I am currently sitting outside a Kavarna Café in an art deco building favored by liberal intellectuals. Inside, the wood paneling, light fittings and array of newspapers and magazines create an ambience clearly aligned with the eccentric clientele. There is a stairway downstairs to a rabbit warren of old wine cellars where alternative film premieres and hermetic lectures are held. Eventually one arrives at a small, windowless recording studio and a band rehearsal room which is strictly no smoking so we tend to spend the least amount of time there as possible. In fact, we’ll move when Youth gets here. Initial sessions have thus been short and intensive and MIND-BLOWING!
Well, it was beyond words to see Geordie Walker again as I really didn’t think I would survive Mexico at one point. The thing is, the longer you leave Geordie with his guitar, the better it becomes and I haven’t seen him for two years or so. Youth arrives shortly and I’m looking forward to seeing him. Paul is on the other side of the pond ready to go. Got to get a new EP out before the forthcoming British tour!
There is a bright blue sky overhead and a slight chill in the air. My blood sugar is fortunately in single digits.
To be honest, I find myself blocking out much of the last year. It is difficult to adequately express the events that have taken place since I fell off the boat in a remote part of Mexico, followed by a diabetes crash exactly one week later. Before a diabetes coma fully kicks in there is a cognitive breakdown, which is how I found myself forcibly strapped onto a stretcher and on my way to a private psychiatric hospital. Impressions after this are fleeting and abstract at best. When the doctors realised this crash was occurring, I was then put in an ambulance for a nine-hour ambulance ride to Mexico City. I was still in my beach clothes, freezing and utterly thirsty. My requests were ignored; whether on medical grounds – I am still not sure. Even in my semi-conscious state arriving at Mexico City General Hospital A&E, the entrance was an unforgettable scene. People praying fervently, others coming in from the countryside carrying the sick on their backs; an alcohol-fueled couple fighting – the woman’s face badly beaten. The sounds and noises fading into oblivion as I fell into darkness.
Leaving Mexico was immeasurably sad and traumatic.
On arrival into the UK, I was spirited to Bristol. I could see in the eyes of people who saw me that they were shocked by my condition, which worsened over the next 10-day quarantine process. Sadly, I was misdiagnosed as Diabetes 2 in Mexico when I was Diabetes 1. This resulted in further sickness and I ended up back in hospital. Finally, I was given the correct diagnosis and right medication and I have been struggling with stabilising my blood sugars ever since.
I was moved by the way many of my dear friends showed much kindness and compassion during this dark period of my life – my brother Piers, my daughters, family, Diamond Dave, Nicky, Dean, Angela, Eddie & Debbie, Armando, Salvador, Nick and Carla, I thank you.
Arriving back in Prague after such turbulence was overwhelming. A film director kindly lent me his apartment and I’m now working on a routine, which includes going to the gym if the blood sugars are in single digits. I am also following an eating plan and am putting on weight and muscle.
I realized after a while that people (and places) have been dramatically affected by the pandemic. I also found out one of my close family members had been through a huge health challenge during this time, and didn’t want to distress me. A deep sadness and a period of depression followed this news.
I have been away from Prague for almost three years in the Americas and one cannot help but notice psychological pain, spike in sickness, death and homelessness.