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Magazines and Books

Ted Kessler

To Ease My Troubled Mind: The Authorised Unauthorised History of Billy Childish


Publication date: 04.07.2024


Further Information

In 1977, 17-year-old Steven Hamper was a stonemason in the dockyards of Chatham,
Kent. His heart, however, beat in sync with the punk rock tremors of the era, seduced by
its celebration of amateurism. So, in a gesture of revolutionary defiance, he took a 3lb
club hammer and smashed his hand, vowing to never work again. In doing so, Steven
Hamper metamorphosed into Billy Childish, a true renaissance man.

Childish has since remained steadfastly true to punk's DIY cred, becoming one of the
most recognisable and authentic voices in whichever artistic endeavour he undertakes. He
has released over one hundred and fifty albums of raw rock and roll, punk, blues and
folk, written many volumes of searing poetry as well as several autobiographical novels.
But what he is perhaps best known for in recent years is his painting, for which he is now
critically, commercially and internationally feted. He hasn't changed course in any of his
disciplines, though. The world just caught up with the sheer volume of his brutally honest

To Ease My Troubled Mind is a mosaic portrait collated over a year of interviews with
Childish, as well as with close family, ex-girlfriends, bandmembers past and present,
friends, foes, collaborators, even his therapist. It is an unflinching, yet frequently spiritual
and funny portrait of an artist whose obstacle-strewn upbringing formed the backbone of
his work: raised in a broken home and abused as a child, Childish was an undiagnosed
dyslexic in remedial class at school who is nevertheless now Britain's most prolific and
uncompromising creative force.



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