Singled Out: Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate

06/12/2012
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Today Malcolm from Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate tells us about the deeply personal story behind their new single "Me Again". Here is the story:

Thanks very much for inviting me to write about about the process of making our new single, 'Me Again'. I greatly appreciate the interest in my music, and the opportunity to try to raise awareness of the disease that the song is about.

The Lyrics The inspiration for the song started with a phrase from a friend's Facebook post on an Ehlers-Danlos syndrome "I just want to wake up one day and be me again".

I thought the phrase reflected the frustration of the condition very well, and also hinted at the exhaustion that often comes with the condition. My friend was very happy for me to use the phrase in a song.

The phrase is the basis of the chorus, and the rest followed from that. The verse is very simple lyrically "So tired, I can't explain. So tired. So cold. Sucking me down." Initially there were more verses, but the song was getting too long at over 6 minutes, so I trimmed it back.

Many of us who have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome look healthy, but experience chronic pain and pain related exhaustion, which can lead to a lot of misunderstanding from those unfamiliar with this little-known disease.

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is a group of genetic diseases in which people have abnormally weak collagen. Collagen is an important structural protein providing strength to joints, cartilage, skin, intestines, and other parts of the body. Due to the weak collagen, things that many people would take for granted, including lifting, carrying, and travelling can be very difficult.

I have type III (hypermobility-type) Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (also known as joint hypermobility syndrome), and appreciate that I am fortunate to have a form of the illness that isn't life-threating, however chronic pain, joint degeneration/premature arthritis, and the exhaustion of managing with chronic pain can be challenging, and I'm very appreciative of all the support I get from my family.

Hypermobility-type Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is almost certainly underdiagnosed - it took about 20 years for me to get my diagnosis. People who are hypermobile ('double-jointed') and have unexplained chronic pain should ask their doctor whether they might have the condition. Although there aren't curative treatments, getting a diagnosis makes a big difference, as at least you understand why you hurt.

I've written several songs about type III Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, exploring different reactions to the challenges of invisible disability (While I Still Can - here and Wait For The Storm -here ). I hope to help raise awareness of invisible disabilities. I also hope that the songs can stand on their own even if you don't know what inspired them.

The Music 'Me Again' is just me multitracked. It's got piano, bass, chugging distorted rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, and some twiddly lead guitar bits at the end. The guitar is a Strat, the acoustic, bass and keyboard Yamaha's. The electric guitar was recorded through a digitech RP250. I use Sonar X1 for recording. The vocals were recorded at Camden Recording Studios, London, UK. The rest was done on a laptop at home.

Listen to a free stream of 'Me Again' here and you can buy it on iTunes right here!

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