Sunday, 6 January 2019

Social Media and the NHS

My "agent on the inside" has sent me the interesting and disturbing image you see above from my old hospital. It is particularly disturbing when you consider my own fate, see: https://hpanwo-hpwa.blogspot.com/2013/01/one-year-on.html. In just the seven years since my discharge the culture online and its relationship to "meatspace" has changed beyond all recognition. What was done to me in happier times has now become normal practice and there are countless other examples. A slip of the finger on your keyboard can literally destroy your life. Even prominent celebrities can be blacklisted if they commit the most minor or inadvertent contraventions of the mainstream conventional mindset, for instance see: https://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2017/07/richard-dawkins-banned-again.html. The John Radcliffe's management has decided to warn staff about this peril. It is strange that the poster advises staff on how to remain safe, yet its tone assumes that the ethos behind the peril is perfectly legitimate and just. Points 1 and 3 are obvious; these are part of the standard NHS policy on confidentiality. This states that everything that happens while on duty relating to patients and people are top secret and cannot be divulged with anybody who does not have a need-to-know... Yes, if there was a UFO crash in the ambulance bay I promise I would not breathe a word... Well, maybe I'd say just a few words. What does Point 2 mean? "Positive" can have many definitions, but the poster does not clarify them. As for Point 4, what do we need to be protected from? Are there pixels coming out of the monitor that are armed and dangerous? We see here another vague insinuation without explanation. It's as if they're hinting at something that they don't want to state openly. Point 5 is saying that we should not be allowed to say anything about our job at all anywhere? In that case shouldn't Dr Evan Harris be sacked? I do not vote Lib-Dem so would "not feel comfortable" with one of them treating me. You see how ridiculous that is? Point 6 is just a general innuendo of insecurity and guilt. This is the Orwellian world we live in where post-modern allusions are considered official instructions. If I were still in portering and I read that notice I would not feel in any way protected or enlightened about what my rights and obligations were on social media as an NHS serviceman. Maybe that's the way it is meant to be. There is a scene in the dystopian science fiction TV series Blakes 7 where the heroes are incarcerated aboard a prison spaceship. The warder tells them: "There are other rules, but you'll find out what they are when you break them.", see: https://youtu.be/vpqQPKjs27o?t=240.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Porters- First Series

I have now watched the other two episodes of the pilot series of Porters. See here for essential background: http://hpanwo-hpwa.blogspot.com/2018/10/porters-returns-to-dave.html. I originally only saw Episode 3, but I've watched 1 and 2 now. I can't add much to what I said in the background link. My continued viewing of the series has not changed my mind very much. I cringed slightly at the dynamic between Simon and Lucy a few times, simply because it is so true to life; and, without going into details right now if you don't mind, I have experienced something like it myself. I have even had some of the "nightshift dreams" that he enjoyed... or endured. That wasn't the only aspect of the programme that struck a chord with me. I was halfway through Episode 1 when I realized something about Tillman. He is me...! I mean it. He is my alter ego in a parallel universe, thirty years from now, if I had stayed in hospital portering. I would have become the same crazy old man that he is, whacking people with golf balls and kidnapping suicidal patients to torture them. There is some excellent satire in the series, primarily in Episode 3 relating to soft kill bureaucracy and the Big Brother State, see here for more details: https://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2016/10/hypernormalisation.html. However humour is always the best solution to evil and the irrepressible Frankie finds a funny way to fool the system. All three episodes of Porters- Series 1 can be watched here: https://uktvplay.uktv.co.uk/shows/porters/watch-online. I look forward very much to the second series. Production has begun on it, see: https://www.comedy.co.uk/tv/news/3181/porters_series_2_cast/. Most of the Series 1 cast will return, but they're not yet sure about Rutger Hauer. I hope he does come back. It wouldn't be the same without him.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Porters Returns to Dave

Porters is a situation comedy on the Dave TV station. I have mixed feelings about it, which is strange considering my very stark and inflexible condemnation of how hospital portering is usually portrayed in the media, see: http://hpanwo-hpwa.blogspot.com/2016/12/hospital-porters-in-media.html. Many of the criticisms applied to those other examples also apply to Porters, for example the central character is a wannabe doctor and is on a quest to steal valour from them. However the light-heartedness of the tone neutralizes the poison somewhat. There are also some positive portrayals too. What's more it is at times extremely funny and perceptive. I can tell that the production team have researched the subject, although I've only watched one episode so far. Some of the jokes are very dark, which is typical of hospital culture. The acting is first rate and the characterization well developed. It has a powerful supporting cast that includes Tanya Franks and Susan Wokoma. Rutger Hauer is a very famous a cinema actor, but he transfers well to the small screen to take the role of the senior patriarch, a classic figure in any lodge. After a successful pilot series of three episodes, Porters is returning for a full five episode season, see: https://dave.uktv.co.uk/shows/porters/ and: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6937242/. I'm glad. I will look forward to it and I hope readers, both portering and civilian, will enjoy it.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Colin Wilson was a Hospital Porter

Somehow that figures!... I have to add another name to my "Hospital Porters who Changed the World" article, see: https://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2011/07/hospital-porters-who-changed-world.html. Colin Wilson was a writer and philosopher. He originally wrote fiction and was one of the "angry young men" literary school that included other famous authors such as Kinsley Amis, Harold Pinter and John Osborne. Then he began investigating UFO's, the paranormal, the afterlife and the nature of consciousness. He did several experiments with psychedelic drugs many years before Strassman and Grof etc. When my mother died I inherited some of her library and it included some books by Colin Wilson (Lyall Watson too) on mysterious phenomena. It shows that in her youth my mother had a far more open mind than she exhibited when she got older. Wilson was known to be an eccentric and in a biography of Ayn Rand I've just finished reading, the author recounts an incident when Wilson wrote to Rand, but his correspondence was so weird in tone that Rand's assistant, Nathaniel Branden, who was as rational and conservative as his mentor, thought he was just a nutter and sent him a rude reply, see: https://www.amazon.com/Passion-Ayn-Rand-Barbara-Branden/dp/038524388X. I enjoyed the books my mum left me and when Colin Wilson died I wrote an obituary, see: https://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2013/12/colin-wilson-dies.html. I knew he was a pharmacy assistant at a hospital in the Nottingham area because he describes an incident where he was very depressed and planned to commit suicide. He went to the pharmacy storeroom with a syringe and prepared to inject himself with a massive overdose of some medication that would certainly have killed him, but then he suddenly stopped. He had a profound and powerful spiritual experience, what some people call a kundalini experience. He put down the bottle of medication and never considered suicide again, thankfully. I only discovered he was a hospital porter when I read a review of a recent conference in Nottingham all about Colin Wilson and his work, see: https://www.counter-currents.com/2018/07/meeting-to-some-purpose/. I have seen no independent confirmation of Wilson's portering status, and it is something the reporter only says was talked about at the event; but somehow it fits him like a glove. It just feels so appropriate for him and it makes me feel enormously proud. If ever there is a third International Colin Wilson Conference I'll make sure I go along.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

NHS Seventieth Anniversary

At times I have the bad habit of letting my heart overwhelm my head. I am well aware that the UK's National Health Service will be seventy years old on the fifth of July and, indeed, I remember the sixtieth ten years ago. I attended a special event at Oxford Town Hall where I received a medal from the Lord Mayor, Susanna Pressel (She was my teacher at school and she totally failed to recognize me. I didn't feel inclined to remind her). The seventieth anniversary is going to be a far more glitzy showbiz event than the sixty-year mark and I don't know whether to feel relieved or disappointed that I will not be taking part. Prince William has given a very passionate speech about the NHS and its servicemen, see: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44102318. A number of servicemen will be singled out for special recognition, but the prince made sure to point out the "inspirational skill, care and dedication" of everybody in the NHS. The tinseltown nature of the upcoming gala is going to need a separate review, but ITV and the Daily Mirror are hosting the celebrations. I must not allow myself to be star-struck into irrationality. Probably the pageant will be intended to have that very effect on the viewer. Will we be given even a hint of the truth? This seventieth birthday of the NHS will actually be a deathbed gathering, or maybe even a wake. See here for more details: http://hpanwo-hpwa.blogspot.com/2014/07/allyson-pollock-at-tedx.html.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Happy St Theo’s Day 2018

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. Sorry it's a day early, but I'll be away on St Theo's Day itself, the first of June. Here is my HPANWO TV video for St Theo's this year: (coming soon)

Saturday, 19 May 2018

St Theo's Day 2018 Fliers

The fliers for this year's St Theo's Day are finished. Pretty soon I shall print and distribute them. This year, as with last year, I have produced two different fliers, one for the Oxfordshire hospitals on my doorstep; and another to be distributed to other institutions around the country. I will send the second national flier by post, addressed to the porters in those institutions. Apologies for the long delay between St Theo's Day 2018 and the St Theo's Day 2018 official get-together. This is due to staff availability.