Sunday, February 19, 2006

On the nature of obsession

And he was alright, the band was all together *

Watching Thumpermonkey at the gig last Friday I was impressed by the level of musicianship. The musicians were well synchronised and the speed of Michael Woodman's fingerwork on the fret spoke eloquently of many thousands of hours of practice in a teenage bedrooms.

A number of years ago I saw a street entertainer at the Edinburgh festival on the slack wire. He used one foot to kick up and catch on his head first a saucer, then a cup and finally a teaspoon. After the second attempt with the teaspoon bounced out he remarked "I have to practice this a thousand times for you to see me do it once!". The third attempt was successful to great applause.

Now if someone washes their hands a hundred time a day, or checks and re-checks the chairs are exactly squared up to the table, or whatever, they are described as Obsessive-Compulsive. If a musician practices the scales, or a particular song, over and over and over and over till they get it right they are a dedicated perfectionist. Hmmm! It is indeed a thin line between genius and madness.

* Lady Stardust by David Bowie

1 comment:

Ballpoint Wren said...

You're right!

Maybe a way to treat OCD would be to direct the OCDers to more "acceptable" activities, like music, or dance.

Heh! I imagine that would go over like a lead balloon at the psychiatry convention.