John Connor,  —

In the ‘80s, John created the first regular column about the burgeoning London stand-up scene. In 1990 he wrote a book about its effect on the Edinburgh Festival: “Comics: A Decade of Comedy at the Assembly Rooms.” That year he also devised and ran a live topical stand-up team show at The London Comedy Store, The Edge. (It was destroyed in 2020!) In 2009 John was diagnosed with RRMS, which cut short his main job as a TV casting director for “Black Books,” “My Family,” et al. Now, John writes "Fall Down Get Up Again," an irreverent journey with MS, and also serves as MS News Today Forums co-moderator.

Articles by John Connor

A Voyage Round My Father-in-law

This is going to be a hard column to write, and quite possibly it breaks all the rules of column writing by being a tough one to read! I’ve always found humor handy when facing adversity. On the Titanic, my last dying bon mot might well have been, “Hey,…

Do What You Can

One of the hardest things I’ve had to accept with MS is the necessity of asking for help. Pride and self-reliance dissipate remarkably quickly when you find yourself splayed on the floor and you no longer have the capacity to get up. In extremis, I then ask for help.

It’s Back-to-School Time

Well, it feels like it, at least. I just had the whole of the Christmas-New Year’s period off because of how the dates fell. If you only have to be physically at a work venue one day a week, it will get you like that. If I manage another…

What a Relief!

New year, new beginnings — not a chance. Theresa May still has Brexit as her waking and sleeping nightmare, and I’m still battling urinary tract infections (UTIs). Over the last few years, I’ve probably written about this more than anything else; it’s the one thing the medical establishment…

A Winter’s Tale

If you think Christmas is just too stressful, relax — at least you’re not Santa! He’s had to work every single Christmas Day for the last 1,600 years. He was beginning to wonder if it had really been worth saving those three young women from a life of…

Betwixt and Between

Usually, I have an idea of what I’m going to write. Today, all I feel is a bit meeeeugh … Which is more a sound of ennui than a recognizable word. In these days of multimedia, I suppose I should record it and insert the clip into the text, but…

The Right Hand of Lightness

There’s a joy in going on a long journey in which I get the luxury of sleeping through the whole thing. It’s practically magical. Or scientifically, like teleportation. I was there and now I’m here without any effort! I’ll never be able to afford a first-class bed on a…

In Real Time

So, “it” started on Monday. I have no idea what I’m dealing with. Is it a urinary tract infection, a relapse, a bird, or a plane? The superhero metaphor is warranted because, just like in “Avengers: Infinity War,” there will be no resolution by the end. Hmm, I’ve…

And the Good News Is …

Getting started on any career is fraught with difficulty, and the trail that got me to my base camp was truly meandering. It was nearly as convoluted as that sentence! At 23, without meaning to, I found myself being a putative theater critic. Within months, under the pressure of…

How I Managed to Get a Scary Halloween Haircut

“You’ve had a haircut — very smart!” was the greeting at work. Yes, but it was in no way a simple thing. The logistics involved were really that: It took the small army of my family to complete the mission. Until my last relapse six months ago, I could…

Every Day Is Like a Box of Chocolates

Each morning, I’m confronted by an adaptation of the conundrum faced by Forest Gump’s mother: “Life [is] like a box of chocolates: You never know what you’re gonna get.” If I can’t get myself out of bed, it’s going to be a bad one. I may be in…

Taking a Flu Day

Going to bed late and sleeping is reportedly a marker of intelligence. In that case, I am definitely something of a genius. So, it’s always a shock when I have to get up in the morning. I’ve spent a lifetime avoiding it! I’ve lived in such a form…

A Black Mark for the Black Cab

Sorry, this story is definitely parochial and about being disabled, rather than narrowly focused on having MS. It also turns out to be somewhat celebratory — albeit starting from a criticism. Before I get to that, a bit of history. The black cab is an international symbol for London like…

Don’t Turn Anything Down!

At the start of all of this, when I was laid low in the hospital by what turned out to be sclerosis, I was visited by my mate Nigel. He is the king of sclerosis (I’ve written about our “ill” starred bromance in this column) and he offered this…

The Morning After the Night Before

Last Wednesday morning didn’t go according to plan. I’m lackluster every Wednesday morn because Tuesday nights are my regular work gig at London’s Comedy Store. I laugh too much, drink too much, and don’t get home till about 11:30 p.m. Still, I had a good sleep. My new…

A Pain in the Back, Part 2

Second in a series. Read part one. Last week, I wrote about solving my back problems by purchasing a mattress topper for my bed. It was a good thing, too, as I was going into the hospital for a lumbar puncture. It was as if I planned it; well, my…

A Pain in the Back, Part 1

First in a series. So this is what an earthquake feels like? Well, it wasn’t that dramatic, but it was the middle of the night, and I’d been abruptly awakened to find myself lying at a 45-degree angle. This took a bit of processing. The frame of our bed had broken!…

Lymphedema: A Growing Problem?

Now, I’m all for complimentary comments on my columns, and in the combative world the internet has engendered, the stroppy ones, too. But it’s when you lot start writing to each other that I know I’ve hit something. Which is a good thing, however irrelevant I then feel. A…

I’m Too Busy to Think About MS

Well, it’s not a cure, but working hard sure takes my mind off MS. In fact, I’m so rushed off my feet (irony intended!) I’m not sure I have time to write this. But if I stop and ruminate, then my bedroom turns from a frenetic office into a…

I’m Busy Doing Nothing

Everything takes so much damn time! I’m strangely working — or at least doing things I purport as work, such as this column. That’s no different than before MS; I still have the inclination to prevaricate or find something inconsequential to ruminate over, like the state of the Turkish…

Plumbing the Depths

Well, this is going to be a niche market: A picture of a toilet should grab the attention of any plumber who’s now got MS and reads Multiple Sclerosis News Today. Victories need to be celebrated no matter how small the Venn diagram is! The toilet looks OK.

Downbeat, but Upbeat

Most weeks with MS are downbeat. That’s hardly a way to capture a reader’s attention — all of us struggle. What we need is light to blow away the shade. Last night as I climbed the stairs to bed, my legs gave out with three stairs to go. Luckily,…

The Graduate

The queue to get into Canterbury Cathedral in bright sunshine seems endless. The quandary of being Dracula strikes me — I’ll either fry in the sun or fry in a church set up during the Roman occupation of Britain! Luckily my condition is MS, so we seek solace…

Phew, What a Scorcher

Phew, what a scorcher. The summer of 1976 was the last time it was this hot in the United Kingdom. My lasting memory of that summer was not lazing on a beach, but sweltering as a relief manager in an “off-licence,” which is a liquor store. I probably sold…

Steering My Own Boat and Making a Splash

The U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) turned 70 last week. In England, yes, we are mourning our semi-final defeat by Croatia in the World Cup, but to most of us, the NHS is the U.K.’s crowning glory. There are innumerable problems and proposed solutions involving the institution, yet…

Down for the Weekend: World Cup Fatigue

Hi, everyone. I’m absolutely exhausted. And it’s all the fault of the World Cup. Not from any sort of secondary exercise while watching games, but because it’s given me the week off work. England lost their last group match to Belgium on June 29. Their last 16 game…

‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’

I started out in my professional life as a journalist. This only lasted about eight years and feels like a lifetime ago — which it was. Though I was not a news hound, I learned to smell a story. Last week’s column, “A Tale of Two Halves,” juxtaposed bad MS…

A Tale of Two Halves

For those reading this in the U.S., part of what I’m going to write will likely be incomprehensible, as it involves the World Cup. That’s football, not soccer. The rest of the world is in thrall to this sporting event. Even if your country doesn’t qualify, you grumpily…

Dancing Doodle

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