What Parkinson’s has taught me about C-19

Twelve year ago, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. I was forty years old. It was something of a shock to the system. Over the years I have become increasingly aware of what such a diagnosis does to you. Not what the disease itself does (though I have also become increasingly, and uncomfortably, aware of this. That’s what the words progressive, degenerative and incurable mean), but what the act of diagnosis actually means to the diagnosed. I don’t for a minute think that what I am about to describe is unique to Parkinson’s, though I suspect it may, in many ways, be something that is largely confined to chronic ailments such as Parkinson’s. Continue reading

writing with parkinson’s

This morning I responded to a twweet from a fellow paarky about aainnvolutary amovemnet. I wrote ‘it’s a buggea. Goodaaa job I’m naoat a writaer.oah.’ asa a response. He tweeted eme bacaaaak saaying it’as like ahhaaving aa suattera in tetx. I repalied thata i sometims want to publish aaa fiaart darafat atao gie pewople ann iadaea of whata it’s like.
Soa I have,. 63 words nd a4aaminutea.
Parakinson’a i aaahaarad.

Yet another Covid Chronicle

The grebe paddles serenely, ripples shining in its wake, crest puffed out as if to remind me that my own hair is not only thinner than once it was but currently arranged like a middle-aged, pepper-and-salt Tintin. As I focus, it barks at me. It’s not a warning. It sounds more like it’s calling its mate: ‘Hey, fluff up and get over here, some guy’s taking my picture.’ Continue reading

Who Breathes, Wins

C-19. It sounds like a far-right paramilitary group dedicated to expelling foreigners and purifying the race. The kind of people for whom the leap from deporting illegal aliens to euthanazing the disabled is more of a Sunday afternoon stroll. But Covid-19 is already forcing members of the medical profession in Italy to choose who lives and who dies – or, at least, who is given the greater chance of living. Continue reading

An Apple a Day

Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, and especially since it began to make its mark as the shelves of nation after nation were cleared of toilet paper, there has been one constant: the internet has been a greater spread of dangerous misinformation than any other source. One wonders how the virus managed to achieve such mastery of social media in such a short time. But it doesn’t have to be this way. The internet, or more specifically the global network of gps satellites and mobile phones, can do something extremely positive. Continue reading

Close, but no e-cigar

It’s 5.04 am and I’ve been failing to sleep for some time now. I’ve actually been considering how I have managed to reach the grand age of 52 and a half without much in the way of success at all. This is not what has been keeping me awake so much as keeping me company in my insomnia. It seems that if there is one area in my life in which I may legitimately call myself successful it is in failing. I am remarkably consistent in getting so far but no further. There are no laurels of victory for me, no spoils, just the nagging feeling that I have made under-achieving into something of an art form. I write this not out of self-pity or in a plea for sympathy, but more in the sense that perhaps, just perhaps, under-reaching is the default human condition. Continue reading

On Ten Thousand Hours

Like the grand old Duke of York, Malcolm Gladwell had ten thousand hours. Gladwell’s hours were the time you needed to devote to an activity to master it. It was originally applied to violin players, and thence to everyone. And now it’s back. Because someone has said it may not be true. No shit. This morning’s Guardian ran a piece on a new study that apparently contradicts it. It doesn’t, of course, because there’s nothing serious to contradict. That and what the real issue is here, that most thorny of questions: how talented are you? Continue reading

Sybarus in context

This is an edited extract from the prose work that will accompany the release of Dancing with Architects … It concerns ambition, intention and luck. Hopefully it will make some sense as it stands.

The opening to I, Sybarite is how every musician and artist wants their career to begin: to simply explode in the consciousness of the audience. No warning given, no real preparation possible. To just suddenly be. It’s a great contrast from the album’s opening track, Praxis. I’m guessing my rationale for putting Sybarite as track two was to confuse those who knew me and expected me to hit the ground at a full gallop and surprise those who didn’t know me from Adam. Continue reading