Music and Madness – A Personal Perspective!

Some of you may already know, and all of you will know very soon of course as I’m about to tell you. I like music!

There is nothing new in that of course, many people enjoy the reverberation of sound waves in various permutations (I’m not going to get all technical here, I’ll leave that to those of you with a scientific perspective). Some people enjoy the sound of strings, a nice bit of Vivaldi perhaps; others are thrilled beyond belief by the bone crunching, body pulverising experience of the drum and the bass (you haven’t lived until you’ve stood next to a thousand megawatt stack and felt your whole skeleton vibrate, yes I admit I do suffer from a slight ringing in my delicate lugs but you can’t live your life without a little damage, can you – pardon?).

But I don’t think it matters, music is music and anyone who listens to music is completely, utterly, and without exception, stark raving mad.

Alright, you say to yourself, what is the man trying to say here? Well if you did say that to yourself and you’ve ever listened to any type of music you have ably answered your very own question. And there is nothing wrong with that, I often stand in the bathroom cursing the face staring back at me through the foam flecked mirror (especially when I’ve managed to open up what seems to be a very large blood vessel on my cheek, when trying to shave, that resists all effort to stop gushing blood down my chin, gently depositing bright red patches on my freshly washed and ironed white shirt).

 Not convinced? Try and think, get your head nice and clear, how many sane musicians do you know? Alright there are some that seem quite normal, I admit I can’t remember hearing of Petula Clarke being doing anything particularly mad (unless any of course you know any stories?) but there has to be exceptions, just to make the others seem even madder.

Think of the majority. Prince? He’s probably a very nice man, with a slight liking for the colour purple and once going through a short phase of liking being called ‘symbol’. George Michael? Not a very good driver I’ve heard, always getting pulled over by the police whilst out for a nice spin behind the wheel. Johnny D Rhodes? Tends to babble on a bit!

Alright let me try a different angle. What normal sane person would stand up on a stage littered with bits of musical kit (cables, amplifiers, roadies) and subject themselves to thousands of people (in my case ten people not tens of thousands), screaming and shouting (in my case trying their very best to ignore me and finish their drinks, fast), knowing that even the slightest mistake could make them look very foolish?

Still not convinced? How many of you have suddenly started to hum or whistle a tune of some kind, in the middle of ironing, or out shopping, or in the middle of the night whilst creeping to the fridge for a middle-of-the-night feast (or maybe that last one is just me), and you don’t know where it came from or even what it is! I thought so, point made.




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11 responses to “Music and Madness – A Personal Perspective!

  1. Actually, The Artist (as he liked to be known back then) is a total asshat … anyone who has ever lived in the Minneapolis area (nearby to where he lives) knows that, and knows someone who has had an encounter with him … such as him clearing out an entire bar just so he can go have a drink without someone wanting to do something rude, like say “hello” and ask for an autograph … :-/

    But you raise an interesting point at the end – the performer perspective … there is nothing – NOTHING – like being in front of an audience, receiving that feedback, taking in that energy … of course, most of my experiences of this come from acting, not music, but still …

    It’s quite intoxicating.

  2. Yep. I think I dream music. Every morning I wake up with a tune in my head. And many of them are ones I haven’t heard for eons and most people my age would not even recognize. How’s that for crazy!

  3. I’ve woke up with music in my head that DOESN’T EXIST … and no way to mark it down, either … so, I see your crazy and raise you a raving mad … 🙂

  4. There’s an old proverbial saying, from long before certain words took on their current meaning, which went “All the world’s queer, save thee and me; and even thee’s a little queer.” The point is, madness is as madness does, and anyone who doesn’t respond to music in some way or another (whether performing or being on the receiving end) must be very strange, if not a little inhuman. Even animals and plants allegedly respond to music e.g. milk yields, growth rates.

  5. Great post! Everyone in our family enjoys a different kind of music and even their ring tones are totally different and reflect their different personalities.
    Love your blog and I’ll be back!

  6. Nice piece. Of course the mad like music, how else could they do the syphilitic shuffle? Don’t know what I’m talking about? You might want to check out my novel, Memoirs From the Asylum.

  7. I love music and the different beats and rhythm makes me write with a certain cadence that creates a flow that I only hear while I’m writing.

  8. Judy Olson

    Loved it. I do hear music in my head…all the time…doesn’t seem to shut off.

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