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Nov 25 2012

Unplug the Jukebox

Adam Ant is back.

No, it’s not too surprising if your response is, “Who?” He was more of a sensation everywhere but the U.S. and was popular mostly among the alternative (before it was called any such thing) crowd here. Also, it was a long, long time ago in music terms. But if you’re listening to post-punk music now, Adam Ant is one of the people you’ve got to thank for shaping your music.

And now he’s back, talking about the bipolar disorder that took him out of the scene and making more music.

Between 1999 and 2001, he was suffering terrible mood swings – ­symptoms of his undiagnosed bipolar disorder.

He was planning to tour again until, in 2002, he ended up in court after smashing a pub window in a fit of “hypomania”.

He was ordered to undergo psychiatric treatment and for the next 10 years fought to understand and control his condition, writing movingly about it in his 2006 autobiography Stand and Deliver.

He says: “You either discuss it or you don’t. It’s been very therapeutic to talk about it.

“I learn more all the time – especially from Stephen Fry who also has it and is extremely knowledgeable.

“The main thing is not to feel ashamed. It will pass. You can manage it.

“I’m bringing out my first album in 17 years and I hope, as I produce more work and get known for that again, people won’t just define me by my mental illness.”

It’s good to see him making mental health problems less taboo. The stories in 2002 were ugly. Celebrity gossip treatment meant that his bipolar disorder was leapt upon as a sort of character weakness, something that explained how “weird” he’d always been (because highly dramatic musical presentations always require an explanation beyond being entertaining).

The new music? No less dramatic, but decidedly another flavor.

6 comments

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  1. 1
    Argle Bargle

    I wasn’t a fan of the old Adam Ant, I’m not a fan of the new Adam Ant. De gustibus non est disputandum.

  2. 2
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    No, it’s not too surprising if your response is, “Who?”

    Nope, it was “lolwut?” And I wasn’t even sure he’d went away, to be honest. Well that sucks, bipolar disorder bringing career disorder unto him. I’m glad to see things got better for him and he made things better for himself.

    “I’m bringing out my first album in 17 years and I hope, as I produce more work and get known for that again, people won’t just define me by my mental illness.”

    I’d hope not. It wouldn’t even occur to me, unless it significantly affects the art, which it does for some. Not that it should make for the very definition of the art or the person. But yeah, I expect some people will, since he’s mentioned it.

    something that explained how “weird” he’d always been

    Well, they’re gonna have to invent diagnoses for the other 90% or whatever of us weird people, then. And then we should have one for celebrity gossip columnist sorts, I expect. We’ll call it “gossiping fuckwit syndrome”. More of a personality trait, it can become a disorder when expressed in the extreme. Treatment should involve being told to stop being an ass. (This wouldn’t be an actual clinical psychological diagnosis of any sort, just a social awareness of jerks of a particular type.)

    I’m really digging his look in that video still. Reminds me of someone completely different, but I can’t say who.

  3. 3
    Cuttlefish

    “…and do us all a favor
    That music’s lost its taste
    So try another flavor
    AntMusic!”

    Wow. Brings me back to undergrad years.

  4. 4
    Silentbob

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPjfD8ulnpw

    (Warning: contains frequent graphic depictions of fashion crimes)

  5. 5
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    One of my favorite AntTunes:

  6. 6
    smrnda

    I remember that he was in Derek Jarman’s Jubilee.

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