Friday, 17 January 2020

The Real Eleanor Roosevelt

As regular HPWA readers know, I have created a maxim for the St Theo's Day celebrations: "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent." I felt that this was a perfect motto for Hospital Porters' Pride and Dignity, the spirit of St Theo itself. The statement was coined by somebody called Eleanor Roosevelt and at the time I included it I did not know who that person was. Since then I have found out. She was a First Lady of the United States, a title which means the wife of a US President, like the incumbent Melania Trump. Her husband was the thirty-second and longest served ever US President, Franklin D Roosevelt. The role of the First Lady carries no official political office, but it is invariably one of charity work and non-partisan activism. Eleanor Roosevelt became what is today known as a "goodwill ambassador". She worked hard to improve the lives of workers left jobless and poor by the Great Depression and was one of the pioneers in the quest for civil rights for black people. She was also heavily influenced by the first wave feminist Marie Souvestre who had been her schoolteacher. She was rumoured to have had homosexual relationships with a number of famous women, including the aviator Amelia Earhart and the journalist Lorena Hickok. (To be fair, her own husband was reportedly doing the same thing with women, as presidents often do; so what's good for the goose is good for the gander, you might say.) Her support for leftwing causes drew the ire of many American conservatives, such as J Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI. As to be expected in the mid-20th century, Eleanor Roosevelt was accused of being a communist agent. This video is particularly condemnatory:

During the 1940's and 50's the United States of America was struck down by an hysterical fear of "communists!". That word had a very different colloquial use to that of today. It didn't necessarily mean an orthodox Marxist; it could be applied to anybody who was not a table-thumping redneck. With retrospect, it turns out that there was some justification for that fear. The Venona project was a counterintelligence operation by the Signal Intelligence Service, later the NSA, that exposed the Cambridge spies; Blunt, Burgess, MacLean and Philby along with the espionage ring within the Manhattan project to develop the nuclear bomb. Yet that was just the tip of the iceberg. The vast majority of Venona intercepts were never deciphered. The agents who sent and received them were never caught. Some may still be alive today and walking free. Even the man whose very name was coined for institutional paranoid suspicion, Senator Joseph McCarthy, has been absolved somewhat, see: Yet none of these facts legitimize the depths and extremes of the "anti-communist!" obsession of that era. It was even suggested that Superman's red cape was actually a red flag in disguise. A number of films emerged at the time which capture that terrified mania. They are almost funny when viewed through modern eyes, for instance:, and:, and: The only excuse I can think of was that this was the early Cold War and the threat of nuclear holocaust had just emerged; something so horrific that it caused mass insanity among the population in a way that those born under the shadow of the bomb could never comprehend. A number of cinema actors, writers and directors were subpoenaed by the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. Most refused to testify and were found in contempt. The "Hollywood Ten" as they were called were blacklisted from America's famous movie industry. These included some household names such as Arthur Miller, Humphrey Bogart and Lionel Stander. This film is a good history of the subject: Could Eleanor Roosevelt have been falsely accused of being a Soviet agent because of her leftist biases? Maybe. Was she wrong to be concerned about the legitimate iniquities of the era she lived in? I don't have a problem with civil rights; in fact I regularly defend them for all people. I would not tolerate black people being forced to sit at the back of buses and women not being allowed to buy houses, or any other similar injustices. I have no opinions at all regarding other people's private lives. What I object to is that the civil rights movement has been warped into a mockery of itself through cultural Marxism, for example see: However, Eleanor Roosevelt was a keen supporter of the United Nations which, as G Edward Griffin has correctly pointed out, is an embryonic one-world government, see: In fact she was the United States' first ever ambassador to the UN. She was the powerhouse behind the American Youth Congress and National Youth Administration which were definitely infiltrated by socialist tendencies supporting the USSR, such as the Young Communist League. I don't have an answer to this conundrum; I've only just started investigating who Eleanor Roosevelt really was. We can't ask her because she died in 1962. Really, for the purposes of St Theo's Day, does it matter who she was? I am quite willing to repeat quotes of wisdom from many people who I consider deplorable. Winston Churchill was another one-worlder, but he said something truly enlightening, and during my Larry Warren research project I reproduced it in this post without a qualm: I am also a big fan of the author China MiƩville, see:, and he is a raving socialist. In fact, far from being an undercover agent he wears it on his sleeve. Eleanor Roosevelt's quote: "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent." is one that resonates with my hospital portering experience enormously, regardless of the character of the one who said it; therefore I will continue to use it in HPWA publications and the St Theo's Day posters.

Friday, 26 July 2019

Porters- Series 2

Following the recent death of the actor Rutger Hauer, see:, I binge-watched the new five part second series of the TV comedy Porters, see: I have unforgivably delayed reviewing it because of other work commitments. (My to-do list is growing longer in proportion to dark energetic universal expansion; I really need to slow down.) Series 2 reunites the same production team and it is largely the same format as Series 1. I'm glad to say it has not replaced the cleverly designed title sequence or the Wurlitzer organ theme music. The script is the similar, with speedily delivered one-liners. Too speedy sometimes and I had to watch a few scenes more than once; not that that is really a criticism in today's age of online players. The difference with Series 2 is that new writers are brought in whereas Series 1 is completely penned by Dan Sefton. One of the Series 2 scriptwriters is Susan Wokoma, Frankie's actress.

Frankie returns to the St Ethelreda portering crew in Series 2 and continues her enterprise in black market larceny. However she has progressed from selling outdated Viagra to Chinese businessmen and now steals perfume from dying patients on the geriatric ward. She has surreptitiously obtained the entire "do not resuscitate" list from one of the doctors' briefcases. She also organizes a women's boxing tournament in the basement. Lucy and Dr Bartholomew become bitter rivals and almost end up killing each other in the ring. Lucy is of course still being ineffectually pursued by her eternally dogged suitor Simon. Hardly a spoiler alert is needed when I say Simon fails to get the girl... and what a terrible waste of comedic plot that would be if he ever did! Lucy is still besotted with the handsome and debonair Helimed hero Dr McKenzie and almost marries him at one point, although Simon does succeed in putting a stop to that. A new porter joins the team called Anthony De La Mer. That is an unusual surname and strangely enough it is the surname of a real porter I knew in the maternity unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital. Coincidence? Anthony is something of an Essex Jack-the-lad type and is one of the most perceptively created characters in the series because he exhibits certain personality traits that are typically associated with hospital porters. He is a prodigious blagger. We used to say about those kinds of porters: "Name a place, he's been there. Name an activity, he's done it." According to his professed persona, Anthony is a former MI6 officer, licensed to kill, and he has dated celebrity patients in the private hospital he used to be at. He clashes violently with Frankie when he tries to muscle in on "her patch!" by trying his own hand at the perfume theft game. Tanya Franks returns as the hospital administrator Jane Bison, another wonderfully accurate character. Like real NHS managers, she cares nothing for the actual performance and quality of the service so long as it looks good. She goes almost berserk with worry when "Ham and Cheese" turn up as patients, two teenage boys who are absolutely archetypal depictions of overrated amateur internet stars. As in Series 1, Mzzzzz Bison is bureaucratic, bullish and aloof. However, she uses her secret weapon against Simon at one point by lifting her eye patch; which must be rather like the scene in Star Wars when Darth Vader takes off his mask. Simon is suitably struck dumb. In the antagonists' camp along with Jane Bison are the security guards, including an enormous Irish woman who looks like a wrestler and has a loose trigger finger when she's wielding a TASER. Simon also falls foul of a series of practical jokes one Halloween nightshift, mostly at the hands of the rather ghoulish couple who run the mortuary. The drill goes live when Frankie is kidnapped by a serial killer. There are many other excellent storylines; for example when Dr Pradeep becomes a porter for a day, Simon damages a surgical robot, Frankie runs into an old friend who thought she was dead and Simon secretly rough-sleeps in the hospital when off duty (Something which all of us have done. I remember many chilly nights in the linen store when I was too tired to walk home from the social club and had an early shift the next day). There is a lot of black comedy in Porters which reflects the gallows humour necessary to survive in real healthcare work. Much of it may be distasteful to some viewers, such as when Simon makes a sperm donation to his own mother and a coma patient wakes up after twenty years and thinks she's still a young girl. A couple of months on A and E will cure those viewers! Healthcare operatives of all kinds make sick jokes; fact! If we didn't we would lose our minds.
I enjoyed Series 2 of Porters almost as much as Series 1. The single disappointment was the absence of Tillman. To be fair, I think I felt it more sharply than I otherwise would have if I hadn't watched the programme in the wake of Rutger Hauer's death. In the story, Tillman leaves portering to journey to Tibet and study meditation with the Dalai Lama. Anthony was deployed in to replace him. I was pleased to see that the character is not completely removed from the programme. Hauer returned to shoot a handful of scenes that give him a continued presence in the show, mostly in the imagination of Simon. There is one outstanding scene where Simon meditates over Tillman's old sunhat and astrally travels to Tibet where he meets the Dalai Lama, played by the prestigious TV and stage actor David Yip, famous for the very popular crime thriller series The Chinese Detective. He is seeking spiritual advice from Tillman, but ends up simply playing golf with the Dalai Lama. I am enjoying Porters more and more as I watch it. As I said in the background posts below, I was dubious about the series at first, but my doubts have now evaporated. Hospital porters have been featured several times in the media, but Porters is one of only two examples I know of in which our profession is portrayed respectfully. The other is my own novel Evan's Land. I hope there will be a Series 3.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Rutger Hauer Dies

I'm very sad to report that Rutger Hauer has died. The Dutch actor was born in 1944 and has starred in multiple television and cinematic roles since 1969. He has worked with top directors such as Ridley Scott and Paul Verhoeven. He is probably best known for playing the Roy Batty "Nexus 6 replicant" in Scott's classic sci-fi film noir, Blade Runner. I first knew him as a child when I enjoyed his series of humourous and surreal TV adverts for a certain well-known Irish dark ale, see: I am a big fan of Blade Runner and the movie would not have been the same without his extraordinary performance; however, I can now only remember him as Matthias Tillman, the eccentric German patriarch of St Ethelreda's Hospital porters. An old hand with a copious knowledge of golf, karma and his own brand of shock therapy that is guaranteed either to kill or cure. See here for details: and: He was seventy-five years old and is survived by Ineke, his beloved wife of fifty years. Source: Rest in peace, Rutger Hauer... Tillman is now on Eternal Nightshift.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Happy St Theo’s Day 2019!

On behalf of every serving hospital porter, every former hospital porter, and everybody else who loves, appreciates and supports us, with all the Pride and Dignity of my Extremely Proud and Dignified Brother and Sister Porters, I'd like to wish all my friends and readers, a very happy St Theo's Day. Here is my HPANWO TV video for St Theo's this year:

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

More Blocks and Digs

I have carried out another round of blocks and digs; I think to celebrate St Theo's Day which is this Saturday coming. In this case I struck down four people, all of whom had badly mistreated me a few months ago when Peter Robbins and others started spreading defamatory lies about me, see: and: and: Some of them just unfriended or blocked me quietly on Facebook. One person wrote to me to tell me they were doing so and why. I say "why", but they didn't really explain anything and they refused to listen to my protestations of innocence. They got the first one! There are many others I could name on top of the four I gave blocks and digs to yesterday, and I may find out that there are others I'm not yet aware of. I know I must not let myself become consumed with this or I will become bitter; but it felt good to fight back. I fought back in the best way a hospital porter, or ex-hospital porter, can. I was quite elated after I had done it and I still feel satisfaction at what I did. There will be another campaign in due course.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Sarah Kuteh loses Appeal

I'm sorry to relate that Sister Sarah Kuteh has lost her appeal in the case of her discharge from the Darent Valley Hospital in Kent, see here for background: After her dismissal in 2016 Mrs Kuteh appealed through the NHS trust system and then initiated a lawsuit. The court heard that the intensive care sister endured numerous complaints about her "religious preaching". One patient described her behaviour as being "like a Monty Python skit". Despite the fact that with full training and over fifteen years of experience, she should have been an invaluable member of the hospital personnel, she was sacked. I can't help wondering if she wasn't a Christian, would this aversion be reduced? I recall from my own service that there is a wide variety of religious opinions, including non-belief, in the NHS. Some people liked to speak openly about their faith and others were more private. This sometimes included discussions with patients. I myself had some amazing conversations with patients about all kinds of subjects. The complaints made against Sister Kuteh do not appear to be that serious. The worst thing anybody said is that her actions were "very bizarre". Not "harmful" or "abusive"; just "bizarre". That doesn't sound too bad to me. What's more, the statement: "She spent more time talking about religion than doing the assessment" is mere hyperbole. How long did she spend on each? Did you time it? Give it to me in hours and minutes otherwise it is meaningless and should not be submitted as evidence. In her defence, Mrs Kuteh brought up human rights laws about religion that I discuss in the background links below. Source: Actually, even if the court correctly interpreted the Nursing and Midwifery Council regulations, the point hanging over this whole matter is that the NHS is incredibly selective in what it chooses to react against. My own case was similar to Sister Kuteh's except that it involved behaviour off duty, yet I was spat out with all the urgency of a mouthful of hot lava. At the same time, the health services shrug their shoulders at far more serious matters, such as appallingly low standards of performance and conduct from operatives. As I said before, my advice to anybody in the NHS is: DO NOT be good at your job. That is unless you want a very short career. Not only will they fail to respect you, they will hate you for it.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Peter Mayhew Dies

I'm very sorry to report that the great hospital porter Peter Mayhew has passed away. The enormous seven-foot-three-inch actor was the man inside Chewbacca, the giant "wookie" alien in the original Star Wars trilogy, Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge of the Sith in the prequel trilogy and The Force Awakens from the new trilogy. He was also acted as an assistant to Joonas Viljami Suotamo, the actor who played Chewbacca in The Last Jedi. By then ill health meant he couldn't don the furry suit himself for that final epic. His co-stars Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill, as well as the director George Lucas, are very sad at their loss and paid tribute to Mayhew, saying that he was as warm and loving as his character. When he was portering at Kings College Hospital in London they had no uniform in stock to cover his huge frame and he had to wear a special suit. A ward sister from Kings Tweeted: "Star Wars colleagues talk about sweet-nature of Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) who's just died. In 70's I was a ward sister at Kings College and remember the giant porter who was gentle and kind to our patients. I also recall wonderment on their faces as Peter arrived with a wheelchair!" Source: He wanted to be an actor, and appeared briefly in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, but thought that his career would be limited by his significant stature. How wrong he was! Peter Mayhew, On Eternal Nightshift. Rest in Peace, Brother Porter.