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.

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…

All Quiet on the MS Front

It hasn’t been that quiet in my surrounding world! Last week there was a crow fight so loud in our back garden that it echoed down the chimney into the front room that now is my bedroom. It sounded exactly like being in Hitchcock’s horror film “The Birds.”…

So, Where Do I Start?

Ah, it’s not the blank page that all writers fear that I’m worried about. Those days have long left me. Now it’s applying the discipline to stop! When I first started with a professional writing commission, I sat in the office all day with that fear freezing me. (Those were…

Retirement: My Very Own Blackstar

“At the center of it all” is the dignity of allowing myself to retire with grace. And it only took a world-shattering event to get me to come to my senses! I’d been running, directing, producing, and sometimes writing (usually when comics got desperate with a 15-minute deadline. We…

Growing Up to Be a Strapping Big Baby

It was 4 a.m. and a crisis was brewing. I knew that this time, I’d be a nincompoop if I tried to deal with the situation myself, as I’d faced spectacular failures recently with the poop bit. I was still groggy from having taken diazepam to deal with my…

Short and Sharp

This column will be short as I am quite ill. That’s nothing too unusual for those of us with MS. Oh, the joys of a relapse. A while back, it stopped me from walking. Now it’s stopped me from standing! Transferring anywhere is now a nightmare. I have to use…

Waving the Flag of Victory

Hi there. It’s me, typing again on my very ownsome! For the last two weeks, I’ve been too ill to manage, so my wife kindly acted as a secretary — another of her many talents! I apologize for last week’s rather gruesome outing, but trying to stick to…

Putting Down the Ritz

My stomach is grumbling. I’ve just had the worst weekend ever. And that includes when I had my first sclerosis and smashed my shoulder to pieces on a tennis court. I mentioned last week that I didn’t want to write about C. diff., but this appalling infectious bacteria…

Keeping It All in the Family

I’ve never done this before, but I’m dictating this column to my wife. She has many attributes, among them being trained as a secretary many years ago. We went to the same further-education college when we were both in our late teens, but never met while there. I think she…

Zen and the Art of UTI Maintenance

I knew a urinary tract infection (UTI) had come a visiting again. I’m now attuned to the slightest hint, like that vague burning after weeing. Indeed, it doesn’t have to burn; it could merely be the faintest tinkle — which is rather apt! This time, it went on to further…