Cath Carroll > Article from Q Magazine #58 on Cath Carroll

Article from Q Magazine on Cath Carroll circa 1991
Article from Q Magazine on Cath Carroll circa 1991

England Made Me is the long-awaited debut album from Mancunian micro-legend, Cath Carroll - a woman, by her own admission, of "many identity crises".

Born Catherine Rycroft 30 years ago, she selected her first alias, Cath Miles, out of the 'phone book, re-surnamed herself Carroll after The Fall's then-manager Kaye Carroll, ("an act of adoration"), was transformed halfway through her NME writing career into Myrna Minkoff (after a character in John Kennedy O'Toole's comic novel, A Confederacy of Dunces), and now, by virtue of her marriage to the former guitarist with Chicago's cult noise-merchants Big Black, is legally styled Mrs Santiago Durango.

A late-blooming member of that Manchester generation spurred into action by the Buzzcocks, Cath's background has much in common with that of her most prominent contemporary and former confidant, Morrissey ("That's my retirement plan - blackmail him?"): a catholic upbringing and a "frighteningly withdrawn, pathetic" teenagerhood spent in her bedroom, fantasising about camply old-fashioned pop stars (in her case, The Four Seasons), then emergence as a leading light in the eccentric rock scene contained in the 061 Telecom area.

A founder member of The Hacienda club, her duo The Gay Animals was banned by popular demand - "We thought by throwing raw meat around the cloakrooms we'd discovered performance art. But it wasn't popular with the cleaners, who wield the real power." After editing a local fanzine, City Fun, Cath moved to London and the NME, where her Boy Scout uniform, diffident manner yet waspish writing style invited much speculation. Signed to Factory, her group Miaow never took off but, undaunted, company boss Tony Wilson has bankrolled her for the two years it took to come up with England Made Me. Hopes are high for this enigmatically muted melange of samba, art-rock and dance in which are set Cath's odd odes and queasy snapshots of other people's underbellies. "I'm a voyeur," she mildly ventures, "I don't enjoy asserting myself in case I fall over. Also, I think it's rather vulgar to use the word 'I' too much.