An Interview with a Schizophrenic
My friend Phiiliip (yeah, spelled like that) is schizophrenic.
My friend Phiiliip (yeah, spelled like that) is schizophrenic. He didn’t used to be, but he is now. It can happen to you too.
So, fine, Phiiliip is a diagnosed schizophrenic. He’s also a really talented musician and writer. He just happens to hear voices telling him to kill himself a lot. I asked him if he knows that the voices aren’t real and he said he’s “75 percent sure.” I hope that the other 25 percent doesn’t become too convincing.
I’m a bit conflicted about this interview, because on the one hand I think the stuff Phiiliip says is fascinating, incredibly creative, and kind of brilliant in a way, but on the other hand I don’t want to feed into any more of his paranoia about “copyright Nazis” or “persecutorial agents” coming after him. So, hey, evil-secret-agent-type people: This interview is off-limits to you! You may not access it! Now leave my poor friend alone – he needs some sleep.
Vice: How ya doin’?
Phiiliip: My pharmacology is so fucked that eight two-milligram Ativans and ten Ambiens can’t produce the spark of the start of the semblance of a beginning of a snooze. Modern medicine has failed me. Is there like a root I can chew or skeleton I can pulverise into a tea that makes life livable again? I am way fucking out there in genius scenes of pain with very little possibility of return.
Yikes. Can I interview you?
Umm... I guess I’m OK going on the record about schizophrenia. I can sacrifice my pride to be an advocate for my tribe. I don’t like being identified with any group, and this is going to stigmatise me, but I think it’s important because there isn’t really anyone out about it except Daniel Johnston and his movie bored me. Well, there’s Brian Wilson but he’s sort of retarded and when I saw him play Pet Sounds, his between-song banter was “Now wasn’t that a nice little ditty.” And there’s ODB. Phil Spector too, but he killed that Hard Rock Cafe hostess, so... We could talk about how, like Philip K. Dick, I got struck in the forehead with a pink laser, but instead of 6,000 pages of religious revelations, all I could retain from my insanely rapid information download was that oil is just water with black food coloring and it only takes one drop to drive across the country.
You should try that.
And I could talk about all the drugs I’ve been on and how withdrawing from Adderall, Ambien, and Ativan simultaneously is almost as bad as heroin. I put together a near-complete list of all the pills they’ve given me in the last two years: Abilify, Adderall, Ambien, Benztropine, Buspirone, Effexor, Focalin, Geodon, Haldol, Invega, Klonopin, Paxil, Prozac, Risperidal, Seroquel, Suboxone, Wellbutrin, Zoloft, and Zyprexa. I alphabetised them for you! There was also an anti-tardive dyskinesia one that did the trick nifty-like but I can’t fathom the name of it no matter how I dig. We should also probably touch on the Britney Spears thing since that’s when it got really bad.
What Britney Spears thing?
Well, I was commissioned to do a remix of “Gimme More” for an associate’s art show, and I wanted to achieve a more “meta” state, so I went through EVERY Britney video on YouTube, sifting for days through ten-minute TMZ videos of her getting gas or visiting the bathroom for two-second dialogue snatches, and it was such an explosive bed of landmines that suddenly I had four gigs of hyper-grainy audio snapshots from which to fabricate my intricate soundscapes, and a linguistic database that enabled me to make my virtual puppet say anything I might fancy, to become my mouthpiece to the world. Fueling the intrigue was my self-gratifying read on the tweaky sitch: that we had a meth addiction on our hands, a whimsy confirmed by legitimate newsbreakers the National Enquirer. So to join her in those zany astral corridors, with scientific dispassion I too stopped sleeping and began living in 72-hour segments, think De Niro in Raging Bull – Method – and the project mushroomed.
One of my more inflammatory slices of sonic libel leaked and I knew she heard it, the paparazzi said so. And she was holed up in her McMansion scheming unquenchable revenge, which involved reversing the A/V flow, hiring private investigators who installed microcameras wherever I might roam, tailing me semi-discreetly in a series of white vans with stupid names like “Simply Service.” They even put a tiny microphone in my ear to record all the sound invading it, all of which was fed into an archive that was distributed to heavyweight luminary producers who would do unto me as I did all over her. And the most pummeling track they could concoct was Britney’s new single, “Someone.” That’s me.
So I raced against time, carefully crafting my rebuttal of culture and humanity in general, the purest venom I could drag back from the nightmare realms. Really dark ditties, like taking that part in Lou Reed’s Berlin where producer Bob Ezrin told his kids their mother was dead and recorded their subsequent crying and screaming “Mommy!” and warping it into hideously deranged IDM. Now the RIAA’s after me, so I create a false Akron-based art collective, Total BS, build them a MySpace page, their influences being “Negativland Negativland Negativland, Adbusters and culturejamming,” but when the agents started to phone Rupert Murdoch, I shut down the whole misdirected enterprise, project canceled.
There’s also this prognostication of the imminent future tied to it that I work out on occasion. 1984 is like an SLA tract comparatively. Ooh, Big Brother, scary. Anyway, it goes into the regulation of words and the parceling out of the public domain to multinational corporations that lord over the illegalisation of the folk tradition. They can squash any new idea because every idea is derived from previously existing thoughts, the rights to which they own. Basically any form of expression or opinion will need to be licensed and controlled through zealous prosecution so that those privileged enough to afford the “rights” have their exclusivity protected. Copyright infringer joins terrorist and pedophile in the list of those beyond sympathy or civil rights of any nature, thoughts included. Ideas are as dangerous as those exploding doohickeys, and we need authorities as superlatively meritorious as our Customs officials and their trusty cohorts, security guards. I mean, they’ll have to take a weekend seminar, maybe even a certificate course to be certified to control information. This happened, like, last month. The word thing might take a few years, but you’ll be liable for your detachment soon enough. Anyways, why would you say something you don’t mean? That’s like having something you shouldn’t, like a “private” thought you don’t want anyone to know. Are you a P or a T or a CI or something? But like, iPod graveyards and a giant magnet in every zip code.
Oh shit, Seroquel, that’s what I wanted to ask the shrink for. But I don’t think she has an endorsement deal with them, she doesn’t have the clipboard or the googly pen. Seriously they make a lot of crazy Seroquel merchandise and toss out free samples whimsically but that shit fucks you up more than almost anything. But it’s fine ’cause you shut up. I’ll pop an air pill and luxuriate in the sweet placebo pool. Don’t tell anyone.
I’m going on 66 hours sleep-free. It’s not really fun if you’re not on an uppers bender. So I’ve been popping generic Ambien (they gave me ten! So I’m supposed to possibly sleep one night of the month?). All it’s doing is getting me into the Incredible String Band singing about how they don’t sleep either. Captain Beefheart said he went a whole year without sleeping. Do you think that’s possible? Shooting speed?
That’s another tale to tell. The persecutorial agents injected me with not just meth but supermeth, far superior, so that’s how they can stay up and spy 24-7. I’m pretty sure I got dosed. All of a sudden it was like the feeling of being on the best speed ever, I almost semi-rave danced, and it was smooth and not twitchy at all. I don’t know who I got dosed by, I think it was in the microchip implanted in my wrist. One micro-iota is deadly, but I stayed up for five days with all this energy and I didn’t need to eat or drink water. It was sort of cool, I didn’t know that was biologically possible, except for the fact that they invented superAIDS and injected me while I was out from the Klonopin, which was suddenly much, much stronger. They wanted to infect the world’s gays to turn them against me, getting me into the Guinness Book of World Records as “Most Raped Human” in the process, but the gays won’t mind because they’ll all have supermeth.
Oh, and so then the voices were shouting, “He has crack in his backyard!” And I went out and indeed found pieces of foil, which I balled up and put in two envelopes and wrote “Crack kills, please stop, this is a drug-free zone.” Not long after, I opened my pillbox and what was there but what looked a healthy rail of still crystalline methamphetamine. I know, I know, never destroy good drugs but I was getting resentful of being framed so those twinkling crystals swirled down the drain. They may have been squeaking as they swirled.
Who are the “persecutorial agents”?
A copyright-Nazi boss from an evil empire agency who doubled as a “forever-being-intrusive” agent who deputised the whole office where I was working and broke into my email and MySpace account and began contacting everyone I’ve ever known and turning them into paid informants. Lies mostly, in an attempt to prosecute my entire life, like videotape montages of me jaywalking in the 1990s and shit. The second agent was her homely daughter. And the third was a bearded neighbor who emerged from the yard with a radar-type thing, a retired private investigator who’s been wiretapping me for a decade, like as a leisurely pursuit, on a personal crusade to bring me down, underwritten with unlimited funding by the company, all their illegal doings covered up by a bulletproof legal team. They even paid the ACLU not to represent me. I could hear them talking 24-7 about how they wanted to murder me, calling the military police and telling them I had a Swiss army knife and they needed to come shoot to kill because I wore a military hat in 2002.
At first I thought they were outside but I eventually learned they were engaging in “wirism,” a process by which thoughts are telegraphed via neural networks only accessible after a brain implant. They slipped it into my forehead during my nose job, and they just sat in their van all day critiquing my every action.
But why would they go through all this trouble for you?
That’s the funny part. George Bush, who apparently hates electronic music, and the Left Behind kooks reached a consensus that I was the Antichrist. “Apparently he ‘won’t enjoy the company of women,’ and he’ll employ Great Words and ‘hideous inversions’ to transform existence.” This all plateaued when I found an apocalyptic prophecy online wherein America sells me to Iran (saw on a local news report that countries can now sell each other citizens) where they push me off a 1,176-foot tower and this prevents nuclear war. That part’s real, I have a paper copy. Or maybe it’s like Fight Club and I really wrote it all and posted it while I was sleeping. I do that sometimes.
For Total BS and other musical abominations, kindly carouse your way into a sojourn at phiiliip.com. Or go to the old Vice blog to hear his song "Dignity, the Joke."