- 09 Apr 01
“I was living fast, planning to die young and I was probably gonna take a few people with me,” says Fatima Mansions firebrand Cathal Coughlan of his descent into a personal and creative nightmare. Now back stronger, healthier and with an acclaimed new album, Lost In The Former West, under his belt, he retraces the highs, lows and kicks in the teeth of the last few years with Liam Fay.
“You get older, you get scared but you get no wiser,” bellows Cathal Coughlan on ‘The Loyaliser’. It’s one of his most heartfelt lines, the sum of what he has learned during his thirty-three years on the planet. Not all that long ago, however, there was the distinct possibility that Coughlan wasn’t even going to get any older.
“I was living fast, planning to die young and I was probably gonna take a few people with me,” he admits. “I didn’t think beyond the next step and I bitterly regret that because that was how I really fucked up my life and other people’s. The fact that I didn’t give myself or anybody else any reason for hope meant that there was just limitless scope for destruction. I was never gonna last anyway, nothing was ever gonna last.”
Rewind to late 1991. Prone to black depressive and often suicidal moods since he was a teenager, Coughlan had found at least some measure of security through the twin moorings of his long-time girlfriend and his band, Fatima Mansions. When the relationship disintegrated at the beginning of ’92, the musical anchor too began to slip. The album that emerged from his shattered love match, Valhalla Avenue, was badly received commercially and wasn’t even granted an American release. His confidence was suddenly demolished. He felt incompetent, humiliated and emotionally bereft.