..as soon as his fingers touch the piano keys, however, the tics cease. “I like to think of them sitting on deckchairs and enjoying the music. It shuts them up,” he says. “For a few seconds before I start to play, I experience what it is like to feel that wonderful word: normal.”
Van Bloss was seven when he woke one day to find he was shaking uncontrollably. From that point his body was held hostage by vicious yelps and violent compulsions, but it was not until 21 — ten years after taking up the piano — that Tourette syndrome was correctly diagnosed.