Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Mad to Be Normal - A Loonie review

(Post updated on Saturday 24 June 2017)

Simply renamed 'Mad To Be' on our cinema tickets, theR.D. Laing biopic  resulted a very entertaining and inspiring viewing.


Probably one of the best cinema outings that I can remember of, as Dee organised a ride with Myra to reach the North London cinema, giving us time to chat and catch up en route. Later we met a party of North Londoners, included Ben, Laing's youngest son, for a round up of analysis of the movie.

Now, I am certainly NOT a film critic, nor a tiny expert in films whatsoever, so do watch your expectations while reading this review, please. Must also add that being partially deaf, my capacity to follow dialogues in a film with no captions is very limited; hence, while watching a movie I often tend to create my own story, according to what my intuition lets me capture. Having a rough idea of the rough story certainly helped me in following Mad2B. And this was the Laing movie, something somehow very close to those of us that identify as Survivors, mental health activists and the people turned angry by the often outrageous and coercive psychiatry system. 

On top, with Myra and myself being board members of the present and active Kingsley Hall Community Centre (KHCC), and eager mental health activists, it did feel like our flags were flying high. 

The first detail that made me smile as the movie started rolling, was the initial statement affirming that R.D. Laing created Kingsley Hall. To give justice to the Lesters Sisters, I invite people to read a bit in regards, especially those that might have not heard yet about these two awesome ladies, and discover Kingsley Hall's tremendous and fascinating heritage, that actually started over a century ago, even before Ronnie was born. So, not all the people involved in the active Kingsley Hall necessarily have a particular interest in its mental health heritage, as some people might wrongly assume. Kingsley Hall truly is a special place and everyone would benefit to know about its tremendously deep humanitarian rooted hystory.

Portrayed as a heavy smoker and heavy drinker (possibly just like many Scotts of adult age? Awesome Scotts!), Ronnie does certainly demonstrates to be an extraordinary Doctor, sharing his knowledge in natural healing practises, and creating a meditative and contemplative space with his peers and patients.

Many people might have blacklisted and censured the approaches welcomed by the Philadelphia Association in those days, especially for their open use of (illegal!) drugs such as LSD and cannabis, but let's not forget that these were the Sixties! A time of profound  change and liberation, the "Make Love, Not War" infused times, which did set some positive influence to whatever followed.

I like to imagine Ronnie living now, in the New Millennium, when more and more people are opting for a more conscious living, sober partying and avoiding legal (alias prescribed) and illegal drugs alike; specially in a time when the anti e critical psychiatry movements are stronger and big pharma corruptive intentions are more exposed and broadly known by the general public. What a riot would it be! What a driving force for change when many more people are becoming professionals in the field due to their own needs, or the needs of close friends and family, driven by the necessity to find their hope and 'cure' to own distress... like the Only Us Campaign suggests. 
Change keeps making its way, and we have to thank all people that have contribuited in the long history of anti psychiatry and subversion from the real people that fought the fights for our rights (psychiatric patients) as it can be found in Andrew Roberts's Survivors History dedicated archive.

So, thank you Mr Mullan, Cast & Crew for your great work in taking the delicate topic of madness to the large screen, for showing the stupidly of conventional psychiatry and for bringing back some buzzing vibes to a seemingly dormant castle. Thank you also for the choice of the fantastic cast, with David Tennant already my hero in the series 'Takin' Over the Asylum', playing his part terrificly.
Risultati immagini per we are loonies and we are proud

Now I really wish someone will follow suit and show also the story of Mary Barnes, which is barely seen in Mad2B as Maria. Mary Barnes was the actual originator of the idea of having this radical community at Kingsley Hall, the first person to enter the building in 1965 and the last one to leave in 1970.

For the time being we're looking forward to watch the forthcoming BA Acting production MARY BARNES Play at the Platform Theatre, in London, part of the CSM, Drama Centre London. Catch it if you can.
Happening between the 26 June and the 1st of July 2017. 

If you wish to find out more about Kingsley Hall Community Centre do check the website for info and opening times. We are joining Open House on Saturday 16th September if you wish visiting the building.
Also save Saturday 9 September for a special day celebrating madness and lunacy, while questioning normality for the Loonies Fest.

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