Video killed the radio star, and in 1991, in the maximum-security ward of FPH (Forensic Psychiatric Hospital) every man lives the death.
In the dayroom, round about 11AM, it’s heavy metal hour on Much Music. Every man under thirty clusters around the TV. Older patients watch in the background, occasionally thumbing through the books I offer from my portable library. But mostly, everyone’s screening.
There’s Ozzy Osborne from Black Sabbath acting ugly as possible, as dark as the rumours about him. He’s belting out “Changes”, its subject the separation from or demise of a lover. The lyrics point to a reverse metamorphosis, from loving this special friend to losing her, from taking a person for granted to regret and even anger when she’s gone.
Ozzy, a rich and famous rock star, projects anger and sadness, a puppet master commanding the band as it musically tunes into his angst. The maximum-security guys laugh and mimic air guitar moves in recognition of the singer’s dominance. He succeeds where they have failed, he expresses to the world what they screwed up badly. They experienced the fear and anger Ozzy projects, but with a delusional understanding. Acting on madness caused suffering and pain, not resolution. Those patients who have assaulted and murdered dominate the space in front of the TV. Ozzy’s words and images capture their shadow side, their darkness and grief made visible through his expression.
-article by Harrison Kim, Writer