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Johy Shelby:

“You got enough trouble aye…Tommy.

The whiskey and the smoke (opium)…. I can smell it in the air”…


Tommy Shelby:

“Sometimes it last all night.

And I listen to the shovels…against that wall there.”


Peaky Blinders

This a most amazing video period!

Just based on the music and the editing of the fantastic BBC series: Peaky Blinders

However, it is truly poignant when you look at the characters, the story and this video through the lens of mental health, trauma, addiction, social decay, and post WW I desperation.

The Shovels

Tommy Shelby is the leader of the Peaky Blinders Gang and a World War I veteran.

He also is in a full blown post traumatic stress disorder flashback.

The “shovels against wall all through the night” is a reference to phantom German tunnel diggers. Left over from his war experience.

If you watch the series (Peaky Blinders) you also see Tommy is full of blind, uncontrollable ambition and dealing with the multi-generational trauma of a violent and addicted family.

Opium Dreams

All of this adds up to a dark world that Tommy Shelby (and many other characters) are trying to negotiate.

Tommy is smoking opium in a desperate attempt to shut it all out.

The drugs are not working for Tommy Shelby. He is, in summary, losing his shit…


Tommy’s Caring Housemaid:


“You are not yourself Mr. Shelby, we need to get you to a doctor”…


Tommy responds (greatest line ever):

“It’s just myself talking to myself about myself”….

IT’S JUST MYSELF…TALKING TO MYSELF…ABOUT MYSELF.


The Rescuer

And… a relationship is going to save him.

A woman is going to rescue him…

SHE IS GOING TO PULL HIM OUT OF HELL.


Tommy: “I don’t hear the shovels against the wall….”


I don’t know what it is about the scene with Grace… (what a name for the rescuer).

That scene, and the way it is cut up with this music (Pull Me From The Dark) is prolific. Moving. Troubling.


Tommy: “Will you help me”?


Grace: “Help you with what”?


Tommy: “With everything”….


Men Like Us!

And all the warnings:


“she’s one woman Thomas…” “Men like us Mr. Shelby we will always be alone”…


Men like us? What does that mean? Damaged goods?


Grace: “I warn you. I’ll break your heart”…


Tommy: “It’s already broken….”


And most ominous of all….


“aye…there’s a woman”….


It is a television show so it ends in the most dramatic way possible.

Grace takes a bullet for Tommy… But that’s not the point…

The Human Experience

This video captures a part of the human experience that I can relate to.

That I can FEEL… when I watch this. That need to escape….

I grew up in a home torn apart from pervasive violence and alcoholism in a community and culture where you never talked about anything uncomfortable.

Love & Hate

In the era of “corporal punishment” we all (the kids in the neighborhood) got beat down by our fathers.

Beat down when we did something wrong…sometimes even when we didn’t do anything wrong.

Even more problematic. How can you love and hate the same person?

Would be better for the violence to be a permanent condition….

And the shame. The shame of knowing that your home was …. different…

Saved By Her

I do find respite and hope in my wife… We met when I was just 17… I do think she saved me.

Is that “healthy” or “politically correct” or “gender role stereotype” etc…..

I could care less what anyone else thinks. I think she saved me.

And she nearly took a bullet along the way…. (metaphorically speaking).

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