A Blog About Health In Times Of Austerity

Reviews
Performing Masculinity

Performing Masculinity

In a little over an hour, these two talented performers say as much or more about contemporary masculinity as a whole library shelfful of sociological tomes Peter McMaster’s “27” is a theatrical piece which springs from a young man’s intimation... More…
Review: La Fille Inconnue (The Unknown Girl)

Review: La Fille Inconnue (The Unknown Girl)

In a previous post, I lamented John Berger’s failure to represent realistically contextualised doctor-patient relations in his photo essay (with Jean Mohr) A Fortunate Man. By way of contrast, in reviewing The Unknown Girl or La Fille Inconnue, I argue... More…
Logan Review: “The world is not the same as it was”

Logan Review: “The world is not the same as it was”

Is Logan the first post-Trump era movie? I have tried to avoid major spoilers but may contain minor plot spoilers The movie Logan marks the end of a nearly twenty-year period in which Hugh Jackman has played the character Wolverine... More…
T2 Trainspotting

T2 Trainspotting

A tale of masculinity, nostalgia and addiction Warning: Contains Spoilers There have been few sequels more eagerly anticipated than T2 Trainspotting, the follow-up to Trainspotting, Danny Boyle’s landmark film of 1996. Based on the original books by Scottish author Irvine... More…
A Fortunate Man: the story of a country doctor

A Fortunate Man: the story of a country doctor

John Berger: 5 November 1926 to 2 January 2017 I took John Berger’s book A Fortunate Man: the story of a country doctor to read over the New Year holiday. Berger’s account of a General Practitioner working in the Forest... More…
'Fatima' Review

Review ‘Fatima': Insightful and Moving Account of Muslim Mother Working in France

‘Fatima’: Philippe Faucon’s insightful account of an immigrant Muslim mother living in France Fatima is raising her two teenage daughters in Lyon, having migrated from North Africa to marry a man from whom she is now divorced.  She has two... More…
I, Daniel Blake – is this the collapse of the social contract?

I, Daniel Blake – is this the collapse of the social contract?

Ken Loach’s most recent film I, Daniel Blake tells the story of Daniel, a fifty nine year old joiner from Newcastle, and Katie, an out of work single mother of two from London. They become perhaps unlikely friends after meeting... More…
A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer

A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer

There are perhaps as many cancer stories as people with cancer.  There are also many ways of telling them – but a musical is one of the more risky.  A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer is described as... More…
‘Narcos’ and the 'War on Drugs'

‘Narcos’ and the ‘War on Drugs’

“Magical realism is defined as what happens when a highly detailed, realistic setting is invaded by something too strange to believe.  There is a reason magical realism was born in Colombia” When we think about the devastation and harm that... More…
Adventures in Human Being

Adventures in Human Being

Francis, Gavin (2015) Adventures in Human Being, London: Profile Books. Much praise has been lavished on ‘Adventures in Human Being’ by Gavin Francis, a multi-prize-winning best-seller admired by Hilary Mantel (who calls the book ‘sober and beautiful’), John Berger and Robin McKie.... More…
Meanings of Recovery – Exploring the Long Shadow of Illness

Meanings of Recovery – Exploring the Long Shadow of Illness

A symposium on ‘The Meanings of Recovery’ was recently held at the University of Surrey. Speakers from a range of disciplines and professional backgrounds came together to discuss the ways that recovery has been conceptualised by different groups across various... More…
You deserve a better life - Louis Theroux’s 'Drinking to Oblivion'

You deserve a better life – Louis Theroux’s ‘Drinking to Oblivion’

This week I watched Louis Theroux’s BBC documentary on severe alcoholism. The programme followed patients of King’s College Hospital as they were admitted to A&E or to detox programmes, and spoke to specialists trying to deal with the many health... More…
Howling together alone: Scandi-noir

Howling together alone: Scandi-noir

The Flogsta Roar is a Scandi-noir miniature: a snapshot of existential anxiety in a snow-scattered landscape; loneliness and solidarity in an ordered society, treated with subtlety and wit and all in 18 minutes. Every night, at 10pm, the windows of... More…
Tales of Everyday Drinking: Risk, Alcohol and Government Advice

Tales of Everyday Drinking: Risk, Alcohol and Government Advice

“My name is …and I’m an alcoholic” – Wednesday, 13 January – 10pm on Channel 5 We have a complicated relationship with alcohol. Many of us are as likely to drink to drown our sorrows as we are to celebrate our successes.... More…
Chemsex

Chemsex

Made for VICE by directors William Fairman and Max Gogarty, Chemsex is an eighty-minute documentary film about drug-fuelled gay sex parties, the men involved, and the risks they take with their health. While the stories and images of injecting drug... More…
Suffragette: On 100 years of votes for women

Suffragette: On 100 years of votes for women

On the week the Bond film Spectre was released, as I entered the cinema through a 007 themed red carpet for the only screening of Suffragette that day, I was struck by the juxtaposition with Britain’s most popular misogynist. I... More…
Cracked

Cracked

How does it feel to have a young person in your care experience psychosis for the first time? An impressionistic answer to this question played out over sixty minutes in a studio theatre in Easterhouse, Glasgow: distress, frustration, repetition, annoyance,... More…
'Humans', Healthcare Cyborgs and the Quantified Self

‘Humans’, Healthcare Cyborgs and the Quantified Self

Many people have been intrigued by a TV advert for Persona Synthetics inviting them to experience ‘the new generation synthetic human’. This was actually a clever marketing ploy for Channel 4/AMC series Humans. The programme deals with themes that are familiar... More…
Unequal Health: The scandal of our times by Danny Dorling, 2013, Policy Press

Unequal Health: The scandal of our times by Danny Dorling, 2013, Policy Press

Is the UK becoming more like the US, when it ought to be following the example of its Scandinavian neighbours instead? With inequalities in mortality widening dramatically in the UK and the US, this is one of the arguments made... More…
Waiting for the Xenografts...

Waiting for the Xenografts…

David Hamilton 2012 A History of Organ Transplantation. Ancient Legends to Modern Practice. University of Pittsburgh Press. Transplant surgery holds a certain fascination, both for its potential to restore a broken human body and for the prospect of Frankenstein-horrors that... More…