Friday, 30 October 2009

Giving up smoking - one year on

Well, it is a year today that I went in to hospital to have hip surgery. It is also a year today that I had my last cigarette.
A year is a long time and I am pleased to say that both momentous events have passed off better than I had hoped.
While I still have some problems with mobility and flexibility, my hip has settled down and gives me the support I need. I am booked in to have the other one done in January after which I will be embarking on some major physiotherapy to get both hips fully functioning.
Surprisingly I was back working only 6 weeks after surgery, half the time I was supposed to have left it (sorry Dr's).
As to not smoking; this has been way easier than I feared. I had great support from the Government Quit Smoking programme (sometimes they do get things right) and would encourage any smoker to give it a go. You have nothing to lose.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Ignorant Audiences!

As a performer who unashamedly works in the lower end of the market (i.e. badly paid!) I am used to audiences who get up and walk around, get involved in a performance and generally don't treat the entertainment with too much reverence.

This I do not mind. My act in particular is geared to audience interaction. I need feedback for the act to work. I cannot get up on a stage that is remote from the audience and just spout prepared routines and patter.

What I do object to is when an audience (and it has to be said that this mainly happens on Hen Nights) gets up, storms the stage and generally interferes with my act to such an extent that it is ruined.

On Saturday night, in a rough, backstreet pub in North London, this is what happened. The disruption was such that, 3 minutes into the second half, I turned the PA system off and walked off stage. I refused to return save to announce the stripper who similarly had major problems trying to work when the girls (I refuse to call them ladies) ripped his costume off, took his glasses off and generally mauled him.

Why on earth do they pay good money for a night out and then disrupt proceedings to such an extent that any semblance of entertainment is lost?

Is it that they are so unused to live entertainment (as opposed to TV or film) that they have no idea how to behave? 90% of shows are to respectful ladies who enjoy the atmosphere of live entertainment. Is it just another example of minority yob culture? Not so many years ago this is just the sort of thing you would expect from a male audience but nowadays men seem to be much better behaved that the female of the species.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Giving up smoking

For several years (more especially since the smoking ban) I have known that I ought to give up the evil weed. Not only has it become ever more anti-social but I know it is not doing my health any good. Increasingly I have been getting out of breath running around the stage and to and from dressing rooms.

So, using my enforced non-smoking stay in hospital as a springboard, I decided to try giving up. 10 days on patches under the influence of morphine and I was over the worst withdrawal symptoms.

On leaving hospital I signed up with the Government sponsored Quit Smoking Programme. They provided me with free patches for 14 weeks and any other support I asked for. But I didn't need any further help. I had my last cigarette on 29th October 2008. I remember the day because it was the day before I had my hip done.

So, 3 months on, how do I feel?

Well, I didn't get the expected coughing and clearing of built up tar etc in my lungs. I never got the cravings for cigarettes. I did get hunger pangs, but these were mainly that I needed something to occupy my mouth without ciggies.

The biggest change I have noticed is my senses of taste and smell. For the first time since I was 12 I can taste the true flavour of things, which has been a bit disconcerting in some cases. The first thing I noticed was coffee. It doesn't taste like coffee anymore, it tastes of something else completely.

And smells. I can suddenly smell things which I never realised had smells! And smells which I always thought were very minor background smells are now revealed as major odours. Toilets especially are very odorous, contrary to my previous experience. Some of it is so alien I sometimes feel tempted to start smoking again just so that all these tastes and smells can recede into the background again, where they have been for so many years.

I know that I am healthier and that my costumes no longer smell of smoke but I do miss some aspects of being a smoker. That said, I know I have done the right thing in giving up, if for no other reason than the money I am saving.

UPDATE - 11/11/11 It has now been 3 years since I kicked the weed. In that time I can honestly say I have felt no improvement in my health. However, the improvement to my bank balance is great!

31/1/12 - I recently had to have a battery of tests. One of them was a lung function test. I was expecting, after smoking since I was 12, to have very reduced lung capacity. I was very surprised to be told that the conditions of my lungs was compatible with a man only a year younger than me. Somehow I had managed to escape any damage over all those years. But then both my parents still smoke and are in their mid eighties.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Nottingham Pride 2009

I am pleased to report that I have been confirmed as compere for this year's Nottingham Pride.

Last year we were a little concerned that the event may have become too successful, too big for the Arboretum. But apparently we are safe for another year.

However, if the event continues to be as popular it may have to move next year. That would be a shame but we have to abide by the Council rules on numbers.

Therefore, with my tongue firmly in my cheek, I ask that we keep the numbers of visitors down to a manageable size this year. There is a credit crunch on, you can't all afford to attend the best FREE Pride event in the country!

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Happy New Year

Why oh why do we put ourselves through the horror of New Year every year? Oh yeah, the money :)

Driving up and down the motorway in freezing conditions on New Year's Eve was a fitting end to a traumatic year for me. My new hip is settling in nicely and the pain killers are diminishing on a weekly basis. I am happy to say I am now accepting bookings for 2009.

Thanks to everyone who booked me last year and here is to an even more profitable 2009