PoetsIN have their first Patron and he’s a bloody smasher who you’ve very likely seen on TV, in films or laughed at what he’s written. He’s called Miles Chapman – but why have we asked him?
Well, one thing we’ve noticed at PoetsIN is that we’ve yet to tell people about what we do and hear them say that it sounds silly. Quite the opposite in fact. It’s therefore our theory that the only obstacle to us helping more people is even more people knowing we exist.
The more people know about us, the more likely it is that we get funding that will enable us to bring our mental health workshops to persons of all ages that need them. How do we do that? With Ambassadors and now, with Patrons. People of a certain ilk, with the right type of outlook on life and all of its idiosyncrasies and foibles; who also have a platform from which to inform.
So, without further ado, we give you our very first Patron, Miles.
Who are you and what do you do?
I am Miles Chapman and I am a comedy writer, performer and producer for TV.
What is your relationship with words and how has that evolved?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, whether it be creating characters, daft little scenarios, dopey song lyrics or just thoughts. You learn how to harness those words and makes them work for you with time. But they must work for you. I always try to impress myself.
Can you remember the catalyst for you beginning to write? If so, what was it?
Meeting my comedy wife in 2004 (Mark O’Sullivan) was the first time I took it seriously. We seemed to be ringing the same bell, so we thought we’d give it a go.
You are now a PoetsIN Patron – is mental health something you feel passionately about?
Mental health is a subject I am very passionate about. Thank god things have changed so much in the last 10 or so years. When I was first ill in 1989 it was a dreadful landscape of ignorance. I was treated like a pariah. We live in enlightened times but there’s still so much more to do.
What is it about PoetsIN that you made you feel comfortable being a Patron?
I love how PoetsIN are using words and the ability to express yourself as therapy. It’s local too.
Can you tell us about your mental health journey thus far?
Wow! Where to start. I first became ill in 1989. Feelings of dread, panic attacks, feeling worthless. It just sort of crept up on me and. to begin with, I didn’t have any idea what was happening. I had 5 years of feeling dreadful and all without a diagnosis. Imagine that? It wasn’t until 1994 when someone showed me the book ‘Self-help for your Nerves’ (such an antiquated title) by Dr Claire Weekes that I realised what was happening to me.
All my symptoms were there. Every single one and whilst it was a massive help, it was just the start of my journey. With mental health it comes, and it goes. I have had swathes of time feeling OK and chunks of time feeling dreadful. As time has gone on, I’ve understood more about what my triggers are and how to deal with them effectively. I’ve also learnt to do much more of what makes me feel good. Compassion is a big thing too for me. Compassion for me and for others. Lots of our issues can come from guilt, envy, anger and resentment.
Is there any advice you would give to people going through what you went through?
Talk. Meds. Don’t be afraid of meds. Get help, as much help as you can. Be kind to yourself. Mental health is a lying bastard. Don’t believe a word of it. Brighter days are always ahead. Always.
Lee and Dean is without doubt some of the best comedy out there. How did it come about?
Just Mark and I mucking about with characters. Sorry, that makes it sound like that’s all we had to do to get it on the TV. But it was the first step. We made a short film. Channel 4 loved it and we developed it from there. It’s bloody hard work, but incredibly rewarding.
You manage to balance some seriously edgy comedy with some incredibly tender moments. How difficult was it to find the balance?
We always put heart into our characters, without that who are they, does anyone care? With heart you get a proper insight into the character and the world they inhabit, and with that the tender moments come far easier.
You’ve also written and acted alongside some great entertainers such as Morgana Robinson and Ricky Gervais. How was that for you?
Amazing. Just being part of that is incredible. I feel very privileged in what I do, and I never take any of it for granted.
Do you prefer acting or writing?
Mmm, tricky. Depends on my headspace. I want to say acting. So yes, I’ll say acting.
How does a story or scene start with you? Is it a strange little occurrence that you build a story around, or does the story come first?
Both. Much of my writing and influence of character comes from either people I know or something I’ve overheard said in a supermarket. From that I can build a narrative, a character – a world.
What are you looking forward to doing as a Patron of PoetsIN?
Helping others use therapy in words and the expression they give us and oh… the tea and biscuits.
What book is on your bedside table right now?
Danny Baker – ‘Going to Sea in a Sieve’
If someone hadn’t seen anything of yours, where would you like them to start?
Well I guess it has to be Lee and Dean. But we have a Youtube channel with a load old rhubarb on. Flavours is still a favourite
Writer’s block, real or a myth?
It happens. I have days where I write utter nonsense other days its flows. It doesn’t really matter how you feel. My advice is just write.
What’s next for Miles Chapman?
We’ve got our own production company, so we’ve got a healthy slate of ideas, some of which are in paid development. I’ve also got a podcast with Ricky Grover and Sam Underwood about depression and anxiety that you can find here – https://www.happyandyouknowit.co.uk
We’d like to thank Miles for becoming our Patron. As huge fans of his and Mark’s work, we are really please. We look forward to working with him and him getting as involved as his busy schedule allows.
Learn more about Miles and Mark’s production company at bingofilms.co.uk and you can follow Miles on Twitter where he is @themileschapman Do check out the array of his and Mark’s incredibly funny videos via this link.