Get Well Soon, @themarkrad

I’m not into celebrity worship. I get enough of that at home, in the streets of Cape Town, in the gym and… well… everywhere. I recognise that it can be wearing for the celebrity involved.

But this is Mark Radcliffe and he’s been part of my musical education, upbringing and enlightenment since I can remember.

On Wednesday evening, he announced that he would be taking some time off work as he had been diagnosed with cancer. And he did it in typically understated style:

His tweets followed an advert on his timeline for his local pub’s annual conker championship, because that’s the sort of bloke he is. And in case you were wondering how others feel about him, there were tweets from every decent band going, artists, fellow DJs, football teams and apparently most of the general public wishing him well.

I’m really hoping that everything works out well and that we’re not deprived of his frivolity and humour for too long.

Get Well Soon, Mark.

Ben loses his Mum

This is hilariously funny and also tremendously sad and moving.

I lost my mother a few days ago. Not in the way that you might lose your car keys.
Keys can be replaced. Mother’s hardly ever.

Ben Trovato is a huge favourite of mine. He went off the boil for a while a couple of years ago (IMHO anyway) but he’s been back at his best of late, although even he would be hard pressed to match his “Why, in the name of God, won’t someone bring Jacob Zuma his machine gun?” effort from 2008 (now deleted from the iol news site, but still available – at least in part – here).

Now, unless it is some great hoax – and I have absolutely no reason to believe it is – Trovato has lost his mother to cancer; an event to which he has applied his bone dry sense of humour and somehow turned it into an hilarious read: “Anyone For Chemo And A Nice Cup Of Tea?”:

Oncologists look down on everyone because they are fabulously wealthy and also because they get to play with lots and lots of human guinea pigs who eventually stop bothering them because they are too weak to pick up the phone and make another appointment.

There will be those who will be appalled that Trovato could describe his mother’s sickness and death in this way, but I disagree. Rather, to not have done so would have been hypocritical. His irreverent sense of humour means that nothing is sacred and so it is with his own family’s most difficult times. That’s courage (and an obvious continuing need to sell his books) right there.

I suspect all cancer patients ultimately face their fate with extraordinary courage and fortitude. But not all face it with the same degree of acceptance. Some go quietly. Others, like my mother, rage, rage against the dying of the light. Even after she slipped into incoherence, she was still shouting at us. I shouted back, trying to get her to take her medication. Then my sister would shout at me and my father would shout at her. It was like my childhood. Lots of shouting and nobody making any sense at all. The only difference being that I was too big for anyone to hit me.

As in many of his columns, there’s so much more to read between the lines in this one. Cut past the superficial and there’s a lot of depth there.

It’ll mean precisely bugger all to him that I offer my condolences here, but that’s fine.
I’ll keep on reading regardless.