Mystery 'Piano Man' Turns in A Classic Performance


A man found wandering and confused dressed in a dripping wet suit and tie stunned care workers by giving a virtuoso piano performance.

The mystery man has not uttered a word since police picked him up walking aimlessly on the streets of Sheerness in Kent.

All efforts to communicate with the shy and agitated man, aged in his 20s or early 30s, failed leaving experts baffled as to his identity and where he is from.

Staff at the Medway Maritime Hospital gave him a pen and paper in the hope he might write his name or even draw his country’s flag.

Instead, in an extraordinary development, the patient, dubbed the Piano Man, chose only to draw highly detailed pictures of a grand piano, showing not only the keys but also the intricate inner workings of the instrument.

His social worker, Michael Camp, decided to show him the hospital piano housed in the chapel and to his amazement the man delivered a stunning, two-hour performance of classical playing.

Since then, the man has even written music, which an independent music teacher has verified as genuine manuscript, yet he remains mute.

The case has drawn comparisons with the Oscar-winning 1996 movie Shine, which tells the moving story of acclaimed pianist David Helfgott who suffered a nervous breakdown while playing.

Mr Camp, who is based at the accident and emergency unit of the Medway Maritime Hospital, said: “When he came in, there was nothing obviously wrong with him but because of his presentation the police felt he had a mental health problem.

“He came to us in a smart black suit and tie, which was soaked. He appears to be very anxious but we have no idea why. He has, as far as we know, committed no crime but we feel he is very vulnerable.

“When we took him to the chapel piano it really was amazing. He has not spoken since the day we picked him up. He does not make any sounds but I think I can communicate with him through tiny nods.

“I cannot get within a yard of him without him becoming very anxious. Yet at the piano he comes alive. I can stand close to him and he is oblivious. It is extraordinary. The first time we took him down to the piano he played for several hours, non-stop.

“I am not knowledgeable about classical music but I could tell he was pretty good.”

Several theories as to who the man is, and where he is from, have been investigated by Mr Camp.

It was initially thought he may have been to a local funeral when spotted on the evening of April 7 in the port town of Sheerness, but inquiries proved he had not been to any services in the vicinity.

Then interpretors from Poland, Latvia and Lithuania were brought in to see if he was from Eastern Europe, and possibly an asylum seeker, but no one could get through to the man, who is tall and thin.

Mr Camp said: “We looked into the possibility he was an asylum seeker but what has he got to gain? He has had ample opportunity to walk out of our establishments and he has chosen not to.”

The man is now being held in a secure mental health unit in north Kent, which has no piano, until a full assessment has been carried out. It is possible he may be deemed fit to live in the community but Mr Camp is unsure.

“There is no doubt that this man is extremely distressed and depressed. He has started crying over the last week or so. It may be that some sort of trauma has made him like this.”

Mr Camp made an urgent appeal for anyone who knows the man to contact the National Missing Persons Helpline, which has launched its own appeal, on 0500 700 700.

“If he is British then someone, somewhere must be missing him,” Mr Camp said. “At the moment we only have six weeks’ of history of this man to work on, which makes it very hard.

“By the way he plays the piano he is clearly educated and intelligent. If someone comes forward with information then we can take this emotional case forward.”

Autor: Matt Adams, PA News 9:03pm (UK)
Medio: Scotsman.com
Fecha: Domingo 15 de mayo de 2005
Notas: ©2005 Scotsman.com
ID: 1780 Editar

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