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Tim Smith Of Cardiacs Talks About His Illness
Sean Kitching , January 9th, 2018 15:10

A campaign to help fund Tim Smiths' health care for the next year has passed the halfway mark. Here, the revered musician talks to Sean Kitching about the frustrations caused by his severe illness

A new campaign to raise much-needed funds for the ongoing health care of Cardiacs founder Tim Smith was launched recently and has already met 60% of the amount through donations.

The JustGiving campaign was initially set up to raise £40,000 but quickly exceeded that amount. The page is now aiming to raise £100,000 – enough to give Smith home care for a year, plus a much-needed shot at recuperation – and over half that amount has been donated already.

The Cardiacs, Sea Nymphs and Spratleys' Japs main man, Tim Smith suffered a cardiac arrest in 2008, which left him with severe brain damage and a condition called dystonia. Although Smith remains entirely himself inside, the hypoxic brain damage caused by lack of oxygen during the period that his heart had stopped, has massively impaired his dexterity and ability to speak and also causes painful muscle spasms.

Having spent much of the last 10 years in the care of a neurological facility, funding restrictions have meant that the rehabilitative aspect of his treatment has been severely limited. Faced with the further downgrading of his already restrictive funding, the JustGiving page has been set up by friends and family.

Since the facility in which he resides was bought by the Raphael Hospital Group charity, new hope has been offered to improve Smith's day-to-day life. As even a slight recovery in Smith's movement and speech would permit him to make music again, such a change would make an enormous difference to both the man and his fans.

Speaking to tQ late last year, Smith opened up for the first time about his health:

"I've got the luck of the worm that never dies. After all, who would be as lucky as I to have a bunch of people who have just waited ten years for news of my recovery. In my book, that show of faith would be the fattest lump of faith what anyone could endure.

"Some days I can cope with it, if I'm mentally able to. I've not even told the kids which I'm pretty ashamed of and all I can say is that I'm sorry. I had no idea how much I actually meant to all these incredible people and have been trying to know what they mean to me.

"The only way I can try and let you know how I feel at the moment is... imagine if you were wearing a skintight bodysuit made of fishnet all around you with electrical pulses going all the time. This is what my body feels like unless I fall asleep. This I have called my digital pain and bashing my head or something what hurts loads or any sort of normal pain, like toothache, I call analogue. Also, I can't write or hold a pen or use a computer."

This statement was originally intended as the opening of an interview for this site, but has since evolved into a larger project, which will eventually culminate in an official Cardiacs book. As reported in Monday's article in The i, Smith's music has been a source of inspiration to countless other musicians, including Radiohead, Blur, Napalm Death, JG Thirlwell, and Faith No More.

The Quietus would like to wish Tim Smith all the luck in the world with his recovery. You can donate here. And there is a more detailed account of his illness and what is being done about it here.