At one stage yesterday evening I found myself watching US drama Dexter in parallel to listening to Edward Elgar’s classic orchestral work Nimrod (Enigma Variations).

As entertainment multi-tasking is unusual behaviour for yours truly, on completion of Nimrod I began mulling over the significance of this break from the status quo (no not the band!). In particular, pondering what psychiatrist’s would make of my amalgamation of a fictional Floridian serial killer’s escapades with a moving piece of late 19th century orchestral music.

The latter piece of art, written by the English composer on the cusp of a new century, was chosen by my sister Helen to accompany the carrying of our dad’s coffin into church during his funeral in November 2017.

With Elgar’s changing musical flow combining undertones of humour and deep seriousness, my youngest sibling identified the piece as a perfect symbol of the sadness and celebration underpinning these ceremonies of committal. A notion backed by the fact Nimrod (Enigma Variations) is played during November’s annual Remembrance Service  in Whitehall. It’s performance to mark ‘The Glorious Dead’ of numerous wars.

Despite being unlinked by artistic genre, chronological timestamp and demographic audience the two pieces of art do share parallels through links of melancholy, death, darkness and senseless slaughter. All pretty dark links!

This may sound strange coming from a guy whose just had a heart attack, has a wife with incurable cancer and is still grieving the loss of his father, but I’m unsure why I’d be thinking so darkly last night. After all within the last week or so I’ve felt more upbeat about my post-cardiac arrest recuperation.

The previous week was a bad one for me from a health perspective; as on three separate occasions I needed to utilise my GTN spray to counteract chest pains.  However, in the past seven days I’ve felt much perkier. As a result, in a bid to re-strengthen the heart muscle damaged during the heart attack, I’ve upped my walking distances. Gratifyingly reaping the wellbeing benefits from this change of approach.

Consequently, if last evening’s mixing of viewing a mass-killer drama with listening to a funeral dirge indicates suffering from a state of deep depression I’d be at a loss why.


That being said, the mind of a depressed man is a capricious mistress. Unshackle it’s reins and it has the capacity to subliminally wreak havoc with the brain’s highly sensitive electrical responses – Clouding judgement, creating paranoia and imparting undependable hallucinations within the mentally-impaired’s neurological corridors.

Erratic behaviour that if left unchecked can unleash the ogres of disenchantment, despair and vulnerability. Gargoyles that leave no stone unturned in their attempts to destroy self-esteem and self-confidence. The ‘self’ siblings targeted by these ogres who judge them as the Achilles heel of those cruelly and incorrectly deemed as ‘mental midgets’.

Although to some extent they still carry an attachment to a millstone called stigma, mercifully contemporary times see greater compassion in some quarters towards mental health issues. Refreshingly, these enlightened souls understand ‘out of sight, out of mind’ isn’t an adage that should be applied to ailments of the psyche.

Actually, if true be told, I’m probably overthinking the whole psychological analyse of yesterday evening’s dual entertainment choices. Maybe just maybe, I viewed Dexter for the simple reason I find it a intriguing and innovative drama, and my spontaneous decision to listen to Nimrod from Elgar’s Enigma Variations was a sign I was merely missing my old man.

Perhaps just perhaps, playing them in parallel had absolutely no link whatsoever to me undergoing a depressive encounter.

As you were, Strachan!!


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