Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The return of Edwyn Collins

It’s two and a half years since a double stroke nearly killed Scotland’s post-punk hero. A remarkable journey of rehabilitation has brought him to a place where he’s ready to perform again, gurgling laugh and all. By Craig McLean

"I'm learning One Is A Lonely Number," says Collins. "I'm practising every day." His speaking voice is hesitant and scattershot and sometimes slurred. But his singing voice, when it gets going, is almost as strong as it ever was.

It is two-and-a-half years since Edwyn Collins suffered a stroke. Two strokes, in fact. He nearly died. Then, in the wake of the operation to replace the panel of skull bone that had been removed to allow the neurosurgeons to operate, he also contracted MRSA. He spent six months in hospital. He has been undergoing daily, arduous rehabilitation therapy ever since.

"The part of Edwyn's brain that controls speech andlanguagewasverybadlyhurt,"explains Maxwell. He couldn't speak, read, write. Nor, initially, could he sit up. Nor walk. He lost movement in his right side. He couldn't feed himself. He couldn't do anything, really."