When Alan D Miles was diagnosed with epilepsy in his early 40s, his life changed in an instant. A former guitarist with The Levellers, who helped write the chart-topping band’s first two albums, he had always considered himself to be something of a free spirit and definitely anti-authoritarian.
Out of the blue, his life had a controlling factor over which he had no influence – one which not only impinged on his personal sense of freedom but threatened to take away his positive outlook on life and change him as a person.
Several years later, he is slowly regaining some element of control. But the memories of his journey with epilepsy are vivid, and he will be charting them through Resounding Seizures, part of the Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival, taking place at the University of Plymouth from March 2-4, 2018.
Alan has recently completed a masters degree in Computer Music with the University’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR), and his performance is designed to take audiences through the experiences of life with the condition.
“For me, epilepsy came late in life and out of the blue – there was no obvious cause and no history of it in my family,” says Alan. “I woke up in the middle of the night with paramedics in my room and was taken to hospital for tests. Two weeks later, the exact same thing happened with the same paramedics. It was after that I was diagnosed with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy and began to try and manage it with medication.
"In the early days though, I felt alone. I had to stop driving, and it was almost a year before I felt able to go out of the house and start to meet friends again.