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Mental Health Social Stigma: Disability Hate Crime in Caldicot

Wez G, Leanne Thomas (lee Lines) middle and her friend.

Wez G, (Lee Lines (Leanne Thomas (centre) I was first locked inside St Cadoc’s Hospital under Section of the Mental Health Act on 2nd April 1997. As horrific as experiences inside a mental hospital can be, once you are released back into the community things can be equally horrific if not more so. In the 22 years of non-consensual Mental Health treatment I have received for a misdiagnosed condition, I have never once disrupted or hurt any individual or group either in the community or inside the hospitals. I have a zero criminal record that I am very proud of. I can remember after a couple of months in hospital in 1997, finally getting out, and making a mad dash for the local pub. Before I went into hospital as a successful DJ and party promoter I had a very good standing in the community and a lot of respect. I loved my hometown of Caldicot with all my heart. As I walked into the Haywain for a much-needed pint, the place went silent. Everyone was just staring at me. You could hear a pin drop. Everyone, even those closest to you and even those who have always tried to treat me the same as they always have before and after 02.04.97, do treat you differently. I’ve learnt to deal with it in my own way over the years. The public perception of mental illness is really bizarre. I blame tabloids covering horror stories of schizophrenic knife attacks or banging on about famous Broadmoor prisoners such as the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe. The facts are that a diagnosed schizophrenic is less likely to commit a violent crime than a member of the general public and they are more likely to be the victim of crime. Social stigma is a weird thing. As the years have progressed and the popularity of mental health has entered the mainstream, people are, in general, more accepting and less judgemental. However, you find it really strange talking to people. They sort of gaze at you, look through you and you can see their minds wandering off as you talk. They believe that anything that is emitted from your mouth is lunacy and insanity. You can’t strike up a sensible conversation with somebody who is doing this. They might interrupt and say the common phrase, ‘Oh, and how are you in yourself?’ I love that question…

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Low-Secure Punishment, Priory Group Private Sector Experiences, Ty Cwm Rhondda.

ty cwm rhondda

About 18 months ago I was sectioned yet again under Mental Health Act and sent up to Talygarn where yet again I was subjected to Dr Basu. I had been trying for 8 years in as diplomatic a way as possible to remove this vile man from my care. We had never seen eye to eye. I found him to be a racist Muslim who even had me banned from drinking alcohol in my local pub, The Castle Inn, Caldicot. His corruption knew no bounds and he constantly attacked me with treatment against consent giving me the maximum dose of Clopixol depot injection, in spite of medical proof demonstrating my allergy from several specialists including Gastroenterologists and Neurologists. Even the manufacturers of Clopixol, Lundbeck, after I raised used the yellow / red flag complaint system, had acknowledged that I should not under any circumstances be given this drug. I’d written on multiple occasions to Chief Executive of Aneurin Bevan University Health Board Trust pleading for a change in medics. Basu carried on, revoking leave until I took this endofterror.org website down, Putting me in for long term care and proceeding with Clopixol depot injections. You meet the psychiatrist once a week in the mental hospital. Monday mornings was Basu’s ward round yet he was always at least 2-3 hours late. I was so frustrated and just had to find a way to get a change in consultant. He’d be openly racist to me as far as I was concerned as a White UK citizen so, wound up, I marched into the meeting and just said: “Look, you curry muncher, I’ve just had enough of you!” and walked back out. It’s not something I’m proud of and I’m not a racist but this was mild racism. My thinking was it would make him actually change the consultant. His partner, another Indian, filed a complaint along with Basu that I’d threatened to kill them and attacked them. He labelled me as a violent racist and I was immediately removed from Talygarn Acute Ward and transferred down to St. Cadoc’s in Caerleon to the PICU (Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit) locked ward. Immediately I was put on fullscale meds as punishment. At the time on the ward a criminal patient from Caerphilly was causing loads of problems. He actually raped a young girl with Learning Difficulties. He got away with it and was actually…

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Review: Happy Mondays – Excess All Areas – by Simon Spence

Happy Mondays

This is the third Simon Spence book that I have read. He is a very talented music journalist from Manchester with a taste for documenting, wild, stylish cultural movements that have emerged from the Madchester craziness. Excess All Areas covers perhaps the most successful and innovative band to have ridden the early acid house craze that swept the nation in the mate 1980s. With the charismatic Shaun Ryder heading up the band, a true hedonist, a notorious substance abuser, it was always difficult for the true Happy Mondays to translate through the myriad web of journalists who tried to document them. Ryder, much to the annoyance of most of the musical backdrop of the band, Paul Ryder (Bass), Gary Whelan (Drums), Paul Davis (keyboard), Mark Day (Guitar), Mark ‘Bez’ Berry (dancer), got into a habit of blagging the press and feeding them over the top exaggerations of the band’s history and exploits. In hindsight, this was pure marketing genius and led to much of the mystery and notoriety that paved the way for success. However, it sifting all the bullshit, has made the writing of this book that much more difficult for Simon Spence. The early days of a relatively privileged middle class upbringing contrasts with the bunch of Manchester council estate ‘scallies’ they tried to portray themselves as. Sure there was petty crime and shopflifting etc. but nothing serious, although perhaps the addition of Bez to the group was actually verging on real true life crime as he obviously was up to the neck in it as a youngster and quite obviously expanded his mini empire quite a lot under the guise of being part of the band…. Manchester Giants, Factory Records and Tony Wilson picked up the band and signed them which paved their way to success following the ilk of luminaries Joy Division and New Order and allowing them direct access to one of the UK’s most influential music venues, the Haçienda. It all happened at just the right time for this band, as the cultural rebellion against failed Thatcherism took hold of the UK’s disillusioned youth masses and expressed itself in the ‘Acid House’ movement. Ecstasy-fuelled, fashion shifts, mass movement and gathering of people in raves, parties and festivals, vast increase in polydrug clubbing and mainstream ending of anti-drug taboos. A lot of this movement was driven by DJs and the Mondays’ uniqueness was that they…

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Review: Altered State – The Story of Ecstasy Culture and Acid House – by Matthew Collin

altered state

I’ve already read a Matthew Collin book – This is Serbia Calling – so I was chuffed when I stumbled upon this work, a history of UK dance music culture. As a DJ and Promoter for 24 years I’m quite aware of a lot of the history of dance music in the UK. This book, however, filled in many of the gaps, and was a thoroughly entertaining and enlightening read. The well known story of how acid house culture came to the UK via Ibiza’s Summer of Love where Nicky Holloway, Danny Rampling, Paul Oakenfold and Trevor Fung experienced the delight’s of Alfredo weaving magic on the White Isle and brought back their ideas to the London clubscene, is a familiar tale, often recited religiously in club culture publications like Mixmag. The author gives a comprehensive account of the beginnings and it was great to hear the true story and what bliss these guys must have experienced. Shoom, Spectrum and the Milk Bar launched successfully and the early adopters were soon welcoming new ‘Acid Teds’ and a hippy revival based on lush house electronica began to hit the mainstream. The book looks at London and Manchester in detail as well as exploring some of the less likelier destinations of UK club culture like Blackburn and later the countryside free party and rave movement. The study of the fracture of dance music into its various sub-genres and the movement of people that followed each branch provides much analysis and we see Warehouse parties, techno anarchists, drum and bass division and later the emergence of new genres like speed garage, grime and dubstep. The book focuses a lot on the role of narcotics in this new ascendant youth culture. The critical importance of ecstasy (MDMA) to the whole movement which eventually led to a massive increase and normalisation of drug culture across the country, with polydrug use becoming popular and clubbers and ravers exploring acid (LSD), cocaine, heroin, ketamine, amphetamines and the various different types of cannabis. It’s amazing how much anti dance music propaganda was spread by the media. Governments were scared and there was a great deal of legislation set up to counter the whole movement. Enlightened masses were a danger to the establishment and the whole culture was seen as an alternative political situation. The long-running battles between promoters, DJs and the UK Police was interesting and it was…

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Review: The Life and Lines of Brandon Block by Matt Trollope

brandon block

I was a DJ myself back in the 1990s and although I never played alongside Brandon Block, I had the pleasure of meeting him a couple of times. Once, on his father’s birthday in a London bar/club, I had just got out of one of my early mental health hospital stints and I think Brandon was in recovery…. I asked him for some advice and told him about my experiences and he gave me some real pointers about how to deal with my situation, probably moreso than any other professional who works in this industry has given me. Read this book and you read a tale of horror. People believe that DJing is glamorous and fun, but just get stuck into Brandon’s revealing, heartfelt story, and you will immediately see the pain and suffering that comes your way in the murky world of dance music performance. After all the early breaks, once the scene got into full swing and Brandon Block had established a growing reputation, he was pretty soon stuck into an ounce a day cocaine habit. He’s a personality DJ in house music, meaning not that he chats and laughs while playing – his sets are pure banging party rocking professionally done same as may other at the top of their game. Brandon likes to party too much and his notoriety led him well astray. I loved hearing how he began the whole Space Terrace and his fame in Ibiza alongside Alex P is pretty much unrivalled out Ibiza way. The whole Flying and Charlie Chester story was really interesting even if it broke apart slightly. He seems a down to earth good guy, a victim of his own success. Some of the mental health battles after drug addiction took its toll really hit the nail on the head for me. A lot of the venues and clubs were very familiar as indeed many of the characters. The clubscene fraternity is only but a village, even in its global stretches that it reaches nowadays. The 3 gigs a night blasting around the motorways and hitting lines of coke at every red light when the traffic stopped. All seemed absolutely necessary to continue to deliver the acid house that this Big Name DJ believed in. In latter years Mr Block did his fair share of charity work, feeding back into drug rehabilitation centres as a qualified counsellor. He is…

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Review: Mister Good Times by Norman Jay MBE

mister good times

I was lucky enough to be a warm up DJ for Norman Jay back in the 1990s in The Cross Nightclub, London and I think I was billed on a couple of other events with him. He was a great DJ, I remember him once, in Ministry of Sound, having a full glass of drink topple on the bar decks where he was spinning from the above balcony and Norman, lightning quick just kept the music rolling and not even a skip of the needle. The book is divided up into several unique sections. The first part covers Norman’s Good Times sound system at Notting Hill Carnival which is for what he has been most famous. The whole logistics of such an event is well detailed enough for the professional DJ to thoroughly enjoy and learn from and to any reader the whole politics and excitement and logistics of such a fun event must be enlightening. The book covers Norman’s childhood, whereby he was brought up in Ladbroke Grove, West London to Windrush Caribbean immigrant parents, both of whom seemed very hardworking and supportive and keen to give their family the best start to life. The book discusses a lot about how being a black DJ was defined during the early years of the deck revolution. For me, a highlight was Norman’s journey to New York, where he learnt the best of what would be culturally exported from the USA to British streets. Norman Jay’s love for Tottenham Hotspur football club is covered in detail and during the excitement of terraces and the emergence of the hooligan years it is great reading of times past and the fun and frolics of being a serious football fan. For me, as a Liverpool fan it was truly disturbing to read about racism at Anfield back in the 1970s. Growing up in the John Barnes era of Liverpool, for me I always felt that we were a progressive club when it came to racism which is still a fight in the beautiful game to this very day. I really wanted for the book to keep running once it hit the years of house music. The warehouse parties with Judge Jules thrown across London were particularly interesting, the funniest moment in the tale, when the Met Police tried robbing all the takings from the promoters and Judge Jules and Norman hid under raincoats, pretending…

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