Fall Down, Get Up Again- a Column by 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.

How I’m Staying on Top of MS’ Many ‘Gifts’

When I was finally diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2009, my first question to my neurologist was, “Will I end up in a wheelchair?” She patted this question back with the generic, “You may, but no one knows the course that anyone’s MS might take.” Later, I learned that late-onset…

My ‘Great Escape’ During a Long Pandemic

Unfortunately, mine didn’t involve a cool motorbike — it was the wrong kind, as somehow Steve McQueen had managed to steal a British one — and an impossible jump at barbed wire to get into Switzerland! I’ll now never be able to get onto a motorbike anyway. Instead, it…

Santa Claus Is Still Comin’ to Town

Santa refuses to use email! At least letter-sending is a thousand years older than he is! (Via Shutterstock) Well, 2020 was a weird year for everybody. It was even weird for magical creatures, as these days, an awful lot of people believe they exist! It’s tough now to hide.

The Thankful Rest of Thanksgiving

I’m surprised I get anything done! Luckily, the parent company of Multiple Sclerosis News Today is in the U.S., so I didn’t have to write this column last week, due to Thanksgiving celebrations — even though I’m British. I also got two days off from being an MS News Today…

To Be Forewarned Is to Be Forearmed

My travails with MS invariably deal with what it does to me. This week, dear reader, it’s what I did to my jolly old self! I’ve got a daily light exercise routine designed for me by an occupational therapist (OT) and a physiotherapist. Why two professionals? Well, the…

Of Mice and Men (and MS Research)

The other day, I was watching an arts documentary instead of another repeat of a movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was about John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath,” of which I’m a fan. The headline for a column I’d been mulling for some time about MS mouse research…

45 Minutes in the Life of John Peter Connor

I have two regular carers at the moment. The first to arrive greets me with her usual efficacious, “Good morning, John!” She’s loud enough to wake the whole street. Luckily, my neighbors should be up anyway, as my carers are booked for 11 a.m. each weekday. I have mentioned in…

The Long and Winding Road to My Urologist’s Door

Last week’s column, “The Loneliness of the Long-distance UTI Patient,” dealt with my dive into the Eastern (bloc) world of bacteriophages. It would be a fun exercise (and boy, do I need some exercise) to dive into the history of the discovery of bacteriophages and antibiotics. Both fight…

The Loneliness of the Long-distance UTI Patient

When did I first become aware of the word “phage”? “Star Trek,” of course! It was an episode about a disease that was destroying a race somewhere in the Delta Quadrant. (OK, possibly — even I fade out in the Nerdverse. But it definitely was in the “Voyager” series.)…

Resistance May Be Futile, but the Borg Taught Me Something

OK, you’re not all science fiction nuts, so I’ll explain: The Borg are a cybernetic race and the lead baddies in the “Star Trek” universe — or, the way the latest Netflix iteration is going, the multiverse. Besides trying to take over all life forms, they also have the sneaky…

Fighting the Beast

It was 3 p.m. last Thursday. Things should have been good. I had filed the copy for my previous column the day before. Ultimately, some of my outrageous musings had gone, and some I considered even worse had stayed. It’s an age-old journalism, radio, and TV writer’s trick: If…

The Terrible 62s, or the Rage of the Non-toddler Adult

It’s usually best to write with time for reflection. I often feel like a foreign correspondent reporting from the front line of my own bedroom! The shells of multiple sclerosis (MS) explode within me, and I’m suddenly airlifted into new territory. It’s like being yanked from the street troubles in…

Like Iggy Says, ‘All Aboard for Funtime’

I’ve been a moderator at MS News Today Forums for a while. One of my jobs, besides rejecting the interminable bots that try to become members, is to promote interaction. This is the hard part. The bots are amazingly easy — they are so far away from getting near…

Turn It Off, Then On Again

There’s always something! As a columnist, that comes in handy, as then I don’t have to think too much. Stop snickering at the back for thinking that I never think. How very dare you? If any of my fellow Brits are reading this, yes, I’m liberally nicking comedy catchphrases. Why…

Relapse, Relapse, Relapse, Profanity, Relapse

Maybe I should have called this one “Short and Sharp 2.” Yes, I’ve had another relapse, following my last one in May. I can no longer clean my own tail, and the present regime is literally to “s**t the bed!” I’m using a lot of exclamation points here,…

It Was a Lazy Sunday Afternoon — Not!

It all started on the hottest day of the year here in the U.K. My phone said it was 99 F. An old friend was coming over, and my youngest son, Jack, had kindly cleared a route to the garden. So, when she arrived, I took the route. We all…

The Mouth That Roared and Roared

Strap in: This is not going to be a fun one. Even less so for me — though I’m writing this under the sort of drug load that Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson would have been proud of! Not for fun (or dependence!) but for survival. “Since TN is…

The Joy of Joining the ‘Downton Abbey’ Set

For an espoused leftie, you might be surprised that I’ve always had the brush of the rugged individualist about me. Not quite Bear Grylls, but grabbing a rucksack and hitching across Canada still counts as my own youthful rite of passage. I was used to doing everything! As…

It’s a Matter of Timing and Mic Technique

In the U.K., stand-up comedy is currently dead. Like Python’s parrot, it “wouldn’t move if you put 4,000 volts through it!” That’s not strictly true. Our government has just stumped up 1.57 billion pounds ($1.97 billion) to support the arts that were slammed shut by the crisis. Comedy is…

Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Woman

In this case, the woman in question was yet again my wife, Jane. The hour in question was 4 p.m. on my usual day of writing. But on this day, writing had to be forgotten until a stint later at night (yawn). I had an entertainment Zoom call to partake…

Here Comes the Sun, and It’s All Too Much

Yup, it’s the annual whinge about what heat does to most of us, this time livened up by a headline that includes two Beatles’ song titles. (Yes, I did have to scroll through their discography to find the deeply submerged second — a George Harrison number off “Yellow…

A Morning With No Opera but Enough for a Small Choir!

Last Wednesday my days of rest suddenly smashed to a halt. At one point it seemed like the majority of those who work for my local council’s social services (whom I should have also thanked for their immense help over the last few weeks, mea culpa) were squeezed into…

Dancing Doodle

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