188. Should I stay or should I go?

“I kept this for you,” says Mrs Jones and hands me a leaflet.

Mrs J it was who greeted news of my diagnosis by telling me that she knew several people with Parkinson’s “and they went on some lovely trips.”  A rosy prospect, as you can imagine.

I look at the leaflet.  ‘Fit for life,’ it’s called, and is illustrated with a photo of elderly people stretching and smiling.  I read the back and laugh.

“What?” says Mrs J.

“‘Produced by Age UK’,” I read.  “I’m not sure I’m ready for that.”

“It mentions Zumba Gold,” counters Mrs J.  “You go to Zumba Gold.”

Well yes, it has been known.  But I would argue that I’m only keeping my friend Holly company, in a semi-ironic kind of way.  Otherwise, I’d be at the local Bokwa class for sure, that being the thing that hip dudes do in our neck of the woods.

Mrs J is clearly mixing me up with the kind of old fogey who would ask for a cup of coffee, instead of a skinny flat white with one shot.  I’m a modern metropolitan, me.  Edgy.  Rad, as the InfantPhenomenon has it.

And, being modern metropolitans, ActorLaddie and I decided to brave the pictures last night, even though it was a week day.  I’d heard good things about ‘The Nice Guys’: YoungLochinvar had reported that it was particularly amusing to watch Kim Basinger attempting to get some expression into her immaculately Botoxed face.  And that the kid was good.  And there were some funny lines and stuff.  The Guardian reviewer agreed: ‘a madcap mystery thriller… irresistibly silly comedy’. Just the thing to raise the spirits after a day’s teaching.

Screen 14 is not very big – just a dozen rows – but the projectionist was clearly trying out his sound system for Glastonbury.  Half a dozen trailers: all so very loud, all so very violent.  Coming soon –bad guys mowing down good guys!  Good guys blowing up bad guys!  Very bad aliens devastating cities!  “Was that Big Ben falling on Tower Bridge?” asks ActorLaddie.  Heroic guys zapping bad aliens!  “Only it wouldn’t be possible because of the bend in the river.”

The certificate for ‘The Nice Guys’ promised strong violence and the film delivered on that promise.  People were beaten up and bones were broken, villains were run over and strangled but by the good guys, with accompanying witty repartee.  Retribution from the villains there was a-plenty but it was when a gunman appeared with an automatic weapon and started firing, I could watch no more.

I sat in the foyer, drinking a flat white and thinking about those beautiful young people in Orlando, mown down as they danced.  It just felt plain wrong to watch a depiction of similar violence in the name of entertainment.

Which, I guess, makes me not in the least edgy, hip or rad.  I am resolved in future to only go to events which promise to be life enhancing.  And if that means Zumba Gold or a lovely trip somewhere, well pass me the bucket and spade and my dancing shoes.


Up at the Royal Free this morning, while waiting for my meds to kick in, I chatted with some of the Parkinson’s team about the whole Brexit thing.  The professor said he couldn’t imagine how they would keep the department running if we left Europe, dependent as they were on expert staff coming over here to work.

I’ve been involved in about half a dozen research studies now trying to find a cure for Parkinson’s.  At Imperial College, two of the consultant neurologists were from Italy and one from Spain.  At the UCL Institute of Neurology, I worked with a consultant from the Balkans.  At the Free, I’ve worked with specialist nurses from Italy and my own consultant is, I believe, German.  Or possibly Austrian.     When you chat to the staff about why they are here they talk about the NHS being a brilliant place to collaborate with other experts in world-leading research.  And I’m the one to benefit.

You won’t see this written on the side of any buses.  So I thought I’d mention it.


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