I’m listening to Jordan: The comeback, by Prefab Sprout. It evokes such strong feelings of Kat Young and Florida, and of Christmas 1990 for me. It was number one on our playlist then.
The songs bring Kat’s persona back to me; pretty and sassy, fiery and red headed, naughty but together, classy and sexy, gentle and loving.
There’s an Elvis thread running through several songs on Jordan, and my love of Elvis may have peaked post America. Tho’ there’s such rich imagery in the lyrics I also see the Old West, ( does anyone else hear minor Smile-isms?) old age, mortality, loss and death too. More pertinent to me now than ever……
I met Kat at Kandy’s. Kandy was Kat’s best friend. Kandy and her hubby Jamie lived in Pompano beach. Kat called Kandy “Kandy Bo bandy” – a stoned reference to the Shirley Ellis song The Name Game. K&J could’ve been swingers, and wouldn’t have been out of place in late period Boogie Nights. Kandy looked like she liked it, she was pretty and sultry. She’d had a bit part in a sixties cult movie called “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”. They were fun people, and caring and loving too.
I’d worked at K&J’s for Keith and Americlean, and they loved my work and employed me directly themselves shortly thereafter. Kat was visiting them one afternoon whilst I was working there and somehow we got talking. Kat positively sparkled. We clicked and I thought she was a great looking woman, funny too.
Shortly thereafter I went back to Blighty, on my birthday in 1989. I got Kat’s number, or a promise of, from Kandy before I went home. So when I returned in January 1990, I called her up.
“If you’re looking for Atlantis you should cast your eye on me”
Kat was from Cherry Hill, in New Jersey. NJ had the rep as a no nonsense district south of New York, and by George, Kat could be really no nonsense when she wanted.
We were driving home early evening one time, and the car in front of us was obviously being driven drunk. There was a child, maybe 3 or 4 years old, looking pretty freaked out, roaming around the back seat of the car, disoriented and scared. Kat hit the gas to catch up and started screaming and swearing at the driver in the inimitable style of a Jersey girl. Jesus, it was caustic and really scary! Generally she was a soft, sexy pussy Kat, but she certainly had balls…… and then some!
I remember our first date: we’d agreed to meet at a bar at a marina in Fort Lauderdale. Kieran Murphy ( my then room mate ) loaned me a few bucks for some drinks. It may have been the time I returned to Florida with just a tenner in my pocket, and I was pretty broke. Ah the madness of youth.
I sat at the bar for what seemed ages, looking at my fake Rolex, getting pretty wasted. Suddenly she bounded in, looking gorgeous and wild. She was so sweet and funny, and appeared to be genuinely interested in me, and my nerves soon abated…….
And that was the start of a very beautiful and very unique love affair. I’d had a couple of American gurlfriends before, but nothing serious as my heart was still in pieces from Emma’s departure. But Kat knocked me sideways. Kat was so full of fun, and not a little good mischief. She helped me to forget all of my heartache……pretty much.
Kat was a very funny woman, very animated, especially after a “pop”, and somehow we bounced off each other brilliantly: the Essex boy and the Jersey girl, the Kat ‘n’ the Dawg.
She told me her Pa had had a sandwich shop in NJ, and she made the most fabulous sandwiches, tho’ she was an all round wonder. A great cook and hostess. Not that we entertained a lot, we were busy having fun. She schooled me in the art of drinking Jack Daniels. I’d previously discovered the joys of Jim Beam, but Kat turned me on to JD, big time. “Let’s have a pop!” she’d say. Kat could take her whisky very well, and pleasantly, and sometimes we’d do about a bottle between us. We’d do some serious Rock’n’Rolling, and then we’d get high and watch trashy tv.
“You should be loving someone, and you know who it must be”
Kat made me aware of the beauty of the moon, more than anyone I’d ever known before her, and the full moon was always a magical time for us. And I felt “wrapped in a big cocoon of love”, to quote me https://soundcloud.com/terence-ruffle/when-i-die-terence-ruffle-1-6-04
She was my lover, my mother, my sister and my best friend, and being with her gave me a feeling of great happiness and security. When Kat visited England in Christmas 1990, she told me my Pa thanked her most sincerely for taking care of me, and she really did.
“There was a boy I used to be, I guess that he was cold. If she came to buy him now, how cheaply he’d be sold”
Really I spose Kat told me very little about her past. She mentioned Tom, a jazz bass player she’d been having a long term relationship with. And I think even when Kat and I were together she still occasionally saw him. She told me their relationship had gone cold, after a number of years, but obviously the come down took some time, and even continued after 1990. She also told me she’d had a long term relationship with an antiques importer, who had a sideline in Cocaine. He had a house in Haiti, a place Kat said was wonderful. The house apparently had a tree growing in the centre of it. She said it was crazy……
The antiques importer did the “Cocaine inside ethnic statues” routine, something that kicked off when Coke became more profitable to smuggle than Ganja. Thanks Carlos……
Kat had an innate spirituality, and she kindof reawakened mine, tho’ Mr Lovely seriously lit the blue touch-paper, sometime in the late ’90’s, with Tom, at the Swan. But her general awareness was very sharp, the New York edge, and she was really smart too. We talked about Spirituality, religion and God and I always felt she was higher up the evolutionary ladder than me, tho’ at that suggestion she’d laugh her arse off! She was cool……
It’s been almost 25 years since Kat and I left each other in the departure lounge at Heathrow, post-Christmas 1990. We both cried, especially me. We said we’d see each other again, soon, but sadly it simply never happened……
“all those nights I dreamt of you, I wonder where they’ve gone”.
Merry Christmas baby, where ever you are……..and best have this too