[Paolo Barnard]

G.A.P. (and Prince)


G.A.P. Genius, Abuse, Pain. How they intertwine, what’s the paradigm here? Too many, far too many examples of this combination plague the history of genius in art, the sciences and literature. Too many, far too many cases speak volumes, from the Romantic era of poetry and music, to some of greatest minds in literature and social change, to the modern arts a century later till today. But what about Caravaggio? This damning tangle has peppered the evolution of human beings from times immemorial.

Genius is inborn, can’t be substance abuse that triggers it out. Pain is the reality of millions, but nevertheless they are and remain bums, useless trash and often mean buggers, and they too abuse substances all the time. So it can’t be pain and/or abuse that triggers genius.

But are there, have there ever been geniuses in the history of humanity that came from a life free of tragic pain and with no excesses in any form? If you know the answer do please tell me. But beware, because pain and excesses do not always represent themselves in the shape of a violent or traumatic upbringing, and in the shape of jacking up needles in one’s arm, or popping LDS down one’s throat or “living by the drop”. They could have taken the shape of mental disorders, secret ghosts of the soul, and consequent maniacal behaviours of all sorts in the would be genius, all nicely hidden behind a very plain appearance of a pain free, ordinary life.

However the ratio of geniuses that combine extreme inner pain and subsequent abuse of themselves is shocking. So many, almost all of them. Till the die of it.

So what’s the paradigm here? Could it be that you are born with genius, then pain fires it out of you because its flames compel you to cry out whatever you’ve got inside? And in geniuses it just happens that, unlike the millions of poor buggers that suffer their same predicament, what spills out of those flames is fantastic fascinating talent? And then abuse only comes after, as a convulsive means to smother the pain, to estinguish the embers that live in your soul torturing you endlessly. Could this be the sequence?

Prince was a genius. He combined Hendrix, James Brown, Marvin Gay, and Charlie Chaplin in one man”, said Miles Davis once. Prince was born epileptic, his parents split, and he went to live with strangers. Was it that pain that fired the genius he was born with? Was then abuse the only way not to succumb, only to succumb in the end?

G.A.P. will be with us forever. Perhaps the sequence that I identified makes no fucking sense, maybe. Maybe it does indeed. Just thoughts, in LDLD. Night you all, and the sad thing is that we have to fucking live like that, seems there’s no way out of this disgusting nuptial bond between genius pain and abuse. No way out. Life is horror, whichever way you fucking turn it.