Feel the need to write a little today, mainly inspired by a couple of pieces in the Grauniad.
Recovery wise I’m much the same. Didn’t report on last week’s trip to the dental hygienist who prodded, probed and scraped a great deal, but he reported that my teeth and gums are healthier, which is good.
Not happy with my hair; it is, as I was informed last year, growing back curly and wirier. I’ve joked about growing a big fuck off afro but I hate the way it looks now. Many say how good it looks and how it suits me, I know that some of the comments are designed to encourage me in my recovery, but I hate the look. I appreciate that it was all for the ‘greater good’ of eradicating, hopefully, the crabby one yet the hair is but one of many examples of how much the treatment has affected and changed me.
The hair style I am mainly wearing now links with the first of the articles by Hannah Marriott who writes about the homogeneity in dress of politicians and how even the Greens have been told to not look like hippies. I remember in my late adolescence discussing politics with a school friend’s mother and she didn’t want socialism or communism because they all looked and dressed the same. This was true. And now it’s true for current capitalist times, the ‘default man’ described by Grayson Perry and so many look the same. So much for the ‘choice’ offered by capitalism. Marriott writes: “do not join the political establishment in their navy blue cocoon”, which brings to my mind Invasion of the Body Snatchers where people are taken over by aliens, spend the night in a cocoon and emerge as aliens. The 50’s original was one of the many American films warning of the ‘red menace’, now we have the ‘capitalist menace’.
And so the two doctors employed by the company to do my occupational health assessment conspire to produce an ill-informed report saying that I could return to work in a year’s time if I begin to recover from my fatigue. Yesterday I spent about an hour gently painting Grace’s bedroom wall then needed a long sit down. I didn’t fully appreciate, dozy bleeder that I am (but I blame the effects of chemo on my mental faculties), what has happened to me. I was given heavy doses of 3 types of chemo then the maximum radiotherapy for 5 days a week for almost 7 weeks. This treatment destroyed, damaged and deleted not only cancerous cells but many others throughout my body. It will take my body a long time to recover and even then probably not fully to return to the fine physical specimen I was in pre-crabby times. And these 2 quacks who are probably paid an extravagant amount of money for an extremely cursory assessment pronounce I can work for 1 year in a year’s time. The twats.
And in the meantime, and it will be a mean time financially, the bureaucratic bollocks grinds on and we have to sort out being able to exist financially until my pension’s sorted. For example the other day I spent a long time on the phone to a representative of our mortgage folk to arrange a payment ‘holiday’. I had to go through all our finances, occasionally being judged by this person at which I bridled and felt the need to defend us from such judgement. It made me realise on a relatively low level what so many on benefits and the like have to go through. I would love it if immeasurably dense smith, his sidekick esther mcnasty and others in their mould would have to carry out a Sisyphian like task every day filling out the same lengthy, demeaning and tedious forms to have them given back to them each following morning because of one tiny mistake they made.
This would make me happy which brilliantly links with the other journal piece by Tim Lott and the current obsession with searching for and being happy that is making us more unhappy. He writes of the ‘happiness fascism’, a ‘recent import from America’. Again it’s linked to late capitalism (it definitely isn’t healthy for us or our poor world): “Because capitalism loves the goal of happiness – since it can offer endless products that will promise it”. Because we’re ‘worth it’, definitely one of the most dangerous and insidious advertising slogans of the modern era. One reason this happiness cult is dangerous is, as I’ve suggested before, it adds another level of demand on us and if we fail and aren’t happy then our failure to be happy is made worse. Fortunately the good old United Nations has come to our aid and introduced an International Happiness Day so if we can force ourselves to be happy for just that day we can be grumpy and curmudgeonly the rest of the year. What the happiness fascists don’t actually understand is that as with pretty much everything in life to have happiness we need it’s opposite sometimes. And most of the time it’s OK to be OK.
Anyway good news that large tracts of land in Sussex and Surrey are going to be turned into vast oilfields, some sort of justice there where the ‘surrey stockbroker belt’ is turned over to bring about the human world’s demise that much quicker. Happy days indeed.
RIP Richie Benaud.
Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.