About Tony Diamond
Tony Diamond: What do these people have in common? – Judy Garland, Ernest Hemmingway, Vivian Leigh, Sylvia Plath, Cole Porter, Lou Reed, Yves Saint Laurent, Edie Sedgwick and Caroline Aherne – they have all had ECT.
In 1989, Tony began researching his past, not only to help him accurately record his childhood in Pebble on the Beach but also to see first hand the chain of events that led him to receiving this treatment. After viewing his records and having been able to retain several of the documents they contained, the following months saw a dramatic turn of events.
In Tony’s own words and excerpt from his book:
‘’I remember being taken into a room with a long black couch in it. The nurse helped me onto the couch and told me to lie down. It was then that they strapped me tightly to this couch with thick leather straps, round my wrists, ankles, torso and head. Although the nurse was quite kindly to me, when she placed a rubber plate in my mouth, and told me the it would stop me biting my tongue off – I started to panic. They placed little pads either side of my head and before I knew what was happening they fired volts of electricity through my brain. The current was so strong that my body was lifting off the couch, straining against the restraints. At this point I blacked out. I wasn’t sedated, anaesthetised or even warned that this was what was going to happen to me, I was 10 years old, terrified and in pain, yet this procedure was to be carried out on me again and again’’
For those of you familiar with Pebble on the Beach you will know that Tony Diamond was given ECT when he was just a little boy of 10 years old. He was prescribed it for behavioral problems. Despite the fact that Tony had been brought up in an un-stable household with an irresponsible mother and abusive step-father and often absent and un-suitable father figures, his problems were put down to his fault alone, and his mother duly signed the consent forms, acknowledging no responsibility for her part or her sons welfare. Tony still vividly recalls the treatment today, and its legacy of physical and mental after effects are still haunting him 40 years later. The treatment of children like Tony in the 1950’s is shrouded in secrecy and for the most part denied. Little to no official information can be found about it, yet there are scores of people who are willing to recount the horrific experiences they suffered as children and adults at the hands of people using them as guinea pigs, and by un-supervised and un-trained people – not even Doctor‘s. The Children’s clinic that Tony received his brutal treatment in is not listed on any record that can be found. It is as if it never existed – why? – if they have nothing to hide, could it be that they were conducting government backed research into establishing the link between intelligence and social class as suggested at the time?
All Tony’s medical, social services and child guidance records prior to 1990 disappeared without a trace or explanation.
To this day, no-one can explain why his records were present one year and missing the next. His entire social and medical history with the state had vanished without trace. Lets make it clear that these records were held across 3 different departments, and yet all 3 managed to ’misplace’ Tony’s damming and incriminatory records at the same time. The facts speak for themselves. Had these document survived Tony would have had enough evidence to pursue a law suit.
Thank you very much for sending me a copy of Pebble on The Beach. My Goodness, you have been through the mill! Well done for all of it and for managing to turn it into a very inspirational read.