Saturday, 27 February 2010

I wear it well

Spent this week in Moscow. My favourite MS city. Freezing outside. Boiling inside. We did a workshop in a school one morning and the heating was up so high I wanted to go out and buy some shorts. Alas I was stuck in thermal long-johns and jeans ready for the snow drifts outside. My mother had sent me some thermal gloves she found in a catologue. They turned out to be fingerless wet suits for hands. The fingerless element didn’t work to be honest. Warm palms and freezing fingertips. I had to go and buy some ordinary gloves to cover the thermal fingerless ones. This resulted in really hot palms and fingertips at the perfect temperature. Maybe if I cut holes in the ordinary glove palms I could create the perfect Multiple Sclerosis twin layered all weather thermal gloves. I could market them in MS monthly. Hats are the other neccesity in Moscow. Fiona bought me a giant wooly beany, far too big and far too wooly. It was perfect.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Reasons to be cheerful. Part 3

It's a year since I started writing this blog and it feels right to end the year on a positive: Part three of the advantages of MS. At lunch today I was discussing the concept that there is too much "feel good" factor being attached to major illnesses. Too many people writing too many blogs saying " was the making of me"..."if it wasn't for the illness"..."I discovered myself for the first time when I was diagnosed"...etc.

I can't pretend to have made such life affirming discoveries. When all is said and done I'd rather not be writing this blog. I can however state that MS has meant that I can walk on hot paths between water slides in Spain with no pain.(Aug 18th) It has meant that I've met some people that I never would have passed the time of day with.(Aug 25th) And finally, continuing my Ian Dury title obsession, we get to "Reasons to be cheerful. Part 3"...London Town.
My monthly trips into a central London hospital have meant that I've discovered the great city all over again...and more. Buying a dodgy jumper at Whitechapel market, a stroll down Commercial Street towards St. Pauls, over the Millennium Bridge to the Tate Modern, strolling down the Thames past Gabriel's Wharf and on to the Southbank, taking in a play at the National. As I walk up to Waterloo I can enjoy the good humoured banter between bus drivers and cyclists.."Get out of the f***ing road you w****r". I can pass an unconscious drunk under the bridge, take the tube up to Piccadilly, discover an obscure gallery before walking up to Oxford Street for some mass Primark shopping. Experiences that remains resolutely London and have nothing to do with illness. Don't wait until you're ill. Whatever your city, whatever your life...go and grab it now.

Sunday, 7 February 2010


I've been feeling distinctly Thelonius Monk for the last couple of days. All stiff fingered and discordant. I can't play like him of course...It's just a good description of my health. I'd had a few weeks off from numb hands and pliered feet, which makes the return of it all the more unwelcome.

We're remounting a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream for which I wrote an annoyingly difficult piano treatment of Oberon's Take hands with me and rock the ground speech - all syncopated semi-quavers. When I tried to play the thing it was far more syncopated than originally intended and it sounded more of a quiver than a quaver. My fingers were not playing along, mainly I suspected, because my arms and legs weren't.

Me and the eldest child went for a long cycle ride in the hope of exercising my limbs into life. I was admirably impressed with her dedication to exercise when after about 100 yards she said...we must have been going for about 3 miles by now. Shall we get a hot chocolate and go home? That was my kind of exercise. When we got home she decided to practise her flute to which she demanded some piano accompaniment. Tune a day book one flute accompanied by hopelessly syncopated wrong notes. This was beyond Thelonius...this was Stockhausen meets Cage and gets a headache.

Still, I have a few weeks in which to re-discover my inner Monk...but until then here is something Thelonius made earlier...if I could be half as hip as this...