October 2008 Archives

Nature's own Kraftwerk

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I found this clip enlightening and disturbing. It's from the Royal National Institute for the Deaf, and It's an attempt to recreate the sounds heard by those suffering with tinnitus. If there was ever a good advert for wearing earplugs at gigs and clubs, then this is surely it.

But I imagine having to live with the constant noise of tinnitus is probably in some way comparable with living with constant pain. The inability to escape and have time off except through unconsciousness, which can often be difficult to achieve, especially as symptoms worsen with tiredness.


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I've suddenly realised that I have made no mention on here about my reading at the very wonderful Stoke Newington Bookshop.

This is not because of any emotional trauma involved, causing me to blot it out, but rather the distraction of my floundering sporting career.

That said, I did find the experience quite disturbing. It was the inevitable flash back to school days. In particular I recall having to do live translations in Latin. And, by the way, this was in a state comprehensive.What was Latin was doing there (and no, Rushby-Smith, although double barreled, does not make me a Fotherington-Thomas.)?

Yes, I faltered. Yes, I went beetroot red. Yes, I mumbled into the book, and yes it went on for ever. But the funny thing is, no-one else seemed to notice. I even got a few laughs. In the right places. Not, "I'm afraid you'll never walk again." room erupts with guffaws. etc.

But the best thing was to receive genuine encouragement from other writers, and to see familiar faces from the neighbourhood, as well as a few from my past, including old friends and even my school music teacher. It must be strange for those I have lost touch with to suddenly find me in a wheelchair. Not on the usual list of,
" I see the old Barnet's on the retreat."
"You're looking well fed, these days."
"Still a Goth? In this day and age?"
"That rash never cleared up, then?"

Short of 'gender realignment', I think the wheelchair would be the most talked about change at a school reunion. Luckily, I have never been within a country mile of a school reunion, especially not one for my school, which would probably have to take place in Parkhurst.

Right, more coffee to get me through the fug of last night's sleeper. Old Spike dropped by again, last night. There are some old friends I could live without...

Ahem. Uhurgh! Uhuagh!

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Yes, dear reader. I choked. There's no point in dressing it up, I should have, could have done better.

It was my first B draw tournament, but still. I won two of my three round-robin matches, and then lost the consolation final. And my best decision all weekend was to steer clear of the Saturday night buffet, which resulted in eighteen people going down with food poisoning, leaving the organisers with a table full of trophies and very few finalists.

 Sadly, even this ill-wind (and worse) didn't result in my winning anything, as the three people ahead of me arrived bright-eyed and bushy tailed on Sunday morning, preventing me winning B division by default as the last man standing (ho ho).

Still, I've only been playing for eight months, so not too shabby, if I'm honest. And it was fun. Some of it. Not the bits where I served three double faults on the spin. And that didn't just happen the once.

Anyways, enough tennis. The best bit of all of this is that my weekend has been remarkably pain free, unless you count aching muscles and blisters on blisters. It must be the endorphins released during physical exercise coupled with so much distraction.

The other high point of the weekend was talking to R on the telephone. It felt really strange, as this is the first time that I have had a proper conversation with her over the phone. In the past, she has tended to rebound between shouting and nodding, neither of which work terrifically well over the phone. Another landmark moment, I suppose...


Note: These pictures were taken before the wheels came off. No, not litera...Oh, never mind.

Serving Welsh

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Yes, the time has come for me to sally forth once more, racket in hand, and demonstrate how completely incapable I am of holding my nerve in a competitive situation.

This weekend, I shall mostly be serving double faults. On a bed of colourful language with a garnish of incoherent muttering. For those of you who haven't guessed, I am on my way to another tennis tournament, this time in Cardiff.

I have come to the difficult conclusion that I cannot in all conscience describe myself as a novice anymore. I feel that winning a Novice title pretty much rules out the possibility of entering any more Novice divisions. I fear I may have peaked too early, and considered retiring with a 100% record in competition, but like any seasoned pro, I just can't stay away from the game. The glamour, the trophies, the excitement, the international travel, the jetset lifestyle, the rush of winning. All these things I am unlikely to find, especially in the novice draw (well, I did find the trophies, I suppose).

So, this weekend I am entered in the B draw (Thankfully, there is still ahead of me a second draw and a first draw). I fully expect to go out first round, get one consolation match, and be back by Saturday afternoon. We shall see.

Sleep walking

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Happened again last night, thankfully. No, dear reader. I'm not suggesting that my paraplegia is 'cured' by my being unconscious. Now that would be confusing, wouldn't it? Imagine having to fall asleep at the bottom of the stairs in order to wake up at the top. At least long-haul flights would be more bearable.

No, the walking I am referring to occurs in my dreams. The funny thing is that on some subconscious level I am still aware that I am disabled, and so in dreams I affect a slight limp. Last night's slumbers were interrupted by frequent bursts of pain that woke me up. This is not that uncommon, but last night it was more persistent. And for some reason, my limp became more pronounced, and actually slowed me up.

All this leaves me extremely unsettled by the possibility that I may eventually be paraplegic in my dreams.

Other news...

I shall be reading from my book and discussing the writing of it on Monday 13th October at 8pm in Stoke Newington Books, should you find yourself in the neighbourhood (London's 'bohemian' N16 area for anyone who is overseas). Entry is £2.50 in which includes a glass of wine, apparently. Bargain.


Half-man half-biscuit tin

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Early steps in the development of the kind of technology that I think would get me walking again. Rather this than stem-cells for injuries as complete as mine. Not sure how long the batteries last, mind.


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