Over the past few days, its become quite clear that the disgusting tasting herbal remedies haven’t been working… at all; this edition of man-flu has become absolutely rampant and is showing no sign of dissipating whatsoever.
Not only has the Peruvian boa-constrictor’s grip on my chest extended to become vice-like but I’ve also exhausted bulk supplies of conventional Kleenex – the maximum strength variety with the accompanying blurb on the box that ‘claims’ said paper-hankies won’t dissolve into a soggy mass when tissue x comes into close contact with gummed-up nose y.
Wrong – I’ve become proof positive that Kleenex’s marketing department’s packaging hype is total bollox.
The only thing that works, the single item strong enough to deal with this level of nasal purging is conventional, two-ply kitchen roll.
However, while that works a treat, there is a downside – in that my nose and surrounding has started to peel and shred. If I carry on like this for much longer, I’ll be able to role-model for one of Michael Jackson’s new noses.
Time to seek out an alternative to the alternative cure.
Now, I admit that I’m not entirely certain of my facts here but… allegedly… in times past – and this could be Victorian or… maybe Mediaeval… or possibly sometime further back in the Dark Ages – doctors, be they of the witch-variant or those who’d taken some form of the Hippocratic oath, would hang their patients upside down in the belief that the build-up of mucus, phlegm and other shite that makes up man-flu would be cured by gravity.
While I’m a bit of a fan of many things Mediaeval, that doesn’t much appeal… so, I have a squint elsewhere to discover… the writings of Sri Swami Sivananda.
And, according to this bloke – doubtless from the Indian sub-continent – my Kundalini can only be released if… One should become perfectly desireless and should be full of Vairagya before attempting to awaken Kundalini. It can be awakened only when a man rises above Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada and other impurities. Kundalini can be awakened through rising above desires of the senses. The Yogi, who has got a pure heart and a mind free from passions and desires will be benefited by awakening Kundalini.
There is, it appears, a bit of a downside here as well, because – even if I am able to raise my own bar of Loha or Moha – the loin-clothed one claims… if a man with a lot of impurities in the mind awakens the Sakti by sheer force through Asanas, Pranayamas and Mudras, he will break his legs and stumble down.
That’s altogether a bit too Buddha for me plus my mind’s not exactly as pure as the driven…
Indeed, Buddha’s own physician was – reputedly – an Ayurvedic; essentially that’s a bloke who practises the ‘science of life’ and who believes that there are four basic humours of the body (phlegm, black bile, yellow bile, blood – yukky, eh?). Factor in four basic qualities of sensory experience (hot, cold, wet, dry) as well as four basic ingredients of things going in and out of one's body (fire, air, water, earth) and you get the picture, more or less. The fire bit I get as that’s a little like the before and after of a very hot vindaloo down Southall way… but… anyhow…
Apparently, this all translates into health meaning harmony but it suggests that fine-tuning is also possible. Personally, I’m of the belief that my body is long past fine-tuning because, the way I feel right now, any cure – quirky or otherwise – that actually works will get the Storey thumbs-up.
Anyway and according to blokes who know about these things, the human body contains juices and fluids whose ratios regulate health. Time to read on… don't you think so?
So… when there is an excess of some humoural sap, the body heats up, reduces substance, separates the boiled from the unboiled parts and… evacuates the stewed remains. Stewed remains – yes, that’s what it says. Crikey…
Matron… please... no more figs for Mr…
Therefore, the aim of humoural doctor-blokey-bloke is to assist this natural culinary process with warmers and coolers and to facilitate the evacuation process with purges, emetics and bleedings. This isn’t looking to hopeful. But, wait… there is more.
I learn that it is from this belief that the ‘you are what you eat’ phrase comes from… as does, ‘you are also what you excrete’.
Hell – am I staring an enema straight in the face… because, the prospect is… ummm… a bit unsettling.
Remember that sketch within one of the Alan Partridge series when he emerges from the bathroom having been ensconced for the better part of twenty minutes and suggests to the young lady who he’s intent on seducing… I wouldn’t go in there for at least half an hour if I was you.
Thankfully neither the dribbling out method of relief, the awakening of my Kundalini system of mucus control or humourous (sic) doctors who prescribe purges and diuretics hold much sway in Sister Busty’s voluminous medical chest.
The practicality of being this unwell equals doctor equals doctor’s surgery equals get treated equals less chance of it raining phlegm in Taunton, given the way that the Storey chest has been misbehaving of late; Loha or no Doha.
Further to which and given that both my lack of need for the services of a doctor for the past however many years combined with my current suitcase existence means I don’t have an allegiance to any particular surgery, equals – the nearest one will bloody well have to do.
Its half a mile away which means a half-hour amble; somewhat longer than it’d take to trudge that kind of a distance but then the very act of trudging is interrupted every few yards by strangulating coughing sessions that alarm passers-by as I dry-heave while supporting my wheezing self against walls and shop-windows, fluttering lengths of kitchen roll in the balmy breeze.
However, since I don’t much fancy being collared for blocking up most of Somerset, I force myself through the creaky door, attempt to not infect the receptionist as I explain my need to see a doctor… any doctor will do… before settling back to await my fate.
I’m in a sterile waiting room surrounded by out-of-date copies of Hello magazine and Country Life and ring-fenced by a hair-dresser who’s own hair-do went out of fashion in the late seventies; a Village People cast-off sporting a moustache the size of a small hedge and a huge black man reclining in the nonchalant position directly opposite, legs akimbo, mouth wide open and snoring loudly.
After two hours of gazing at out-of-focus pictures (yes, I’d forgotten my glasses), I’m admitted to the inner-sanctum. There is a couch covered, reassuringly, with what looks like fresh kitchen-roll; a computer with an ever-changing cityscape screen-saver; while an abandoned stethoscope lays gleamingly idle among sundry other gadgets of medical persuasion.
Doctor Mabuse marches in, takes one glance at his newest patient and suggests I sit on the kitchen roll.
I wonder what kind of doctor he is?
He doesn’t look like a bloke whose about to prescribe an enema but then… you never know, do you?
Fifteen minutes later I’m heading in to the pharmacy that’s conveniently situated next door with a prescription to hand over. Despite the fact that its illegible, not one word even resembles a word that might suggest a length of hosepipe be shoved up the Storey posterior. Phew… ‘cos I had started to fret a bit. I stand in line, waiting my turn while trying not to cough my relief all over the counter.
Five minutes later I’ve a packet of antibiotics and a couple of plastic bottles filled with an orange liquid – the pills are to be taken one per day for the next however long; the gloop – that resembles some sort of liqueur – is to be taken in 5 milligram doses every four hours. They’ve helpfully included a measuring device that looks a bit like a baby’s spoon.
Twenty minutes later and I’ve taken the first pill, the size of which would be more suited to a Hippo suffering from gout and swallowed the first 5 milligram dose of orange liqueur.
After an hour, nothing has happened. Absolutely zilch – I’m now coughing to Olympic qualifying levels and I feel like shit. This is bollox, I should be feeling a bit better by now… shouldn’t I?
Time for remedial action and I decide that I’d better take a bit more gloop to hurry the healing process along a bit and dispense with the spoon. One third of bottle #1… hmmm, that should do the trick.
It did, I woke up twenty-two hours later.
This, I admit, is where I have a bit of previous… fast backwards quite a few summers.
Many years ago, while ensconced in a small Hampshire village, I had a girlfriend who lived in America. She was where she was; I was where I lived – equals, we didn’t see each other that often. Nevertheless, she was due over in about a week when, one day at my office the surfeit of caffeine intake caught up with my bladder in the way in which it does and so, I proceed upstairs to the smallest room, shut the door, undo the buttons and pee away contentedly. Until…
Oh hell… what on earth is that..? I’ve glanced down – as one does – and spotted that something… an indeterminate something – is moving within the Storey nether regions. Bloody hell… what is it? Was that a trick of the light or did something just move down there?
Needless to say, I’m somewhat longer in the lavatory than intended as I embark on a minute examination…after diligent searching, it appears that there is life on mars. Oh fxxk.
At this juncture in my life, I am actually registered with a doctor and an appointment is made for the very same afternoon. I bowl up and wander into the reception area.
Ah yes, Mr Storey… says the blonde receptionist, her ample cleavage leaving precious little to the imagination – no wonder the surgery was full. You’re here to see Doctor…?
Right… and this is concerning…? She looks up, smiling helpfully.
Umm… yes… well… you see… it’s a little delicate… I can feel myself starting to blush.
Ah… well… you see… its… ummmm… I think I might have… and here I whisper what I imagine to be the problem.
Could you speak up a bit?
Oh hell… I explain my own prognosis in something a little above a whisper while she smiles encouragingly before saying in a voice that I’d suggest was a tad louder than necessary, Right… that’s fine, I undertsand… genital lice, I’ll make sure the doctor knows. Now, would you take a seat over there please? I walk over to my allotted chair as the child who’d been sitting next to where I’d been placed is gathered rapidly up in the arm’s of her worried mother. Bxxxxr, is this contagious?
Half an hour of pure embarrassment later and I’m bidden forth. I stride manfully away from the waiting room and am met by this particular Doctor Mabuse. Right Mr Storey, if you’d just undo your trousers and… on here please… I do as I’m told as he picks up a magnifying glass.
He prods and pokes and examines in a thorough manner. Yes… well… you do indeed have genital lice. After which damning diagnosis I groan as he proceeds to ask a series of deeply personal questions about my recent sexual activities… clearly he’s of the opinion that I’ve been indulging in a lot of horizontal jogging when, in fact, the precise opposite is true.
(Just in case the impression has been given that I'd been fooling about - this isn't the case... it's not my style - I'd actually contracted these little blighters from unchanged bed-linen from an Irish B&B whilst working on the bike race, the Nissan Classic. And, that's fact).
Here’s your prescription… he hands over the requisite piece of paper on which he’s scribbled illegibly in the time honoured fashion of all doctors. And I have to advise you that you mustn’t indulge in any sexual activity for at least ten days.
That’s impossible… I squeal. My girlfriend is arriving in less than a week and… we haven’t seen each other in about two months and… I tail off, hoping he’ll understand this man-talk. He doesn’t.
I’m sorry… there is no alternative… should you do so, there is a strong likelihood that she will catch what you have. He says that in a very ‘umble voice that suggests… wriggle out of that if you can. Damnation, I’m guilty of a crime I’ve not committed.
I walk out via the pharmacy clutching a bottle of white liquid that I’m told I have to apply twice daily… there might be a little discomfort… I should bathe thirty minutes after each application and the all clear will be in ten days. Even with my limited mathematical skills, girlfriend’s arrival date and my all clear aren’t one and the same. Bxxxxr.
Home I go with the aim of starting the process as quick as I can. Then, I think… if this liquid works its magic by degrees over a period of days, what’ll happen if I up the dose just a bit… maybe that way I can clear up this nastiness in half the time? Logically that should work… shouldn’t it?
But then… what about if I just applied the whole darned lot in one go… wouldn’t that get rid of the little blighters who – by now – must be making hay where the sun doesn’t get to shine too often?
I strip behind closed doors and liberally splosh all of the white liquid over my entire body, leaving no nook, cranny or other orifice untouched. This'll put paid to these suckers... Stark naked and covered in this stuff I re-read the label and se that I have to wait thirty minutes before showering. That’s fine… settle back, pour a stiff drink and reach for the paper to aid the waiting process. Nothing happens for about ten minutes but then…
Oh fxxk… it said minor discomfort… this feels like.. hell, my bollox are on fire… The burning sensation is… excruciating…
After fifteen minutes, I’m tearing up and down the stairs in an attempt to create some form of cooling breeze to fan my rapidly incinerating genitals and other equally sensitive parts of the Storey anatomy.
A further quarter of an hour of inexplicable agony and I’m under the shower, washing the gloop off. The pain gradually recedes and… careful inspection shows that not a living creature resides where it shouldn’t. Whew – it worked…
Anyhow… I’ve learned my lesson with the orange liqueur; I’ve been significantly less liberal with it over the past few days and I’ve obeyed instructions with regard to the timing of the antibiotics and… finally… finally… I’m ok again. The cough has pretty much gone away and the nasal purging is down to less than three monumental excretions a day now.
At last – 'cos I’m bloody pants at being unwell.
Still… in the back ground a degree of progress has been made. The beginnings of the new AlphaBetaMusica web site are now up and working; le guru d’internet has, indeed, weaved his magic – it looks fantastic and just what I was hoping for – and, while all of that has been going on, one web click after another has thrown up an altogether most welcome gem… or rather real diamonds in the rough have been uncovered.
The first of the what appears to be a sequence of major features on Island has popped its head up in The Word Magazine. I’ve yet to get a hold of the finished article but, it looks like a pretty serious expose but, I’ll retain judgement on that until its been read and digested.
In any event… within their web site a little snippet caught they eye… one click led to another and… low and behold someone out there in www-land has started a thread on Jess Roden.
OK – you’re excused for not knowing… Jess, for my money (and so it seems from very recent twirls around the www dance-floor, many others are in agreement here) is (was) one of the truly great British singers over the last forty and more years.
Someone who really should’ve but never quite did.
A potted history of the Kidderminster Kid would include spells with The Alan Bown! before forming Bronco with among others Robbie Blunt (who’d go on to make is name with Robert Plant) and recording two exemplary albums, Country Home and Ace Of Sunlight prior to teaming up with the Doors founders, Krieger, Densmore et al to form the Butts Band and record one album with them before launching into a solo carer that saw him cut his debut with Allen Toussaint and others before founding his own, Jess Roden Band – a combo that cut the serious mustard up and down Britain’s motorways as a live act yet who never (sadly) achieved the commercial success that their live shows warranted. Jess then relocated to America releasing a further series of solo records – one of which contains the absolute gem-like reading of The Quiet Sound Of You And I – interspersed with an outing with The Rivits, essentially a collaboration between him and Pete Woods (co-writer of Al Stewart's Year Of The Cat) before... eventually, slowly sliding off the scale and… quietly disappearing to concentrate of graphic design while leaving a legacy of music that is… well… judge for yourself.
For too long I’ve been without a great deal of Jess’ music on the dear old i-Pod but… well… suffice to say, that’s pretty much rectified now and… my rediscovery of his musical nuggets has been more than rewarding these last 48 hours or so as the man-flu has gradually consigned itself to the past.
And then... just as this was getting finished up pops a truly unexpected e-mail... oh joy, oh true joy..!