Sunday, 23 September 2018

I don't know about the rest of the NHS, but Hammersmith Hospital has improved beyond recognition since the late '80s

I experienced two week-long stays at Hammersmith Hospital about 30 years ago, both as a result of  attacks of acute pancreatitis. I'd suffered at least six previous attacks over a number of years, but a variety of GPs had misdiagnosed every damned one of them, whereas the Irish nurse who collected me from reception on my first hospital visit simply asked me where the pain was and immediately said, "Oh, that'll be pancreatitis". My experiences of Hammersmith back then were so depressing, I've always dreaded the thought of having to go back to hospital for an extended stay. On both occasions, I was stuck in an enormous, positively Dickensian, dormitory-style ward with between 25 and 30 other patients...

Friday, 14 September 2018

Health bulletin - the good news and the bad news

Recap: I'd been feeling ill since the 20th July, with stomach pains, exhaustion, weird-coloured, dayglo wee the consistency of treacle, weight loss, itchiness, fever etc. Around the start of August I began turning yellow. After a week or so, when the colour intensified and it became obvious I had more than "a touch of jaundice" my wife booked a same-day appointment for me with my GP, who wasn't entirely convinced, but ordered blood tests to check out my liver functions and, in particular, the level of billirubin in my system. (Billy Rubin sounds like a Western gunslinger, but is in fact an orange-yellow waste product of haemoglobin which the liver is supposed to process and which causes jaundice if unprocessed.) A phlebotomist took blood samples a week later, and I got a call from the surgery the next day asking me to come in as a matter of urgency - my liver functions were all over the place, and my billirubin levels were so high they hadn't been able to register a reliable reading. Go to hospital at once...

Thursday, 30 August 2018

'Scott Gronmark is unwell'

If you've been wondering why the blog has been so quiet for a while, it's because Scott is currently in hospital for tests.   When a final diagnosis has been made and he is able to return home he will no doubt pick up the pen again and report back more fully!

Sunday, 29 July 2018

My son has just introduced me to Mark Kermode's Radio 5 film reviews with Simon Mayo... they're great!

I think the last time I watched a proper Hollywood comedy was 2009's Funny People, starring Adam Sandler and Seth Rogan. It made me want to throw up. Repeatedly. I used it as part of a general attack on what passes for modern American comedy in the 2011 post 'Laugh? I thought I’d never start! America’s horrible stand-up “comedians”'.  I've avoided new American comedy films (and most TV shows) aimed at the teenage and young adult market - apart from animated films - ever since, because they make me feel unclean, and depressed by what a life-hating, nihilistic, self-loathing, moral cesspit Hollywood has turned into: if they aren't signalling how "woke"and morally superior they are to all those dumbass Trump-supporting flagwavers in flyover country, they're teaching young Americans that giving way to one's most depraved impulses is, like, fun and cool, right, dooood?...

Apologies for my prolonged absence from this blog - heat, health and deadlines are to blame

I had a deadline brought forward on me two weeks ago, which resulted in spending three oppressively hot days slogging away at a review (see previous post) in my sweat-box of a study at the top of the house. As a result, I got to experience first-hand the delights of serious chronic fatigue, as opposed to the  relatively moderate version I normally suffer from: instead of waking up with only 25% of my normal energy supply, I was waking up with between 1% and 5%: one morning it took me almost an hour to summon sufficient oomph just to get out of bed (a common enough problem at university, I remember, but I'm now 65 and retired and I actually like getting out of bed). After a few days...

My review of "Suicide of the West" by Jonah Goldberg for The Salisbury Review


Approximately three hundred years’ ago, Britain gave birth to capitalism, which allowed the people of Europe to achieve “escape velocity from the norm of human existence.” Britain exported capitalism around the globe, which has benefitted billions by producing formerly unimaginable levels of liberty and prosperity. The American conservative writer Jonah Golberg calls this “the Miracle”, because, while it no doubt owed something to British “exceptionalism”, nevertheless “…no one intended it. No single thing made it happen. It was an unplanned and glorious accident.” Sadly, Goldberg warns, the Miracle is now under threat from both Left and Right in those very countries it has made free and wealthy...

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Welcome back, Serbinator! And could anyone explain why women players are paid the same as men?

I was going to give Wimbledon a miss this year, but I weakened and dipped into the Federer v. Anderson quarter-final. It was so enthralling...

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Classic movies: Shanghai Express, The Shop Around the Corner, Algiers, Seven Brides..., Anna and the King of Siam, etcetera (x3)

Shanghai Express (1932) was director Joseph von Sternberg's fourth collaboration with Marlene Dietrich, who slinks, slithers and oozes across the screen...