Having never seen a Cirque du Soleil performance before, I had only the vaguest idea of what to expect. Reading some reviews in advance, it was hard not to feel I was going to be underwhelmed.

The truth was, after an uncertain start, it blossomed into something exceptional. This wasn’t a circus show, so much as circus skills interwoven into an idiosyncratic story of loneliness, alienation, a journey into the unknown, followed by reconciliation. From the outset, I was captivated by the young girl, living with her bored, distant parents, escaping into the world of her dreams – or nightmares – by donning a blue bowler hat discarded by one of her spectral visitors. Throughout, I felt the guiding hand of Rene Magritte, as Continue reading “Quidam”

Expert opinion (for Mr Hardy)

After five long years waiting for my Blencathra hips to show some sign of improvement, having tried every form of stretching or releasing known to man, I decided to take advantage of the National Health Service and put myself in the hands of their experts. What I needed to know was simple – was I correct in thinking that a muscle, or group of muscles, had shortened to the point where previously easy, painless movements had become difficult; if so, which muscle, or group of muscles, was it; and what could I do to undo that tightness.

Continue reading “Expert opinion (for Mr Hardy)”

Colonic irrigation

I woke up around midnight, cold, even though I was perspiring freely. Every joint in my body ached. My head throbbed. I was nauseous, my abdomen was cramping, I felt like vomiting and my bowels trembled alarmingly. I thought back to what I had eaten the previous day.

Bread, cheese, ham, oranges – nothing remotely suspicious … unless, that was, I considered the source of that bread, a wholesome ‘integral’ loaf sold in the local market by travellers who didn’t appear to wash.

I staggered down the stairs to the bathroom and had a violently explosive crap. Whatever Sir Thomas got right in the invention of the water closet, he failed to allow for these sorts of event. Continue reading “Colonic irrigation”