YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE FAMOUS TO HAVE MANIC DEPRESSION… but it helps?

We’ve all had enough of people plugging things, haven’t we? Spotty marketing nerds sending us targeted e-mails, unpleasant rodents leaving messages about PPI on our phones. The very worst is people sending newsletters and there I just draw the line and get out my NRA discount card.

Buy Taking Leave on Amazon

Taking Leave (ebook cover pictured), currently being adapted for the big screen.

Catherine Zeta Jones is a serious actress and a top looking girl who doesn’t need to sell anything to anyone. However, in 2011 she admitted she’d been suffering from manic depression and seeking medical help to sort it out. Considering how nervous Hollywood gets about such things, she showed considerable guts in calling a spade a spade and not making up some nonsense. I applaud that and the fact that she also later declared she was sick of talking about it and never wanted to be the poster child for it.  Her motives for originally going public on it were sincere. Like Angelina Jolie’s recent courageous statements about breast cancer, Catherine ZJ has helped to take the horror story away and help normalise the subject which is what is wanted.

Okay so here’s the shameless plug. Two ebooks connected to me were issued recently and both have a lot to do with jolly old bipolar/manic depression. My first novel TAKING LEAVE, once a Radio 5 Book of the Month is out as an ebook and at amost reasonable price… (more of which later). On the face of it, the book is about a 25-year-old man in the music business going on a terrifyingly funny rollercoaster during which he puts himself and everything in his life – job, girlfriend, family, close friends – to the ultimate test. It’s got romance, big money, sex, bands, betrayal, 70’s and 80’s rock, soul and punk music, booze, drugs, hospitals, family bereavement, London, New York, Dorset, even a cat and a Citroën DS in it, but no golf or Nazis. However, it is also based loosely and closely on  an autobiographical tale. Check it out.

Buy You Don't have to be Famous to have Manic Depression & The A-Z Guide to Good Mental Health on AmazonThe A-Z Guide to Good Mental Health / You Don’t Have to be Famous to have Manic Depression has just been published by Penguin as a top price ebook. This book was co-written by a good friend of mine and doctor, the devilishly good looking Dr Tony Hughes.  For the record, it was Tony who thought of the idea of making a documentary on the subject of MD and recruited me as his partner in crime. We ended up conceiving and being associate producers of the BBC 2 ‘Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive’. If you’ve managed to stay awake and are still reading this – that went on to win an Emmy for the best international documentary of 2008. Thank you to courageous BBC TV, Stephen Fry,  top agent Jane Villiers and producer/ director Ross Wilson.

The book is about breaking eggs to make an omlette, my eggs to be precise. It is a candid and honest account of a patient suffering from manic depression/bipolar, and the 20 years of trials and tribulations of getting well and staying well as witnessed by Tony Hughes the doctor and and me . Remember Pickwick?Jeremy Thomas the manic depressive. That all sounds a little like ‘Under Milkwood’ doesn’t it? Okay maybe just a bit. Whatever, I am pleased to report that due to its humour and authenticity, the book has helped quite a few sufferes, family members and curious people understand the condition and what they can do about it.  The A-Z side is a no-bollocks guide to th what things actaully mean in the strange world of mental health, and what you can do to avoid being ill. Practical, plain speaking and informative, above all it about surviving and making the most of things yourself .  Prevention is sooo much better than cure!  It has been in print for six years so it can’t be all bad. Thanks to Michael Joseph/Penguin and to the memory of the late Maurice Phillips, who leant us his apartment in Hove to write it.

I was going to tell you about the connection to ebooks and what used to happen to back catalogue in the record business. It will be on the next blog very soon, meanwhile here is a wonderful photo of an old Top of the Pops sleeve that budget label Pickwick issued. Do you recognise or remember any of those songs on the cover? One or two stinkers and three or four classics. Can you spot them?


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