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Did You Know? (Part 4 – Art & Music)

By The WebNo Comments

Did You Know?

This is the fourth in a series of Did You Know? blog posts. Each blog post will gives fascinating facts on a particular topic. In part 1 the topic was science. In part 2 the topic was history. In part 3 the topic was geography.

Today, I give you ten facts about Music & Art:

1. Vincent van Gogh produced his masterpiece Starry Night while admitted in a mental hospital.

2. Leonardo da Vinci completed the world’s most famous painting Mona Lisa from 1503 or 1504 to 1519. It is thought that Leonardo da Vinci could have been gay. He was 24 years old when he, along with several other men, were charged with sodomy. But the charges were dropped when no witnesses came forward.

3. Michelangelo is most famous for The Sistine Chapel ceiling, which it took him around 4 years to complete. But he was also a wordsmith. He created several hundred sonnets and madrigals in his lifetime.

4. Picasso was perhaps the most prolific creator of all time. During his 91 years of life he created: 13,500 paintings, 100,000 prints, 34,000 book illustrations and 300 sculptures/ceramics.

5. The top three best selling singles of all time are White Christmas by Bing Crosby, Candle in the Wind by Sir Elton John and Silent night, holy night by Bing Crosby.


6. Mozart was a musical genius. He wrote half of his total symphonies between 8 years old and 19 years old. Mozart could listen to a piece of music once and write it down from memory without any mistakes. He died aged 36, successful in the creation of music, but without any money.

7. Beethoven performed for Mozart when he was 17 years old in Vienna. Mozart was notoriously unimpressed by other musicians, but apparently was impressed with Beethoven. No one really knows what happened at that meeting, but the myth says that Mozart left the room stating: “Keep your eyes on him—someday he’ll give the world something to talk about.”

8. Around 26 years old Beethoven began losing his hearing. He tried to keep the fact that he was loosing his hearing a secret. He was totally deaf by 44 years old. Beethoven used his memory of sound and imagination of how music could sound to continue producing music after becoming totally deaf.

9. Classical music helps plants grow faster, according to a 2007 study.

10. Art and music, along with eating and sex all increase serotonin (the happiness chemical) and dopamine (the motivation chemical) in the brain.

Write soon,


Degreed – Top 10 Facts About Vincent van Gogh
MostToday – 10 Most Famous Paintings In The World
Live Science – 5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Leonardo da Vinci
Italian Renaissance – Michelangelo’s Painting of the Sistine Chapel Ceiling
History Stories – 9 Things You May Not Know About Michelangelo
Biography – Pablo Picasso
Picasso Mio – Picasso – How many artworks did Picasso create in his life time?
Express – TOP 20 best selling singles of all time
FactRetriever – 69 Interesting Facts about Mozart
Mental Floss – 19 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Beethoven
Classic FM – So if Beethoven was completely deaf, how did he compose?
Knowable – 27 Rarely Known Facts About Music And The Music Industry.


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Book Review: Sane New World – Taming the Mind by Ruby Wax

By Amazon, Books & Authors, Health, ReviewsNo Comments
sane-new-world-ruby-wax-book-cover The self-acclaimed poster girl for mental health Ruby Wax went to Oxford University and completed a Masters in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy. Wax wanted to understand the neuroscience behind her own mental health and maybe find a better way to manage her mental health.

On completion on Wax’s Masters she wanted to share her own mental health story, along with what she’d learned at Oxford. So she embarked on a tour of mental institutions, before widening the tour to the general public.

I went to see Wax’s Sane New World Tour, but for anyone whose not had the opportunity or wants to know what secrets Wax learned at University, they can read her book Sane New World – Taming the Mind.

Sane New World is a funny, informative and captivating book on the subject of mental health. It’s easily the best book I’ve ever read on the topic. So it is a MUST read for anyone interested in or whom has experienced poor mental health.

In Sane New World Wax covers:

  • What Drives Us Crazy.
  • The Critical Inner Voice(s).
  • Emotions.
  • Depression, Anxiety, OCD, Stress, etc.
  • How Our Brain’s Work – Neuroscience.
  • The Functions of Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, Cortisol and Other Chemicals in the brain and body.
  • How Our Brains Grow and thought/behavioural/emotional patterns can be changed.
  • The basics of Mindfulness.
  • Some good, but brief mindfulness exercises.
  • Alternatives to Mindfulness (if it isn’t your sort of thing or doesn’t work for you).

Throughout the book as I have mentioned Wax tells her story. Sane New World includes some wonderful illustrations that give an insight into how Wax operates and is relatable to all. After all, we are all human beings and all being stretched by life to the point of breaking. If we’re not careful we might actually break. We need to take hold of the reins in our minds and in our life and if necessary make some changes.

Sane New World will improve your understanding of mental health, teach you how to be and remain mentally and emotionally healthy and be an enjoyable read, all at the same time. It will teach you how to be in control of your mind, rather than it being in control of you. Definitely worth the investment in my humble opinion.

Sane New World by Ruby Wax is available to buy on Amazon and at all good bookshops.

Review soon,



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Ruby Wax Live: Inspirational, Funny and Informative in her Sane New World Tour

By Friends & Family, Gigs & Shows, Happiness & Joy, Health, Inspiration, Life, ThinkingNo Comments

The Lowry Theatre – Salford Quays

My good friend Jayne had bought us tickets to see Ruby Wax live at The Lowry, Salford Quays for my birthday. But on the day, unfortunately Jayne wasn’t well. My anxiety went into overdrive, but I manage to arrange for Simon to come along instead.

Simon and I just made it on time and took our seats, as Ruby sat on stage about to start. Ruby had split the show into two sections. In the first she delivered a scripted, but still exceptionally funny and informative talk on why we’re screwed.

Ruby explained how she became the Poster Girl for mental illness, shared some of her experiences and schooled us in the functioning of the brain. She covered the chemicals of the brain and their functions including dopamine, serotonin and cortisol. Ruby explained what happens in the brain in the case of dysfunction – such as in the cases of depression and anxiety. Then she briefly explained how mindfulness effects the brain before taking the audience through a short mindful exercise.

After the the interval we returned to our seats for a two way discussion about mental health between Ruby and the audience. I actually reached for the microphone, which I couldn’t imagine doing when I was well let alone in recovery. But I just thought: I’m only get this opportunity once. Plus there was something about Ruby that made me feel at ease. I disclosed about being ill, to Ruby and an audience of about two hundred, no less. I explained that I had been worried about the stigma and only went to get help when I completely lost the ability to function.

I told Ruby that I agreed life getting busier, with too much information to retain and that it often felt unmanageable. I stated that often I feel like I’m not achieving anything, as every time I reach a goal – my mind moves the goal posts further away.

I explained to Ruby and the audience that I am learning to control my negative thought patterns and critical inner voice. I said that I feel that I can control my thoughts, but that I struggle with controlling my feelings. I asked Ruby what she thought the difference was. She said that there was none, that they were both just chemicals in the brain.

Other people asked Ruby questions, shared their experiences or explained projects that they were involved with around mental health. Then Ruby brought the show to a conclusion.

Afterwards, I treated myself to two of Ruby’s books (see below). She thanked me for my question and she was kind enough to sign both of the books for me.


Treated Myself to Ruby Wax’s two books – both of which she kindly signed.

I did become a little star struck, being so close to this inspirational woman. – Sorry about that Ruby.

Overall the experience including the Sane New World show, discussion and book signing left me feeling less alone and that Ruby is without doubt a inspirational, funny and informative woman. Thank you Ruby. It was a superb experience that I would recommend anyone whose experienced poor mental health, been effected by another’s poor mental health, or is just interested in keeping mentally well.

Oh and if you can’t get to see her, you can buy her book Sane New World on Amazon.

Write soon,



I aim for posts on this blog to be informative, educational and entertaining. If you have found this post useful or enjoyable, please consider making a contribution by Paypal:

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