“I was raped when I was six years old. I got confined in a psychiatric hospital. I was a drug addict and an alcoholic. I tried to commit suicide five times. I lost my child custody. But I am not going to talk about that. I am going to talk about music. Because Bach saved my life. And I love to be alive.”
by James Rhodes
Canongate Books; Main edition (May 25, 2015)
This is the back blurb you’ll read in some editions of Instrumental (Canongate Books, 2015); If you are not intrigued enough, don’t worry, it gets a lot more intense, a lot. Instrumental is the autobiography of classical music savior and pianist performer James Rhodes. It describes the irreparable damaged of sexual child abuse, and how difficult is to overcome such a horrible experience. Among other things. It also shows us how life, despite all the fuck ups you can make, can always be reconducted, and that music, classical music, can be as thrilling, exciting and enjoyable as the latest pitchfork playlist. Because Rhodes is the rock star of classical music, a real one, an honest one.
Each chapter starts with a short introduction to the classical compositions he loves the most, and all together make a playlist specifically selected for the book, perhaps you could read it with these compositions in the background. Warning: I did it sometimes, and it could get too intense.
This book is not just an autobiography, it is also the manifesto of someone that wants to bring classical music to where it belongs, to the people, the everyday people, not those special ones who consider it too important to be accessible. And just for that, it deserves a deep respect. Luckily for the reader, the book is also a hilarious and engaging trip through some of the darkest side of our nature, without losing the smile.