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Creative Disorders -

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(generated from captions) on everything in front of me. I have to place all ten fingers to have to touch the mirror. The mirror is there. I'm now going on my shirt, I can see a button undone to go back to the others again. many times and now I have which has to be undone and done up my neck is starting to tic. Of course, while I'm doing this, Tourette's syndrome all his life. Nick van Bloss has suffered with I go back to the touching now. I now have to punch my stomach and it's going in sync with the tics Unfortunately, it's regimented and So... that are happening in the body. it directs his thoughts. Every day it controls his movements, I'll have to make the squeak sound. I can hear a door squeak and in sandwiches. I'll stick my fingers dizzy and spinning. It's awash, I'm almost behind the bar's eye. I want to spit in the waiter

I don't want to do. making me do things It's like something's inside of me one thing can stop it all. And yet, by playing the piano. controlled his Tourette's Since the age of 11, Nick has promising talents of his generation. It made him one of the most came back to haunt him. Until the day the Tourette's in the idea of the mad genius. For centuries, people have believed That with the gift comes the curse. the sufferers more creative? about certain illnesses that makes But is there really something young boy's autism and his music? Could there be a link between this I just go to the piano and play go to the fingertips. and then signals from my mind patients and their art? between these schizophrenic Is there a connection a little bit beyond reality. Try to go just pictorial things, That's why I don't paint into the super reality. I try to get Nick Van Bloss all his life. It's a question that has plagued

a happy and lovely little boy When he was seven, he was really to shake his head really violently. and suddenly just one day he started

And he just couldn't stop.

affect every part of the body. that kicks in at childhood and can Tourette's is a movement disorder the blinking, the nodding, The head's shaking, grinding of the teeth, the shrugging, hard and always, even now, punching himself in the stomach flexing, a muscle - there's always something never, never still. was a very high-pitched The first sound I made "Oh!" sound. this "hum, hum!" sound. I then developed Raspberries came next. I'd have to "toot toot". I would hear that on the TV and The "toot toot" for train - would be again and again and again. It wouldn't be once, though, it came the bullying. With the symptoms "You're a fucking animal. "You're a retard. You're a freak." "You don't deserve to live. it to me, and they would mimic me. Teachers said it to me, pupils said and do this in my face. They would come up to me changed everything. Nick was 11 when a chance event and I saw an old piano I was coming home from the shops "Good home wanted." in the garden saying, I couldn't even play it. I remember going to the piano. touching and feeling my way around and I just found a joy in just Didn't know what to do directing this energy within me. it was as though I'd found a way of and, suddenly, and dying to get to the piano I would always be thinking of music so I could run home, or at school and dying to get home, have a feeling of absolute delight. place my fingers on the keys and just It was almost ecstatic. was satisfying my Tourette's Everything that the piano gave me the Tourette's stopped. and, uniquely, the tics went away. As soon as I touched the keys, wonderful drug that transformed me It was a highly addictive, place where I was safe and happy, and I'd transcend to this wonderful about myself and I loved it. I accepted everything for the Royal College of Music. four years later, was auditioning Nick made radical progress and, this very corridor. I remember walking along my head, spinning with anticipation, The sounds around me swimming around through my head. I walked in here. excitement, the audition piece going I'd never seen anything like it. I was amazed by this piano. The examiners were sitting there. It was over to me. They asked me to sit. thinking "What are you going to say? I was on the edge of my seat, this is my world." because I want to be here, "Please tell me that you love it, "Who do you want to study with?" before they all nodded and said, There was this pregnant pause Once at the college, Nick thrived. disorder powering his creativity. had become magical partners, his He felt his illness and his music But was it? when he is being creative? inside Nick's brain What exactly is happening tunnel, I had to crawl through it." "In the really dark, dingy train "It was dark..." in an oven..." "I baked the biggest cakes an experiment is under way. At the University of Exeter, brain at the moment of creativity. It's attempting to look inside the this green lizard came in." "Out of this little wooden hat, a few simple words The volunteers are given are examined in an MRI scanner. create a story while their brains and then asked to a computer screen very briefly Three words would flash on 20 seconds to make up and they would have with those three words. a plot or storyline as creative as possible. to make up a story that was Sometimes, we asked them a story that was uncreative. Sometimes, we asked them to make up a fundamental difference Dr Paul Howard has discovered In a normal subject, to be creative and when it's not. between a brain when it is trying regions of the normal brain As you'd expect, when it's trying to be creative. show significantly more activity But what about an abnormal brain? to take part in the study, the first person with Tourette's Nick is any different. to see if his brain is A bee is circling around me in the polluted city... on a very warm summer's day instruments were hand-crafted. ..wonderful period where absolutely magnificent. I play it and feel holding my head straight. I don't have to worry about I can tic freely now. After analysing the results, it seems that Nick's brain does work in a different way. He can't switch the flow of creativity off. The difference between Nick being creative and uncreative is virtually none. I was really fascinated to see Nick being creative. There was almost a runaway effect going on there. He was actually finding it difficult to stop.

Even when we asked him to be uncreative, the stories that he was producing were actually very creative. A particularly eccentric friend of mine... I also sensed, to some extent, that he was more uncomfortable when he was being uncreative

and there was almost a palpable sense of rising anxiety when he was trying to be uncreative. This study seems to show that Nick has an endless flow of creativity just like the permanent flow of energy Nick feels from his Tourette's. It's unstoppable. By the age of 19, Nick was performing at home and abroad. His Tourette's and his music were working in a seemingly perfect partnership. It changed him. He became a pianist. He was good. Really, really good. Nick had never felt better, when, in 1993, he reached the final stage in a major international competition. He was in Valencia, playing in front of an audience of 300 people. As I was waiting to walk on, I could see the piano there and I'm usually very calm. At that point, my Tourette's has left me. Suddenly, I was on the platform. The lights seemed really harsh on me. I could feel the sweat trickling. I could feel my fingers. It was like everything got faster and faster and I knew I could feel this energy from deep within me welling up and it was like it was coming to the top of my head and it did. And I started shaking my head and I couldn't stop. There was nothing I could do to control it, nothing to stop it, and my hands flew up in the air and they stayed there. All I wanted to do was to be alone and to be able to let my body shake.

I just pushed myself up into the open air, through a fire exit, and I just stood there and I ticced and I remember saying to myself quite clearly, "Go on, just do it! "I don't give a fuck any more!"

The magic spell had been broken. Nick has never performed in public again. I'm scared to play in public, because I don't want people to see that I have Tourette's syndrome. That had never been an issue up to then. It created a huge confidence crisis and it's actually one from which I've never been able to recover. For 14 years, Nick has lost the wonderful bond between his illness and his music, but now he wants it back. He wants to explore the basis of this fragile connection. His quest has brought him to the United States to seek out others who appear gifted by their disorder. He's going to meet a child prodigy who's struggled with all human emotional interaction, but shone once he found music. Matt is autistic. I'm just writing a sample tune. I can write chords. I can write a fast song, a slow song, can write a ridiculous time signature. Matt's condition means he sees the world very differently. He grasps patterns instinctively. Children with autism seem to love patterns. They're looking at a series of notes and can already see the patterns. They're, if you like, cracking the code of the system very intuitively. The actual chords I've sort of improvised... HE HUMS THE TUNE HE'S PLAYING ..and that's how it works. Matt? Yes? I want to show you something. And for someone who's having a birthday. # Happy birthday to you. # Shall I write happy birthday or something? Why not? Yeah. Matt writes his own music and has shared a stage with some of the biggest names in jazz. But though he has many fans, his condition has made human interaction complicated. People have characterised autism as involving difficulties with empathy right from the earliest stage. So if you ask somebody with autism how they feel and what they're thinking, they may find it harder to access their own emotional states, their own thoughts. And it's certainly true that if you ask somebody with autism how somebody else is feeling or thinking, that's a really challenging question. Nick has come hoping to talk to Matt about music, though Matt's condition may mean he'll find the social interaction difficult. Whilst I am feeling really excited about this, I suppose I also do have this sense of slight apprehension. It's the sense that I'm going to find similarities, but also, we're going to be coming at things from different places. Matt, there's somebody I'd like you to meet. Come on over. Yes? This is Nick.

Hi, Nick. Hello. Hi, Matt? How are you doing? Just great. I'm going to play a song of mine I wrote a year ago. The song is called "Free and Easy". Great. Would you say music's your life? Do you feel it all the time, are you thinking about it? Well, I am a musician, it's what I do. But when I'm not playing music, I'm just hanging around chilling.

What do you feel when you're playing? Where do you go? I don't really think. I...

Somehow, the signals from my mind go to the fingertips. I don't think, I just play. OK, but let's say today, you're really fresh and you're upbeat and all that, would you then play something really energetic? Yeah, I might play, er... Yeah, maybe I'd play a couple of songs like... HE HUMS AN UPBEAT TUNE ..and if I'm tired, I'll just play some lazy boring song. Are there times when you have something bursting inside you? Do you run to the piano and think, "I've really got to play that!" even though the practice is done? No, I haven't really had that happen. Thank you, bye. Nick is not sure what to make of this meeting. I think one of the things that didn't necessarily add up with me was this sense of drive and urgency. There was almost a detachment, which, in all creative things, has a place,

but it was that passion - that love, that absolute drive - that I wasn't sure I could find in Matt. With me, at Matt's age, the music was bursting out of me. There was nothing I could do. I'm not sure that Matt sees it in this way. This emotional and creative barrier could be the other side of Matt's autism. Matt is clearly talented musically, but he may be operating within a rule-bound world without the normal freedoms we associate with creativity. There is this apparent contradiction that some people with autism appear to be very gifted at improvising, for example, in jazz, as if that's a sign of... unlawful creativity - you know, creativity that's not following laws. But of course, even in jazz, the music is still following rules and you vary the rules, sometimes quite systematically.

But, of course, to the musician themselves, they are following rules very strictly. Matt's approach seems very different from Nick's. To find someone who, like him, was emotionally and completely driven, Nick will have to go to the most unlikely of places - a kitchen floor in Boston. I woke up one day and everything was different, as if the sun and moon had changed places. One night, Alice Flaherty found herself crouched on the floor writing on whatever she could lay her hands on. I was just writing everything down and I would write anywhere.

If I didn't have paper, I would use a paper towel in a public toilet. I once tried writing on my arm while I was riding my bicycle. Alice was in the grip of a mania, a psychological condition called hypergraphia. Everything seemed so important and it seemed like it was all slipping away and I had to write it down because I would forget it. Just ideas poured out Writing became effortless. and terrible at the same time. and it was both wonderful When I was in this hypergraphia, the throes of this writing urge,

it was very clear to me that more talented and I had to use it. It wasn't that I suddenly became it was all about this drive to write. that everything else came from that. It was that I had this urge and what was producing this drive. Alice was desperate to know position to find out. Alice was in an excellent By an amazing coincidence, Alice is herself a neurologist. in the brain. what emerged was a key chemical As she researched her condition, that are going on but it looks like the major things It's a fairly complicated system, activity over the ears is a balance between temporal lobe more forward in the brain and then the frontal lobe activity of this chemical dopamine. and then, also, the crucial role that dopamine governs drive. could force Alice to create - It seemed that this key chemical it reduced her activity. that reduced her dopamine, When Alice took a drug I would be able to calm down. Within an hour or two, or two voices of ideas in my head I would be able to listen to one

of very quick relief. and that was a huge source chemical change in the brain? be kick-started by a mere But could creativity really one of Alice's own patients. power of dopamine would come from Stronger evidence of the a problem. Putting my seat belt on is out of the dishwasher is a problem - Buttoning buttons, taking dishes and I drop them sometimes. and not what they used to be my hands are brittle and stiff a lack of dopamine. Greg suffers from He finds all movements difficult. He has Parkinson's disease.

the yard is just difficult. to just walking around in Everything from eating to dressing is very difficult. Trying to move the mouse away and it doesn't get any better. It's always there. It never goes extraordinary happened. for his condition that something It was when Greg was treated to write music. He developed an insatiable drive any music before this time. I never actually had written on the piano for about 20 years. I had played a little tune

I was able to recognise. The only creativity it just came out of the blue. or composition courses or anything, I never took any music theory how good I am, but I'm prolific. copyrighted now and I don't know I think I've 32 pieces of music for this sudden drive is The only explanation to treat his illness. the dopamine he takes Greg's inability to balance he stops regulating. whose body's desperate for dopamine, With someone with Parkinson's, means when he gets a pill like this, He needs every drop of it, so that He never clamps down on his dopamine. and there's no balance to that. it floods his body with dopamine half an hour later, When he takes a pill,

to go to the piano and compose. that's when he gets this urge as it starts to get into his blood, different drives. different Parkinson's patients These dopamine boosts give or even to gambling. Some patients take to painting Greg is sent to the piano. I start with the piano always. I start the composition process. I'll show you right now how battle with Parkinson's symptoms. Once there, Greg still has to because my hands are so bad, My piano playing is terrible, to hear the right notes. or hear through the wrong notes so I have to be able to see through And so I'll play something... to immediately get to the computer, And I'll hit wrong notes, but I have I'll forget what I intended. because, if I don't,

got to do with Nick? But what's this to move, Nick can't stop moving. Greg's condition makes it hard that they are driven by them. and yet both men find Their disorders seem so different Greg Rice. Lovely to meet you. Hello. How are you? Hi. And that drive is the clue. So it's made you very prolific? be talented, but I'm prolific. Yeah, I say I'm prolific. I may not in your head? No, it's amazing. Do you have tunes buzzing around until I sit at the piano. It doesn't hit me chords and scales and notes I'll sit down and I'll start playing my hands and I'll write a melody. then something will take over to go sit down at the piano. like my hands are drawn But the piano is like a friend, How do you experience it? first thing in the morning. Sometimes at midnight, sometimes that controls me. For me, it's the one thing As soon as I get to an instrument So you stop...? I'm in control. and manage to get to the piano, my little hands. I like that opening. You write big stretches there for a beautiful job on it. You're doing but there's more. connected by their musical passion, Nick and Greg are clearly drives Greg also drives Nick. The chemical imbalance that still a mystery, in Tourette's syndrome is A lot of what is going on is very important but we know that dopamine is actually to block dopamine. Tourette's, the best way and, when you want to treat don't generally enjoy that. Now, people with Tourette's and being interested in things. They like being lively They need their dopamine. So there's this delicate balance.

to still be lively and motivated. that bother them, but allow them You want to get rid of the symptoms all his energy, so he stopped. he found it took away When Nick took medication, but as his condition worsens, Greg has to take his medication, even his own compositions. he struggles to play Sort of. I'm sight-reading. you're sight-reading it. I can't believe to anybody else as it means to me. And that doesn't mean as much You play beautifully. Thank you. You're playing with emotions. And you have the emotions. it's from the heart. it's essentially myself, It was a nice piece, but to me, You did a nice job on that. and emotional needs. to express their creative Music allows both Nick and Greg is dopamine. What drives them in the first place I loved the experience. I really enjoyed meeting Greg. to meet someone It was so refreshing from an emotional standpoint. thing of creativity approaching this whole

because it's the emotions And I can really relate to that, that seem to drive the creativity and both feed off one another. That's how I feel when I play the piano. It's almost as though it's the only way I've got where I can really honestly speak. The powerful role of dopamine is the first real link for Nick between his Tourette's and his urge to create music. It seems it generates the tics that plague him, but also the insatiable drive. In fact, his Tourette's may be doing even more than that. There is another side to Nick's disorder that he has lived with since childhood. The tics were only the one side of it. They were the very openly viewable things. What was going on in my head was another thing entirely.

Nick feels that his Tourette's makes him see and experience the world differently. His everyday experience often becomes so overwhelming, he wants to hide away. It's a painful characteristic that psychologist Dr Jordan Peterson has seen many times before. He believes it might be the elusive force behind the creative spark. The same spark inside some of the most famous tortured geniuses in history. Is there anything about me that sets your tics off? Had I not known you and you'd walked past,

I know that I would have wanted to sort of grab your goatee and give it a good tweak. That's actually what it's for. Nick's obsessive attention to details means that he notices and fixates on things that for most of us would just blur into the background. It's the only way we can make sense of the world - by filtering out the vast majority of stimuli that are bombarding our senses. But for Nick, it seems those filters are switched right down. What's it like for you to be here? I'm aware of the guy with the coffee, the guy with his arm in a sling, and the woman with the very greasy nose and too much lipstick and these things are just bombarding me. It's awash, I'm almost dizzy and spinning with the things happening all around me. What can you hear? I'm counting footsteps and rhythms. I'm trying to categorise them into an almost beat-like pattern. I'm now aware of someone walking in the window up there on a platform. It's this inability to filter the world that fascinates Jordan. You're looking at the world though a series of filters. When you're doing something, everything is filtered out except what you're focusing on. You can imagine that filter has different degrees of permeability. It's like a screen with different apertures. For some people, the apertures, or the holes, are closed. They never see anything except exactly what they're focusing on. For other people, the apertures are large. And so, although they can focus on things, they're bombarded by all sorts of other information.

Jordan has discovered that this inability to filter the world is caused by a particular brain state called low latent inhibition. It's only seen in a minority of individuals. I'm very aware of the lights. It's almost as though people are shouting at me as they're in general conversation. What do you focus on? What parts of the people attract you? I have this thing for noses. I really want to almost grasp and touch. Again, I'm very aware of the details of people. Are those the things that you want to grasp? No, they're what I don't actually want in my consciousness at all. They're throwing themselves at me all the time. Studying people with low latent inhibition, Jordan has found that this is a crucial characteristic of the creative mind. Part of being creative is the ability to see old things in a new way. Someone like Nick has the opportunity to actually perceive things - not just to think about them, but to perceive things in a multitude of different ways. everything is kind of new. For Nick, and I just have to go with it. It's like a roller-coaster ride, often painful for Nick, It's this characteristic, has been linked to creativity. that might explain why madness to believe that geniuses, inhibition has led him Jordan's study of low latent have all shared this brain state. from Picasso to Van Gogh, exaggerated beyond the norm. is the fact that everything is The horrific aspect, I think, on fire all the time, Everything is sort of phenomenon that Van Gogh described. and that's also the kind of virtually overwhelms them. input is so high that it The sheer level of sensory and curse of low latent inhibition. Tourette's that brings the blessing Jordan has found that it's not just a group of people with a disease Tomorrow, Nick will meet a creative genius than any other. that is more infamously linked with

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I had this dream. a maze - I don't know. I'm walking like through That's Vince Van Gogh. I'm going to go talk to Vincent. like, a basement, And I'm walking through, I can smell the oil paint. paintings all over the place. and I'm looking. And I'm walking outside "Vincent! Vincent! Where are you?" but at a point in his past John is a successful artist,

as psychiatric patients. in this room were sectioned he and all those working New York's secure hospital. This area is inside Creedmoor, vibrant art gallery. workspace - an astonishing, But it's also these patients' of a schizophrenic attack, It was here, in the middle he thought Beethoven had composed. that David was inspired to draw what of the Beethoven? How does it work? When you paint, do you hear snippets Somehow I try to put into form Are you thinking of those tunes? in his late string quartets - what he was doing, especially it was completely abstract music. when he was completely deaf and I feel he was at one with his spark. How does it...? Where does it start and begin? no beginning and it has no end. I try to make a piece where it has

a symptom of schizophrenia. connections is often Being able to see endless low latent inhibition. It also relates to have filtered normally. David's mind would no longer At the time of his attack,

One of the things that typifies is loose associations. both creativity and schizophrenia the capacity of a word And a loose association is another set of ideas. or an idea to trigger off to trigger off another word, involuntary creativity. think of schizophrenia as In a sense, you could interlinked. It's a web, everything is linked, When I get sick with schizophrenia, is interconnected. it's a net and everything didn't know quite when to finish it. So I'd finish a painting and then I that made it more interesting. Something else would be introduced Towards the end, I'd just have mud on the canvas. My creativity was just like a spring welling up in me. It was almost like a fluid. It was just like torrents of water and I could just do anything I wanted creatively. Fuelling this creativity is another element. It's the same chemical that is shadowing Nick's journey - dopamine. There seems to be one neuro-chemical phenomenon that unites Tourette's syndrome and schizophrenia and, at least potentially, creative behaviour. And that's the role of the dopamine system. When brain levels of dopamine increase, your association networks get looser and you're more driven to explore. The role of dopamine is so key that schizophrenia is often treated by blocking it, but this may affect more than just the delusions.

I was more inspired while I was sick. Since I've been on the medication, it's helped me mentally - I'm much more balanced, much more healthy - but the creativity has slowed down. I mean, I don't listen to Beethoven. I don't go into the wild furious states that Beethoven would invoke in me. The art was much better back then, when I was nuts, so to speak. I don't want to be mad. I want to live a normal life. Yet, somehow, I still want to do art, and it's a battle every day. It's a battle every day.

The struggle to balance a disorder's energy with its creative potential is central to Nick's life. I found it strangely moving, this whole thing, walking in to somewhere that... People with disorders are here and something up there is driving them to create. And I do identify very strongly with that. But tomorrow, Nick will meet someone whose life parallels his own even more closely.

What's more, this man has achieved the most elusive of goals - a balance between his illness and his art. It's breakfast time in Upstate New York, and preparations are under way for a visit. Tobias Picker is a distinguished classical composer. Just like Nick, he has Tourette's.

Tobias takes medication, but it can make him drowsy in the mornings. When I first get up, I take a couple of things in here, and then, um... so that I don't have to contend with the tics in the morning and it keeps them at bay for a while. I need a lot of caffeine in order to regain my energy, and that's why I make very, very deadly strong coffee. Nick has just woken up. I had a night of strange, racing thoughts, and I didn't sleep very well, but it's just that exhaustion. What always worries me with other musicians for some reason is that I'm going to pick up their tics. That's another really pervy aspect to Tourette's - you see other people with tics and then maybe adopt some of them, so I don't want adoptions today. In fact, Tobias and Nick have had very similar experiences through their Tourette's. Growing up with it was so horrible. I hated it. It made me very unhappy.

It made me have a very unhappy childhood. Very unhappy. Soon it's clear they have a lot more in common. It's different when there are other cars on the road. Sometimes, I have to drive toward them if they're oncoming. I also have to let go of the wheel. Do you have to do that? I do. It's absolutely terrifying for me, and especially the passenger, because I let go, touch something... It's never terrifying for me, but for some reason, I have very few people who will get in the car with me! Yeah. I've learned to drive with my knees, so it doesn't really matter. I can drive anywhere with my knees. I can very much see where you're coming from. I didn't mean to adjust that for you. Sitting in other people's cars, I tend to have to try and get my bearings and touch all the kinky little things that seem to stick out at me. Your touching things in the car is actually, um... ameliorating my need to touch them. Is it? Yes. I mean, the sense of holding back on a touching tic for me, at times when I know I can't do it, it's almost orgasmic when I finally get to touch the thing that I've had my eye on. Yes, but little orgasms. Miniscule. I've had better! THEY LAUGH

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Tobias and Nick share much more than their unconventional driving style. Key to their bonding is the fact that, like Nick, Tobias found his Tourette's led him to music. As a child, I had to train myself to hide it and control it. The tics? Yeah. Because I was told constantly to stop doing that. Yes. Nobody knew what it was. Yeah. But whatever it was, my parents didn't want me to do it. Right. So you learnt to fight it? I was constantly chastised. That was to stifle it and to maybe just channel it in other directions. So I studied the piano from a very early age, and that was the escape. And when I was at the piano and I was focused on it, I could somehow get away from the tics. In fact, this link between Tobias's Tourette's and his music has been studied carefully by the world-famous neurologist Oliver Sacks. Professor Sacks has become convinced of a link between Tourette's and creativity, and wants to talk to Nick about his experience. If you went for a quiet walk in the woods on this lovely October day, how would the Tourette's be? The Tourette's would be... Of course, I'd be ticcing and going along as I normally do. I wouldn't feel peaceful simply because I was in a wonderful surrounding. I would then have to, of course, start calculating and counting trees and so on. You mention obsessing. Would it be indelicate of me to ask what some of the forms of the obsessing are? I obsess over silly little things. I might obsess over your glasses, and actually I am obsessing over your glasses. It's just...

What form does the obsessing over my glasses take? Well, with your glasses, I'd like to touch the rims of your glasses. May I? Oh... THEY LAUGH Now that's been satisfied. Thank you. OK. You're welcome for another... Thank you for that. It's that sort of thing.

I think, for a lot of people. touch is an essential form of exploration.

I love trees, but I need to touch trees. I need to feel the bark. What sort of music do you especially play or play by preference? Over the years, I've played everything, but I've come back to, and only seem to want to play, Bach again. Bach has this incredible emotion behind it, but it's very controlled and that, in a sense, controls me. Because I can't burst in Bach, because otherwise it ruins it. I'd love to hear you play some Bach later. Nick wants to play for Oliver Sacks, but he's anxious. He still has a huge problem playing in front of anyone he wants to impress. 'I was sitting there, hearing the music as it was coming. 'I was also aware of this voice in my head, saying, "Don't stop!" 'I was aware of Oliver Sacks sitting next to me. 'There's always that little doubt in my head, saying, "Are you going to stop? ' "Are you going to flounder? Are you going to fail?" ' Yes! I managed to play that pretty accurately, for some reason, with cold hands. It was gorgeous. And it combines energy, a delicacy and tenderness and... Beautiful. Thank you. It does, and you do there. Oh, thank you. There does seem to be a very comfortable fit, I think, between music and Tourette's. A heightening, an intensification of emotion, of perception and also a... a tendency for emotion and perception to be immediately translated into action. Typically, the neuro-transmitter dopamine, which is necessary for muscular movement, is also necessary for the flow of mind, the flow of thought, the flow of consciousness, the flow of emotions, the flow of perception. One tends to have the sort of rushing, torrential quality inside. But one shouldn't think of people with Tourette's as, you know, as one dimensional, a sort of driven, exuberant people. They can be pensive, elegiac, wistful. And this, we have that spidery... I always call your writing spidery now, but... This is spidery, I think. It is. If my writing is to be called spidery and to be... I hope you don't mind me calling your writing spidery. Not, er... A non-poisonous spider. A very nice spider.

The energy from Tourette's seems to offer great creative potential, but Oliver Sacks is convinced that success needs more. I don't think one can have a purely creative disease. I mean, in a way, there is something brilliant about Tourette's in its stimulation of imagination and emotions, but control may be lost and, er... and no work of art is possible without consciousness and control. It's time for Nick to return. He began this journey with a bitter memory of having lost control mid-performance. Over the last few weeks, he's seen for himself that illness doesn't always sabotage the sufferers.

That a disorder can inspire creativity. And that he's not alone. I'm more convinced than ever that the Tourette's is the fuel. It's the fire within. It's the burning energies. If I didn't have the Tourette's, I know that I wouldn't be able to feel creativity in the way that I do.

Knowing this, can he overcome his greatest fear and risk playing in public again? Ooh! I really still don't know. I really want to say, "Yes, I'd like to try and play in public again." On the other hand, I've still got that nagging doubt. If someone said, "I've booked you for a concert," would you do it? I think I would play. I'm at the point when now I want to say, "You know, I'll take you on, Tourette's. "I'll give as good as you're going to and let's see what happens." I want to win this one, so if there was a concert, I think I would do it. I'd be petrified, though. Subtitles by Raymond Morrison Red Bee Media Ltd - 2007 E-mail: