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Bipolar

Jaco Pastorius was a fantastic bassist who, for many musicians, revolutionised their concept of the role of the instrument. He also suffered from bipolar disorder; manic energy may have helped push his genius to great achievements but the condition also pulled him down as, with increasing fame, he began to be enticed into the glamour of drink and drugs which exacerbated the lack of balance. His death was a tragic waste: by the accounts I have read, he would pick fights with nightclub bouncers until one beat the life from him.

I’m remembering him as I re-read Tony’s reflections on the Pope and Islam. I think he is right in his argument that there are parts of Islamic practice that the rest of the world can be justifiably angry about.

The analogy of a brilliant but self-destructive man picking fights in bars and pushing deeper and deeper into a succession of tragedies is probably as offensive as, say, telling a Jewish audience a story about a dissolute young man who reaches a point where he is reduced to eating food left over by pigs (like this one) but a person striving for maturity has to recognise that sometimes what they see in a mirror is ugly and needs dealing with.

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