzle that I
forgot about the rest of the paper. What sort of test of intelligence is it, any way?
During my childhood, I went to Sweden four
times. When I was ten, the whole family went out there, planning to settle in Scandinavia.
Soon after we arrived, it was Christmastime, and I remember this little Father Christmas
came up to me with a sack of toys.
" And have you been a good boy?
" he said searching into the sack. " NO! " I said. That was the kind of kid
I had uncles all over the place in Sweden.
One was a well-known film producer. Another designed all the brass work for the royal
palace. The one who made the biggest impression on me was Hugo Wickman, who was a
well-known artist in Sweden. He was rebellious, like me, and did mod paintings, which were
very much against the general run of things in Sweden.
The first painting I did was full of
crooked little men and he went berserk because he thought they were really primitive,
wonderful. He had the painting framed and hung on his wall.
School in Sweden wasnt quite so
happy. Ill always remember my first day. A nightmare. You see, all the kids there
have blue eyes and of course I do not. Playtime came, and they all crowded around me.
Theyd never seen dark eyes.
Before I knew what was happening, I was
being mobbed. Scratches, everything. Worse than any experience Ive had at theatres.
After that, they had to give me my own special little playground, where I could take a few
friends I was sure of.
It put me off settling in Sweden and I
didnt mind when the family decided to come back to Britain. Im very British in
temperament. To me, most Swedes were in their shells, cold, aloof. I have some Swedish
blood in me but I find the British much warmer. It was a strange feeling when I went to
Greece on holiday and found they were warmer than me, and I was cold to them.
When I went to a secondary mod school I
entered my wild stage. There was someone at the school who had these fantastic shoes__
brown with big black heels and a side buckle and very, very pointed toes__ I wanted them
so much I dreamed about them for weeks.
I use to design thousands of pairs of
shoes, but I never got down to having any of them made. I was going to be the greatest
shoe designer in the world.
At school, I was pretty shrewd. I always
got on with the adults because I figured out that they were the ones with the finger on
the button. I got in with the headmaster, and he made me a prefect, which meant I had an
easier time. Mind you, I was very lenient as a prefect. Most of the others use to bully
the kids, but I let them off.
Then there was my English teacher, I liked
him a lot, but I rebelled against him all the time. My essays always got low marks,
because I got so involved in the messages that I forgot things like grammar and spelling.
I was so caught up in the imagery. I didnt much like the dots and commas, so I used
to do the whole essay without them, then Id put a whole lot of them in a corner
afterwards and tell the teacher he could put them where he liked.
I spent two years at public school in
London during my early teens
until I was expelled. This time it was my turn to laugh
at the other kids because I thought they were posh. I used to get a guy to talk to me,
just so I could laugh at his accent. I laughed for the whole time I was there. Right up to
my last day.
You must be wondering how I got myself
expelled. We had a teacher who had all sorts of complexes and always thought we were
taking the mick out of him. One day I was fiddling with my pens, and he suddenly rounded
me and accused me of imitating him. It was the sort of thing he used to do. Anyway, it got
me a black mark.
That made me very angry, because I already
had five black marks that week, and you got the cane if you had six by Friday. I went up
in the air. He said I was suspended.
The next move was a meeting in the
headmasters study between the head, the master and me. The master told his tale, and
the version differed in a big way from what really happened. I got very heated. I ended up
by hurling a great thick book at him and hitting him squarely in the chops. It was an
algebra book__ his subject__ so it was the right way to go. All that happened is that I
My last school was the happiest one. I
even learned to play football!
Art was always very important in my life,
though, and eventually, I went to art school. The school was opposite the B.B.C. Lime
Grove Studios. Eventually I left to concentrate on my songs. The next time I was in that
road, I was appearing at the B.B.C. myself.
I went over the road to see some old
friends, but theres no going back, you know. You find yourselves on different
levels, somehow. All that you can do is say " Ta-ta", and make some new friends.
I never let people get too close. Even with a girl Im fond of. I keep something
back. Its tremendously important to me to have something of myself in reserve.
Thats why I hate digging into the
past. Already Ive given too much of myself away here, and Ill have to stop.
You see I always think into the future. I have all my life for memories.
Little Cats are kittens, and just as cuddly. Cat was 1 year old when this
shot was taken.
Im Gonna Get Me A Gun has obviously been Cats ambition for quite
some time! A shooting star as they say.
other kids smartened themselves up for this public school pic. Cat loosened his tie and
ruffled his hair!
primary school, Cat say he learned to write at an incredibly early age, and just never
1967 pull out poster