Saturday, September 28, 2013


I've finally fully entered the internet era.  I've set up broad band internet in my flat and I've got a fancy new TV that lets me stream Netflix.  Netflix is a great service.

I was sucked in by Breaking Bad.  I'd caught the first series on the UK channel 5 a few years back and more recently got up to date on DVD.  I was desperate to see how the series would end so I decided to go for Netflix.  Now I think I'm addicted.

Netflix has thousands of hours of TV shows and films instantly available.  Breaking Bad is the crown jewels but it also has South Park, Battlestar Galactica, Buffy, Portlandia, It's always sunny in Philadelphia.  The list goes on.  Netflix also has a big pile of films that I want to see, the sort of things that I would pick up in Asda for £3.  Usually I would watch these films once and then put them in a pile.  Now I will hopefully save money and space.

I've found some good documentaries too.  I'd been wanting to see the Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet documentary for some time and I was pleasantly surprised to find it here.

I strongly urge anyone who likes good cinema to check this service out.

Jason Becker: Not Dead Yat

I must admit that I'd never heard of Jason Becker but I must have bought some guitar magazines with his face in them at some point in the early nineties.  Becker played a style of guitar that I am not really a fan of but he was a talented young guitarist.  He had signed up with David Lee Roth when disaster struck.  At the age of 20 Jason Becker was diagnosed with motor neurone disease.  Somehow he is still alive.

I'm a neurologist.  I've met a lot of people with motor neurone disease.  It's a terrible disease, one of the worst diseases I know of.  Very few people live for a long period of time.  Through luck, excellent family support and good resources Jason Becker is still alive and still making music.

Through a mixture of family photographs, super 8 cinefilms, concert footage and interviews we hear Jason's life story.  He should have been Stevie Vai or Van Halen but his body betrayed him and now he communicates with his eyes. Based on the film he has shown amazing resilience and focus.  Most people couldn't do that.  The only other person that I can think of who has survived so long with a motor neurone disease is Steven Hawking.

This film is worth seeing.  It interests me as a doctor and as a music fan. I'm not a fan of 'shred' guitar but it's great to see one man keeping on despite the odds.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

another year older

I'm 36 now, closer to 40 than 30.  It sneaks up on you, age.  In the past year I have completed a doctoral degree which is a big step.  I'm continuing my clinical career which is as interesting and challenging (and at times soul destroying) as ever.  It's all good.

I have a week off just now.  I've used it to try and sort out my life a bit.  I've just restructured my finances in a more sensible way and I've bought myself a fancy new TV and a fancy new computer (a MacBook Pro).  I lead a privileged life.

I'm not doing anything exciting with my holiday.  I'm reading some books and trying to sort out bits and pieces in my flat.  All first world problems.  I have no major concerns just now. I realise that I'm writing this on the 12th anniversary of something bad and 15 years after a friend died in a stupid accident.  I'm luckier than most of the planet.

At the moment I hope we avoid another crazy war in the middle east and I hope that everyone is happy.    Starry eyed optimism, hippy sentiments.  Thanks again for reading.