Weird The Life And Times Of A Pocket God

Weird The Life and Times of a Pocket God movie poster

This is Mark Christopher Lee frontman of indie band The Pocket Gods and whom your very own Tom Robinson calls a “Wilful Maverick” and whose tracks have been featured over the years both on Fresh On The Net Listening Posts, and on Tom’s BBC Introducing shows since 2009.

We’ve just finished making a film about the band and our 20 years of the highs and lows of playing in fairly unknown indie band. It’s based partly on my book of the same name which came out in 2011 and we’d started the film over 4 years ago but it never came to anything. The film also featured our so called “battle to resurrect the music industry” by calling out streaming services on their lack of royalties for artists with our series of albums of 100 songs all 30 seconds long which were even featured in the Guinness Book Of Records. The idea behind it was that Spotify etc pay out a royalty once a track hits 30 seconds and then no more – so a 13 minute prog rock opus would get the same royalty as a 30 second song. So my mad idea was why write longer songs why not just write 30 second songs – put 100 on an album and maximize royalties. However, the film remained unfinished as events and stresses in my personal and business life took over.

Then in January this year I tried to take my own life by taking an overdose of co-codamol, luckily survived, but was sectioned by the police to a mental hospital. I was released and then had to rebuild my life, seek support and repair relationships. The suicide attempt was a culmination of many things as I’d been suffering from mental health problems all my life due to an abusive childhood. The last couple of years I had the added stresses of a continuing harassment from family members and the fact that I had been defrauded by a couple of investors that I met through a supposedly legitimate Angel Investment website. I’d ran up a lot of personal credit because of these investors which I put into my label and band but I was put to my neck in debt.

On January 4th this year my wife found out that I was in debt and I freaked out as I’d kept this from her. I ran out the house grabbed a packet of co-codamol and ran off into the woods. I spent hours and hours popping tablet after tablet pacing around praying to God for an answer. I scribbled a suicide note on a notebook I always carried with me for writing songs. After many hours waling in the dark cold Hertfordshire countryside I decided to live and wanted to go back home. Trouble is the tablets had made me groggy and dizzy and I was stumbling around unable to walk in a straight line. I prayed for a miracle. Then I saw lights from the sky beaming down and the sound of dogs and people on foot. There was a helicopter circling the field next to me with a searchlight on. It was pitch black and I as usual was dressed all in black. How would they see me? I grabbed the suicide note I’d just written as it was on white paper and started waving hoping to attract its attention. The police then came on foot and rescued me. Because the police had found a note they had to section me under the mental health act and I have to say it was the single worst experience of my life. I was locked in a bright white room with just a crash mat as a bed. I was left there for 12 hours with nothing to do just pacing around the room like a caged animal. I was on the verge of losing it and smashing my head against the wall but somehow something kept me going. I wanted to come home and make things right. I wanted to highlight to the world what an awful way this is to treat people who have sever mental health problems.

I also wanted to reach out to other men in particular and say ask for help, talk to each other, just don’t do the final act as it’s a tragedy that suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50. I wanted to try and start a debate of why that was and how we could stop this tragic waste of life.

Another thing happened after this my friend Billy Samson from Scottish band The Parafins had been a great support to me when he’d found out what had happened and sent me some lovely messages which meant a lot to me and said he was always there if I needed to chat. Then 3 weeks or so later I found out on Facebook that he’d taken his own life by jumping of a multi-storey car park in Kilmarnock. I was gutted, I never knew he was struggling, he never said, but I never asked.

I then decided to go back to the film and tell my story about January 4th 2019 and the events and childhood that led to that and in doing so would try and help others to come forward and share their stories and most importantly get help.

Even if it saves one life or helps someone to get help it will have been worth it.

Also one thing is evident is that musicians perhaps more than other sectors of society suffer disproportionately from mental health issues. There is an excellent organization out there who can help and signpost you to the right areas.

Film: Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Guest Post

One of a series of guest posts from bands, bloggers and other colleagues reviewing our Fresh Faves, sharing their expertise, and writing about their current projects.

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