Saturday, February 27, 2010
(Or let's put on a morality play for black school kids. Back in the class room, discuss... With the added benefit of introducing them to theatre).
Boga Agbaje's second play is extremely black and white - offering up a predictable dilemma. Kojo and Sharon are looking the get out of the estate. They are planning a family and a mortgage. David, an old friend, just out of jail, offers quick money from drug-dealing in contrast to honest earned reward.
Despite the well acted performances of the adults I found it difficult to engage with the play. There was one well written scene that eventually pulled me in (though having seen it last Tuesday night I now forget which it was).
In part that was the fault of the audience. I was easily distracted by talking throughout the performance, as if they were on the upper-deck of a bus. My eyes were often caught by the glow of mobile phones while they texted and made calls. I missed dialogue when some of the audience answered back the characters.
It was probably also because of the difference in respective backgrounds. While the kids in the audience laughed at the hooded 10-year old drug dealers on stage, street savvy and with guns, I found their reaction horrifying; after all, there are such things.
Ghost Stories @ The Lyric Hammersmith
Drawing inspiration from the British wave of portmanteau films, with a dash of the Usual Suspects, I could see where this was going.
Described as "truly terrifying theatrical experience", it wasn't.
My favourite part was Goblin's Profondo Rosso theme.
"The defendant, Oliver O'Leary, met the deceased, Gayle Gaga, in the Pokerface Nightclub on the 22nd September 2008. The defendant escorted Miss Gaga to her home where she invited him in. After having a cup of coffee, the defendant, with Miss Gaga's consent, had sexual intercourse with Miss Gaga by penetrating her vagina with his penis. Subsequently, and also with her consent, he penetrated her rectum with his hand (2 sexual acts). Miss Gaga suffered internal cuts caused by a signet ring on Mr O'Leary's hand. Miss Gaga did not realise for some time that her injuries were very serious. After a period of two weeks, she was admitted to hospital where she died of septicaemia. It was proven, conclusively, that the septicaemia was a direct result of the cuts caused by Mr O'Leary's ring."
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Then the world of support, generously offered by this welfare state, offered itself up to me.
First there were those wanting to help beginning with P.
After a while it began to make a lot of sense. The realisation and conclusion, best of all, that it wasn't my fault. I was not to blame.
Their language reinforced that it was nothing to do with me. I was groomed. I WAS GROOMED.
Absolved, hands washed, all the stuff I had to deal with wasn't mine. It made perfect sense. That one liberating realisation.
D is for diagnoses
ADHD, conduct disorder. Imagine my excitement with hypothyroidism. That can create feelings of sadness, feeling down or depression. As a bonus its symptoms also include inability to concentrate and memory problems.
But, you see, none of these were of my making. I, *I*, was not to blame. Blameless!
Then I was anaemic. Of course I was. Iron deficiency, probably. Causing lethargy, accounting for me feeling exhausted and my irritability!
Simples. Not my fault. NOT MY FAULT. Hurrah - I always knew it.
Blame you, blame her, blame them. But I am not accountable. NOT ME.
Now I know that my inability to concentrate, impaired cognitive skills and short attention span was not, NOT, of my making. All those physical symptoms, the pain, the ache. When, physically, even an army of consultants couldn't find any cause.
That would also account for migrane and other physical manifestations those ignorant doctors would dismiss. They only occur in 1.7% of some measurement of the wwp (that's world wide population). Hell, I am one of them. The one after the .point.
More P people
"Was there abuse?" Of course there was.
You just need to know where to look to find it. That's what all those people beginning with P taught me.
As it turned out, it was my abuse of an over-sympathetic system just looking for victims. My willingness to look elsewhere when instead I should take responsibility.
Me. I. Take. Responsibility. To understand that while it's easier to blame someone or something else, perhaps I needn't look any further than me.
Well, that's what I imagine. After all this was, only, once upon a time...
Sunday, February 21, 2010
If I think I'm in the mood to listen to his music, I'll often turn off the CD before it finishes (except for Company - I love Company).
A Little Night Music, which we saw in Paris last night, is a show exactly in point. I'll usually fast forward to The Miller's Son (I'm afraid that the play's most famous song isn't a favourite of mine), then eject it.
Like gin, he is an acquired taste.
The problem with Sondheim for performers and the ear alike is his reliance on complex metres, pitch changes, clashing polyphony, and (as my sore throat has attested) high notes.
But on stage. On stage, every time, it gives me goosebumps. It becomes real, the emotional connection falling into place and I'm left admiring Sondheim's genius.
Lyrics to his songs are never trite, as last night demonstrated. Every Day a Little Death tells an honest truth and, of course, Send in the Clowns exposes a tragic regret.
The Clowns doesn't need to be sung; it's enough (and written) to be acted and Greta Scacchi did a fine job.
The production was lavish and a joy to watch. On a couple of occasions I found the direction a little puzzling, but for someone who "doesn't like" Sondheim, I was thrilled and delighted and moved (count all 3) in equal measure.
So, it's back to London for 52:52 #9, #10 and #11 this week...including something quite terrifying (apparently):
A truly terrifying theatrical experience written and directed by The League of Gentlemen's master of the macabre, Jeremy Dyson, and Andy Nyman, co-creator and director of Derren Brown’s television and stage shows and star of Dead Set and Severance.
A spectacular new production that will chill and thrill in equal measure…you'll need to leave the light on.
Listen to Andy and Jeremy on Front Row.
Please be advised that Ghost Stories contains moments of extreme shock and tension. The show is unsuitable for anyone under the age of 16. We strongly advise those of a nervous disposition to think very seriously before attending.
Surreal, and then more. That's Shunt theatre company's Money, which we saw on Friday night.
I suspect that not one person who saw it quite got their head around it. At the end the audience are left, quite literally, to figure it out.
In a tobacco warehouse by London Bridge sits the giant centrepiece of our great industrial exposition - an abandoned relic of Victorian technology .
The original purpose of the machine is unknown. If it were built today it would probably fit into the palm of your hand but, in that Golden Age, colossal bulk was the plat du jour.
The future is behind us. The end of the empire is just around the corner
MONEY takes place in an extraordinary three-storey set built in the centre of an empty warehouse in Bermondsey Street. The audience are led inside, where the action unfolds around, above and below them.
But all is not well with the machine. It hisses steam; over-stressed gears throb and grind beneath our seats. The lights keep going out and the jukebox is on the blink. Meanwhile a strange, feral child is stalking the ventilation ducts...
(I took it upon myself to liberate us).
Just another of my 52 this year.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
I had a very restless night, getting up twice and eventually going back to bed and to sleep at 3am... Things on my mind. As always.
Tonight we take another of my 52 for this year and sample A Little Night Music.
Friday, February 19, 2010
On Tuesday night we went to see the story (so far) of his life.
It's certainly an interesting one. As playwright Mark Ravenhill notes in his introduction to the published text:
I realised that he had led a life with great personal strength and bravery, but also that he'd been involved in a political and social struggle from which I had benefited enormously.Although taking the form of a live interview between Ravenhill and Bourne the play is a performed "reading" of the edited transcript of their recorded conversations.
With photos of Bourne across the years projected behind them, adding colour to the rainbow of his life, this story was worthy of documenting.
Ravenhill's work always intrigues me. I found his Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat offering two years ago innovative and thrilling.
The first time I saw his work was Mother Clap's Molly's House in 2001, also at the National. That was when Ravenhill first met Bourne.
The first part of that play has the actors playing characters in an 18th century Molly House (where gays and cross-dressing men would meet for sexual liaisons) before portraying a group of wealthy men in 2001 preparing for a sex party.
The last play of his I saw on the night I met Matt Smith featuring, coincidentally, Harry Treadaway (who we saw on Saturday night) and his twin Luke.
Another one of my 52 this year, A Life In Three Acts runs until 27th February at the Soho Theatre.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
It all seems out of order. We're trying to organise it so we can keep the flat in N1, for renting, and still buy a house.
We were looking in Stoke Newington, but we've seen something in Harringay. A massive 4 bedroomed house. Off Green Lanes.
Now that's somewhere I never saw myself living, but in terms of working out priorities and what's tight for us...(yeah, tight), it seems okay.
We will see what tomorrow brings...
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
On Saturday night it was off to see some Ibsen, with Iain Glen, Lesley Sharp and MiS favourite Harry Treadaway.
Contemporary reviews of the play (extracted from Wikipedia) described it thus:
"Ibsen's positively abominable play....An open drain: a loathsome sore unbandaged; a dirty act done publicly....Gross, almost putrid indecorum....Literary carrion.... Crapulous stuff" - Daily Telegraph
"Revoltingly suggestive and blasphemous." - Daily Chronicle
"Morbid, unhealthy and disgusting story." – Lloyd's
"As foul and filthy a concoction as has ever been allowed to disgrace the boards of an English theatre....dull and disgusting....Nastiness and malodorousness laid on thickly as with a trowel." – Era
And this one, which I rather like. It's probably rather true in my case.
"Ninety-seven percent of the people who go to see Ghosts are nasty-minded people who find the discussion of nasty subjects to their taste, in exact proportion to their nastiness" – Sporting and Dramatic NewsWow. So, what's it about?
Helene Alving (Sharp) is about to dedicate an orphanage she has built in the memory of her dead husband, Captain Alving. She reveals to her spiritual advisor, Pastor Manders (Glen), that she has hidden the evils of her marriage, and has built the orphanage to deplete her husband's wealth so that their son, Oswald (Treadaway), might not inherit anything from him.
Pastor Manders had previously advised her to return to her husband despite his philandering, and she followed his advice in the belief that her love for her husband would eventually reform him. However her husband's philandering continued until his death, and Mrs. Alving was unable to leave him prior for fear of being shunned by the community.
During the action of the play she discovers that Oswald (whom she had sent away so that he would not be corrupted by his father) is suffering from congenital syphilis, and (worse) has fallen in love with Regina Engstrand, Mrs. Alving's maid, who is revealed to be an illegitimate daughter of Captain Alving, and thereby Oswald's own half-sister.
The play concludes with Mrs. Alving having to decide whether or not to euthanize her son Oswald in his developing syphilitic madness in accordance with his wishes. Her choice is left unknown.
As Mrs. Alving, the excellent Lesley Sharp (in contrast to Friday's hammy Julian Bleach), gave a powerful perfectly understated performance. Iain Glen, as commanding as he was, seemed to have dialect difficulty. I was never sure if he was meant to be Irish with his own Scots accent bleeding through or if he was meant to be west coast Scottish free Presbyterian. I think the former.
Engstrand and daughter had diction difficulty - it was really difficult to understand their dialogue at the opening of the play. Too many words swallowed. Hopefully they will become more attentive during the run.
As fort the men's toilet door, banging throughout the performance, completely unacceptable. Theatre manager take note!
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Here is quite the perfect Valentine's bouquet. For me. Incorporating a few of my favourite things...
It was almost a year ago to the day that we started our taste test of the "do us a flavour" Walkers crisps competition entries (Crunch Time).
About the same time another new limited edition flavour crisp was launched.
Created by Tyrrells for Valentine's Day last year, their Lovely Chips Strawberry, Sweet Chilli and White Wine proved to be a little too limited an edition. We were unable to find any.
However for snack hungry Valentine's lovers our local Waitrose had them on their shelves this year. When he saw them, Xfe grabbed me some bags, knowing the joy they would bring...
Once our Valentine's lunch was prepared for cooking, we decided to open a bag (and the bottle you see hidden in my bouquet) and taste test once more.
On first view (though I don't think it is clear from the picture below) I notice that some - but not all - of the crisps do have a slight hue of pink.
Xfe: Too sweet. The chilli is nice, subtle, just a little bit. But I don't really like the sweetness of the thing (what is it?)
My first impression was that the wine tasted more like vinegar in posh salt and vinegar crisps, where the vinegar flavour is named as a wine or cider vinegar. I waited for the vinegar tang to power through the unavoidable saltiness, but it didn't. That's deceptive because you do expect it.
There is little if any heat. Mon C is right in that respect. There is a sweetness, but only ever so slightly. Ever so slightly.
The saltiness isn't a predominant taste; just something you are aware of.
I can't taste strawberry. Not at all. There's almost a very slight smokiness.
Nope, it's not a flavour that works for me.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
At first I thought it was too early to have a retrospective (or is this actually an introspective), but who would have believed it - it was 25 years ago.
It was the year I began to become the person that I am. I started to find myself, and to fit into myself.
In 1985 I finished my first year at University and started the second. At school I never really felt the need to express myself or to become something. I never knew I wasn't yet the person I could become.
In 1985 I met, for the first time, the friends that are my friends. My core group of friends.
Of course I didn't discover things. It's not that I woke up one morning and thought, "Hey I'm really....". They just happened. I grew into myself and started to populate the spaces waiting to be filled.
There had been some clues along the way. The person who spoke to me with the most meaning was probably Morrissey. (Just like most other sensitive souls, probably).
Nostalgia stems from the Greek words for return ("nostos") and pain ("algos"). It was used to describe suffering due to a desire to return to a place of origin.
Nothing helps tap into meaningful past experience like music. Ironically it's thanks to today's technology that we're readily able to do so.
Sometimes I can watch a piece of television and I remember exactly where and ow I was watching it all those years ago.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
But which Ivanov is deluded, and which is the political protestator?
On Friday night at the National it was hard to see further than the, ironically, rigid ak-tor portraying the first (sadly Toby Jones had been replaced by Julian Bleach; who was much better behind prosthetics, in a wheelchair).
However, he did get a little better, and although he dominated the start of the play, he was slightly less prominent as the focus switched to Ivanov the political dissenter.
The play is of an era when the Soviet machine put people who criticised, or even questioned, party authorities into a mental asylum as alleged schizophrenics.
Representative of where Czech playwright Tom Stoppard may have been in 1977, when the play was first produced, EGBDF reminded me of Bent with Nazi evil replaced by Soviet rigidity. (Though I think EGBDF was written first).
By staging it now the suggestion is, of course, that the "bad old days" the teacher in the play talks of, are still with us. The theatre programme notes:
Since 1992 political assassination in Russia has become almost commonplace. About fifty journalists have been murdered. In February 2009, The Times reported, "Roman Nikolaichik, a parliamentary candidate for The Other Russia [party]... was sent to psychiatric hospital after police questioned him about his political activities.We don't have to go far back to remember the curious case of Alexander Litvinenko's polonium poisoning and the assassination of journalist and human rights activist Anna Politkovskaya.
Without a doubt, André Previn's score is the star; and the masterstroke is the deception that the orchestra, played by the Southbank Sinfonia, are not all that they at first seem.
EGBDF runs at the National until February 17th.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Made in Scotland: The Problem With A Little Prick, or read part 2)
If you like this, you'll love:
They leave a slightly metallic taste where my nose meets my throat.
And that's as much of side effects visited upon me. I'm very lucky. Some people have severe nausea, bad headaches. But I don't seem to.
My first set of pills taken 12.30pm. That means I have to stay awake or wake up at 12.30am to take the next. I set my phone alarm.
But on Tuesday I take them 10mins early. Then on Wednesday 30mins early. Trying to get 12.30am to a more convenient time - after all I'm usually asleep by 10pm!
Then, on Tuesday (3 days after the event), I start feeling as if I have a cold coming on. On Wednesday I feel very, very full of cold. The worst for a long time.
Of course, I've been Googling HIV symptoms. Except then all of the sites told me they could develop as early as 3 days after primary infection. With flu-like symptoms. Just like I feel.
So, self-diagnosing on the internet, I'm seroconverting.
On Friday, when I go for more pills, NurseN tells me that without a rash (and I have phlegm, thank heavens I have green phlegm) it's probably just a cold.
Blah blah blah, until 2 appointments later, when once again the conversation turns to Kent.
"I always knew it was a risk, but for 18 months it never happened, and now it has, I find there's a distance between us."
"I blame him. I know that it isn't his fault, but I'm starting to resent him for this."
Friday 29 January 2010
After checking my DOB
Negative (the HIV result come last)
So how does Kent's partner feel?
"When I reconciled myself to being positive, I thought it would be liberating. To be able to have sex without the worry, without hangups. To have... real sex. Unprotected, dangerous, raw sex."
Of course, 4 months after the condom event, I was still blaming Kent. How could I not blame him? He took it to me and put me at risk.
Before it happened I thought that if this happened then it wouldn't matter. If it happened, and like Kent I was positive, we could be fully intimate with each other. We'd be equal, we'd be the same.
Then we could have the hot, thrilling sex.
Just over 18 months' strong partnership together, and then the last 4 months. That's the best part of 2 years we gave to each other.
But not strong enough. Once that condom split, up and down the side, and you had cum inside the condom inside me and given me what you had, I thought (I told you that even with the condom I still preferred that you didn't cum inside me), I began to resent and blame you.
Four months of uncertainty, and I began to withdraw from you. I couldn't tell you that I blamed you. I kept it to myself, but I know you sensed the distance growing between us.
Until, for me, the resentment became too much.
So, even though no harm done, Kent, the harm has been done. I knew that if I was diagnosed positive - I would always have blamed you, and we couldn't have survived.
By the time I found out I was negative I'd decided it was already it over.
I couldn't go through it all again.
So how does MiS feel?
He could have cried with relief (although he didn't think he would feel like that).
Negative (the HIV result comes last)
But what of Kent? He's still +ve. And now, he's alone.
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
History it may be, but what happened then continues to shape what is happening now.
Following the end of WW1 the Ottoman Empire, which had been in control of the Middle East since the 16th century, was carved up into three "occupied enemy territories".
Britain, in occupation of Palestine and Syria since its defeat of the Ottoman Turkish forces in 1917, eventually ceded control over Syria and Lebanon.
In 1920 the Allied Supreme Council granted mandates for the French to administer Syria and the Lebanon and the mandates for Palestine and Mesopotamia to Britain.
The pressure to allow Jewish migration into Palestine ultimately led the UN Partition Plan promoting a Palestine divided between a Jewish state and an Arab state.
It is against that background and the resulting 1947–1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine that Palestinian Amir Nizar Zuabi's play, which we saw at the Young Vic on Saturday Night, is set.
As the play starts, Ali, Yusuf, his mentally disabled brother, and their neighbours anticipate the unexpected outcome of the United Nations vote in favour of the termination of the British Mandate of Palestine and the UN Partition Plan, triggering a civil war.
In the event the war lasted from 30 November 1947, the date of the UN vote, until the termination of the British Mandate on 14 May 1948.
During its first phase the Jewish and Arab communities of Palestine clashed, while the British, who supposedly had the obligation to maintain order, organised their withdrawal with minimum intervention.
From there the play's events move onto the conflict was the 1948 Arab-Israeli War beginning on the termination of the British Mandate and the creation of the State of Israel, when the conflict in Palestine became an outright war between the new State of Israel and its Arab neighbours.
The play focuses mainly on the siblings' relationship. Though Ali is in love with Nada, her father won’t let them marry because Yusuf is ‘odd’. Even so, Ali only rarely shows or directs his frustration at his older brother.
When Ali reveals the guild that burdens him, we understand more fully his relationship with Yusuf.
The play's opening reveals where the journey will end, but it's heart-wrenching, with a compelling and engaging performance by both young and old Yusuf.
It takes about 5 minutes or so to tune into the Arabic text and follow the subtitles (though probably about 60% of the play is delivered in English), but once tuned in the rest of the hour and a half, with no interval, flies by.
On their final night, ShiberHur were given a very well deserved reception.
Monday, February 08, 2010
"Mon C," (I really do call him that) "can you get your diary out, please?"
After Julie/Julia everyone seems to be doing it; whether it's State of the Nations 28 days, 28 entries or the Bobsters 365.
That being the case I'll do 52:52. That's 52 shows in 52 weeks. Now, a show isn't just limited to theatre visits. It could be an art exhibition, museum event; of necessity it might even have to drift to encompass a looser meaning - anything that is a cultural event...
Last time I looked we were off to:
- The Little Dog Laughed
- I Am Yusuf And This Is My Brother
- Every Good Boy Deserves Favour
- A Little Night Music
- Lucia di Lammermoor and
- Ghost Stories
- Money by Shunt
- Off the Endz
- Sweet Nothings
- Prima Donna
- The Habit of Art
- The Empire
- Women Beware Women
- The White Guard
- Spur of the Moment
I missed Midsummer, which means Xfe's 1-up on me. But so far I'm 3 down, 49 to go...
After all, Jonathan Pryce has become rather irrelevant. Old. Boring. He always was overrated in my book.
Sunday, February 07, 2010
I don't know why the idea isn't celebrated de facto. In an era when everyone has something to market, and sell to us.
So let this idea be mine - the Birthday Week!
Why should a birthday lasts only one day? Christmas, by comparison, starts in August.
This is the third year that I have celebrated a birthday week (the idea only came to me when I was in Paris, celebrating). When last year Xfe threatened to have one (thus giving my doctrine legitimacy), I embraced the idea.
But only so I could have one.
Now it's here, I almost forgot.
As with the birthday itself, the intent of the Birthday Week is that you are entilted to do whatever you wish. Treats, pleasures, special attention... But for the whole week.
This year, today, it starts with a leisurely Sunday morning/afternoon DVD viewing (thanks to blogtorwho for the pic). The first of the Peladon Tales. A cautionary tale, first broadcast in 1972, of an unsophisticated - but mineral rich - planet putting its case for joining the Galactic Federation (EEC membership anyone - it's not a coincidence? We joined in 1973).
There is an irony about this, which I hadn't realised until I started watching (I always watch with production information subtitles on). Serendipity indeed (The Green Death taught me what that word means).
I love to watch original Who around about the time of its first transmission.
In this case The Curse of Peladon was broadcast on BBC1 between 29 January - 19 February 1972, encompassing my Birthday Week. And I remember strands of it.
Anyone for Ice Warriors?
Friday, February 05, 2010
Poor John Terry. Poor MPs, facing charges for expenses claims.
Here's my 5 on the fifth. Or is that five on the 5th? City life:
Living in this city means an early start. But that allows me to collect my thoughts and plan for the day ahead. Once I get into the office and check my email/voicemail that plan goes out the window.
Then the roadworks. There are always roadworks in London. Always. Roadworks.
As for City life:
Staring at the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament and other magnificent London landmarks often helps my office meetings ease beyond the hour...
Sitting at the other corner of the table, or in another meeting room, I find that the Post Office Tower somehow reminds me of a .
Followed by, of course, a journey home in a black cab.
Thursday, February 04, 2010
"Really, it is."
It could be the MP expenses scandal I'm complaining about. Maybe it's a moan directed at the people and the people on the buses in the City I fight through every night, on my way home. Or is it the ridiculous pretext of this evening's Silent Witness, a firm favourite of Xfe?
Maybe it's the deception I'm weary of - whether it's my recent white lie to the NHS or another series of untruths, currently being perpetrated.
I used to think that sometimes my life was one enormous drama. In fact, it's more often one enormous deception. An umbrella of macro deceit sheltering micro deception, in abundance.
Sticky, sweet deceit. Like syrah soaked honey. Warm, delicious but impossible to rise above.
Perhaps it's because I'm just so worried about these missing buttons.
The truth is that I'm saying because I like saying it. I want to make it mine.
Google Tilly, buttons and idiot.
I) This is to protect you from having an infinite numbers of chain
letters sent to you day after day, wasting valuable time.
hidden message time?
II) This helps you to keep the majority of your friends and not
have them constantly mad at you for giving them a chain letter.
III) Beware the bad luck that is promised to you in the typical chain letter.
I) You shall send this to 10 people on your mailing list, or a terrible fate will befall you.
II) You may not send any chain letters to the person who gave you
the "Chain Letter Protection Pact"
I) Everybody that you sent this pact to may no longer send you
"chain letters". If they do you are now exempt from the
contents of the letter.
II) Any bad luck wished to you through a chain letter will now no
longer apply to you. The person who sent you the letter,
must have received this Pact from you before you received the
letter. Otherwise, the chain letter is still valid.
D. Other Key Points
I) After you have received this Pact and have sent it to
everybody on your mailing list, you shall have seven years of
good luck. This luck overrides any bad luck that has been
wished to you in any "chain letters".
II) The creator of this pact is exepmt from any chain letters
what so ever. If a chain letter is sent to the creator, the
sender will experience 15 years of the worst luck.
III) This Pact has precidence over any other form of chain
letter, Pact, or death threat.
IV) This has been written for the protection of the community,
so pass it on to everybody.
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Made in Scotland: The Problem With A Little Prick)
If you like this, you'll love:
The condom event
It seems, after a little Google research, I know the answers to the questions I'll be asked. Of course, I wasn't told why I would be given PEP (or equivalent) as a health worker after a needle-stick injury, but not otherwise, bearing in mind the nurse was the one who convinced me HIV was a real concern.
Even my brother, in his job, apparently wouldn't be (though I have now told him to insist).
Anyway, back to me... While you find me single-minded, you find those I encounter in the health-care profession wholly sympathetic.
We had unsafe sex .... The condom broke ... Is it worth asking for PEP?
To see if PEP might be given, use our self-assessment tool. This tool will help work out how big the risk of getting HIV was and whether it’s worth asking for PEP.
"My partner is HIV+. We were having anal sex. The condom split."
"Did he cum?"
"Yes. He withdrew after cumming, and I saw the condom had split."
"How had it split? Was it burst, " she asked as I realised I'd no idea how condoms might fail.
"...or had it split up the side?"
I thought that sounded more plausible. "Yes. It split up the side."
"And there was no alcohol involved, no forced sex."
I explained that we had had wine with dinner, but only one glass (as if I would only drink one glass with dinner on a Friday/Saturday).
The sex was because Kent (my imaginary HIV+ partner of 18 months) was leaving the next day for Poland on business, for a couple of weeks.
Somehow, to the counselor, my tale of Saturday night after dinner sex translated to a Sunday morning event. I didn't trouble to correct her; I wanted to believe.
"Then we're still in the first day. That's good. PEP is almost 100% effective if taken within 24 hours. 75% if started within 24-48 hours and 50% after that, up to 76 hours. After that it probably won't work."
The counselor mentions a fast test test. I manage to persuade her it's unnecessary (I can't remember how I dealt with that. Fast test takes 20 min, and that's 20 more minutes into the last 12 of my 76 hour window).
"Ok, so no test necessary."
Lie follows lie, and it becomes so easy giving the answers they need to hear.
But I hate deceiving; yet I've been put at risk, a slight risk, but in another profession I would - immediately - have had the option to take medication. Now I have got to act for it.
Then, next, it's off to the Doctor. Italian. Slim and handsome in his black fitted shirt. More talk when, eye on the clock, all I want is the treatment.
"After all the emphasis on taking the medication as quickly as possible, can I just take the first dose?"
And I do.
There's more chat and replies, and some blood tests. Ouch. Sore. But I don't mind. I've started PEP, and the Doctor is handsome.
I'm given 7 days supply of tablets. I take (though my recollection might be wrong) 1 blue, and 2 yellow twice daily. And I have to take them, the Dok-tor explains, exactly 12 hours apart.
I'm referred to another unit at a sister hospital for a 1 week check-up and the next 1o/14 day supply of my PEP treatment.
"To be effective, you must stay with the entire course. We have found regular checkups help patients keep with the course." The Italian Doctor is wearing a black shirt and is really rather sexy. Because he reminds me of Xfe, but I have to put Xfe out of my mind. Kent's my partner.
"Of course the medication can have side effects..."
My partner is imaginary boyfriend Kent. We've been together just 18 months. He is positive, and he's been attending an HIV centre in London since his diagnosis. I can't remember which he goes to (I know it's around the Houses of Parliament, or Victoria or Marylebone). But I can give them a name - a real name - which isn't Xfe; sex with Xfe doesn't need to be safe.
Because Kent isn't imaginary. He's a real person. Not my boyfriend, nor ever a lover.
I know all the details, including date of birth. Just in case they need to be verified. But I don't know T cell count and the other thing that increases risk of infection.