A memoir of obsession, compulsion, loneliness, alcoholism, music, the quest for identity, the search for love, some very fine jokes and late-diagnosed Tourette's
James McConnel always felt like a 'nearly' person. Alienated and bullied at school, playing music was the only time James felt in control. But as his piano playing skills developed, so did a bewildering array of strange compulsions. Initially the jerking, coughing, grunting, repeating, tapping, sniffing and counting, was dismissed as a 'funny little habit'. But it was clearly much more than that.
Growing up, he had dreams of becoming a concert pianist, and he secured a place at the Royal College of Music. But the bittersweet discovery that drinking temporarily stopped his twitches saw him slip into alcoholism. Aged thirty-two, James was finally diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome and, at long last, he began to understand himself. He still has tics and obsessive routines but his attitude to these has altered dramatically. He is happy.
Touching, humorous and intimate, LIFE, INTERRUPTED is the astonishing story of one man's journey to self-acceptance.
James McConnel studied at the Royal College of Music and later with Stephen Sondheim at Oxford. An award-winning composer, he has written extensively for the theatre - collaborating with Lionel Bart, Barry Humphries and Kit Hesketh-Harvey among others - as well as the scores for over a hundred TV documentaries, dramas and the feature film ANOTHER LIFE. In 2004 he wrote and presented the Channel 4 documentary WHAT MADE MOZART TIC? based on James's belief that Mozart had Tourette's Syndrome. He lives in Norfolk.