Bill Harvey: Chaos AD
Author: Bill Harvey
This was the first year I had been unable to get hold of a Glastonbury ticket since my first visit back in 1984 – the year when a cuddlier Morrissey headlined. To somehow make up for missing Attenborough storm the Pyramid stage, I consoled myself by hitting the iPlayer and found some interesting references to eye health.
To begin with, I heartily recommend the recent ‘Years and Years’ series, penned by Russell T Davies and concerning how a family cope with the next two decades as predicted by the author. I loved the scene (episode five if you’re interested) where the grandma and matriarch figure self-diagnosed her sight loss as being due to macular degeneration using an online app linked to her webcam. At her eye clinic appointment, she was told how this was now completely curable with a simple injection of cells into her retina (the date was the late 2020s, so feasible?). She was also told that there was a three-year waiting list for the treatment under the NHS but, by paying £10,000, she could take advantage of the NHS fast-track option.
The iPlayer is also re-broadcasting the Derek Jarman film ‘Blue,’ which first went out in 1993. When I first saw this, I did not realise what an excellent and accurate evocation of sight loss this was, particularly poignant when suffered by someone so reliant on the visual environment. It also reminds us how, with retroviral treatment of HIV, cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis, about which I was quizzed in my PQEs, is almost unheard of these days.
Finally, I noticed that the excellent British Film Institute has expanded their free online output to include a wealth of adverts from the last century. Look out for the 1920s ad for a local optician (available at; https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-castleford-advert-3-1939-online). Well worth a look.