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

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…

Anyone for Golf?

A family wedding in the gardens of a grand country house some 30 minutes from Oxford sounds idyllic. And indeed it was. Not, though, for anyone in a wheelchair. A deep pebble driveway at the front was impassable. It took very strong men to drag me backward a few yards. Going…

Dear Diary

I never kept a diary. I did sometimes muse about it but reckoned I’d never become famous enough for one to be useful. Well, at least in that I was right. Until the rise of the smartphone, anniversaries and birthdays were flagged by my oldest son, who has the gift…

Running (Wheeling) on Empty

Arguments over nothing and everything are, in my experience, induced by extreme stress. When my wife and I were at full bore working together, this often happened. Not at work — there wasn’t time — and we were professional. Domestically, what little downtime we had would often be spent…

Chained to My Desk

The tinkling laughter of tiny children filters through the windows of my bedroom. It’s a sunny Sunday afternoon. In years past, I would be sitting in the garden watching my grandnieces play. Undoubtedly with a large jug of Pimm’s that I would have concocted for the assembled adults. We’re…

Crawling to Deadline

It’s 3:15 p.m. U.K. time on Wednesday, May 9, 2018. My deadline for this column is actually 3 p.m. Gone are the days of blaming the dog for eating my homework; it’s only in the last few minutes that I’ve actually been able to move a bit. From 8:30…

Knowing Me, Knowing MS

The problem with writing a weekly column is I always need to come up with new ideas. Luckily, or rather, unluckily, MS always throws me a U.S. sports-shaped analogy — one of those trickily disguised curveballs. I wasn’t even going to attempt to write this week. Not because of…

Tricks of the Trade

I saw my neurologist a few weeks ago for what was effectively an emergency meeting. I’d had the customary two rounds of Lemtrada (alemtuzumab) and still had a relapse. We discussed weighty subjects and there seemed, surprisingly, to still be some hope. It depends on the outcome of an MRI;…

It’s the Little Things

Really big things are going on in the world. WW3 is again flagged as a possibility. My world is considerably smaller. It’s mostly my bedroom. I can get out of it, but it takes a considerable effort. In the last seven days, I only exited it once. Last night, I…

Back to the World

The stars sometimes align, even for us atheists. My son was making a fleeting weekend visit from his last year at his university. It’s all we were going to see of him over the Easter period. He’s taking it very seriously and aiming for top grades in math. The week…

Be My Wife

Let me introduce you to my wife, Jane, by cheekily lifting the title “Be My Wife” from possibly the only accessible track off Bowie’s seminal ’70s album, “Low.” Through these weekly columns I’ve mentioned her often enough, but I’ve never formally introduced her. Mea culpa. I didn’t have…

Keep Taking the Steroids!

Six months ago, I was a reasonably svelte 14 and a half stone. I’m not sure how I managed it, but it was certainly before pitting edema wrapped itself around my shins and calves like bulbous sacks of wineskins. I managed to get on the scales a while…

Into the Woods

Well, I’m usually fairly upbeat, but this time, it’s going to be beyond me. We’ve all had relapses — I think I’m in the fitting cliché of being on my last legs. I can, on a good day, transfer on my own from the bed to my trusty…

Out of the Woods?

It’s been a grueling three weeks. Birds ate my breadcrumb trail long ago. I was too tired to follow it anyway. Stumbling about has definitely been beyond me! I’ve just shaved what had become a beard and showered, which, mixing my stories, made me feel like I’d been living on…

Going Cold Turkey

Usually, I’ve got a fair idea of where I’m headed in my column. This time, I really don’t. I’m confronting something. Maybe nothing. It’s as clear as the cliché involving wet, clingy earth. For the first time since the last week in November 2017, I’ve stopped taking antibiotics. That’s…

What’s Going On?

Something is! I had to be carted off to the hospital in an ambulance on Thursday of last week. It was either an infection my home-visiting doctor couldn’t spot or the dreaded relapse. She couldn’t diagnose any illness. At the hospital, they used the words “atypical infection.” One of…

Having a Swell Time

The thing about becoming increasingly immobile is that your consumption of TV, radio, podcasts, books and, indeed, anything written goes up immeasurably. Luckily, one of the creative explosions in the recent years I’ve had MS is Scandi drama. I don’t know if it’s really penetrated the U.S. market, although…

Do Supplements Add Up?

It started with vitamin D. Little did I know I was starting a habit. I had my first sclerosis attack in 2006 and learned about it by having an appalling fall on a tennis court. That’s another story. I haven’t written about that yet, but I’m sure I will.

The Antibiotic Time Loop

My arms are heavy. Strong antibiotics have held off a urinary tract infection (UTI) for the last eight weeks — evolution isn’t on my side. In fact, I’m distinctly beginning to feel like the British Expeditionary Force in Dunkirk in May 1940. Surrounded, with my only hope over the…

It’s Been a Bad Week

It was late. I dropped the TV remote on the bedroom floor. No biggie. I was sitting on my commode (don’t worry, it was in its chair configuration!) and was reasonably close to the ground. No thinking involved, I leaned over to pick it up as I’ve done many,…

A Quiet Week

I could be in a fancy restaurant in central London rather than sitting at home writing this. Don’t feel sorry for me, I chose to stay in. The Christmas month of December is very hard. Extreme partying is allied with extreme levels of work. In my game, they are as…

Santa and His Helpers

The trouble with being a mythological supernatural being is that you begin to doubt your own existence. It was all “Marvel this” and “DC that” over kids’ toy choices these past few years. Dads tried to be above that sort of thing, but He knew how thrillingly pleased…

Questions to Ask Your Doctor If You’re Newly Diagnosed

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We consulted some of our community contributors at MS News Today and came up with 12 questions people should consider asking their doctors after an MS diagnosis.

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