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Tortured Genius

Some of us are born thick and happy. We suffer on the thickness stakes but are cushioned by our own stupidity and this gets us through. Others amongst us are blessed with tremendous abilities: we may, for instance, be able to write great novels, sing like birds or paint a perfect likeness of a weasel. Yet all too often the truly brilliant in our mitts – and let’s not beat around the bush here – are as mad as a monkey’s uncle.

A forerunner in the tortured genius stakes – and the man against whom all other tortured geniuses should be measured – is Vincent van Gogh. Vince’s paintings were nifty in the extreme but on the downside he cut his own ear off then shot himself in the chest. Check the symmetry: totally brilliant, totally nuts. Dear old Gazza is another case in point: poetic on the field, psychotic off it. Peter Sellers? Very funny man yet about as amusing to hang out with as Fred West. Amy Winehouse? Writes and sings songs as though reinventing music yet has the liver of a hobo. You get the picture. Nature, in her infinite wisdom, likes to balance the books. Maybe she does that because she’s not bright enough to write one.

At least the tortured genius have a bit about them. At least they have the genius to fall back on. Imagine the ignominy of being a tortured ordinary. All the torture but none of the genius. Imagine your life as Les Dennis.