Newcastle Uni have an artist in residence, Susan Aldworth, who, with several other artists, has done some work around schizophrenia - and the University is now hosting some events around the exhibition. Including a talk by Henry and Patrick Cockburn (authors of 'Henry's Demons') - and one by moi!
I will tell you more about dates, etc, as and when I know exactly what is happening. But I just thought I'd share the news now - and unveil a poem I wrote about it. I am not 100% happy with the poem. I have been working on it for a couple of months, ever since Kate Hudson, public engagement officer for Newcastle Uni (who originally contacted me via Twitter) told me that they were hoping to create a 'festival-type buzz' around events - which should go some way towards normalizing the term 'schizophrenia' and help to reduce the stigma around it.
I got completely stuck with the poem, but then had a 'Eureka' moment while driving the the other day...And because it has been in the pipeline for so long, I am now over-impatient to get it out there..anyway, here's the poem, in its not-quite-finished form.
Celebration – a Festival of Schizophrenia
A festival, when I was young, meant drugs and mud
Wine to numb the mind, and love to stir the blood
Outlandishness or individuality, fun tinged with fear
Singing, dancing, portaloos and paranoia; campfires, beer
But then the balance tipped, the fear outweighed the fun
And madness loomed, and peace took far too long to follow on
For 'Schizophrenia' sapped my spirit, froze my brain
I switched my Self to 'Off', and thought I'd never laugh or love again
Twenty years on: a festival of schizophrenia – strange thing
I find the word which chilled me to the bone now has a ring
For here at last we've found an antidote to gloom
We're going to celebrate the spectre in the room!
I'm proud to play a part – I'm glad I'm here
To join this festival of hope and thought, and cheer
To delve into the mind and find humanity and conquer fear
To see if drugs can help, if love can cure
To talk and laugh, to sing and dance perhaps, and act completely mad
And never give a fig, and wish I never had.