Sunday, July 05, 2009

More Madness

In The Sunday Times I review Richard Bentall's Doctoring the Mind.
Oh and I write about the Hebrides. I didn't know that was going in today.


  1. Very good description of the western isles Bryan, as they are today, with a fairly large population of retired inner M25ers. The entire north west coast area has gone through a period of change as dramatic as that during and after the clearances. The area I knew in the 1950s was a land separate from Britain, wild, independent, full of genuine characters like Gavin Maxwell, Dame Flora Macleod of Macleod (Northcote's granddaughter) or Ronald McDonald the undisputed stag of Glenbrittle.
    The weavers of Harris used to leave the finished cloth outside overnight ready for collection, today it would be nicked.
    Harris and Lewis are best seen either from the summits of Stac Polly, Bein Alligan (the Jewelled one) or Liathach (the grey peak), preferably at sunset in midwinter.
    Enjoy them today while you can, if Salmond has his way you will need a passport.

  2. fine words. maybe you could frame it over your desk. it would be a good incentive to keep your desk clear.

  3. Excellent evocation of our very own Kierkegaard country, i'm thinking the Jutland moor where Soren's father (then a small boy) cursed God. i believe you bought a tweed waistcoat a few months ago so now you have two - pictures, please.

    As for the loony bin, my father was shanghaied into running a Psych Ward back in the 60s - knowing nothing of nutters, though he was fated to become one. He gave the patients LSD and sat by their bedsides dutifully transcribing their ravings. i'm not sure if that helped them.

    When i had a kind of nervous collapse after leaving school, and slept massively, he remarked that if a doctor (other than himself) saw me, i'd be banged up in the loony bin, "and once you are in there, egh, you NEVER GET OUT! You only GET WORSE, egh?"

    He also described, in detail, how patients are drugged to keep them quiet, to the detriment of their brains.

    i do think drugs can sometimes work, to some extent: e.g. i know a manic-depressive who seems quite sane when he's on the mood stabilisers, and not so sane the rest of the time. But with nutters, their personality & lives are so entwined into their lunacy that it's hard to imagine a drug undoing the knots: they would, i suppose, need to become different people, which is fiendishly difficult, and the lunacy often acts as a protective casing, making sure they stay as they are.