Mad 4 Music - Monday October 8 - Friday October 12

mad 4 music (1/5)

As part of a joint Five and Arts Council initiative, this new series of short films explores the various ways in which music has played a pivotal role in the lives of five individuals dealing with mental health issues. The third in the acclaimed ‘Mad for…’ strand –following ‘Mad for Arts’ and ‘Mad for Poetry’ –the series will be shown every evening this week, timed to coincide with World Mental Health Day on Wednesday.

The series begins today with the story of James, a 23-year-old schizophrenic. James tells of how the music of Pink Floyd –and in particular the song ‘Wish You Were Here’ –helped him cope with the traumas of life in a psychiatric ward.

Tuesday’s programme focuses on Christopher, an ex-piano tuner born partially sighted. In 1997 Christopher had a severe attack of glaucoma which made him completely blind and sent him into severe depression. When he joined a choir set up for people with mental health issues, Christopher rediscovered Ben E King’s ‘Stand By Me’ and found strength in the song’s message of the restorative power of love during times of hardship.

In Wednesday’s edition, 42-year-old Helen tells of her own battle with depression. After her diagnosis, Helen took a course of anti-depressants and experienced terrifying hallucinations which led her to attempt suicide. In this film she talks about the positive impact of music on her life, with particular focus on Kirsty MacColl’s version of ‘Days’, which was popular at the time of her daughter’s birth.

Thursday’s film sees Wayne talk about the place Ronnie Laws’s cover of ‘Fever’ has had in his life since the death of his wife, Paulette. Wayne first turned to drugs to help deal with his grief, but they drove him further into despair until he attempted suicide. Now, Wayne has turned his energies to writing and playing music, with ‘Fever’ a big part of his work and a constant reminder of his happy, 12-year relationship with Paulette.

Friday’s instalment focuses on Heather. As a teenager, Heather developed an eating disorder that rapidly became life-threatening. Here, she explains how the lyrics of Coldplay’s ‘Talk’ help her make sense of her experiences in hospital.

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