If it takes a historian to bring an exciting but little-known character back to life, the historical novelist can imagine them a new one. But how does this work, and what are the pitfalls? Continue reading
I recently finished a novel of the historical hue, called Killing Beauties. Set in 1655/6, slap bang in the middle of the interregnum, when Cromwell was Lord Protector of England (and brutaliser of Ireland, amongst other places) and Charles II was in exile, the book follows the adventures of two women, Susan Hyde and Diana Jennings, both of whom were she-intelligencers, or spies with broad portfolios. Continue reading
There is no more eloquent testimony to the miracles of modern gerontology than the Rolling Stones being on tour. Well, some of them are – and the truth is that few but the cognoscenti would even notice if the 76-year old Charlie Watts (who once allegedly punched Mick Jagger for saying he was ‘only my drummer’) were to lay down his sticks. To most people, the Glimmer Twins are the band.
So. All caveats and disclaimers apply. This is a piece I wrote a while ago but couldn’t quite post … it’s about the venn diagram of sex, dating, and Parkinson’s (and its medications) … hold very tight please …
Dating with dopamine
You know when she’s on the brink. There’s a short pause, then a nervous intake of breath. It’s not sharp, not this time: more like the slow traverse of an unshod foot over an uncertain pathway in the dark. The atmosphere thickens, resisting inhalation, but once it’s been sucked in, there it stays. Her breath held, your own bated in sympathy, it happens. Continue reading
‘Excuse me, but does anyone know whose helicopter is parked outside? It’s on the square and we were rather hoping to have a game of cricket today.’ These are words I never expected to deliver to a pub awash with Sunday lunchers until they were spilling out of my mouth. There are other words we never expect to say, such as ‘of course, I was plumb LBW’ or those fateful words ‘I think I’m done’. Continue reading
It’s difficult to know where to begin, and at such a time, we ought perhaps keep it simple. That was how I put it in 2013, in my book Slender Threads: a young person’s guide to Parkinson’s disease, and for all the words I’ve wrangled since, I struggle to see how I could have expressed my experience any better. Continue reading
One of the classic tests regarding self-awareness was developed in the 1970s by an American psychologist, and involves observing whether the subject (an animal, naturally) possesses the ability to see itself in a mirror and know at whom it looks: self-awareness allows for self-recognition. Whether it truly measures what it purports to is another matter entirely, and it obviously wouldn’t work on vampires, but it has a certain logical aura. Of course, what is reflected is not necessarily what we would see were we able to look at ourselves, but then, who sees the world if not through a lens? Continue reading
It’s an intriguing and at times nerve-wracking business being involved in a journalistic event such as the guardian’s disability diaries and the accompanying interview by Frances Ryan. One of the reasons for this is the fear of the comments section. It’s some irony that my contribution revolved around the articulation of how it feels to be fundamentally invisible in disability terms, and several comments seemed to have completely ignored both my presence and that of Craig: Continue reading
Every so often, we make a decision that reaches out and grabs all sorts of unexpected things by the ankles, and drags them kicking and screaming into our living room. Naturally, we have no idea what these things actually are until they recover from the shock of being accosted, shake their legs free and unfold to their full height. They look around the room for the offending ankle-grabber, but the decision is long gone. It just invited a whole tribe of beasties round for tea before scuttling off into the past. Via the back door. It’s only you left. And the beasties are big and wildly pissed off. Continue reading
Here’s a piece I wrote for All Out Cricket on the England Physical Disability Cricket team.