XXX’s Psychoanalytic Diagnosis

Patient                                                             Doctor

XXX                                                             Lorna May

Session N.1

Presenting problems and situation: 

XXX is an almost middle aged man with the heart of a child. As all musicians, he’s unstable and an asshole. XXX’s relationship with life is very much bound to his relationship with art.

PURITANISM seems to be the main concern. We might describe him as an “artistic puritan”. This remark is based on the foundations of his taste in music and cinema.

XXX presents a compulsive obsessive interest on whatever is related to the Jazz age.

An art critic, studying his case from a farther angle, might end up with the conclusion that as a jazz musician, his puritanism is only praiseworthy. XXX, being gifted of an inhuman perfectionism and a totalitarian control over the use of his hands (normally linked with classic pianists) doesn’t obviously want to be influenced (in worst case scenarios – contaminated) by other music genres. His rejection to art discovery is an early sign of senile dementia.

The same applies to cinema. XXX’s film education, unsurprisingly, also dates back to the Jazz age (note his shock after watching Mulholland Drive). The only modern director that XXX appreciates is Woody Allen, we presume the reason being the use of jazz music in his pictures, his fascination with neurotic women (probably linked to the complicated relationship with his mother) and the similar personality traits with the author.

The same puritan attitude applies to his circle of friends and lifestyle. We can finally agree, that XXX lies unthreatened, in his self-made bed of wine and roses, living in denial of reality.

His puritanism also extends to his romantic relationships. An example being his 10 years commitment to a “Blue Jasmine” kind of woman, someone who is  nearly always putting on a pretence caused by insecurities about her fading beauty which are continuously emphasised by her need to be hidden from bright lights and her need for sexual admiration by men.

In this specific scenario, by puritanism, we mean XXX’s need of comfort and stability, which was tragically provided by an uncomfortable and unstable woman.

After all, a golden cage of appearances, leaving XXX (a man who finds catharsis in love) emotionally raw.

Current Symptoms/Behaviors: 

XXX has recently came into contact with a young actress by the name of Lorna May. A woman who’s not excellent at anything, but good at everything.

The gods threw the dice – Lorna found XXX when she needed music in her life, and XXX found Lorna when he needed cinema in his.

Just to put things into perspective; we might fairly describe Lorna May as a fearless wonderer. An art time-traveller, an hedonist – opposed to puritan XXX.

Her open-mindedness at first enchanted our patient who soon became loving and a little over-exited, most recently showing signs of unassertiveness and fear (there’s only one fear and that is the fear of the unknown/ignorance).

It’s only logical to assume that the patient has been deeply moved by this free-spirited woman, artistically and emotionally.

Therefore, we categorise XXX’s sudden change of behaviour as xenophobic.

The patient presents a subtle mix of fear and pleasure by the emblematic nature of this woman, an actress, a thief, who steals souls and makes them hers…who influences/contaminates XXX’s puritan persona with art and kisses.

It’s with no doubt that we say that the patient is in a cloudy state-of-mind for the time being. This momentarily hesitation and perhaps scepticism could be translated into oblivion.

The patient has shown desire to drastic lifestyle changes – mostly to accommodate other’s visions, we’d assume. Changes which don’t fit at all with his nature.

We fear suicide.

Treatment:

Prozac – 20 mg once a day

Coffee – one New York mug a day

Cinema – one seance per week

Switch poems to prose

Substance Abuse Treatment History: 

None reported.

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By Dr. Lorna May

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“Cheek to Cheek”

Heaven. We’re in heaven.

The cast of our dark comedy short-film “Cheek to Cheek” is now completed. Follow us on our just-set-up Instagram page @cheektocheekfilm

Maybe all it takes to stop thinking of a lost love is to have one last dance. In perfect harmony. Cheek to cheek.

Know-How

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Beatlemania in full swing in 1964

I’ve always had the misconception that a person who reads many books is an intelligent person. And then something struck me. The question is: How?

How do you read books?

Were you one of those straight-A students? Were you the “nerd” of the school? Maybe that’s not such a good sign.

These star pupils were praised by parents and teachers but all they really did, was flick through history books without questioning a thing.

Well, my grandma does pretty much the same. She spends hours watching unspeakable telenovelas, serves you tea, then sums the latest episode up in fanciful detail.

It’s true, we’re not talking about Tolstoy here, but how would it be if my grandma told you the story of Anna Karenina?

[ Anna Karenina was a married aristocrat bla-bla-bla who has an affair with the charming Count Vronsky bla-bla-bla she leaves her husband but in the meantime bla-bla-bla. Anna becomes isolated and anxious while Vronsky goes out and about bla-bla-bla. The situation is unbearable, Anna commits suicide. ]

Would you like another cup of tea, darling?

In short; the novel explores topics like politics, religion, morality, gender and social class, but my nanna likes the gossip of it. If you take Tolstoy’s masterpiece that way, it’s true that it doesn’t fall too far from tea-time telenovelas.

How do you listen to music?

Let’s take The Beatles as an example. Why? Because there’s even a thing out there called Beatlemania. That’s right, I’m talking about maniacs. The delirious Beatles fan club.

Nothing compares to the hysteria that The Beatles created in the height of their careers in the 60s. They were mostly teens peeing their pants. Screaming schoolgirls pulling their hair out.

The term “fan” comes from the latin “fanaticus”, meaning “insanely but divinely inspired” or “marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion”.

There’s a link between how my grandma reads Anna Karenina and Beatlemania.

How do you watch films?

Even movie-goers come in two flavours these days; “film geeks” and “cinephiles” (or movie snobs). The first preferring contemporary films based on comics or video games and the latter, being lovers of “the classics” and modernist or avant-garde cinema, up to the present, and tend to scorn geek favourites.

Film geeks are almost religious creatures, loyal market followers. They could even come off as sweet as they light up their Christmas crib with Batman instead of baby Jesus.

They know it all about their heroes; background, quotes, missions, superpowers and outfits. Meanwhile, a cinephile contemplates a slow-motion caress, heartbroken in a blurry romance.

All this considered, we can arrive at one important point. However you read books, listen to music, or watch films – never lose your child-like enthusiasm.

03.03 am

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Manu: king of shisha

In the middle of the journey of my life…

I was torn between two choices:

1. Watch a depressing Tarkovsky movie at cinema Reflet Medicis

2. Drink wine and smoke shisha at Passy (the best spot to get drunk in front of the sizzling Eiffel Tower)

After two cups of coffee and three cigarettes, I chose number 2. After all, Tarko will still be there tomorrow, “but I’m human and I need to be loved”.

Wine. Shisha. Last metro. Direction home.

As I’m about to get back home, I see one of the many transsexual prostitutes populating my neighbourhood: in the middle of the street, tits on air, screaming and throwing empty bottles around. Amusing. I think “ahh! Such fresh air! Life”.

It looks amazing to me, to witness such freedom, such messy, fucked-up beauty. It might be that I’m still culturally shocked from my last trip in Russia, where everything was grand and perfectly preserved, but it almost seemed like communism has never ended. It lacked of humanity. It lacked of vices, dirt and misbehaviour. I love misbehaviour.

It’s not over. I come back home and I soon discover my neighbour singing like crazy, headphones on, putting a show in front of the mirror. Little does she know that she has an audience. Me.

I love Paris at 03.03 am.

Robbery in Paris 17eme

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“He said that life boils down to standing in line to get shit dropped on your head. Everyone’s got a place in the queue, you can’t get out of it, and just when you start to congratulate yourself on surviving your dose of shit, you discover that the line is actually circular.” – Scott Lynch, The Republic of Thieves

It was last Saturday, when I discovered that someone broke into my apartment.

It was one of these days when you don’t feel like seeing anyone, but still, you can’t be left alone and coffee is never enough.

I ended up engaging in my favourite activity, going to the movies. I met a friend even though I didn’t have much to say. Soon enough we entered the cinema and watched “Swept Away” aka “Travolti da un insolito destino nell’azzurro mare d’agosto” (the original 1974 version by director Lina Wertmüller), curiously enough the main character is a spoiled rich woman who ends up in a deserted island with her attendant, only to find out the material world to which she was so attached meant nothing after all.

Still feeling dull inside, all I could think about on my way home, was to put on my cherry printed socks on, even if it was warm outside, and persevere in my film addiction. Celine Dion used to sing “all by myself, don’t wanna live”. For some reason I always thought she was saying “all by myself, I wanna be”, maybe because the latter was more appealing to me.

As I opened the door, I found absolutely everything I own scattered on the floor. As soon as I realised that it wasn’t an hallucination, I burst into tears, violent tears of angst (I was in the same time, like a complete psychopath, trying to save that magnificent rage in my emotional data bank, in order to reproduce it on the stage).

The next door neighbours rushed in to check up on me; the tumultuous love-making couple of the building. They are so sonorous that they even distorted my dreams, as most of them are now set in a 17th century brothel. They introduced themselves as brother and sister, as if I wasn’t disturbed enough, and of course, that revelation made me cry even more.

The next day, traumatised by the current events, I jumped on a night train back to my dad’s home in Milan. Sometimes, all a girl needs is a few whiskeys on the rocks and a familiar place where to safely pass out.

As bizarre as it may seem, all the heartbreaks and disappointments I have experienced lately, are suddenly a long distance memory. Logically, keeping in mind the subdominant law, the latest incident has automatically erased the others.

I remember a “Laurel and Hardy” episode in which Hardy, was moaning about his limping left leg and how much he was suffering because of it. Laurel looks around for a moment, scratches his head and says: “I have the solution for your limping left leg”. He suddenly kicks his friend’s right leg. “Voilà!”. Hardy screams out in pain, steam comes out of his ears… The sky is still clear, the kids keep playing in the street. Hardy moans about his right leg.

C’est la vie.

Eugenia at the Movies

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After hours of painful labor Eugenia was born in 1897 in Florence, Italy. The daughter of a bronze pots dynasty, soon to be the disrepute of her family.

Years ago, when I was still a Londoner, I payed a seasonal visit to my dad’s in Milan. We had a classic pizza-movie night and the film in question was Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo (it’s about a Depression-era unhappily married ingénue who goes to the movies to watch the same film over and over again to escape her miserable life, until the film’s main character walks off the screen and what was a black and white dream becomes real…). “I knew someone like that, an obsessive-compulsive person…” dad says.

Eugenia was my father’s mother’s aunt. I never had the chance to look at pictures of her. I like to think she was petite, controversially boyish-looking for her era, maybe with asymmetrical eyebrows (like those ones of evil movie characters) but still intrinsically sensual.

They say she was precocious for her age. Some others say she was a prodigy. Her family aspected great things from her, even though that would just mean marrying a suitable man of good fortune.

By the time she became old enough to embrace the philosophy of nihilist European writers, the world was experiencing what was then the greatest invention of all: CINEMA.

Movie theatres were filled with what was then la crème de la crème of Florentine society. I would have liked to know what was the first picture Eugenia has ever seen, because that day, the day in which she stepped into a movie house for the first time, something spectacular must have happened. That day marked what was to become her passion, obsession and ultimately madness.

I don’t know what it is, this feeling. It’s Stendhal’s syndrome, maybe. A repulsion to reality after having experienced something of colossal beauty. It was probably just a moment of absolute limpidness. They say it’s natural to become mad as soon as the truth laughs in your face. A lightning bolt.

Eugenia became soon a cinephile. She couldn’t help herself. She would spend her days in picture houses stepping from one movie to the other, often watching the same one repeatedly, feeding herself with lavished silver images, starving herself from the rest of the world, like a junky. Once you get locked in drug addiction, the tendency is to push it even further. One obviously does it because the dullness of life is unbearable. There’s something incredibly gloomy and romantic about it. Lastly, why should it be wrong? Isn’t life about making oneself happy? It doesn’t matter how. Morals weren’t definitely her problem regardless.

Seasons changed, fashion changed, political circumstances changed. Eugenia, unaffected by it all, was now an habitué of movie theatres, so much that they didn’t let her pay for the tickets anymore. It was pointless.

She was quite infamous in town, everybody knew she was a lunatic, a pagan. She had the devil inside. Even the priest had lost faith because of her, he had abandoned his functions and moved back in the countryside, with his lover.

Eugenia didn’t appreciate social gatherings, she hardly ever spoke to her sisters. She would mostly communicate with grimaces, if she had to. Occasionally, she would show up in some café downtown and make a scene. She was popular for showing up drunk and jump on tea tables to dance barefoot. At that point, someone would bring her back home where her mother would be waiting crying, or pretending to.

One day, she found out she was pregnant. Her mother fainted, or pretended to. “It’s a disgrace, it’s a disgrace! What have I done wrong, dear Lord? What have I done?” her father would say frantically while walking up and down the baroque living room, booze in hand, “Who is going to marry you? Who? Charlie Chaplin?”.

Eugenia never married. As a matter of fact, she had no idea of who the father of her baby was, not that she cared. Actually, Charlie Chaplin wasn’t really her type, she must have preferred someone more virile and adventurous, maybe Douglas Fairbanks, or Rudolph Valentino.

Sound in films was already the norm. Eugenia remained silent for the rest of her life. She continued watching movies, neglecting everything else. Obsession, running through blood like poison.

Apparently, her daughter Gilda had inherited the same kind of obsessive compulsive behaviour. She was an avid reader, a book eater. She, in turn, had a son too, whom one day left to move to the promised land, America. It is said he has become a religious fanatic and has joined the Mormon Church.