Mental Illness, Disability, Music and Arts (MIDMA)
An Introduction by Dave Larder, Editor of LAAMB.
When you run a web site such as this one, it’s sometimes surprising to pick up snippets where you think; does that fit the profile or not?
The reason I set up Lincolnshire Arts and Music Bulletin in the first place, was to recognise the contributions to our #NHSUprising march/concert, held in Louth in 2017. Supporting #OURNHS in the singular form of Saving Louth Hospital, it followed that the NHS is much more than a single hospital, a group of hospitals, or even the Ambulance Service.
It became apparent (Post the Louth gig), that the NHS is sadly failing even the most vunerable people in our country, and that this failure was also happening overseas. I’m specifically speaking about Mental Illness, and the running down of appropriate services for those affected people that need them to function; to live their lives; to survive!
In January 2017, I started communicating with an American Multimedia Artist and Mental Health Activist, Jason T Ingram. This came about when he posted a portrait of Robert Wyatt that he had painted, on the Internet. Granted Jason’s permission, the portrait was turned into a birthday card for Robert, and included greetings from his many fans around the world. Discovering my friendship with Robert, Jason said he was considering a cover of some of Wyatt’s work, which he did both as a solo project and live, with his band, Dialectic Flowers*. Encouraged by support from both Robert and Alfie, Jason began to “function” again as a working musician, with future projects in the pipeline.
Tragedy struck for Jason on 22nd March this year when his house caught fire, pretty much destroying everything, including his instruments, recording studio, and home. While many recording were saved, some he is trying to find, but most of his recent audio and video projects are lost. For Jason, this was devastating, and only now is he able to start some form of rebuilding his life; a process which is a constant struggle as he also comes to terms with his mental fragilities.
* See links below
Following hours of discussions with Jason, via email, Skype and phone, we both came to realise that the issues which we face in the UK pretty much mask what is happening in the US. Generally, these relate to inadequate and/or failing services. However, it wasn’t until I started attending Louth Hospital Support group vigils and meetings, that I came to realise that this is not just a serious issue; it’s a crisis. (Jason’s experiences can be found via the “MIDMA” page).
So finally, after 18 months of discussion, deliberation and interaction, I’ve come to the point where I launch this platform so that Artists of all genres, with Mental Health issues, can come together to discuss their lives, their art, and how one relates to the functionality of the other.
Youtube “Little Red Riding Hood hit the road” by Robert Wyatt – Jason T Ingram cover.
Soundcloud “Westernitis – A Robert Wyatt Tribute” by Dialectic Flowers feat. Jason T Ingram.