The museum, at the heart of downtown Memphis, recounts a determined and hopeful history: two painful steps forward and one bloody step back, from the days when an able-bodied African man could be purchased for one hundred and thirty gallons of rum to the election of the USA’s first black president.
His hair is salt grey, his skin on the spectrum between raw steak and ripe plum. Tattoos of Japanese wraiths begin below the elbow and disappear under rolled up sleeves. In his denim shirt, jeans and battered Converse trainers, he looks like the last Ramone standing.
“What we’re trying to do is invent something that has never existed before,” she says. “I believe that there will be a point in the future when we look back and it has become completely ubiquitous.”
SSRIs and SNRIs have become a recourse of first resort, used by hundreds of millions of people. But do they work? And are they harmful? These are bitterly disputed, multi-billion dollar questions.
NASA should have sent up a poet or an artist, he reckons, to describe the view for all mankind. Because the question is always the same: “What did it feel like on the moon?” He doesn’t have an answer. “Magnificent desolation,” he called it, while he was there.
“Everybody compares him to LeBron,” says Simmons’s godfather David Patrick. He laughs at the audacity of it. “I know that’s a high bar, but there’s not many guys that tall that can handle the ball.”
Some four hundred patients are survived by the possessions they left behind, in an extraordinary cache of suitcases. Their personal belongings illuminate lives spent at the margins and pose a question no closer to being satisfactorily answered now than it was a century ago: how should we look after our mentally ill?
Her days of stripping bare and cutting herself are over. Soon, if she has her way, she won’t be at the gallery at all. “You remove this, you remove that, and now I am removing myself.”
Montage of Heck is a documentary about Kurt Cobain. You already know how it ends. Maybe in another film Nirvana’s lead singer will disappoint his fans by finding God or narrating a Chrysler advert during the Super Bowl half-time show, but in this life he’s perfectly dead, a “spokesperson for a generation” whose songs resonate louder the longer he remains silent. Age shall not weary him, nor the years condemn.
We don’t get many visitors in Manobre. We’ve certainly never been doorstepped by a Jehovah’s Witness before. So it was a surprise to be greeted by a well-meaning American and his French partner on the front steps, making small talk and slipping a copy of the Watchtower into my hand.