music, poetry, parkinson's disease

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http://freakytrigger.co.uk/ft/2012/02/music-poetry-parkinsons-disease/

This is spammier than I usually am, so apologies for that, but here's something I wrote at Freaky Trigger about my dad, music, poetry and Parkinson’s Disease, to coincide with Mike Dibb’s documentary on how the jazz musician Barbara Thompson copes with the same condition. Barbara Thompson: Playing Against Time airs in the UK this Sunday (BBC4, 19 February, from 9-10.15pm).

Not sure if how many threads ilm has had on music and neurological conditions -- oliver sachs stuff i guess-- but it's an interesting topic, so this can be one if you like.

(I'm starting a thread on ILE also, for non-music-related discussion of physicality and creativity... )

mark s, Friday, 17 February 2012 16:01 (2 years ago) Permalink

(somewhat now wishing i'd called this something deliberately contrary and provocative, such as "the art of coping with unfeeling science")

mark s, Saturday, 18 February 2012 11:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

But there’s as much mystery as recognition for me, when I watch recent footage of her on-stage, the fluid mastery of her instrument she still (astonishingly) retains as it combines with the characteristic Parkinsonian near-toppling jerkiness of gait. Is there something about the nature of music’s physical movements — technical virtuosities internalised over years of repetitive practice — that leaves them perhaps not untouched by the condition, but somehow sometimes given a kind of brief grace and remission… Or is it something about the abstracted state of mind when playing?

Will be v curious to watch footage tonight.

Over the years I have been able to see a couple of musicians who quite clearly had difficulties due to debilitating illness -- more of a physical kind than anything neurological -- and who were able to not only carry on, but who seemed to be actively mining the condition to achieve a transformative effect in their own technique. V much an opportunity.

Maybe its just me but i found it sad (in one case you could discern discomfort) yet inspiring.

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 18 February 2012 13:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

(Just a thread-bump before I leave the house, to remind people about the documentary tonight...)

mark s, Sunday, 19 February 2012 16:53 (2 years ago) Permalink


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