We Love Life – James Madden

“Be good to yourself. It’s easy to forget how to love yourself when you grow up.”

We Love Life – James Madden

By Phil Bridges

James Madden plays in Hooton Tennis Club and new project Seatbelts. We chatted to him about self care, learning sign language and watching stone cold classics at the cinema. 

Hello James what are your plans for today?

I’m on my way to a local watering hole, maybe Peter Kavanghs or Caledonia, to talk about video plans for our new single A World Drained of Wonder.

Are you studying or working at the moment?

I work in a school supporting children who find it difficult to keep up or even begin the whole education cycle. I’ve recently been trained in Makaton (a form of sign language). It’s a rewarding role and the children are so inspiring. It’s also John Lennon and George Harrison’s old school. A large photograph of Yoko Ono greets me every morning.

What are you listening to at the moment?

Mount Eerie, Will Oldham, Red House Painters, Neil Young, The Bats. I recently went to see Yo La Tengo in Manchester on a solo mission. There’s something to say about going to see music alone. It gave me time to reflect on life and the years gone by which I feel is a healthy process.

Are you reading anything at the moment?

Yeah, I picked up Black Spring by Henry Miller at book market at the Bluecoat yesterday. A real beautiful copy. A first pressing. The paper that feels like you should turn each page with a white glove. I’ve just finished Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut. It’s a harrowing tale about humanity vs machines. There’s humour in it though… Vonnegut always manages to crowbar a slice of humour into bleak worlds.

Are you watching anything at the moment?

I went to watch The Seventh Seal by Ingmar Bergamn with a friend at FACT recently. I was transfixed. A man who is beginning to believe he lives in a godless world, savaged by the black death, challenges Death to a game of chess. People were chuckling. Watching a classic at the cinema is the best, there’s no risk of dissapointment. I can’t wait for The Bridge to start up for it’s final season. I’m in love with Saga.

And what would constitute a perfect day for you?

I was about to start with … feed animals in the zoo. Too cliche though. However, I would say a movie or two is definitely part of a perfect day for me. I don’t really know. An effortless wake up, an engaging read, being with another, seeing family, spending time alone or quietly, planning trips, expressing admiration for artists that prop me up each day, being open enough to be pleasantly surprised in life. Something like that.

For what in life do you feel most grateful for?

The ability to enjoy solitude. It’s something new for me. Friendships and how people can engage you into things outside your own thing. Simple things too like reading, writing and understanding people. Working with children that find all these things difficult makes you extremely grateful for things we take for granted.

What does ace mental health for you mean?

Balance is a big one. Moderation and taking things easy. It can be hard sometimes but is essential for happiness I feel.

What advice to you offer friends who are feeling low?

Be good to yourself. It’s easy to forget how to love yourself when you grow up. You got all messed up in adult things. It’s a vital component of life.

Finally, we are big advocates of Mental Health First Aid here at The Mind Map – do you think MHFA would be useful in the music industry? 

“Certainly, especially with the pressures of touring and how that weigh on your finances and mental health. It would be great for tour managers and label bosses to have a good understanding around mental health.”

Seatbelts play with Boy Azooga @ The Shipping Forecast on Thursday 7 June

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