Thursday, 12 March 2015

Polyps and piano bars

Nathan had his long-awaited appointment with a vocal specialist today, funnily enough, with the man who removed a polyp from my vocal chords about four years ago. He's the best in the business and did a cracking job of operating on me... The full week's voice rest after the operation was a bit painful for a man who can't stop talking and I got a mega dose of whooping cough almost immediately after recovering, but none of these things can be blamed on Mr Rubin!

Anyway, unfortunately, Nathan didn't end up seeing the guru and was instead sent to the next door room to a wan who seemed spectacularly uninterested and turned out to be no more useful than our local GP, prescribing exactly the same pills and telling him to come back in four months if they'd not done any good. Well, they didn't do any good four months ago... Sometimes I despair!

Nathan came out feeling utterly deflated, and properly fobbed off, so I told him to go back in and insist on being seen by Mr Rubin, there and then.

...And what a difference a different consultation makes! Mr Rubin did all sorts of extra tests on Nathan, ruling out anything sinister and basically coming up with a diagnosis which felt a great deal more believable, and more crucially something which involved actual hands-on treatment rather than a load of proton pump inhibitors.

I was in the waiting room when the BBC announced that Terry Pratchett had died. There were audible gasps of sadness from people in the room. I guess it very much demonstrated how loved Pratchett was a writer. The news anchorman actually prefaced the story with the announcement, "now we've got some very sad news..." It's not every day that a news reader is anything other than brutally dispassionate.

As we left the hospital, Nathan had to go to the reception to book himself in for his next appointment. The woman behind the counter had a stamp on her desk, which I asked if I could have a go on. She was surprisingly accommodating and handed the stamp over, so now Nathan's official letter is emblazoned with the words, "hearing problem." Every time he shows it to an official from the hospital from now on they'll be obliged to talk to him really loudly!

We went from King's Cross to Friern Barnet, in the process learning, via twitter, that the journalist who interviewed me on Tuesday had put a lovely piece about The Man in the Straw Hat, in the Camden New People's Journal with the heading "Betjeman and Benjamin" which I thought was rather sweet.

We were in Friern Barnet to say a final goodbye to Ian Knauer. We ate chocolate and drank tea (Nathan didn't partake in either, because both are dreadful for acid reflux - which is apparently part of his issue.)

Saying goodbye to Ian was incredibly difficult. A bit like saying goodbye to a score of potential future happy memories.

This evening, we went down South to Kennington to see a West End Wendies cabaret in an upstairs room at Brasserie Toulouse Lautrec. It happens every Thursday night, I'm told, and is a well-organised, beautifully-compared  open mic night, where a mixture of industry pros and Joe Publics get up and perform numbers from the shows. It's very much based on the New York piano bar model. I could have been at the Duplex, Monster or Marie's Crisis. Abbie and Julie both did a little turn. It's very much worth tipping up one week if you like the occasional night of musical theatre classics performed by a hotch-potch of crazy eccentrics of varying abilities.

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