Magazine article The Spectator

Low Life: Jeremy Clarke

Magazine article The Spectator

Low Life: Jeremy Clarke

Article excerpt

Every morning for the past two years, on waking, I've reached out for the white plastic tub on the bedside table, shaken out four oval white tablets into the lid, tossed them into my mouth, and washed them down with a pint of water. Initially I counted myself lucky to be selected to take the expensive drug abiraterone for two years as part of a nationwide clinical trial. As I understand it, abiraterone turns off the adrenal glands, thereby depriving prostate cancers of their favourite nourishment, testosterone. (Presumably, I have also been without adrenaline for two years and impervious to loud bangs.) I tolerated the drug easily until about three months ago, when the common side effect of fatigue sneaked up on me and whacked me over the back of the head with a lead-filled sock. Every morning since then, I've woken up exhausted and counting the days until the end of the trial.

The glad morning when I swallowed the last four pills and chucked the 24th and final empty tub at the bin was the Saturday before last. I rose, dressed, packed an overnight bag, and flew EasyJet from Bristol to Nice for a birthday party. As one of the first guests to arrive, I helped with the last-minute party arrangements. It was an outdoor party and I was given the job of placing candles in a variety of lamps and jamjars and arranging them on the terrace where I thought the candlelight would be most useful and atmospheric.

I put off numerous insistent offers of that sacramental first drink, and was going about my task conscientiously, when I looked at the clock, subtracted an hour, and realised that 20 minutes had already gone since the late kick-off at the Etihad stadium where Manchester City were playing West Ham. Borrowing an iPad, and googling the latest score, I saw that the Hammers were 0-2 up. I shan't bore you with claims about a lifelong love affair with my football club. Suffice to say that after decades of scepticism and disappointment, the start of the season under our inspirational new manager has felt like a religious revival. And here we were, away to City and two goals up after 20 minutes -- yet more signs and wonders. The sun sank, dusk turned to darkness, and with my lips moving in silent prayer that the lads would hang on during the second half, I went around the terrace with a taper, lighting the candles. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.