Tiny Tim

Oh I just found out that Tiny Tim was a Catholic. Yay.

God bless Tiny Tim!

Please pray for his soul.

Tiny Tim


If you consider mental illness or even depression as a breakdown of sociological patterns, the “one-directional stigma”, (that insanity is foremost a concern for the individual) looses it’s importance and significance. Insanity is a two way street. “Art” is of course situated in a social context but I find it interesting that insanity most often is a outbreak from the very same social context, without regard for its borders: Maybe these artworks speak to us in a deeper and more individual sense because of this?

The rare beauty that sometimes are the result of sociological failure can be a successful artistic expression. Communication goes beyond social conventions and intellectual interactions. Here are three examples of great artists who’s artwork did not function in the context of their lifetime: Herbert Khaury a.k.a Tiny Tim (1932 – 1996), Carl Fredrik Hill (1849 – 1911) and Erik Johan Stagnelius (1793 – 1823).

I’m not in any way comparing their artistic values or their supposed degree of insanity: They all have my most sincere and deepest respect. Both for their psychological strength as well as for their emotional inability that led them their own way. They all speak to me in the most individual personal way. Solo Dei Gloria!


Herbert Khaury / Tiny Tim:

Tiny Tim sometimes expressed rare beauty; far more interesting than other things that may have achieved more recognition. The beauty lies in the brief moment, being truthful to his own expression.

As an artist Tiny Tim didn’t take personal social considerations. He did not equip us with the necessary tools to label him or his intentions.

Tiny Tim was during his most commercially successful years in the sixties considered as something of a circus sidekick, but he was so much more. His musical preferences where more rooted in the late Victorian popular culture than in the mid 20th century American. He often applied his falsetto, staccato pitched very rich voice to modern songs like in I got you babe, here below, but it was in performing traditional tunes from 1890 to 1940 (as the above) that his true love lied. He was an expert on music from that time period and he had about 3000 songs in his repertoire.



Carl Fredrik Hill:

The painter Carl Fredrik Hill made beautiful paintings charged with emotions until he fell into insanity and was locked up. During his illness he sketched and painted on everything he could get a hold on.

CF Hill CF Hill
Paintings by Carl Fredrik Hill, late 1900-century.

Compare the two paintings above, they are made some ten years apart, before and after his illness. CFH was famous for his tree-studies and if you look at the branches on most of his trees you will find they resemble each another a great deal. In the latter painting the tree is however no longer a tree, even though it still have the characteristic grouping of branches: It gets transformed into a deer with gnarled branches, screaming with erotic undertones, as in the rut cry of the artist himself. At the same time, if you compare the branches, you will find it is the same tree…

The perfect image of a communication breakdown: his work was not functional any longer, they where merely the gibberish of a lunatic. And still: the artistic cry is perhaps more revealing and truthful to the artists inner emotions in the latter version. As communication in an artistic context the expression of Carl Fredrik speaks to us today, hundred years after his death. The communicational breakdown was telling us more.

Carl Fredrik Hill
Another painting by CF Hill


Erik Johan Stagnelius:

Erik Johan Stagnelius wrote romantic poems about misery & madness some 200 years ago. Most of his poems where found in a sack in his apartment, after he had died.

In one poem he speaks about who we can turn to when our inner soul is laid out in darkness and we even can’t sigh anymore… Who can help in desolate times? In perfect despair? Only the One Powerful Being, that from the darkness of the night made suns dance, the world creating Word…

Therefore, rejoice, O friend and sing in the deep dark of sorrow:
Night is the Mother of Day; Chaos the Neighbor of God.

God is more close, the farther away he seems. It’s like Jesus sleeping in the storm (Mark 4:35-41): This is where we can truly put our trust in Him; This is where we can be ruled to the fullest; Chaos is the neighbor of God.

Erik Johan Stagnelius

The poet Stagnelius
early 1900-century



To me insanity breaks out when you no longer can bear not being able to communicate from within the Chaos, the unbearable silence that keeps trying to express itself. The emotional numbness ridden by emotions.

I rather listen to people who live on the border, than those knowledgeable who know where they are. It’s the sense of being lost, that keep us out of regular vanities… (Instead we, madly, show off our vanity like we would a new born child)

– It’s the inability to express something that burst through limitations. Madness and depression is being deaf and mute to the mute and deaf. It’s the mutual agreements that keep us from meeting and agreeing. We should make an effort to let the mute be heard and speak to the deaf. No matter what side of the asylum walls we currently reside, we both needs to listen over the walls and trespassing the borders. Let’s sleep in the midst of the storm…


St Dymphna
St Dymphna, patron Saint of
mental and nervous disorders:
– Pray for us.

And just let me add these words of hope… 😉

– Let’s embrace emotional numbness, let us rejoice in abandoned hope: You must be really close now, at the least you’re very far off.