Tuesday, 30 December 2014

2014 Film of the Year!

Film of the Year!

The Wolf of Wall Street

There you go! In the longest drawn out list since time began, the movie of the year is the one where Jonah Hill eats a goldfish. Bambi, this is not.

This is a movie about excess and greed. But not the dark and moody Wall Street with Gordon Gecko. This is the bright and shiny Wall Street where you trade stocks at 9.30am and you're knee deep in hookers and blow by 12.05pm.

This TRUE story may have been embellished by its creator but the more you believe the more you'll enjoy it. And I enjoyed it.

For those not in the know, Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort, a determined stock broker who breaks all the rules to become the hottest trader in town. He loses his principles very quickly to get what he wants and a decade of drug use brings his whole world crashing down.

This film would not be top if not for the casting of Leo DiCaprio who MAKES this film and OWNS it completely. Generally speaking his film choices seem to be on the nose every time and it doesn't hurt to be the current muse of Martin Scorsese. If anyone else were to attempt to steal the limelight on the film it would be Jonah Hill or Matthew McConaughey. The "McConaissance" as it is currently known, only finds enough space for 2 scenes but his chest thumping performance is, arguably, the most memorable of the entire 3hr running time. Jonah Hill, along with Leo, was Oscar nominated for his role and this further proves that he can do drama just as effortlessly as comedy although this role requires both in equal measure.

In terms of offending the public, this doesn't shy away from portraying the stressful environment of Wall Street. Full frontal nudity (both sexes), bums (both sexes), rape, drugs, the most uses of the word 'fuck' in a movie ever, spousal abuse, child abuse (kind of), objectification of women, objectification of monkeys, goldfish cruelty and much more. Enjoying the film doesn't mean you agree to all this behaviour but it's definitely a world we find hard to swallow (pun intended).

Scorsese has found his groove with the Biopic genre with Raging Bull leading all the way to The Aviator and it is confidently directed and expertly edited. The drug fuelled scenes even feature continuity goofs on purpose to showcase the instability of the situation.

All in all, if this makes you want to try drugs like it did with me and my wife, you probably enjoyed it as much as we did.

Adam Yates

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

2014 Films of the Year No 2

No 2 - Guardians of the Galaxy

It's perhaps fitting that the second highest box office success of 2014 should be second on my list. This was also one of the more pleasing surprises of the year. GotG has been on many end of year lists, most recently as The top film of 2014 as voted for by the readers of Digital Spy. All this from a comic hardly known to anyone let alone the occasional  comic book reader.

A group of space misfits band together reluctantly band together to serve their own selfish purposes and would you Adam and Eve it, they realise they need each other and instead rely on team work to thwart a great evil plot to destroy entire worlds.

This group is headed by Star Lord aka Peter Quill aka Chris Pratt of Parks and Rec fame. 2014 has been his year, not only entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe but also by being the best thing about The Lego Movie. It was also announced this year that Pratt would be the lead in 2015's Jurassic World.

And so begins the most fun you'll have (or would have had - it's not on now) in the cinema in 2014. It really was a different experience to the recent offerings such as the sombre Iron Man 3, the political Captain America 2 and ultra moody Man of Steel. This was funny, full of jokes and most surprisingly, extremely confident despite its relatively short life span in comics.

GotG amongst other things nailed the casting on the head more than any other film this year. Major quibbles were made about the appointments of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel as double act Rocket and Groot respectively but that turned out to be a masterstroke. Former WWE Dave Bautista, who has to my knowledge no major acting experience (unless you count wrestling as acting) became his character Drax so effortlessly, that Bautista already has his next role lined up in the next Bond film.

There are some downsides but they are mostly minor quibbles. The main villain RONAN THE DESTROYER, feels quite diluted and has a weak screen presence. His boss of sorts, THANOS, still looks a tad dodgy in terms of CGI and I'm hoping it's sorted in time for his next appearance. Finally, it's been quite well publicised if you read up on marvel movies that the final action scene is pretty similar to the last 3/4 installments where a large ship falls from the sky. No more please, ahem Age of Ultron.

Ultimately this may not make some Critics top 10 lists but for the audience, Guardians of the Galaxy would be hitting the top.

Monday, 22 December 2014

2014 Films of the Year No 3

No 3 - All is Lost

It's not a coincidence that of my top ten movies of the year, the top 3 were all seen in their natural environment of the cinema. Not on a TV or my iPad. I wish I had the time to see them all on the big screen but I only go if I know there's a strong chance of enjoyment and this was one of them.
As with most great films, the plot is simple. Guy has boat, boat broken, man strives to survive. That's it. There is no internal monologue or pointless drivel.
The amount of dialogue in All is Lost is clearly noticeable. There is about 5 lines of speech all in all. The reason isn't just because there is only one character however it is a factor but also because the mise-en-scene is so clear and precise, there's no need to sully it with meaningless exposition.
The drive or perhaps more aptly the wind behind the sails comes from acting heavyweight Robert Redford. He clearly doesn't NEED to make movies anymore so when he does, he sees a standard of quality visible. His performance in All is Lost stands against his more historic roles easily and possibly beyond. His character is in dire trouble but an air of calm ensures that his chances are as strong as can be. He's a loner, a man that finds his own company preferable to any land dwelling family and friends. He exudes all this, without saying a word.
It's Castaway without the corporate sponsorship, Captain Phillips without the pirates. There are movies and there are films, this is a film. Respectable, emotional and an acting tour de force.

Adam Yates

Friday, 19 December 2014

2014 Films of the Year No 4

No 4 - Boyhood

My whole top 5 has moved around a dozen times since I started to write these blogs and in the end Boyhood has JUST missed out on a medal and I will explain why at the end but for now I will briefly concentrate on why it HAS made the list. I haven't seen a lot of director Richard Linklater's efforts and the ones I have seen, I doubt they would be considered his best. After seeing Boyhood, I'm definitely going to catch up on his work. For those not in the know, the plot is a simple coming of age story. The device used however is one that has to be admired. The cast members met up once a year for over a decade to film 12 short films and then they were spliced together to make one movie where we see the actors age before our very eyes. The thing I liked most about the film is the way in which we jumped ahead in time. Not by a poxy One Year Later but by choosing a song which represented the year in question. The second you hear the songs you know our characters have progressed and you yearn to see where they have landed.
Boyhood has been winning end of year awards left and right and is certain of Oscar nods and rightly so. The performances are central to these accolades and even though most seem
to be aimed at the elders, it's the boy (now man sized) actor that needs to walk away with statuettes. To find a child with the attention span to be filmed every year for 12 years and still be compelling is rare luck and that's what they found.
The ONLY reason which is why it's not higher is the age device itself which I have just lobbied for. The fact that the film is being lauded for its unique production technique kind of waters down the core value that what should make a film great is what's in front of the camera, not what happened behind it. This may not make much sense but if they had done the exact same film with several different actors portraying different ages, would it have been so acclaimed?

Adam Yates

Thursday, 18 December 2014

2014 Films of the Year No 5

No 5 - Locke

The concept of the movie was also all I knew about the film going in....it's Tom Hardy in a car. Does that mean it's a car chase? Is he a hostage? A bank robber? A cop? A Murderer? No, he's none of those things. I'm of two minds to explain the plot as I enjoyed it much more not aware of the storyline so if you want to watch it blind, stop now.
The plot is simple. Tom Hardy works on Europe's biggest building site but leaves on the eve of the most important day of the build to sort out a personal issue. His drive from Birmingham to London is the centre of the film as he must deal with his problems past and present and juggle his responsibilities via mobile phone. If any one saw the Ryan Reynolds film Buried it was also one setting, one locale, life or death scenario which relied heavily on a mobile phone. Locke isn't life or death, it's life. Normal everyday life. There is no fancy camera tricks, no witty dialogue or twist at the end. The excellence in Locke is in the realism and effortlessness of the performance of Tom Hardy. He exudes so much confidence as an actor that he is able to turn this movie away from the 'man in a car' hook and instead make it into a 'story about a man.'

Sunday, 14 December 2014

2014 Films of the Year No 7-6

No 7 - 12 Years a Slave

A Heartwrenchingly powerful and saddening look at a dark part of World History. Slavery still lives on today, even in the UK but never has it been so forcefully brought to the screen. A free black man is mistakenly took from his home and family and put to work in the cotton fields and suffers at the whim of his captors. 
A shocking true story that was rediscovered by Steve McQueen (director of Hunger and Shame). I've been a fan of Chiwetel Ejiofor since his work on Serenity way back when but his portrayal of Solomon Northup is so intense that you forget you're watching a film. It's that feeling that tells you you're watching a great work and a great actor. 
It's hard to say such a powerful film is 'entertaining' as humour is light on the ground. You will feel quite drained after viewing it but trust me, it's a story that needs to be seen.

No 6 - Interstellar

Such dedication was my attempt to not see ANY of this film beforehand, the first time I saw the poster is when I just copied and pasted it to put on this blog. For the first 10-15 minutes of the film, I thought I had made the wrong call by holding a black-out as I wasn't in the zone of the film but once we left Earth, I was 'on board' in a big way.
To put such a complicated and scientific movie into simple terms, the earth is fucked and we need a new home so we send out a team of explorers to reconnect with astronauts we sent years prior to confirm as to if there is a sustainable planet for us to relocate to.
This is the kind of film where you walk out of it with a complete understanding of the  plot but skip ahead a month and you're struggling to connect the dots you once knew. But I'd rather live in a world of the occasional 'Smart' Blockbuster than one where a new Transformers is a summer highlight. I may not have described why I like loved this movie but it's down to the scope and the vision. Like last year's Gravity, this really is one you need to see on the biggest screen possible. The visuals are amazing and the production design (especially the robot TARS) is immense. I don't want to explain any more of why I loved this film but I would be very intrigued through hindsight if I would have loved it as much if I watched every single trailer out there. Probably not. 

Adam Yates

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

2014 Films of the Year No 8

No 8 - Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The first of two films on the list that I specifically didn't watch trailers or TV spots of. To start, I'm not entirely sure I like this better than the previous installment however seeing as 'Rise' was my film of 2011, that doesn't mean this is  by any means a bad film. It's a good one.   This is a smart blockbuster, one that has beaten other films such as Interstellar, Amazing Spiderman 2 and Gone Girl at the box office. All this from a franchise that seemed dead from Marky Mark and the 2001 attempt. So back to this film and the apes have reached the forest and have built up a strong tribe with clear  rules. Meanwhile the world as we know it has been mostly wiped out by an synthetic disease and only small pockets of civilisation remain. Trust is a strong issue in the movie. Both camps require help from the other to survive. The acting is strongest from the motion capture apes notably Serkis (Caesar) and Kebbell (Koba). A few years ago, there was a decent campaign to get Serkis an Oscar nomination for his role in 'LOTR' but if justice existed, he should get it for this. He won't, but he should. The emotion that exists within complicated computer coding is miles ahead of whatever face feelings Russell Crowe or Hilary Swank could ever muster. The ending doesn't set up a third film as much as the first did but it's commericial and critical success won't make it a hard decision.

2014 Films of the Year 10-9

No 10 - Captain America - The Winter Soldier

Such an improvement over its predecessor can be attributed to two factors. The first is the post Avengers world it now resides in. A cinematic universe now exists which didn't in the first film and a clear outline is set between each film. So clear in fact, that Marvel didn't care as to how this would affect its Agents of Shield TV show's potential. The second factor is behind the camera. Brothers Anthony and Joe Russo have directed a smart and confident sequel which has tremendously creative action beats and a credible villain  that is a genuine threat to our hero. That being said it's still a Marvel film so a massive ship inevitably falls from the sky and its gets a bit standard near the end but this was ONE of the surprises of 2014. Well done Chris Evans. Speaking of which...

No 9 - Snowpiercer

ANOTHER film based on a Graphic
novel featuring Chris Evans as the hero? Have I gone crazy? This was the last film to sneak in the list (sorry Xmen:DOFP) but this was a joy to watch but also incredibly depressing. To sum up the plot, the world is frozen and the remnants  of humanity ride on a post apocalyptic train that houses the earths elite (first class) but also the dregs of civilisation (third class). The dregs, led by Chris Evans stages a revolution and the film is their attempt to make it to the front of the train and take back control of their lives.
Each carriage is expertly designed and given its own personality, getting more classy the further they get. Of course the front don't wish to have their lives ruined so they fight back with the aid of train spokeswoman, Tilda Swinton, who seems to be basing her character on Deidre Rachid. One scene where Evans explained his 'tasty' past nearly made me sick in my mouth it was that powerful. And with an ending that didn't have to succumb to Hollywood shmaltz (it's South Korean), this was a hidden gem of 2014.

Adam Yates

Sunday, 7 December 2014

2014 - Films of the Year (the runners up)

Here are a selection of films that nearly made the top 10 but fell at the final hurdle.

X-Men Days of Future Past

Life After Beth

Indie horror in the ever growing Zom-Rom-Com genre. Lead actor Dane DeHaan is immensely watchable and the set up is intriguing but near the end it just loses the momentum.

The Lego Movie

They said it would be a terrible idea, I was probably one of them but this was arguably the Children's hit of the year. Inventive, expertly cast and half the reason why Chris Pratt is sooo hot right now.

The Babadook

The best horror I saw this year and honestly terrifying. Not just because of the scares but the presence of a child just sets it on a higher scale. An Australian production with minimal
CGI but the scares mostly come from the emotion portrayed by the mother.



Cold in July

Retro 80's feel not just in its setting but production and dialogue. Slow burning drama that ultimately gets a little too mainstream near the end but well worth a watch.

22 Jump Street

I'll admit now. I watched a naughty copy of this and the quality was poor so this may have made the grade if it had been watched legally. But even with colour saturation and dodgy sound, a jittery Channing Tatum is better than no Tatum at all.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Technically a 2013 film but who sees a film on Boxing Day? Beautifully shot and directed by Ben Stiller with warmth and heart. Probably the one I'm gutted didn't make the top 10.


The weirdest film of the year by far. Loosely based on Frank Sidebottom, Michael Fassbinder gives a great performance with his movement and voice while Domhnall Gleeson may be one of my favourite young actors of the last few years. The soundtrack is also worth a listen but watch the film first otherwise you won't have a clue what's happening.

Three Days to Kill

The guiltiest pleasure to make the list. A euro trash comedic version of Taken and The Transporter rolled into one with the ever dependable Kevin Costner. I know it's average but I wholly enjoyed it.

Adam Yates

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

2014 - Worst Films of the Year

I'm writing this so I can give myself one final week to binge through any potential masterpieces that may make my TOP 10 but there is no doubt as to what makes the five most disappointing entries of 2014. There are episodes of Dora the Explorer with a deeper plot than these examples of cinema. 

Let's begin with...

Transformers : Age of Extinction

This really has reached the bottom of the barrel. I will admit that I found the first movie extremely entertaining and I also didn't mind "Dark of the Moon" too much either. This is something else. It's too loud (something I never thought I'd ever say), it's got more pointless explosions than Gaza and the human characters are supposedly there for us, the viewer to relate to, but if that's what Michael Bay thinks we act and talk like, then no wonder he couldn't speak in front of an audience. 
I'm not gonna waste more time on this pile of semen so let's move on. 

The Expendables 3

Any film poster that resembles the credits to a movie isn't likely to excite a potential audience. Again, similar to "Transformers" this is just throwing more and more shit at the screen and hoping it sticks. It seems like Sly asked anyone he ever met at a Gym and said "Dya wanna be in my movie? What Part? I'll just make one up for you, man." The fact that the film includes an inside joke about whyBruce Willis is absent tells you all about the script priorities. I never thought I'd say this but Antonio Banderas is the best thing about this film.

A Million Ways to Die in the West

There are moments in this film that are funny however they are too hit and miss that you just feel like you're watching a bad Family Guy episode. The kinda one where they do a 2 minute continuous joke and you're sitting there with whoever you're watching it with and you feel the urge to chuckle just to break the tension. The concept of ole time West setting mixed with moderately modern dialogue and mannerisms is also very 50/50 but in the end you just don't care.

A Long Way Down

I don't know this for certain but if I had to guess, I wouldn't imagine this was a excellent book to begin with. Nick Hornby's books have resulted in some really good films (High Fidelity, About a Boy) but this is pretty non descript. 4 people about to commit suicide, don't. That's the plot. Boring. Next.


Johnny Depp movies fall into two columns - the kooky characters or the straight characters. The first column give us films such as Pirates, Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow where the latter offers Secret Window and The Tourist. I think you see the difference. This is a movie consistent with column two. This is from the cinematographer who is responsible for the look of the Christopher Nolan films and the attempt at epicness is on show but without the substance needed to accompany it.

Other notable crud that came out this year -

Grudge Match
Amazing Spider-Man 2

Next week I start my countdown of my favourite films of this year. If you couldn't care less, just nod politely.

Adam Yates

Monday, 9 June 2014

#19 First World (Cup) Problems

To many of you this will sound sad and pathetic but I'm about to take two weeks off. As a husband, this would normally mean a mixture of manly garden work and filing my tax returns. As a father this may mean taking my daughter to the zoo or making a three course meal out of playdoh. But as a man in June 2014, this means the FIFA World Cup.

Yes, I have took paid time off work to watch countless hours of men kicking the living shit out of a hyper aerodynamic ball which was probably made in a Somalian sweatshop and claims to be 58% more bally than the last one. I love a good sporting event and I've cut back on watching sports that I used to watch simply because they were sport. So when a football tournament comes around every two years, I'm there with fucking bells on. Thankfully, England are still in the running to win but that's simply because they haven't played yet. My expectations for England are so low that I think I can deal with their misery a lot better this time around.

If you watch a soap, then you probably hate the World Cup as your daily gaze into the lives of fictional alcoholic, adulterous adults will be either delayed or played at an awkward time. To be honest, I didnt even NEED to take time off as all the games start in the evening, I just wanted to feel involved. And boy have I got involved. I've watched all the shit prep programmes on Dave and BBC Three detailing all the misery surrounding past England squads. I've started a sweepstake in work and manhandled colleagues into paying into my fantasy. I've even paid good money into purchasing a Panini sticker album but I swear I know at least two other adults (men-children) who have also stopped to this level of mid life crises.

Next up, I'm preparing which nights to go the the pub. This involves multiple counts of decision making. Who do I go with to which game? Who will actually WANT to go with me to which game? Where do we go to watch it? And last but not least, which battles do I choose at home when I say "hello darling, just to let you know, you're going to be looking after our child by yourself for two to three nights a week." This means balancing the scale mightily with extra chores such as night/morning baby duty, cleaning up the house and countless back and foot rubs.

As much as I'm looking forward to this years offering, several disappointments could make this an anti-climatic fortnight. Where's the cheesy World Cup song from Ed Sherran feat. PitBull and Will I Am? Where's the England flag waving from the white van man? Where's the amazing Nike advert? Plus where is the belief from the England team that they can actually compete? They look scared and void of ideas. When England cease to be involved, my excitement wanes and my anticipation for the quarter final matchup of Ghana and Portugal will be at an all time low.

But that's the magic of the World Cup whether you're a seasoned pro like Lineker or a sweaty rascal like Chiles. It's what you make of it and I intend to do just that.

Adam Yates

Saturday, 24 May 2014

#18 More Accident and Emergency - Part Two

*this story makes no sense if you haven't read part one so if you haven't, go back one post*

Luckily the walk in centre is a short car drive away so we employed the services of our next door neighbour to take us over. We waited for around 30m when I went in and spoke to the doctor. For anyone who has ever gone to the walk in centre, 98% of the time, they won't even touch you and they'll just advise you to go the hospital. This was one of those times. The only medicine they prescribed was some fizzy pop (which apparently helps the issue). Up to this point, any solids or liquids have not passed the blockage but this time the lemonade went down with a little discomfort. It was my first feeling of optimism for 6 hours. I now had a choice....find something to eat and see how it feels or go straight the hospital. I opted for the former and we found a chippy and I took one chip from the packet and took a bite. It slowly went down and then stayed there. It hadn't worked. It's fair to say I was devo'd! I ran into the nearby KFC (ironically) to vom the chip (sans chicken). It was time to go to the real hospital.

We walked home and informed next door that we required a second ride. I took a bag of 3 hour essentials (ipad, headphones, snacks, kindle) and we headed to Aintree. During the walk in sequence I was relatively comfortable and the pain was dormant but the line chip had kick started it all again and by the time we arrived at the A&E car park, my chest pains were bad and I HAD to at least attempt to be sick to relieve the pressure. I ran out the car and did my business and signed into the A&E dept. We saw at least 20 peeps in the waiting area with varying degrees of smack-head esque conditions, one elderly woman I had seen in the walk in an hour ago with a nasty gash....on her head. My name was called 5 mins later and I couldn't believe my luck. My priority status must be severe. A guy took me in a room and confirmed my details and condition. Once I gave it all, the guy said "hmmm in not sure what they'll do, take a seat." I walked out and realised it was just a triage meet and greet. We had to wait along with everyone else.

Fast forward an hour and we're watching the waiting room TV, what channel would you imagine would be playing in an A&E? BBC1? SKY NEWS? DAVE? If you chose Dave then you'd be right. We saw 2 eps of QI, Russell Howard's News and some shit where they give two 'funny' people a suitcase of money and send them to Bulgaria. This was all debatable however as the volume was quite low and the whole room was on the edge of their seats for the next name called. Eventually after having some blood taken and a couple of vom trips, I was eventually seen by a real doctor in the ward. Questions were asked and after a 15m wait, a solution was given. I was to to have a camera out down my throat but not for another 12 hours which meant I had to stay in for the night. I was placed on a drip of saline fluids so I could feed without using my faulty throat and wheeled into the overnight ward.

I had planned no overnight stay so I had no spare clothes or toiletries. The porter wheeled me into a room with 5 other men, all over the age of 50 with various levels of pain. The guy with the most discomfort was next to my bed and constantly howled in pain whenever he moved an inch. It was then that I pulled my ipad out which would save my sanity for the night. It wasn't there. If pulled it out of the bag at home and forgotten to put it back and it was now too late to get it back. This may not be a big deal normally but in a condition where you don't really fancy sleeping with something stuck in your throat for fear of not waking up, it was devastating. To add to that woe, I had 24% on my iphone battery which basically means I'm fucked. Sarah gave me her kindle which consisted of a lot of chic lit tosh and we said our goodbyes.

The IV drip was in my left arm and the IV bag was immovable on the right of the bed which meant the cable had to go across my body and that wound me up as I sleep on my left and I didn't wanna accidentally pull it out in the night. I threw on two hospital gowns so there was no butt showage and I settled in for the night. It was a very restless sleep peppered with a couple of visits from the ward doctor and moans from the other patients.

I woke at 6am but I weren't to know that as I couldn't waste phone battery and a clock wasn't visible. I deregistered Sarah's kindle to my own account and found a cheap football memoir to read until the nurses came around to replace my saline. Then some cretinous monster came round who wore a nurses outfit but seemed like a simple waitress. She started asking patients if they wanted tea and breakfast. I assumed they would know the reason for my visit and not come near me but she asked me and when I said I can't eat or drink before my procedure she looked as if I'd just told her the storylines for next weeks Hollyoaks. She went off in a huff.

Around 11, it was time for my close up. A friendly porter took me over to the department and over there it seemed much more professional. I had 5 people looking after me and they explained the procedure. I'd have sedation and then a wire pushed down my throat which had a camera on the end. They would take a biopsy and lasso the blockage. There was just one problem....

When I woke up at 6am, I felt pretty good. So good that I had a strong feeling that the chicken bread hybrid had slipped down into my stomach. The only way to confirm if I was better was to eat or drink summet but that wasn't allowed before the procedure. I had a cheeky finger of water and it went down fine. I was 80% sure that it had sorted itself out and the camera would only confirm that. But with it happening so often, I may as well bit the bullet (if I could swallow a bullet) and see if the examination shows any permanent issue. So I kept quiet.

The procedure was HELL. They tell you that you'll experience major discomfort as it enters and minor discomfort during. I call bullshit. It was torture. I was on my side with someone next to me whose job it is to simply suction up the puke that comes from my gag reflex. THAT'S HER WHOLE JOB. It's like a medical fluffer. Anyway it felt like it went on forever but I assume it was 3 mins max. They pulled out the wire and any charisma I had beforehand had been obliterated. I was a pukey shaken mess. I was took back into a recovery room where they explained the results. As expected, they couldn't see the blockage but they did see why it was happening. It was narrow down there with some acidy stuff which causes it to happen. It was good to know I wasn't crazy but there was a sense of an anticlimax as none of us would see the chicken culprit. It's like Jaws but you don't see the shark.

They took me back to the commoner ward which if you can believe me, was to be the worst bit of the trip. They told me that I was to get something to eat (soft foods only) and then I could get discharged. The time was 11.45am. I left the hospital at 4pm!? I was so frustrated.

The food came round at 1pm and the same ogre brought it around. They gave me a plate. Bear in mind, I was to be told  I would have to have soft foods. I was given crispy fishcakes and crispy croquettes. I told her the situation and she had the same gormless mong face that she pulled earlier. It took 45mins to find me a plate of ravioli which I wolfed down and it went down great. The time now 2pm I was ready to go, I pressed my button and asked for the IV needle to be pulled out of my arm. 25mins later, a young nurse came over and was milliseconds from removing it when an older nurse shouted and told her to take the IV out of the patient next to me. She got up, did that one and never came back to me. I was furious. I waited an appropriate amount of time and then begun to pull it out myself. The needle was th easiest bit, the hardest was the tape that stuck to my arm hair. I eventually got it off, walked up, out of the ward and placed it on the nurses desk in a bed pan and walked back to my bed. They looked dead angry but it's not my fault they were dickheads who didn't communicate with me at all. Next was the prescription I was waiting for. Apparently it was to be brought to me, again I buzzed for the nurse and said I'm perfectly capable of going to the hospital chemist and getting it. They said no. So I got dressed, bag packed and sat there with a proper face on. Sometimes the nurse walked past and I put on my best 'pissed off' face. It didn't seem to work.

Around 3.30pm, a real doctor came, summed everything up, what happened, what's gonna happen going forward and the medicine I need to take. After he left, things sped along and I was declared annoyed enough to leave. I made my departure and got a taxi. The driver was glad that "I wasn't a crazy".

So at 4pm I got home to my wife and mother in law tending to a major garden redesign. The missus informed me that I was allowed to feel sorry for myself until tomorrow morning (charming) and that there was food leftover from lunch.

I reheated the food and sat down. And it was tasty too. Chicken.

Adam Yates

Thursday, 22 May 2014

#17 More Accident and Emergency - Part One

On Sunday, a lump of chicken entered my throat and remained there for nearly 24 hours. This is that story.

For a good few years now, I've had trouble swallowing certain foods, mostly breads and meats. It doesn't always happen but often it will get stuck and I have two options that I have to negotiate as quickly as possible. One is taking a big swig of fluids hence pushing it down, or secondly, self vomiting and pushing it back up again. This situation happened on Sunday as I was tucking into a chicken sandwich. I decided on option 1 and drank some coca cola but rather than washing it down, the coke didn't budge it and instead I began to choke on the tasty black nectar. I ran to a toilet and threw up the drink but alas no chicken. It's at this point that I revert normally to option 2, getting my fingers down my food tube and kick starting a disgusting but necessary reaction. That reaction provided much mess but not that elusive lump of poultry.

The feeling I experience is hard to explain. Once I know I have food stuck in me. I AM able to breathe moderately easily and talk at times but over a short period of time, those luxuries expire and I'm forced to return to the toilet bowl and attempt another sick run. Whether the sick run brings up the food or not, the process gives me 5 or so mins of much needed comfort of sorts before the process is repeated. I spent over an hour in the disabled toilet in my workplace doing that process. In the meantime, my face begins to swell, my blood vessels burst leaving my head a blotted portrait of disgust (hence the blog picture). Also if I really give it a good go, my nose bleeds from the strain adding more awkwardness and distress. I text my colleague, tom to tell him my issue and not to expect me on the shops floor anytime soon. This was going the distance and I had no plan b.

I had started to time my cycle to try and see if there was a way I could get gone in between bouts of vomiting. I managed to get it to 10m so I got out, said my goodbyes and headed out the front door with my bag and my lump of chicken. I made it 5 mins but no more and I ran into the nearby Met Quarter toilets. There began another hour of throat torture. This was made even worse by the fact that unidentified men were unloading their bowels one cubicle away from me. They must have felt so grateful, able to use their toilets to their correct usage but little did they know, I was now, swapping my fingers to a standard pen, trying to tech my gag reflex easier. My vomitting strength was getting weaker and I was getting more uncomfortable. I then had to make a call, literally to my wife, to inform her of my plight. She has known about my food issue for some time and regularly mocks me for my inability to swallow my food, blaming my chewing skills for the problem. She was, however, sympathetic on this occasion and I told her my next mission...getting home.

I left the Met and attempted to get a taxi home. The driver must have found me wet rude and silent but little did they know that a) I was choking on white meat and b) I would have been silent regardless. I reached The Strand in Bootle, one of Europe's elite shopping mecca's when I couldn't last any longer. I paid my fare and ran in to find my next home. The men's and disableds was locked so I ran in the women's, found a attendant and played charades for 10 seconds to get her to open the bogs. I did my pukey business and resumed my journey with a second taxi home.

Once I got in my house, I relaxed but I was so weak with attempts it wasn't looking good. Plans were set in motion that I was to head for the local walk in, guided with my missus, driven by the helpful next door neighbour and our child minded by my mother in law on short notice.

And so began my trip 'into the system' and the second half of my nightmare....