Entertainment

OPINION: I raise my glass to ‘high’ art

WE LOST two fabulous British talents last week, with the passing of the Thin White Duke (aka David Bowie) and actor Alan Rickman.

Rickman became famous after starring in the Harry Potter franchise, but I knew him best from his role as the cellist Jamie in the wonderful 1990 romantic comedy/drama Truly, Madly, Deeply.

It was released the same year as Patrick Swayze's Ghost; the storylines had a vague similarity - women grieving for their dead partners caused them to reappear in ghost form. The Swayze film was a runaway success, and Rickman's movie (which was superior) suffered as a result of the intersecting theme.

Both Rickman and Bowie passed away after private battles with cancer. Bowie's well-documented involvement with illicit drugs prompted a reader of a Sydney newspaper to write last week that he didn't know what the fuss was about; Bowie hadn't contributed anything to society and was just an addict who died of cancer probably brought about by his own lifestyle.

This prompted an outpouring of rage from fellow readers and caused me to ponder on what exactly it was that Bowie had achieved.

He brought a great deal of pleasure to millions through his music and innovative video clips (Aladdin Sane and Ziggy Stardust were the soundtracks to my teenage years), and who knows how many kids he inspired to pick up an instrument.

Alan Rickman
Alan Rickman BANG Showbiz

If we all lived our lives according to the judgemental criteria expressed in that letter, the world would have no works by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Vincent van Gogh, Lewis Carroll or Brett Whitely. No Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Amy Winehouse or Sammy Davis jnr.

The list is long and distinguished - Robert Louis Stevenson is reputed to have written The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde while on a huge cocaine binge (which explains an awful lot, really).

None of us know if the creative genius inhabiting any of those people would have found a voice without the use of their particular drug; it's quite likely that they were self-medicating to treat some form of emotional pain.

What's clear is many of us enjoy an altered state from time to time - some more than others. It's even evident in the wild; Google drunken animals and you'll come up with a whole raft of videos of various beasties getting loaded on fermented fruit.

Of course, drugs and alcohol are not the only method. Some people achieve a high from meditation, an endorphin rush through exercise, or from religious hysteria.

I prefer a nice glass of pinot grigio than run a marathon or faint after speaking in tongues, but however we achieve that high, as long as we do no harm to anyone but ourselves, is it anybody's business but our own?

Topics:  alan rickman david bowie opinion



Behind-the-scenes on the Northern Rivers

Olivia Newton-John and Gregg Cave at Gaia Retreat & Spa. Photo Contributed

The latest goss from our region

High achievers honoured at Australia Day Awards

Lismore's 2017 Australia Day Ambassador, chef David Bitton.

15 new citizens to be welcomed and 27 exceptional citizens honoured.

'More sick people will be jailed': Confusion over medical cannabis

There is ongoing confusion about the legalities surrounding medical cannabis.

Is it legal? Where can you get it? What are your rights?

Local Partners

High achievers honoured at Australia Day Awards

FIFTEEN new citizens to be welcomed and 27 exceptional citizens and groups honoured.


What's fresh at your local farmers' market

Chillies should be available at your local farmers' market. PHOTO: KATE O'NEILL

Chillies, figs, finger limes, eggplants are ripe for the eating

'More sick people will be jailed': Confusion over medical cannabis

There is ongoing confusion about the legalities surrounding medical cannabis.

Is it legal? Where can you get it? What are your rights?

This week's Northern Rivers markets list

CASINO: McAuliffe Park in Hickey St is the venue for the new markets.

Check out the new Casino Riverside Markets this weekend

Daniel MacPherson: acting’s a bit like channel surfing

Australian actor Daniel MacPherson in a scene from the American TV series APB.

THE Aussie export talks about making his mark in the US.

Shopping isn't fun if you can see dead people

Lisa Marie Woodham will be giving readings in Gladstone until Saturday January 21.

Shopping isn't fun if you can see dead people

What's fresh at your local farmers' market

Chillies should be available at your local farmers' market. PHOTO: KATE O'NEILL

Chillies, figs, finger limes, eggplants are ripe for the eating

Buderim man strips off for speed dating with a twist

RAW AMBITION: Buderim local Jackson pictured with his blind date Candice in a scene from SBS's new dating show Undressed.

People have done stranger things for love

Behind-the-scenes on the Northern Rivers

Olivia Newton-John and Gregg Cave at Gaia Retreat & Spa. Photo Contributed

The latest goss from our region

Matthew McConaughey wrongly used as medical example

Doctor tried to steal credit for McConaughey's hair treatment

Agents desperate for stock as homebuyers circle region

Coorabell houses had a whopping median sale price of $1.4 million.

Lower price ranges stand out as Coffs property best sellers

7 quirky Airbnb homes on the Northern Rivers

Broken Head Bodhi Treehouse

Stay in a shipping container or treehouse for your next holiday

Controversial Iron Gates development renamed

Raine and Horne

Peaceful, pristine and perfect is the new motto for Iron Gates

'That’s the nature of commercial reality': Lismore council

GAME CHANGER: The $13 million proposal by Quest proposal is for a three-storey complex featuring 41 serviced apartments, 53 on-site carparks, 24-hour on-site management, a gymnasium and modern guest facilities.

"It's a shame the development is no longer on the table"

Thousands of jobs part of $1b retirement village project

THIS YEAR: An artist impression of the new Aveo retirement village in Springfield.

Aveo Springfield unveiled this month, homes ready by July

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!