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8 Dec 2008

Post 88: Xmas parties

Apologies this wasn't up first thing Monday. I spent all day Sunday writing it but didn't manage to finish before being taken to see self-styled 'Darkest man in comedy' Frankie Boyle at the Apollo. He certainly takes no prisoners, unlike dreadful comics like Bernhard Manning or Roy 'chubby' Brown who entertain(ed) (!) their audiences with bigotry by the bucketload and runaway racism as well as a smörgåsbord of chauvinism, misogyny, and cheap comedy, Frankie Boyle slightly more cerebrally takes a sledgehammer to Political Correctness or 'spastic gaytalk' as he calls it.Like all Scottish Comedians, he does swear a bit too much not that I have a problem with this but I agree with 'Dalai Farmer' Bill Bailey (see post 85) that swearing suffers from the law of diminishing returns!Seeing as going to see Boyle was the brainchild of former work colleague, incredible friend and support Simon Dawes. Good work fella!
The rest of this post will attempt to describe the short term happiness I felt on Thursday evening when the Dom Pardey trust put on a repeat of last years drinks at the Album bar and kitchen just off the Kings Road and also try and recount some quite different details from the harderfaster.net Christmas party in Holborn on Saturday night where they were kindly donating all proceeds to the trust.
First -Thursday -I don't get many opportunities for enjoyment these days but not a lot can compare to the feeling of seeing most of your friends together. Its a pretty special feeling I can tell you when you feel like death 99.9% of the time. I would like to be able to thank everyone who showed up or sent their apologies but I've got no chance of remembering so I do apologise if I mention some but not others!
The evening was the original brainchild of old college mates Victoria Denning (nee Smith) , Helen VJ , Alice Icely (nee Woolnough) and my best mate Tony Reid, they have all helped me so much since meeting them and particularly since my stroke! What is so sociable about these drinks is they are ideal for the generation up (that's pretty diplomatically put I think). Over the last three years my parents have got to know my friends pretty well and vice versa and my parents have had to deal with so much more than people at their stage of life should have too, the near death and disability of one of their sons, the hospitalisation across the Atlantic of their daughter with a potentially life threatening condition, Dad having his own health scares, mum having a couple of close friends/relatives develop life threatening/ending cancer and to cap it all off being left in the clothes they were standing in when their house burnt down. Its amazing they are still sane and a mystery that they go to church. If there was ever an example of god having forsaken someone then surely it is they. So I reckon Thursday was as much for them as for me. Jill and Richard, we salute you!What really took me by surprise was three things, Firstly, the turnout, slightly less than last year but enough to convince me that 'charity fatigue' hasn't set in too badly, secondly, people who had made a special effort to be there, the most important of which was a lovely girl called LindaP who had a stroke when she was 24 and now you wouldn't know it, she had got in touch a while back through facebook after reading online somewhere about my stroke and we met up when Vicky, PJ, Tony and Richard took me down to Sandwich in Kent for the weekend in September (Details in post 81). She really is lovely as was her companion Thomas I have found there to be a particularly strong empathy about our shared experience. Without exception I have always learnt something or been given hope from meeting fellow stroke survivors, and I was particularly grateful to Linda for coming all the way from Deal (nr Dover) for the evening. Travelling is a massive undertaking for the stroke survivor (I find it exhausting to get between the sitting room and my bathroom for example) so I was incredibly impressed and grateful for the effort she had made. Then there was James Pyemont < , a guy I used to go to school with who had visited me in Charing Cross hospital and at Kings in Camberwell (Conveniently and Curiously because the hospital was on his patch (since leaving school James has bravely joined the Police). Then of course there was John Maynard , my old master in charge of squash at school who had come to visit me in Charing Cross hospital, he regaled me with tales of what my old teachers were up to since I had left some 13 years previous! It's really been that long but it was so kind of him and his wife to make the effort! There was also Carole LeeP , recently retired as director of buying in furniture,textiles and lighting from John Lewis, a wonderfully eccentric lady ( her and her husband have recently returned from riding a motorbike around New Zealand ).Since my stroke she has been a great source of support as have John Lewis in general. I was also thrilled to see two figures from my working past, the former head of merchandise in Menswear at John Lewis, Now Director of planning at Fred Perry, a Champagne Socialist who I've had many a friendly row with over a conspiratorial pint, Richard Gilmore (sadly no picture), whilst the chap I used to sit next to in my first job (in the city at HSBC) turned up, Jon Dann – we were able to wax lyrical about how mental the city had been back in 99-2000 when we were both telecoms analysts during the internet/telecoms bubble and how many hours we had had to work. Also contemporaries of mine from JL, Ed and Justine were there, Ed probably to see if he could repeat his success of last year when he copped off with some nameless,unsuspecting girl, actually he's seeing someone now so that couldn't be the reason, Justine to give me news of her first baby Last but not least were Jackie and Selwyn Kennard who have been great friends to my family and I since we've known them. I used to sit next to Jackie at John Lewis (she was my bosses secretary and she used to treat me like an errant son, fair enough, some might say
The third thing was of course, That I was struck by the number of beautiful girls there were, no post on this blog would be complete without an ode to beauty. I'm on dangerous ground here because I'm dead meat if I leave anyone out. For starters there was Leigh, a good friend of mines wifes maid of honour,old college friend, now actress Kath , old college mates, Sara and Claudia , great mate and former HSBC graduate trainee when we both started work Eleanor , My former Junior Common Room President (at Uni), Helen who was looking great,former colleague Harriet who I initially mistook for someone else, when said person showed up I dug deeper and introduced them and instead of letting them decide on their own helpfully proffered 'don't you two look alike?' word to the wise, never say this. Harriets charming 'lucky bastard' husband Chris turned up to get her, Former colleague Anna with 'laugh a minute brummy' boyfriend Paul (I somehow used to manage these two jokers at JL).Then there is of course Fi and Jo, P ( as in Jo and Gary see post 82 who I met through DJing/Clubbing) OK, so that's enough of that!
The comment that kept coming round was that I was looking much better than at last years drinks to which I would invariably reply 'I wish looking better would translate into feeling better', ok so that may not be the most positive response, but I sadly have got past the stage of positivity for positivity's sake, or happy-clappy positivity as I tend to think of it, unfortunately I'm far too cynical.
From the sublime to the ridiculous. After the rather refined activities of Thursday. A website that I used to spend far too much time on when I was Djing put on its Christmas bash yesterday in a pub in Holborn during the afternoon/evening/night kindly declaring that all proceeds would go to the trust. I was pretty chuffed that they did this but although it was nice to see a few old friends it reminded me of how I can't cope with these kinds of thing anymore not because I'm now too old for it but because my disabilities make it too hard. I can't cope with the noise and the sheer volume of people, talking is very hard and tiring,hearing and getting myself heard is very hard and to be honest, I've lost most of my enthusiasm for the music now. That does make me sad. Anyway, the event gave me a chance to catch up with people which beats sitting alone and watching telly on a saturday. First and foremost the man I have to thank for making this at all possible was Dom Icely (see post 69). My friend Simon , who used to moderate the forums on Harderfaster suggested Dom in the first place because he was just the type of guy who'd enjoy himself because he used to love that sort of music, an inspired choice, because when it was time to go, Simon had to go and find him and literally drag him off the dancefloor! Going gave me a great chance though to see friends like Shaun and Renae, Shaun even DJed with absolute smouldering mistress Leigh . They'd never played together before but it got my foot tapping and it wasn't a spasm! Seeing friends remains my biggest priority outside of finding love again and walking again obviously. On Friday I went for (yet another) appointment with a fatigue specialist at the swanky (thankyou private medical insurance) London Clinic, even though the bloke I saw is an Endochronolist (Hormone specialist) which gave me nightmares of a zillion bloodtests followed by them doing precisely nothing like last time this guy suggested that poor sleep/rest caused by poor breathing since the stroke may be partially responsible. Step 1 would be a sleep study,precisely the thing a friend of mine in the states suggested about a year ago. When I mentioned this to Putney hospital they made vague mutterings about how doing this sort of thing 'undermined thier expertise' blah, they just couldn't stand it that someone else had had an idea they hadn't. Pathetic, allow someones quality of life to be undermined so they can save face. In the same way Tash was never allowed to stay with me at the TLU Iin Putney because of 'Health and f*cking safety', as Stephen Fry would say 'the three worst words in the English Language, well four'. God,finishing this has knackered me, I need to rest before I head off to the Dome with Karen to see Steve Coogan.

2 comments:

Simon said...

First off, well done on that whopper post! I'm glad you enjoyed the Thursday drinks if only for the fact that you were constantly told how better you are looking (even if it doesn't make you feel better). I hope you have started your progress diary so you can see how you are getting on over time. If these sorts of social events are the easier and best way for you to see people and have a good time maybe we should look at getting groups of people together for you more regularly next year?

nurul iman said...

Thank you very Steady info ... hopefully more successful.
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