Mood Music

Mood Music

There is a rather wonderful new play in town – Mood Music. It is a must see (or must read) for any budding musician, attempting to start a career, with exacting performances from a cast, presented with a script and characters to really embody. They do so at the Old Vic and I wonder if this is perhaps something of a statement about a previous head of all things, now exposed for aspects of his behaviour, perhaps I am reading too much into things..


Mood Music explores the blatant abuse of power and use of young women in particular. The tensions, contradictions and hunger for validation. This is a timely play if nothing else, but something else it certainly is. A wickedly brilliant insight into the mind of a psychopath, a man detached from any sense of responsibility, guilt or shame. We get to see the workings of some brilliant therapists, whose laser-like precision on identifying root causes, the projections and transferences are dismissed as fraudulent by one who is desperately wrestling with her own sense of fraudulence and by another who merely toys with words that simply have no meaning, where everything is blurred.

The music industry is rife with the scenario portrayed in the play, yet we are also reminded that it exists in all walks of life. It seems that hardly a week passes without yet another “great” being exposed for their very base, flawed behaviours. The media which brought fame and success is now a very real double-edged sword, or perhaps more accurately providing a new meaning to double exposure.

Financial services is yet another sector that is largely run by psychopaths. This is perhaps why the regulatory punishments that are handed out have, for very large businesses (Banks) made such little difference. The penalty is invariably worth the short-term gain and one thing that seems reliable is the investors short-term memory (we tend to forget how badly some have behaved) and general inertia (we don’t move our accounts).

Still not enacting the Kill Clause

I recently came across a mailing from a large bank, that over the years has been in hot water on a regular basis, yet even now, with their charges in black and white, almost clear, there is a sense that even this will not be enough to motivate investors to leave. I wonder if this is so do with behavioural economics – an unwillingness to admit error and move on, hoping, despite the historic evidence that this time will be different. Well, today is different, just like every other day. Little actually changes.

The systems that support the vampire-like tendencies of those “in charge” threaten the well-being of us all, not because they go unpunished, but because they simply do not care. Detached from the real life of ordinary people, money becomes a game where scores are kept without any conscience or awareness of what the point is.

As for Mood Music, catch it at The Old Vic. Fantastic performances by all the cast, notably Ben Chaplin and it runs until 16 June. Some quite brilliant lines from playwright Joe Penhall.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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