I saw my dear uncle recently – the only one I’ve got left.
Born in 1929, a former manager for Midland Bank (and no fan of HSBC), he proudly told me (again) about the letter he’d received from his excellent MP, Sir Richard Shepherd, congratulating him and my aunt on their diamond wedding anniversary (a family first). Continue reading →
“…that shrewd and knavish sprite/ Call’d Robin”, I tweeted on the #nothingescapesshakespeare hashtag I seem to share with my fellow Bardophile Dan Hannan, when I heard the sad news that Robin Williams was dead. I guess for a certain generation (i.e. mine) he will always be the zany, elfin Mork from Ork, transmitting wry observations about the human condition (i.e. American culture) to his humourless supervisor Orson – “Nanoo Nannoo”. The TV series went stratospheric in the late 70s, and a lot of casting thereafter was done to feed Williams’s whirlwind appetite for comedy – DJ Adrian Cronauer in Good Morning Vietnam, Armand in The Birdcage, or the explosive voice of the Genie in Aladdin, much of which was improvised. Every performance was a spontaneous cyclone of craziness and enthusiasm for life. Continue reading →
Dementia is a purgatorial madness. Whatever form it takes – Alzheimer’s, Vascular, Fronto-temporal, Creutzfeldt-Jacob – it is not only the patient who suffers, but their entire family.
The disease reduces the victim to a shell of humanity, emptied of all joy, emotion and recognition. As cognitive ability declines, so too does the memory, the capacity to feel, dexterity in language and the intelligence to reason. Tears give way to mourning; despair to grieving for the living. Loved ones become strangers; relationships are turned to shadows. It is a dreadful affliction; terrifying for the victim, and profoundly distressing for all around to witness. Continue reading →