Video: Man without memory
In the Samuel Pepys room of Identity:
Eight rooms, nine lives we have on display the extraordinary
diaries of Clive Wearing, an accomplished musician who experienced
a rare form of encephalitis, leaving him with severe anterograde
amnesia - the inability to form new memories. In the diaries, he
records his experience as a series of awakenings, often scoring
through previous entries that he doesn’t remember writing.
Clive has been the subject of a number of documentaries that
have each taken different approaches to discussing his condition.
We've collected together those films available on YouYube: a clip
from a BBC documentary and two longer films from a series called
'The Mind', which were filmed 13 years apart.
This is a short segment from a BBC documentary called 'Time: Daytime' which explores how humans experience time. In this clip, the nature of Clive’s memory loss is examined, but we also see that his ability to play the piano is intact.
This second part of 'Life Without Memory' shows Clive conducting a choir flawlessly, but also his convulsive reaction as he finishes the piece of music. His wife Deborah describes this as being the result of his musical safety net falling away as the music ends.
From the same series as 'Life Without Memory', this revisits Clive Wearing 13 years later in 1998, at a time when his wife Deborah says he has begun to show some improvements. In this first section we see the house hospital in which now lives, and Deborah talks about his current condition.
In this second part, we see Clive being evaluated by a neuropsychologist who later says that Clive is the most amnesiac patient she has ever seen, but also that his condition is about more than memory impairment. At the end of this section and the beginning of the next we see from scans the damage that has been done to Clive’s brain.
This begins with more information on the brain damage that Clive has sustained. After about five minutes, the film returns to Deborah who talks about the types of memory that have been impaired in Clive, but also about the ways he has moved from a state of constant repetition to one in which he is able to hold more meaningful conversations.
To conclude this film, we hear more from Deborah on the ways in which people around Clive have learned to be sensitive to his needs, and the way that Clive himself has begun to adapt.