➤ Adam Ant reveals his terrifying years in purgatory

Adam Ant, John Humphrys , Radio 4, BBC, On The Ropes, bi-polar disorder, mental health

Adam Ant talks frankly about mental illness to John Humphrys © BBC

❚ ON THE ROPES is a serious issue-led strand on BBC Radio 4 in which veteran interrogator John Humphrys talks tough to somebody in the public eye. This morning he discussed bi-polar disorder in depth with the flamboyant and charismatic popstar, Adam Ant now aged 56, who at one stage in his later life “would have gone to prison for a long time”.

Humphrys — “The man who dominated the pop scene in the early 80s was [20 years later] a burned-out husk locked in a mental home with people who, he said later, wanted to be dead. Adam Ant, did you want to be dead at that time?”

Ant — “It wasn’t really wanting to be dead. It was really that I felt dead, I felt I was encased in a Dante-esque purgatory. It was worse than hell. I can’t describe how terrifying it was, knowing you are in control of your faculties and being told you’re not.”

Adam Ant , glam rock, Prince Charming

Adam Ant in 1981: in his glam-rock guise as Prince Charming, a heroic highwayman based, he says, on the film stars Errol Flynn, Marlon Brando and Clint Eastwood

Ant talks throughout in a low soft voice, but his views are heartfelt. He said he disagrees with the use of the term bipolar disorder and insisted: “At this point I don’t need medication… I am always passionate. I’m not hyper. Onstage I’m an athlete. That doesn’t make me nuts or paranoid.”

Afterwards, he was criticised for some of his blunt language, especially for saying: “I was put in a nuthouse and it is a nuthouse — it is worse than Bedlam.” His descriptions of life in care are graphic. “The only thing they are concerned with is polishing floors and making sure you take your medication… It’s like the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but there isn’t a cute nurse there being jokey and you’re sedated. I want the prime minister to know that takes place and it’s wrong.”

➢ Riveting listening, On the Ropes is repeated tonight at 9.30pm, then on iPlayer

❚ TODAY AT A PRESS CONFERENCE Adam Ant confirmed 11 concerts for his Blueblack Hussar tour of Britain from May 16 in Brighton to June 4 in York, plus a screening of the 1981 Prince Charming Revue on film, plus live Q&A at the Coronet Theatre in Elephant & Castle on May 11.

In today’s Press Association video interview (below) at Chelsea football club’s Stamford Bridge stadium, Adam Ant announces the tour with his new band, The Good, the Mad and the Lovely Posse, based on the series of preparatory small gigs over recent months. He says: “It’s time for a little bit of real rock and roll — there’s too much sampling and karaoke going on.”

He also says that his sixth studio album, Adam Ant is the Blueblack Hussar In Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter (an old naval term for corporal punishment in which sailors were flogged), has been postponed until 2012. His own website says: “So, apparently this tour will not be to promote new material”. Adam tweets Mar 30: “I would like to say… Its not my fault the album got pushed back… there are reasons which cant be disscused [sic] at this time.”

❏ Posted April 1 by music-news.com, below — 12-minute interview backstage after the midday showcase Under The Bridge on March 29 “I don’t want to do downloads. [My new album] is not for earplugs or mobiles. If you’ve got kids, you owe it to them to play them a vinyl disc in their lifetime because once they hear it they will never get over that experience… I don’t like the people that invented the internet — it encourages children to sit in a room, not move, look at a screen and get fat. And noone cares. I do. I have a daughter. I want real records for real people.”

➢ Stream-of-consciousness interview with Adam Ant in the British online magazine Clink, March 23 — on psychiatrists, mental health, families, Steve Jobs, the new album as a manifesto (“my heart, my guts, my soul”), Liam Gallagher, Robbie Williams, Sony, ticket prices and New Romantics

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One response to “➤ Adam Ant reveals his terrifying years in purgatory

  1. Is Adam Ant going to gig in Dublin? I saw him in Liverpool last week. He was magnificent. I want to see him again. Any gigs plz Adam in Dub??

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