Another Fine Fine Line Project!

Black River Wild at The Fine Line Project for Rethink Benefit, Troubadour 24 11 12Our second fundraising gig at The Troubadour on Saturday has raised at least £850 for Rethink Mental Illness with a few more donations yet to come.  We’ll be sorting through the photos and doing a final tally over the next couple of days. Considering how little time we had to promote the event, we’re feeling well chuffed! Couldn’t have done it without all your help…

We’ll post up a full report and lots of thanks as soon as possible so keep an eye on the site or follow us on Facebook or Twitter for the latest news.

Meantime here’s a picture of our headline band Black River Wild performing on the night – supreme set gotta give it to them.

More soon…

Schizophrenia Shouldn’t be a Life Sentence (14 November 2012) – The Guardian by Zoe Williams

Did you know that schizophrenia is the most common cause of hospitalisation? While we wait for the Troubadour music benefit pictures to wing their way across the net, here’s a salutary reminder that our fundraising venture on Saturday was and remains crucially important. This piece follows the publication of The Schizophrenia Commission by Rethink Mental Illness earlier in November.

Article first published in the Comment is Free section of The Guardian on November 14th. See link below, well worth visiting for the comments. With thanks to Zoe Williams, British columnist and journalist and The Guardian newspaper.

© 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited

Creative Commons picture by Francesco de Comite

Creative Commons Picture by Francesco de Comite

Schizophrenia Shouldn’t be a Life Sentence. But it will be.

Patients used to be given only pills. They respond far better when asked about their lives – that’s the bit that costs, though.

They call it the Abandoned Illness, in the Schizophrenia commission’s report – but not, they emphasise, because it is an illness society can afford to abandon. In fact, schizophrenia costs the health service more than cancer or heart disease. It’s the most common cause of hospitalisation, and – since it won’t go away on its own – will last a lifetime with the level of care patients often receive.

There is a high level of coercion; every year, more people are admitted to hospital against their will as surrounding services are cut. The conditions in mental health units are so demoralized, overcrowded, grotty and often dangerous, that every time you’re admitted against your will, that experience in itself will make you progressively less likely to go in of your own accord. Coercive care is the most expensive form of treatment you could ever devise; last year it cost £1.2bn, about 19% of the mental health budget.

Patients are often put on drugs which then aren’t monitored. They’re given no access to talking therapies, and after a decade or two the side-effects of the drugs may have become more problematic and more defining than the illness itself. Partly as a consequence of this, partly because the time isn’t taken to involve them in the treatment of their physical health, people with severe mental illnesses die 15 to 20 years earlier than the rest of the population.

If engaging with the NHS is difficult, then engaging with the surrounding network, the benefits system, is rendered more so by an institutional dimwittedness that often sounds deliberate.

My stepmother, whose son has a diagnosis of schizophrenia, read me the questions on the disability living allowance form: “I am not motivated to wash: how often? How long each time? I am not aware of common dangers: how often? How long each time?; I might wander: how often? How long each time?” The traits ascribed to serious mental illness are often wildly off, as if the person devising the form couldn’t be bothered to look up the illness on Wikipedia and didn’t even aim for an internal logic to their own questions. And all that is pre-Atos, whose assessments on mental illness are so ignorant that in July the Public Law Project won the right to take them to judicial review.

Slipping through benefits assessments; being left on drug regimes that are accompanied by many other problems (weight gain sounds trivial, but as a cause of premature death, it isn’t); never getting the cognitive behavioural therapy Nice recommends – all these things heap on pressure, and the result is often crisis hospitalisation.

In a way, this situation is totally predictable. You take a diagnosis that is at once very fixed (a life sentence, incurable) but at the same time, very fluid (taking in so many symptoms, covering so much ground) and it is unsurprising to find its treatment marked by low morale and inertia.

But that’s nothing like the full story of this report. Nearly a decade ago an early intervention programme (EIP) was started whose defining features weren’t, as its name suggests, just arriving fast on the scene of a recent diagnosis. Instead, as consultant clinical psychologist Dr Alison Brabben explains: “It was quite a break away from traditional mental health services. Previously, schizophrenia was seen as a purely biological condition, the diagnosis was made and then people were given a pill to try to make the symptoms better. No one ever asked about people’s lives.”

EIP staff had small caseloads and were highly trained, and they could refer people to cognitive behavioural and family therapies – that’s the bit that cost the money. The part patients valued was that they were asked real questions about their concerns. Plenty of people can live with delusions and voices: it’s some other factor that makes their lives unliveable. It’s probably related to money or relationships, like everybody else’s problems are. It sounds so obvious, doesn’t it? When you listen to people they engage more, they can make use of the support you’re offering and they’re less likely to end up in hospital.

Nevertheless, it remains contentious, because part of the treatment involves allowing for the possibility that the disease was caused by trauma.

Medicine, and indeed society, frames its questions in a binary way: it’s either chemical or it’s psycho-social. It’s either incurable or it’s curable. In fact, it has been clear for a long time that the chemical explanation for psychosis was incomplete. If you look at the constituency of people with the diagnosis, black groups are far more likely to be represented, and yet these high rates aren’t found in Africa or the Caribbean. Being black isn’t the problem. It’s being black in Britain. Being poor, being discriminated against, being bullied. “If you could remove early adversity, you would probably remove a third of cases of psychosis,” Brabben says. And yet the trauma explanation isn’t complete either – what about the other two-thirds?

Ultimately, treatment will lie in the grey areas – the causes that remain unknown, the interventions that can’t be measured in milligrams, whose success is defined in terms of “personal recovery” and doesn’t look the same in any two people. More pressingly, local commissioning bodies must resist the urge to cut costs by driving up caseloads and driving down training; the process of sucking the time and warmth and energy out of the relationship which, in many places, has already begun. It might sound cheaper, but it won’t be. Local commissioners, it will get you where it hurts, right in your fiendishly expensive, locum-staffed secure units, which should be a last resort – and too often have been the only resort.

Link to original Comment is Free/The Guardian article here.

Meet the Artists – The Fine Line Project Benefit for Rethink Mental Illness

Without the artistes, there’d be no event…

The Fine Line Project Benefit for Rethink Mental Illness at The Troubadour Club 24/11/12

Here’s some more info about the singers and musicians who are donating their time to entertain you on the night and raise some much needed cash and awareness for Rethink Mental Illness.

Our headline act is Black River Wild who heroically stepped into the slot at the last minute after we were let down by another act. We are doubly happy to welcome them back, particularly since we’re smitten by their sounds, which are somewhat hard to get hold of. We heard a rumour about some CDs being available at the show…

Black River Wild

What’s been said about them? “Black River Wild are a swampy urban folk-blues band delivering a stormy melting pot of foot-stomping floor fillers, plaintive ballads and captivating acoustica. The band blends whisky-soaked vocals and twanging guitar with mojo-cello, close-harmonies and bone rattling drums. It’s an emotionally charged sound that should not be missed!” Can’t say better than that..check out their sounds here then book your tickets for the show.

In the line up tomorrow Blake Robson on vocals/guitar, Kester Hynds on cello/vocals and Neil Marsh on drums.

Asked about the benefit, Black River Wild’s cellist Kester Hynds tells us:

“To be honest mental illness is not a question of if – but when. Just like physical illness there are different degrees. Some people are lucky in life and the worst they have to deal with is a common cold, but for others it could be something much more serious. Same with the mind. I myself have had a rocky road at times and been lucky to have professional support networks available to help me through the worst of it. Charities like Rethink and fund-raising efforts like the Fine Line Project help to increase awareness and resources and remove stigma, so it’s a pleasure to be a part of this! Let’s look after each other.”

We wrote about Matthew Neel in a previous post so we’ll just add a couple of his debut album reviews and a band pic here: ‘Snappy lyricism and black heart.. a competent and assured debut that promises much for the future’  Americana-UK; ‘The guitar playing and vocals in particular are very powerful, resembling a slightly folkier Eric Clapton, the cryptic nature of the lyrics resemble Elliot Smith and the overall playful nature of the ‘gypsy folk’ music resemble Camper Van Beethoven. All in all, this is a very interesting sound that works extremely well with Matthew’s songwriting abilities’

Matthew Neel Band

Matthew Neel’s band includes Luke Brighty on guitar, Ricky Barber on bass and Jimmy Shoo on drums.

DJ Rogue State is also back to support the Project for a second time and here’s what he has to say:

Mental health issues can affect anyone, it’s definitely a fine line. There’s a lot of stigma surrounding it all and I support The Fine Line Project as it raises money and awareness for charities that, from my own personal experience can really help.”

Rogue StateRogue State has been producing and DJ’ing since the late 90’s, evolving with the UK underground dance scene. A pioneer of early Sheffield dubstep, Rogue now lives in London, continuing to move forward, blending the freshest sounds and rhythms in his own way. As one half of the management for R8 Records, he has helped establish many talented artists and residents on the crews radio show.

With critical acclaim for his releases from the likes of the Beastie Boys and Mary Anne Hobbs, Rogue continues to surprise the dance floors with rumbling riddims!

Check the music link in a previous post.

Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Leslie Mendelson, who we also wrote about in a previous post is a New York City native, currently in the UK developing her next album.

Leslie MendelsonAsked about the Troubadour benefit, she said: “Given how many people’s lives are touched by mental health issues – 1 in 4 worldwide – I’m really happy to be contributing to the Fine Line Project’s event. Because of the global recession more people and services are feeling the pressure so I think it’s especially important that we all try and play a part in supporting charities like Rethink in whatever way that we can.”

Dan Beaulaurier, who’s also from the US is now opening The Fine Line Project show.

Originally from Northern California, Dan is based in London, where he plays in the bands Norton Money and Grace Solero. His music is best filed under Americana brooding space psyched anticipation indie rock. More info at

Dan Beaulaurier London 7 February 2012

Well that just about rounds things up until tomorrow night at The Troubadour Club. Looking forward to it – going to be another fantastic Fine Line Project. If you haven’t got your tickets yet, here’s the link and see you there! If you can’t make it, you can still donate to the cause and we’ll be posting some fresh pictures on these pages after the show.

The Fine Line Project’s Rethink Benefit at The Troubadour – Full Line Up & Ticket Link!

Woo-hoo, we’ve finalised the line up!

The gig will now kick off with seasoned singer songwriter Dan Beaulaurier, followed by an acoustic set by the hotly tipped Leslie Mendelson. Matthew Neel and his seamlessly accomplished band are on next with Black River Wild rounding things off with a scorching headline set. Stay up even later and enjoy the sounds of DJ Rogue State spinning the decks into the early hours.

All this talent in one night and it’s all in aid of Rethink Mental Illness. With BIGGEST thanks to all the artists performing on the night. We’ll post a list of band members and some pictures following the event.

Meantime, please show your support – book tickets for the show and share this link to spread the word.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

The Fine Line Project Benefit for Rethink Mental Illness at The Troubadour Club 24/11/12

Flower Power – Nature & Art in the Psychiatric Ward

A thought provoking article by Amelia Rachel Hokule’a Borofsky, Psy.D., a community and clinical psychologist based in Hawaii. She teaches at Hawaii Pacific University and writes about health across different cultures. This piece also highlights a ground-breaking (quite literally, in a manner of speaking) art exhibit entitled Bloom, commissioned to commemorate the closure of the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, a former psychiatric training centre and hospital which commissioned Anna Schuleit to create a fragile yet immensely powerful art installation in the emptied space.

Read more here with thanks to The Atlantic, Amelia Rachel Hokule’a Borofsky and Anna Schuleit:



Red Regina Mums in the hallway that was the last one to close–it used to be one of the busiest homeless shelters in Boston. (Anna Schuleit)

Find out more about Anna Schuleit’s work here on her blog:


The Fine Line Project November 2012 Music Benefit for Rethink Mental Illness

Time to announce a few gig details! For those of you who’ve been watching this page, our second music benefit, hosted once again by the legendary (it really is!) Troubadour Club in London, is in aid of Rethink Mental Illness and in support of the ground-breaking Time to Change campaign (run with Mind), which is England’s most ambitious programme to end the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems.

We’re really excited to have the evening open with Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Leslie Mendelson from New York. Leslie was spotted by Joel Dorn, the legendary Grammy Award winning producer and record label exec, who helped her sign her first record deal. The young singer then worked alongside hit songwriter Steve McEwan (Keith Urban, Faith Hill, Eminem) and award winning producer/arranger Rob Mounsey (Paul Simon, Mary J. Blige, Steely Dan) to shape the sound of her album, Swan Feathers, which was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2009. Leslie has since played all over the US, sharing the stage with legends such as Roberta Flack, Dr. John and Levon Helm from The Band. The songs Turn It Over and Be My Baby from Swan Feathers were featured in the AMC show Rubicon and the Lifetime original movie Too Late To Say Goodbye starring Rob Lowe.  All Come Together was featured in the 2011 Yahoo End Of Year campaign. Leslie is working on a new album scheduled for release in early 2013.

You can check out her sounds here: Leslie Mendelson live.

Next on stage will be the hugely talented Matthew Neel and his brilliant band. Their New Maps of Hell album has been described as “Unique and totally mesmerising, this is an album which proves difficult to turn off”. Read the full run down of accolades on Matthew’s website. In his own words: “I left school at 18 and came straight to London with the express intention of joining a band. Via the back pages of Melody Maker, I found one. We were not good. After a year or so I stole the guitarist and went off to form a new band, then spent a couple of years firing everyone and finding sparkly, talented new people to put in their places. We lasted a few years but eventually became allergic to each-other, dying of toxic shock in a rehearsal room in Putney. Since then, thanks to snapping my wrist and not being able to strum for 8 months I taught myself to fingerpick, and from there came new songs and an album. I’ve always been a sucker for dark folkiness and recently this is the way the songs seem to go. The lovely Luke Brighty plays guitar, Ricky Barber is managing bass duties, Jimmy Shoo is tub-thumping.”

Check out Matthew’s site and sounds here:

Living up to our name, The Fine Line Project’s headline act is due to be announced shortly.

Last but by no means least, the evening will be rounded off by regular Fine Line Project supporter, ace DJ and record producer Liam Rogue State Wild aka UK Rogue State, who will spin his grooves into the early hours. Liam, who hails from Sheffield, has DJ’d all over the UK and Europe and enjoys a massive following wherever and whenever he shares his unique blend of sounds. We’re so happy to have him on board for a second round of great music.

Hear some of Liam’s sounds:

Here’s how the flyer is shaping up so far…with big thanks to Patrick for the graphics!

Tickets will go on sale once we’ve annouced our headline act. You can join the mailing list to get advance notice of ticket sales by emailing thefinelineproject*(@)* We’ll also post up details on our Facebook events page along with links to our guest artists’ pages.

Link through to Rethink and the Time to Change campaign websites to find out more about them, or check on our Charities and Support page.