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.

Old Friends, Broken Chairs, UTI Admissions, and Redemption

The week started with a bang, albeit with a hint of underlying anxiety. Friends and former work colleagues gathered during the first days of spring to chat in my sun-lathered back garden in South London. COVID-19 lateral flow tests had all been passed. Previously, we’d spent years working together on…

The Heel That Won’t Heal

The dull throbbing always hits a crescendo “in the wee small hours,” as Mr. Sinatra — or rather his songwriters — so aptly put it. I’m referring to a wound that’s been with me for over a year now. True, it disappeared for a teeny while, when my heel…

Everything Last Week Did Come in Threes

My week is never exactly easy, but it’s much harder for my family. Not only do they have to deal physically with my ever-enlarging lump of flesh, there’s also my verbal diarrhea to contend with. Then last Tuesday, it wasn’t just the verbal kind. Turns out my bowels began to…

Can I Really Blame MS for Everything I Say?

It wasn’t an argument; it was a reality check. I was happy, nay, self-indulgent. Within a day, the ol’ stand-up show that I produced at London’s Comedy Store for 30 years had gotten another booking at a countryside marquee just outside the city. I mustn’t disparage, as it’s our…

The Captain and His No. 2

There I was, swinging away in my hoist at 9 p.m., though my swinging London of the 2020s wasn’t only 60 years later, it was also a lot, lot grimmer. My carer and maybe still wife, Jane, stood below in a controlled fury. If nothing else, she might…

Does 2 + 2 = 4, 5, or 0?

Am I about to share my first conspiracy theory, even if it’s just about me? Why not? It’s all the rage, though this one may have a loose connection to a possible truth. Stick with the story, please. It requires some scene-setting. It was years ago, at the end of…

The Supplements of Mice and Men

Roll up, roll up, for all the fun of the fare! I swallow an awful lot of supplements. Have I also swallowed the barkers’ patter? I don’t think so. But I’m more than aware that if something works on mice, then the chances of it working on me are likely…

The Big Blue Bag and a ‘Cast Away’ Bed

Once upon a time, long, long ago, when I was very young, we British children would be asked, “What’s through the round window?” The line was from a TV series called “Play School.” The swinging ’60s may have been breaking in London, but culturally, this was the happening show…

Having My Own ‘Long Bad Friday’

In truth, my long, bad Friday started on Thursday afternoon at 5 p.m., although it seems wrong in the middle of a black, midwinter night to still call it afternoon. Still, if you live in Alaska, summer nights never even start! (OK, I’ll stop musing about the vagaries of Earth’s…

The World According to MS Ennui

Move along, move along. Nothing to read here. What a great start to a column! Last week, my worries about MS lifted as I was consumed by a glitch in my computer software. I’m pleased to report that I’ve found a whole series of admittedly fiddly workarounds. I’m even…

This Week, MS Takes a Back Seat

The vagaries of multiple sclerosis are always present, but this week, my waking hours have been consumed by something far more important. I say waking hours, but we have to discount much of that time, because I’m put to bed at the early hour of 10 p.m. and spend several…

As Omicron Spreads, I’m Keeping My Head Down

I’m pretty sure that wherever you are, you’re responding the same as we all are to the ravages of the latest Bond villain, that dastardly omicron variant of the coronavirus! OK, pipe down, Kiwis. The whole world knows the extreme lengths you’ve gone to avoid a massive COVID-19 outbreak. If…

Santa Is Not Comin’ to Town!

This is the fifth year I’m writing a Christmastime missive about how my MS journey as Santa is going since the disease mortally attacked my immune system. The trouble was that it took doctors ages to work out my diagnosis. Being Santa Claus, no MRI machine…

An Interview With My Primary Carer

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while. My wife, Jane, who’s also my primary MS carer, went away for a few days last week, and with absence making the heart grow fonder and all that, I thought I’d strike — if she came back! Fortunately, she did,…

There’s a New Primary Carer in Town

Well, there’s a new carer at home, actually, but town sounds so much cooler. Like an old-time Western sheriff! My dear wife, Jane, has taken a few days off to attend an ayurvedic yoga retreat, so I’m without the care of She Who Really Must Be Obeyed. (I’ve…

On the Healing Powers of THC

I have to admit, I’ve wheeled down the THC path a few times before. Yes, I know it’s very difficult to stay on the path when under the influence. Luckily, I’ve solved this problem by only imbibing in bed. I say imbibing, because for me, smoking the stuff is…

I’m Back in the Desert Without a Horse

Well, that was fun. I’ve got my party hat on from a recent birthday (of course I have one, it’s my trusty trilby! See my avatar above) and have been out and about having a lot of fun. I splurged by spending time with family and friends, ’cause…

Party on, Dude, but I’m Still Blaming the Dog!

It was my birthday last Friday. No cards, please; it’s far too late. Anyway, considering the world’s supply chain disruption, I’d be well on the way to my next by the time it arrived! Just a small social gathering of immediate family. Six of us demolished 150 quids’ —…

It’s Just One of Those MS ‘Snow Days’

“Rage, rage against the dying of the light,” Dylan Thomas wrote in his famous poem about us humans fighting, against all odds, the inevitable moment of death. Oh, yes, I went there. I’m starting with the dark and seeing if I can pull it back with a swath of…

What Did I Do Over My MS Holiday? Stand-up!

So, yes, I’ve been away for four weeks. Anybody miss me? Well not away as such. There are places with hoists — even a specialist camper van you can hire here in the United Kingdom — but matching that with a profiling bed makes for quite the elusive Venn…

MS Presents ‘Horror Weekends’

I have always liked the odd horror movie, the odder the better. I was a bit of a fan of the trash Troma Studio mob, where their tongue was so firmly in their cheek it usually stuck right through it. For you youngsters out there, think the “Sharknado”…

The Painful Tooth: My Weekend of Agony

I’ve written about trigeminal neuralgia (TN), which entails severe facial pain, many times. Let me count the ways. Please excuse me while I go off and search through my columns. I’ll be a while. Well, it turns out I’ve written specifically about it only three times,…

‘He’s Fallen in the Water!’

Any British comedy aficionados among you will know “He’s fallen in the water” is the most famous of all the innumerable catchphrases of “The Goon Show.” That show was the root of Monty Python and every bit of the new wave of comedy that swept through our country.