August 21, 2003 7:30


But Nat Wason soldiers on despite his debilitating condition...

guitarist NAT WASON soldiered on with the band’s V FESTIVAL performances last weekend (August 16/17) despite a debilitating facial condition.

Wason is suffering with Bell’s Palsy, an extremely rare and aggressive condition that paralyses parts of the face, impeding its motor functions and causing severe disfigurement. Although the condition is temporary, symptoms are similar to those of a stroke.

The guitarist told NME.COM how he woke up three weeks ago with the right half of his face frozen.

"I don’t know what had happened, my eye wouldn’t close," he said. "I think it’s like, you’ve got to stop every now and then and let your body catch up with you and let your mind catch up with what’s been happening, and I think I was just putting all that to one side, because we were just involved in what we were doing.

"I think it’s my body’s way of telling me to chill out for a couple of weeks. The (doctors) said, ‘You’ve bottled too much up, you’ve been worrying about too much shit and getting too pissed off, too angry’."

Bell's Palsy strikes at about one in 10,000 people, and although there is no known remedy, doctors offered Wason steroids, which he declined. AlthoughHaven’s schedule is left in limbo until Nat recovers, he was determined to play the NME Stage at V.

"It would be a bit big headed of me to say ‘Call it off because we’re gonna do it next year’," he continued. "Those sort of opportunities aren’t gonna be around forever, so we just decided that we’re gonna give it a go."

Haven’s second album was due for a September release, although a question mark hangs over that depending on whether Nat is fit to tour.

"I don’t think I could handle a couple of months in a dirty bus in a bunk," he said. "I need a bit of cleanliness around me. It’s one of those things, you’ve got to keep right on top of it, I’ve gotta be cleaning my eye four or five times a day and I’ve got to tape it down at night time. It’s taking a bit of getting used to. I don’t quite fancy getting on the road for a big tour just yet."

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