Diary of a Gastric Bypass Patient: Part 1 – Introduction


My artist’s blog is a place where I write about all sorts of things that inspire me.  As someone who lives with Borderline Personality Disorder, a condition where emotions often feel exaggerated and you tend to have a different outlook on the world to what is considered the ‘social norm’, inspiration comes from many sources, and isn’t just restricted to the work of other artists or artforms.

Strangely, before my operation, I hadn’t really been inspired to blog about my weight loss journey.  I’d written a few related blogs, on participating in the local community games and Poppy, my big pink gay bike, but not about the struggles to lose weight and make a decision about surgery over the last year. Continue reading

Inspiration: Jon Ronson & Being or Nothingness

17824_10155515083920001_698392638358749288_nThis post is mainly documenting the tale of my excitement over a quirky, strange book I’ve recently acquired.  It is a book that has had some of the worlds greatest minds in a quandary as to its meaning and why they were selected to receive it.  Much as I’d like to boast over being one of those people, I’m actually one of the muppets who have bought it second hand off Amazon.  To me, the obsession and passion behind the book is the same I’ve seen and read out amongst creations by the original ‘Art Brut’ artists that were championed by Andre Breton.

The story starts with a conversation I was having with a colleague.  I have many different hats – as well as being an artist I work as a service user consultant in a freelance capacity, for Emergence (a service user led Community Interest Company), a mental health NHS trust as well as studying for a Masters at the Tavistock & Portman in London with the Institute of Mental Health.  At first glance these may seem disparate, but to me they all combine.  My arts practice has always centred around what makes us tick, extreme emotions, the human condition.  Working and studying in mental health provides the perfect grounding and inspiration for the artwork I create.

During the conversation, my friend whipped out a bookThe Psychopath Test‘ by Jon Ronson.  I hadn’t heard of it or him, and although once upon a time I demolished books, the legacy of a breakdown a decade ago, and the poor concentration that goes hand in hand with high anxiety levels means that reading for pleasure took a bit of a nosedive.  Add to this that I usually reserve the periods when my concentration and energy levels are optimum for reading for the gazillion papers I’m having to read and absorb at the moment, I did a little inward groan as he offered to lend it to me.  I was intrigued, particularly he described one of the stories that were inside – an ex-Broadmoor patient called ‘Tony’ who faked mental illness to get a lighter sentence and ended up being labelled a psychopath who spent 10 years at Broadmoor.  I dutifully went home and read the chapter, which was so good that I was hooked.  I read the book from the beginning… and this was how I was introduced to the fascinating story of the book called ‘Being or Nothingness‘. Continue reading

Inspirational Project: 300 Voices


It’s ironic that the last time I bothered posting something on my blog was about 10 months ago, waxing lyrical about intentions of keeping it updated.  The truth is that sometimes I’m inspired to write creatively, sometimes I’m not.  Sometimes it’s easier to write about things retrospectively, rather than when you’re right in the middle of them.

There have been two arts projects that have really inspired me recently, and one of them – 300 Voices – used theatre to not only raise awareness of some of the issues that young Black men with schizophrenia face, but to facilitate workshops to encourage people working in the mental health/third/forensic sectors to work effectively together with them.

Last October I went to the mac (Midlands Arts Centre) to see ‘Other’, a performance of a play that was shown as part of the 300 Voices project.  The play, written by Lorna Laidlaw, featured the story of Tobias, a young man of dual heritage battling psychosis.  I’d been invited along with other people who work in the health sector, police, community projects and young Afro-Caribbean men, who are disproportionately represented in services that cater for people with psychosis and schizophrenia. The actors included Barrett Robertson, Dan Hagley and Terina Talbot. The play moved me so much that I returned to see the next showing at The Rep. Continue reading

So, What’s It Like Working with Musicians???

Supercilious Ms T & The Pleasure DandiesIf you’ve kept up with my Supercilious Ms T or Artist’s Facebook pages, you’ll know that I’ve been collaborating and working with musicians & a spoken word artist called Derrick D recently.  Although I could do a mean Twinkle Twinkle on a whole host of various instruments up until the age of 12/13 – I played various instruments at school, and was even in a steel band, music disappeared from my list of creative talents many moons ago.  I’ve always had a flair for creative writing, but never been active or part of the spoken word scene until the I joined Derrick D & The Backbones just under two years ago.  So, what is it like, as a artist trained in the visual arts, to start working with musicians and performers as part of your practice?

It’s fookin great.  It’s refreshing. And the scene itself is so much more friendly and naturally collaborative than what I’ve been used to in the visual arts scene.  I feel like I’ve found my natural home… Continue reading

Blog Catch Up!

Moi!!!!Oh, the shame. Lazy, lazy Tamar. I have abandoned my poor, neglected blog for over a year. I apologise to people who were regularly reading the ‘Diary of a Gastric Bypass Patient’ – I do intend to continue it, but I thought I’d pop in a ‘what’s been going on in Tamar land’ post before I picked it up again.

Creatively and arts practice wise, most of my work is currently in performance, working on my latest project Supercilious Ms T. Click on the link for the separate website, or visit her Facebook page here.  I’ve also been doing theatrical vocals for Derrick D & The Backbones.  There’s lots going on -check out the events page which I’ve updated to reflect what I’m up to at the moment.  This doesn’t mean I’ve abandoned all of my 2D work… just that my time’s currently been occupied here – working in a new medium, acquiring new and transferring existing skill-sets is hard work! Continue reading

The Creation of Supercilious Ms T Exhibition Launch @Ort: Weds 22 May 2013

Tamar PerformsThe Creation of Supercilious Ms T will be showing for approximately 2 weeks at Ort Cafe, from 22 May – 2 Jun.

The launch event is on Weds 22 May from 6-8pm, and will feature a performance by Ms T at 6.45pm.

The exhibition consists of work which had inspired or led to the creation of Supercilious Ms T, a larger than life alter-ego who performs using song, spoken word, storytelling and music. Continue reading

Diary of a Gastric Bypass Patient Part 14: The Dreaded Pre-Op Diet


Diets are hard work. They get you obsessing over food, hungry, irritable.  That’s just a normal diet.  You try an 800 calorie a day diet – it is hell on earth.

As an example of exactly what 800 calories a day is… we are talking 3.5 Slimfasts.  There were a few options that were given.  I could do the diet shake option, or the Milk & Yoghurt diet.  Or count calories.

The diet left me feeling weak, dizzy and absolutely obsessed by food.  Whereas it had been something that I didn’t really think about, suddenly I had to think about every mouthful that passed my lips. Continue reading

Diary of a Gastric Bypass Patient – Part 13: The Date is Set!


It’s been a while since I’ve updated the diary, thanks to being busy, working, or feeling pretty rough.  After a quick nose, I realised that the last entry looked at being put on the waiting list for surgery, so I’ll continue from this point.

I soon received a date for an operation.  I had seen the surgeon towards the end of 2012, and received a date in February the next year.  I was pleasantly surprised, but decided I could take the weight loss slowly and steadily. Continue reading