Tim Page: My brain is like an oboe or bassoon

Tim Page: My brain is like an oboe or bassoon


norman lebrecht

October 07, 2018

My dear friend and colleague Tim has written a memorable article on the effects of music on his late-diagnosed autism and, more recently, on his brain injury. As ever with Tim, each word is perfectly chosen and the sound of his words is pleasure itself.


And now I am old and injured, and my brain has taken on some of the characteristics of a double reed instrument. In my younger days it worked on force and magnitude of expression, like a trumpet or saxophone. Now I am overwhelmed unless I am working with the tiniest exhalation, in the manner of an oboe or bassoon, and I take new care with every utterance. 

It’s especially strange to be old in New York, city of my youth and early successes and deep late-night conversations in the pubs of upper Broadway. These days I hobble slowly to the building lobby down the same stairs I invariably took two at a time. I have trained myself out of volunteering my services immediately – to help out! to join in! to stay late! – as I am quickly reminded that I am no longer who I was. Aging is so terribly personal: I have known people who were old in their 30s and others who were mostly young into their 80s. In 2014, I was a middle-aged man in what turned out to be very poor health. Now I am in many ways happier, certainly thinner and probably stronger, and steadier in my self-understanding, at least on those days when I am rested and my memory is working properly. I am both much less afraid of death and more eager for life.  

Still, old is old, and 64, to counter the exasperating cliché, is not at all the “new 40” but barely qualifies as the “new 63.”…

Read on here.


  • Paul Thomason says:

    What a marvelous, wise article. Thank you for pointing it out.

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Thank you for this. Precious. Tim Page always has something deeply interesting to say, and expresses himself better than most. A true gem.