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Big Grey Hospital:  a song by Vinny Peculiar

You can listen to this track by clicking on the link above. This is an MP3 file (file size 2.3MB) If you do not have a media player, you can download one free of charge by clicking here.

Details about how to obtain the album can be found at the bottom of the page.

Vinny says "It was always our Melvin's song. He came to see me play in Manchester for the first time in ten years, two weeks before he died. He asked me to play it. I never did, saying it was an old song. We played it at his funeral. I am still struggling to come to terms with his death."

Big Grey Hospital is about the far from satisfactory admission of Vinny's brother to a psychiatric inpatient ward. The problems his sings about are what we hope to prevent in the future.

The song was recorded in 1989 live and direct, "warts n' all in a typically angst ridden performance" at Pearl Studios, Liverpool.

"It cites events surrounding my brother's admission and subsequent mistreatment in an inpatient unit in the early 1980's.

I guess its about the helplessness and futility not only of my brother's admission but of the family coming to terms with a weird and less than wonderful world of psychiatric services. Everyone was frightened. I was a student nurse at the time but all the nurse education in the world could not have prepared me for this, a terrible time for our family, a time of chaos and confusion, a time when nothing was making sense. The images in the song are self-explanatory, the outside versus the inside, the treatment, the polished corridors, the WRVS shop, the time out, the OT helpers etc. I also talk of my brother's talents, the drummer and the comic.

Such lines stem, I feel, from that sense hopelessness of his becoming a patient, and how that kind of changed his status in some way. I wanted to tell everyone in the hospital that he's a good kid, not just a patient.

I acknowledge his talents in the song. I hope the song goes some way to help people make sense of the human face, of the real person being admitted, a notion that is all too easily bypassed by services. My brother had just the two admissions. From 1984 he was loved and cared for at home by my parents, he took anti-psychotic medication, he became a popular well known citizen, he went on holidays and experienced the ups and downs of life like the rest of us. He had a string of CPN's, some good, but many lacked the simple courtesy of making definite arrangements [something that really upset him on many occasions]. He had several consultants, all with their different theories on his illness, none of them ever really got to know him. In June 2001 he moved into a local treatment and assessment unit but he was unhappy there. After six weeks of living there [on 29/7/01] he threw himself of a bridge in Birmingham. He died in hospital two days later."

The new Vinny Peculiar album 'Ironing the Soul' is released through uglyman records and please visit
If people can't get it in main stores they can via