Archive for April, 2017

Someone Please Remember

April 14, 2017

Remember when I had an idea to make a TV show (equal parts Knick and Mad Men) about RD Laing’s Kingsley Hall?  No?  I know someone has a record of this somewhere.  Although I guess it doesn’t matter now, because screenwriter-director Robert Mullan has beaten me to the punch with his new movie Mad to Be Normal.  From The Guardian‘s (much maligned) Peter Bradshaw:

David Tennant is on pugnacious, mercurial and beady-eyed form in this very interesting and absorbing film. It’s one of his best performances. He plays the psychiatrist RD Laing, who became a 60s counterculture hero for challenging what he saw as the profession’s heartless prison-hospital ethos of tranquillisers and electroconvulsive shock treatment. Instead, Laing proposed a holistic treatment without drugs (although medically licensed LSD was acceptable), using group therapy and communal healing. He set up a refuge at Kingsley Hall in east London, that was regarded suspiciously as something like a Bedlam cult.

Hard-drinking, hard-smoking Laing laughs and cries along with his patients – who adore him – and angrily tells interviewers about the people “out to get” him. Elisabeth Moss plays Laing’s (composite-fictional) partner Angie, and Gabriel Byrne and Michael Gambon are excellent as his patients: old men who in a later era might be overlooked as care-in-the-community homeless. The screenplay by Robert Mullan and Tracy Moreton does not take a conventional biopic line but instead shows scenes from a life, with influences from Beckett, BS Johnson and perhaps David Cronenberg’s Spider in its images of broken things being put back together. Now I’d like see Mullan direct a biopic of Laing’s French counterpart, the philosopher and critic Michel Foucault. Perhaps Cédric Kahn could shave his head for the part.

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Short Story

April 12, 2017

Someone base a short story on the moment they broke the news to Elmer, please!  I’d do it myself but I don’t have the time at the moment…

“In questions of administration, [McLean Hospital head] Stanton could simply get lost.  Longtime facilities manager Henry Langevin remembers presenting Stanton with three competing bids for resurfacing McLean’s central tennis court, where Stanton himself often played.  But the director was paralyzed by indecision because the switch from the clay to a hard surface would eliminate a cherished job––rolling and sweeping the ochre-colored clay––for one of the hospital’s elderly, chronic schizophrenics.  ‘What’s poor Elmer going to do?’ was Stanton’s plaint, as the trial court resurfacing decision hung fire for months.”

I know Stanton’s indecision is supposed to be annoying, but I find his concern for Elmer rather sweet, don’t you?

 

(From Gracefully Insane: Life and Death Inside America’s Premier Mental Hospital by Alex Beam)

Resemblance

April 2, 2017

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