It is an exciting time for fans of music documentaries. I
recently featured ‘Be Here to Love
Me’, ‘The Devil and Daniel
Johnston’ and ‘Heaven Adores You’. While
not directly related to mental health matters, 2012's ‘Searching for
Sugarman’ and ‘Beware of Mr Baker’ are
also interesting works about unusual characters. Ginger Baker, now
75 and only recently recovered from a serious physical illness,
performed at The Jazz Café in Camden last week to a fervent
reaction from an awestruck crowd, proving that 'difficult'
personalities can sometimes make for astonishing creative
Kapadia's "Amy" premieres 3 July 2015.
Earlier this year,
Brett Morgan's 'Montage of Heck',
about the troubled life of musician Kurt Cobain, was met with a
critical acclaim and
criticism. On July 3rd, Asif Kapadia's film about Amy
Winehouse, 'Amy', will be released to a
legion of fans of the London singer, who tragically died of an
overdose in 2011. Both performers were 27 at the time of their
death, and have sadly been added to the '27 club', a list
of musicians who have died at that age. After a college
conference event on music and mental health in 2013, I spoke with a
colleague intrigued by this phenomenon. He suggested to me that
this age, associated with the onset of adult responsibilities and
the end of late adolescence, perhaps resulted in the chaotic life
of a musician being less easily managed, and represented a high
risk period for vulnerable creative people. I recommend both films
for those interested in these issues and look forward to feedback
and discussion on this forum and our twitter account.
For those of you who may bemoan the lack of
female musicians featured in this blog to date, I am aware of this
shortcoming! I will seek to make amends with my next
interview piece, where I will speak to the director and producer of
another upcoming documentary about the life of British
folksinger, Shirley Collins. From
the era of Billie Holliday to that of Amy Winehouse, there have
been many brilliant female musicians who have struggled with mental
health problems. I very much welcome suggestions for other female
artists to feature.
I would like to wish all our readers an enjoyable summer break
and thank you for your continued interest.
2012 Documentary "Beware of Mr Baker"
tells the story of Drummer and Hellraiser
Ginger Baker, who continues to play at a
professional level aged 75.
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