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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Autumn tasters

5-minute Members Interview #1 - Professor Femi Oyebode


Dear readers

A ‘tasting menu’ in this edition, before our next main feature. This will arrive shortly and features an exceptional and internationally acclaimed contemporary jazz musician.

First up, we have some links for you, kindly suggested by interested and knowledgeable readers.

Mike A suggested Daniel Johnston, who has been previously suggested and will certainly be featured at some point. Nathan Crofton-Bond recommended Natalie Duncan and Tone Oliver, and Glitter Emcee shared links to their own material. Amy Dunn is a Mental Health Specialist Librarian at NHS Sussex Partnership and suggested Ceiling Demons as well as calling my attention to this event at Exeter University, which will look at mental health issues depicted in hip-hop lyrics.

Secondly, we have the first offering of our ‘5-Minute Members Interview’. We are proud to present Professor Femi Oyebode as our first feature in this series. Professor Oyebode is Professor of Psychiatry and Head of Department at Department of Psychiatry, University of Birmingham. He was Chief Examiner of the Royal College of Psychiatrists from 2002 and 2005. He has a deep interest in the interface between culture and mental health. He is author of "Madness at the Theatre", poetry editor of the British Journal of Psychiatry and a poet in his own right.

We are looking for suggestions of other members of the College who would like to share their thoughts and experiences. Please email me at if you are interested or have a suggestion of someone you would like to see featured here. I hope I have whetted your appetite for a savoury autumn-winter season!

John Tully

Professor Femi Oyebode5-minute Members Interview #1 Professor Femi Oyebode

Who is your favourite musical artist or group and why?

My favourite artist is Miles Davis. His approach to jazz music in the late 50s (listen to Kind of Blue, released in 1959), his style on the trumpet, and the fact that like Picasso he continued to evolve and change over his lifetime all speak to his unique qualities.


What was your greatest musical experience?

I heard Itzhak Perlman play at the Symphony Hall Birmingham about 15 years ago. That was an extraordinary experience. It seemed as if his violin was but an extension of his body, as if he could do whatever he wanted with it. It was sublime.

Do you play an instrument or if not, which one would you like to be able to play?

I play the recorder badly. If I could, my choice would be jazz clarinet.

Does music have a role in mental health treatment?

Yes. There is much to learn about the use of music as a therapeutic agent in medicine.

Can you recommend a song or piece of music for our mental well-being?!

Gorecki Symphony No 3.

Listen to Gorecki Symphony No 3 on YouTube

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Minds in Music

Minds in Music

  John Tully  


Dr John Tully is a forensic psychiatrist and researcher at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, London. He is also a musician and is interested in the role of the arts in mental health.