The Way We Roll

Do you want to be cured?

October 02, 2020 Season 2 Episode 7
The Way We Roll
Do you want to be cured?
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This month the one to one show has depth, sadness, reflection and frivolity.

The World Health Organisation has eradicated polio in Africa. Phil got polio as a toddler. Simon asks him how does he feel about there being no more polio people? Phil talks about the impact, good and bad that it has had on the direction his life has taken.

Phil has had trouble in his own backyard: parakeets, rabbits and herons are playing havoc with his Hertfordshire estate and fish pond. Simon in his 4th floor London flat without outside space does his best to empathise with Phil’s struggles. 

Simon posits a theory - if you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed or anxious, hang on, it will pass and it will get better. The enormous debilitating issue right now needs time and it will be gone. Does that work?

We start the show with a tribute to our dear friend and colleague Dr James Partridge OBE who died recently. We also have your emails and messages. 

BBC Africa free of polio 

Guardian James Partridge obituary

Dining with a Difference

Face Equality International 

The Way We Roll show with guest, James Partridge

Announcer :

This is the way we roll with Simon Minty and Phil Friend.

Simon Minty :

Hello and welcome to the way we roll with me Simon minty.

Phil Friend :

And me, Phil Friend.

Simon Minty :

It's the one to one show where Phil and I get to jibber jabber about things that are important or funny or interesting to us now hopefully you. How are you, Phil?

Phil Friend :

I'm okay. I'm very, very Okay. Yes, no, I'm all right. I'm a bit more energetic than I have been late.

Simon Minty :

That's good. And we're going to start with a bit of sad news. Knowing you and me will probably have some nice memories in there as well. It'll make us laugh. But I'm a dear friend, colleague, someone who you've known a bit longer than me. But you know, we're talking 15 to 20 years. James Partridge, OBE died. And at the time recording, we're looking at about two and a half weeks ago or something here. It had some sort of cancer for a long time gone through lots of treatment. And he was going back having treatment. So we thought, you know, you never know. We got to see him just before Christmas. I'm really happy. We recorded the show with him in June all about him in his new book. But overall, I'm still quite devastated.

Phil Friend :

Yeah, yeah. I mean, it's very hard, isn't it? Because we, as you've just said, we knew he wasn't well, but James was the sort of one of the things about him was the ebulliant you know, grab life by the scruff kind of bloke, and nobody's invincible. But he kind of, he sort of felt like he was. So when you rang me, as you did, and told me that you'd heard he died? I was so shocked by that. I'm very upset by it. Because I'd written to him, I think the day or two days before that, saying lets me and, Simon, and Stephen Lloyd, our other buddy from the dining with the difference company thing. Why don't we all have a zoom call together and just have a catch up, which we've done a few weeks before. So for that to happen a couple of days after I'd written that it was just it just made it even more sad that you know, you when you lose somebody that you really care for? That there's this cliche stuff about, you know, If only I'd had a chance to say, you know, before they went kind of thing. I don't have that sort of regret about James, but I do wish we'd had one more chance to just say hello to him and how he was and

Simon Minty :

I am planning to get I was writing an email to you and James about, you know, paying for the website hosting. I mean, it was that phenomenal. Yes, I did wonder the fact they've got the book published the fact that he did our podcast, the bat, he spent the last couple of years more home. He lived in Guernsey and with his wife. He's got several kids, older kids, he's a grandfather. And I thought, oh, maybe he got all his ducks lined up. But no, I mean that the impression I got was this was sudden it caught him. It was a bug. But more than that, he had five ideas as people all around the world going, Hold up me and James, we're planning something we he was on the next project. Absolutely.

Phil Friend :

He was a dynamo. I mean, he never stopped. I was remember after you told me this news. I sat down at my computer and just typed some stuff. It was just a verbal or whatever you call it when you're writing memories of him and one of my standouts is the entrance he used to make you'd be in a room somewhere. It could be a big room with 200 people in it or it could be you and me waiting for a meeting with him with dining with the difference which for those of you don't know was the brainchild of James he came up with this idea that you would never get CEOs and people like that to come to to training they're too busy or or felt they knew knew this stuff. So James come up with this really good idea of inviting them out for an evening meal. And then running a sort of disability event with them which was fun and and and and so on. And and they paid us for it and they paid for the meal and it was just brilliant James Parker best

Simon Minty :

and I think always within the first 10 minutes of the starters suddenly they were very senior people sharing very personal things. Yeah, we would beat them up a bit. We give them a hard time along the way and we would challenge them and you could see pennies drop as they gradually. Okay, we they are one of our favorite people would rock up thinking it's gonna be a charitable event. They're gonna have some entertainment, they've got to pay some money, yada, yada. We'd never did any of that ours was change what you're doing change what you're thinking, look at the talent, look at the customers get rid of the barriers.

Phil Friend :

And there was a presence about him. So he would always kick those evenings off. And I, and that's what I was meaning he would come into a room. And it didn't matter who was there. He had a presence and it wasn't about his face. It was about him. He just exuded energy. And I don't know energy. He always made you feel that he was delighted to see you.

Simon Minty :

And we should Yeah, he had a facial disfigurement, which was led to him setting, Changing Faces and then the International. I agree. I do agree. But because it was James and I just it was James was James a bit I used to always love was while we were waiting beforehand. And so we hadn't done a formal introduction. Yet, maybe 30 of the senior people in the room. I was it was always the last but you two, would go out there and start working the room. And I used to watch it and then I would see a gap of six people though we're not we weren't talking to them. I zoom in. Now. I'm a short bloke. You're a bloke in a wheelchair, there's a bloke with his facial disfigurement. And we're just working in the room where we're warming the mark. We're getting them engaged we're I just used to think bloody hell, this is amazing. There was something that I had not taken that away from James because so many people say he changed the room. He changed the atmosphere.

Phil Friend :

I mean, but he did. He was collegiate. He didn't do it on his own. So for example, he was part of the team. He wasn't the boss or any of that stuff. I can always remember him meetings we used to have we used to have some fun with him. The first thing I'd always do is say How could you know we'd have a meeting in his officeThis is that Changing Faces and I'd say so how come you can afford biscuits? You know, you're a charity. I mean, what's going on here? You're wasting money. And he fell for it every time. He always responded the same sort of way. But he would very modestly say, Would you like me to chair? would you would you like me to chair and we would always die for him to chair because he was good at it? He could chair meetings? Well,

Simon Minty :

well, okay, we did find this out when we saw him in December. I don't think I'm ever going to be this good. And I know there's a female in my life who say no, you'll never be this humble, Minty you're a show off. We find out that James's was the chairman of Imperial Tobacco. Yes, we find out the James went to Oxford and got philosophy, philosophy, politics and economics. We find out things about James that you just didn't know. His father, by the way, went in as a sort of lowly entrant and worked his way up to the top of this industry. It meant that James and had a sort of privileged lifestyle, but you wouldn't know it. He had a lovely way of speaking. I adored his laughter. So I would constantly try and get him to go, oh, oh, and that boom comes out, which was just warm and funny. And, you know, sometimes you and I were there sort of to scallywags he would just kind of mess about with him and pull him in different directions. But it was there was warmth, always warm

Phil Friend :

Always. And I mean, he clearly was well educated. He did have a style about him and and the way he spoke. But I never, I never felt wrong footed or unseated by him. You know, sometimes you meet somebody who really is very clever, and so on and so forth. And you do feel Yeah, somehow less, but not with him. I mean, he was always incredibly welcoming. And I do remember another time when we were doing the, the dining, I can't remember who it was, but it was, I'm sure on the south coast somewhere. And I drove James to this event. And it was very late. We were very late. It was dark. It was a horrible night. And I'm driving along and before you say I'll say it, I have a bit of a reputation for being a fast driver. I'd like

Simon Minty :

Terrifying listener!

Phil Friend :

I like driving, I used to like driving big cars, very fast cars. And of course, I've completely forgotten. Incredibly insensitive of me that James acquired his impairment as a result of a motor accident where the Land Rover he was driving caught fire. And I was just oblivious. I was just driving and I realized that he was getting more and more hunched up and more and more withdrawn. And I then the penny dropped. And I said to him like I'm really Are you frightened? And he said, Yeah, I am actually. And so we we did the rest of the journey at a very respectable way below the speed limit. I mean, it was a 70 mile an hour thing but I was doing like 50 or some and I've never forgotten that because He never said it. But it was quite clear that him and motorcars and driving still hold at least being a passenger anyway

Simon Minty :

in your car!!

Phil Friend :

No, I don't think it was just me. I think he did genuinely said to me that you found driving a time still quite scary. It'd be kind of an understandably so. I mean, why not?

Simon Minty :

Yeah, I mean, just to add to this, I've been in your car and most people go, oh, wait for a gap. you spot the gap, and you go for it. I've been in your car and I felt my legs squeeze together trying to make myself thinner to get through. I mean, you've never crashed. I mean, you've never crashed your mind. But it's a couple of bits. To show the relationship I had with him. I had an empathy because he's visibly different. And when he went out and about, he got stares like I always did. And I felt we we spoke a language that was similar on that. But when we had the dinner in December, he his book was coming out. And we're having a really fun time That evening, there was a lot of banter and affectionate teasing. So he said, my new books come out it's a lot more personal a bit more. Oh, let me guess. The first sentences here. I was happy go lucky teenager the world ahead of me. My car turned over. Oh, and all suddenly it was different. Anyway. Yeah, actually, that is how it starts. And I will say that moment, we had a dinner and he had his napkin. James would always wear a tie. Is that classical gesture, always wear smart tie. And he had his napkin tucked in his top, button over his tie. And after the dinner, I went up to him and said, Surely James Yeah, this was a formal dinner with serious business people have, you not, outgrown the whole, putting your napkin in your top thing? I do that on an airplane because anyone can eat but I certainly haven't you outgrown and then he went. In actual fact, I have a part of my face that sometimes mean even after all the surgeries, some bits of food or drink may slip out because of the shape. And I went, ah, and I just felt you know, the biggest numpty, the biggest, but you move on within moment.

Phil Friend :

Well, there was that classical moment where he and I this is before dining and James and I think it was one of Susan Scott Parker's things. And very early on, really. And I remember Julie Mellor was there. It was British Gas. It was called then. And we the three me James and Susan, were there with all this top brass of British Gas and it was a disability focused thing. And the evening was perfectly pleasant. We had a nice meal and whatever else. And then it came to be a conversation about British Gas and what it was doing and disability and all that kind of thing. And James James at one point said I, I love British Gas, he said, but I do have a problem with your adverts. And it was during the time when they used to use a flickering flame and he sort of held his hand up with no thumb in it and said it's the thumb advert that really annoys me. I always remeber that

Simon Minty :

I've got to feed him we probably could do the whole show on James and I we'd like to maybe we just keep dropping bits in I'm trying to think I did find By the way, a little thing that you put around your neck. It's a thin cable on either end it has a crocodile clip. And that is where you clip your napkin onto. Oh, right. next birthday present a little about the dinners. I remember doing the one for BP the petrol company. Yeah, yeah, the day before we'd seen that one of their forecourts was blocked because people were putting the advertising board on the ramp area. The next day, you're having dinner with the board, and they make phone calls. And suddenly that is moved and your like that's what you want. That's power!

Phil Friend :

What about, you will remember this. I think you were one of the diners that night I'm sure you were, we'd arranged to go to this. We were looking for a venue to host a dinner, at which the keynote would be the Minister for Disabled People. I can't remember which minister it was now but it was a long time ago. Anyway, the hunt was on for an accessible place to do this, I think in the West Country somewhere and tries we might you might remember then those days Kate Towersey, who was our admin support. And Kate couldn't get anywhere and we found this beautiful place. But it was decided we couldn't go there because it had no accessible toilet. So the place said we will build one. The ministers coming we will build a toilet and I always remember. We arrived as a wooden ramp up to the to the main entrance which was this very grand old manor house. And I wheel up it and I go in and they said no. You've got to come I go down the hall and they're in a cupboard. kitted out is a fully accessible wheelchair toilet with a pink ribbon across. Which I cut. And then I was I use the loo because I had to. And James told me several weeks later that he'd heard from this venue that because they'd fitted this wheelchair accessible loo, their trade on a Sunday lunch and Sunday afternoon teas had completely changed. They were now visited by lots of older people who knew there was a loo they could use and so on and so forth. And that was what James was about with the dinners. The dinners was about business. It wasn't just about you mentioned the charity side of it. It wasn't about charity. It was about if you get this right, people will come I know there's a bit of a cliche but but he was so right about that. But we did have some fun. Those dining events were fun.

Simon Minty :

And I got another six in my head. I'm going to stop that if you are a listener and you're trying to get your head around it or you want a little flavor of James DiningwithaDifference.com is our website just about and there is some videos, we decided to promote it a few years ago. And there's me Phil and James, with chef's hats on we decided to bake a cake between us and discuss what dining was about and what was the point right British Bake Off. Exactly. I remember the cake being amazing. It didn't even get cold. There was us and the film crew ate it within about 30 seconds. But you will see James, Phil and I jibber jabbering away you'll see me actually quite quiet the two of you. I used to have to wait. Then I came in finally at the end looking quite intelligent. But it was only because I had to wait 20 minutes before I got a chance to chip something in. Anyway, check out Dining with a Difference.

Phil Friend :

There's a brilliant moment where he's trying to tell you how to sieve flour or something or put sugar on something. He was I loved him to bits it was a it was. But before we leave him in the sense that we we must move on but my god he was committed to this up he was so committed. And his work on behalf of and with and for people with facial difference and facial disfigurement it was extraordinary. I mean, it was tireless. He never stopped. He was always on duty, actually

Simon Minty :

And acknowledged medicine that said the important bit is getting your head straight. How do you manage being different? And what's the best way of doing that? It's not about surgery, surgery surgery. It's It's It's changing others I I burst into tears. I called you straightaway, but I constantly cried. I spoke to a few others and couldn't stop crying. But also I was angry as angry because he wasn't done. He still had stuff to do. And I'm angry that we've lost him.

Phil Friend :

His this that saying I've always remembered that he used was I do not have a scarred face, I have a memorable face. And that for me was the mindset shift that was contained in those short, that short sentence was enormous, absolutely enormous. And it's one that anybody with any kind of impairment or disability can use, you know, it's all in them. A lot of what we worry about is actually in our own head since he was he was a genius. So getting those messages across. Very sad. Very, very sad. We will miss him a lot no question.

Announcer :

This is the way we roll with Simon Minty and Phil Friend.

Phil Friend :

Well, this is completely different. And this is just trivia really on my part to perhaps change the mood a bit. I live many, many listeners may not know this, but I live in Hertfordshire. And I've got a house with a very big garden. And my wife is her labour of love you know she loves it. It's all her own work. It's a fabulous garden. And we've got various bird feeders and we get lots of birds. Now recently, I have become increasingly concerned by visits from parakeets. We now get 15 to 20 parakeets coming into our garden, two or three times a day, you're smiling Mr Minty. Two or three times a day we get these bloody parakeets. Now there's two things about parakeets you need to know one is if you've not met any, they are incredibly noisy. That's the first thing. The second thing is they're bullies. They mob the food, no one else can eat it. So and some of the people that follow me on things like Twitter and stuff also know that every year I broadcast live my nesting box is got usually got little blue ticks in its all very charming. I am thinking about buying a gun to start now it's perfectly I want listeners to contribute to this. It is legal to cull parakeets in your own garden or on your own land. There is a moral and ethical dimension to all this, which is about should you actually shoot parakeets Londoners know about parakeets, there are thousands of them. So I just want to kind of start with that. I, I need advice on what to do with my parakeets.

Simon Minty :

I feel this is the impact of being locked down for four months. You've turned into this sort of all I've got is a garden and I want to start shooting things.

Phil Friend :

Well, it's it doesn't finish there. Because we have for 15 years had rabbits that get into this garden of ours, rabbit eat our plant. So Sue spends her entire life wandering around filling holes, which rabbits pop out and we've got a dog called Crumble who chases rabbits rarely catches anything but tries. And this morning, we've got a new hole, it's like Colditz in our garden for rabbits. They're always digging new holes at one day, I'm going to go down the hole and that'd be the last anybody sees me.

Simon Minty :

This is the Great Escape from Hertfordshire Phil's garden.

Phil Friend :

Now, the final piece of wildlife news there is more, more, there isn't Oh, in this fabulous garden that we've got. We have a pond, a big pond, and it's got gold, you know, fish and various things like that in it. And we built a big fence around it to stop the grandchildren from drowning because it's quite deep. And last week, we decided the grandchildren can all now swim. They're all grown up and kind of older. So the fence is going so we take all the fence down. And I've got

Simon Minty :

You've got your gun there. Get them running around the garden

Phil Friend :

I I have a wildlife camera in the garden, which we bought just to see what goes on at night. And we've had a couple of dog foxes go through and we've had a couple of black cats and that's about the size of it. However, yesterday, two days ago, we had a big big Heron wandering around the pond which is now open to the elements. And there's the recording stopped just as the Heron stood on the edge. Now we have not seen the fish since they have hidden away underneath whatever there is in the pond. They won't rise for food. Most goldfish fish when you feed them they swarm to the surface. Not this lot. They are staying right where they are. So I have got a major wildlife crisis going on in my garden.

Simon Minty :

Did the Heron come up and sort of punch the camera so that's why it stopped sort of smashed it?

Phil Friend :

No it's set for 30 second recording. I've set it now for a minute I want to see what this Heron is doing. Well, I mean, what's your view Simon? What should I do about this? My garden is out of control wildlife is taking over

Simon Minty :

as someone who lives in a two bed flat in London without outside space. I I have so much admiration for you for putting up with this. The parakeets I always think parakeets are exotic, they're not. They are.

Phil Friend :

They are beautiful birds, right? But they aren't. They're not indigenous. They're not. They're not British birds. They Yeah, they The story is they escaped from flats or houses in London at some point and have another thrive partly because we feed you know, we're very good at feeding birds. And partly because they are very resistant. In the winter. You know, they cope with the cold and so on.

Simon Minty :

If they're exotic what you film them is they explode as your bullets fly through them and the feathers go everywhere.

Phil Friend :

I am very mindful that people listening to us are going to take a very dim view. Well, if I started going out and offloading 12 bores at these parakeets I want another solution. We bought a bird feeder It was supposed to be parakeet proof and squirrel. I haven't even mentioned the squirrels. The parakeets can still eat the blooming feed.

Simon Minty :

There's a beautiful YouTube video of the man who creates the most difficult obstacle course for squirrels. I've seen it it's amazing and it is fun. I can't remember, I'm mixing it up but there's only like four days and they cracked everything. It was remarkable.

Phil Friend :

He gave up didn't me,

Simon Minty :

my mom, I would never be excited to admire them. He thought well, if they're that good. My mom and dad used to have a pond in their garden and my dad had Koi Carp and they are expensive. Well, they were little babies and then suddenly there were 300 quid a pop that we'd sold them he never did and he never paid that. But the herons used to come and scoop the whole thing out. Yeah, you can get nets and things like that to put on

Phil Friend :

Well, listener just because you don't know this but while Simon and I were recording this, my wife came into the room, completely soaked from head to foot because she'd fallen in the pond trying to construct a plastic floating network that stops Herons. So there is work going on outside I will keep you all up to date with how she does whether she succeeds in stopping the heron and it stops the heron and spearing the fish. That's the idea. But yes, she fell in the pond trying to say protect her fish.

Simon Minty :

I recommend that we get john Wallace who is our gardener a friend from Newcastle and we need a wildlife expert. I my instinct, not rather than shoot or something is if there's a could they get a little mild shock? Or do they learn if they keep coming and they get a little zzzzzz and then they have to jump away. But

Phil Friend :

my neighbor has rigged something like that up a couple of electrodes, we sit on the bird table, and when a squirrel lands on it, they do get a bit of a jolt. But um, it doesn't seem to stop them.

Simon Minty :

and whilst it is I'm sure if it is obviously an issue and this is ruining. I mean, well half of me goes well, that's life, isn't it? But I know this is a pain in the backside.

Phil Friend :

It's it's I think the parakeets I mean, the Heron and the fish well fair play the rabbits well they've got to live somewhere. I wish they'd live in a field. Yeah, my garden. The parakeets I do regard as a pest they are they are now seen as a pest. Yeah. So I feel less guilty about the parakeets and not wanting them around, but I'm not going to shoot

Simon Minty :

you do need some advice. That's the point, isn't it to be the first or the last? This is no, yeah,

Phil Friend :

I can't go through lockdown. And watch parakeets, I'm sorry, is too difficult?

Simon Minty :

Isn't a disability story? Is it? there's not gonna be a surprise twist,

Phil Friend :

it will there will be disabled parakeets, if it carries on.

Announcer :

This is the way we roll with Simon Minty and Phil. Friend.

Simon Minty :

I have a new subject that is close to you. But I then I thought about me. Did you see the World Health Organization at the end of August 2020 said polio has been completely eradicated.

Phil Friend :

I did.

Simon Minty :

You are someone who got polio. And then they had polio. Yeah, yeah. What does it feel like to know that potentially there will be no more people that have your condition?

Phil Friend :

I let me start by saying that I think there was nothing good, inherently good about polio. I mean, it killed people, and it paralyzed people. And I know that we take our view about the impact of impairments on our lives, me and you, and we tend to see them in a very positive way. A lot of the time, not always there are times when being in a wheelchair isn't convenient, you know, but polio in itself as a virus a bit like and it is very similar to COVID in a number of ways. Or Coronavirus. I'm glad to see the back of it. I don't think it it. It may have and I would say this about myself, it has made me who I am. And I'm in that sense. I'm I'm I believe it's it's helped me see a world very differently. But I don't wish it on people. I don't think there's anything inherently good about polio. So that's good. The thing that's interesting is that the last place it was, was it there was still Pakistan, I think and Afghanistan still have a strain, but it's very small. But you're right, Africa, completely gone now. And when I think about Africa and all the struggles, it's hard and the way it tries very hard to you know, to change its own story to got to have got polio out of the way can't be anything but good news.

Simon Minty :

And I get what you're saying? Absolutely. I'm trying to think then when you when we have people who say My condition is the problem. The social model is not going to help me. I want to get rid of my condition. You can sometimes struggle with that. You're like, No, no, we get rid of your barriers and you'll be okay. But you're you're almost saying the condition itself is inherently an issue. There's nothing good. So other people could say that the same about their condition.

Phil Friend :

Yeah, good. Yeah. Yeah. I think what what's what's I'm trying to think me through a bit it's it's saying that I don't think my life would have been anything like the same. I not had polio. That's a given it, wouldn't. We, you know, we we recently talked to Geoff, didn't we, Jeff Adams Spink about thalidomide and the impact on that generation. polio for my generation was devastating. It killed thousands. It is paralyzed thousands. But as a result of that many people's lives were changed. I'm not saying for the better or for the worse, but they were changed. And it's what you make of it that I think matters. So it's one thing to be working with a body that doesn't obey you doesn't do what you wish it would do is quite another to not be allowed on a bus because you can't walk onto it. That's a very different concept. Absolutely. Now using the old matrix bit and the clumsiness with thalidomide, would you take the blue pill? Or to be cured to get rid of it? Or would you not take a pill full stop, it is what it is. That's what I've got. I wouldn't take any pill. Now, I would have at 14 or 15. Because I found polio, an absolute nightmare. And I didn't like it. Yeah, and for all the usual reasons that an adolescent boy might. So all that stuff. And there have been moments in my life where I wish I didn't have it, or there were times where my my son's particularly my son's, like, you know, the football thing and not being able to play that kind of thing with them. That annoyed me. But, and dancing with my wife, you know, can't do that, that those kinds of things annoy me, but there are moments, my life overall, has been, for me at least has been a really interesting and fulfilling prospect. I mean, I've done stuff that I wouldn't have done, if I hadn't had polio, I wouldn't have met you, I wouldn't have been doing this, I wouldn't have met all the people I've met, I wouldn't have had the roles I've had, I wouldn't have traveled to the places I've been. If I hadn't had polio, I might have been something else. I used to say that my life script for my class, when I was born, I was born in central London, working class family, all that stuff. The millea, the group that I grew up with a mainly old spent many of their formative years in prisons. And I think in some ways, polio saved me from that, because I'm sure my my, my brother went to jail, I'm sure I would have ended up in the cell alongthe landing from him. Although I used to say to him, I was so I was a lot cleverer than him. So I wouldn't get caught. But, but, but the idea that, for me, I've reframed it, it's a bit like we were saying about James, you know, it's about how you see the positive aspects of this. And that a new value those rather than thinking about the things I can't do, and there are things I can't do, and I wish I could do, I didn't take the pill.

Simon Minty :

I've used my impairment to get me out of dancing with my partner. I can't stand daancing! But I get the you know, I my dad's very good at sport. And I remember asking him, were you disappointed, I couldn't do some of the sporting things. Because I've got all the hand eye coordination. I've got the technical gifts that he's got. But I've got the physical bit. I thank you. And thank you for the honesty, I it is fascinating. It's a short person's conversation that we have and ours is different in that. I'm sure there are short people who I really wish this wasn't me. And I'm sure there's people who are absolutely fine. But I've had little moments like you say where you go and dammit, this is really tough. But we're very proud and the idea that we may disappear or genetically they find things to stop it happening and and now obviously the pain, the discomfort, the surgeries the breathe in the early death, all the crappy stuff, the cancers. I don't I wish we didn't have that. But I don't want my type to disappear.

Phil Friend :

And I can understand that. I can understand that. I think, as you say is different. Isn't it one thing for many people with polio, for example, they were in their 20s when they got it, you know it wasn't it? Well, they weren't born with it. And I got it when I was very young. I was three so but for you and people with your condition, it is a birth issue. You are born small. So it is the only way of dealing with that is to stop you being born in the first place. And that's a different ballgame. Although there, there Look, we just we just rule out the chances of people catching polio. We don't rule out the people. You know, it's a it's a different thing.

Simon Minty :

Yes, good point. I have several short friends who have had babies and their babies are short. And we're like, Yay. I mean, I feel I've been I've been very irresponsible. I need to knocked out a few kids. I think I'm just to keep it going. Yeah, I'm curious. I always I don't know what it is. I think your point about this is you polio is not an illness, but it's a thing that brought a lot of difficulty. Now mind brings a lot of difficulty, too. But it's not a bolt on. It's an inherent part. There's nothing there. I wasn't meant to be different. I was meant this is how it was meant to be. Whereas you could argue you caught something or you got something or whatever it is. That altered that did a bit like James as well. James did say he's an 18 year old just been accepted at Oxford. We're just about average gap year. That's a very different life to what he ended up doing.

Phil Friend :

Yeah. Yeah. And I think we can't ask him, but I, I, I suspect that James's life took a very different turm. And thousands of people benefited because of that.

Simon Minty :

I think there is a question we should I remember going to an event where Colin Lowe, who is a lord, isn't he? Yeah, he is. Yeah, he did blind blind Lord, he did a lovely title. It was has Disability Rights gone too far. And it was, you know, provocative. I chatted with Liz Sayce. Afterwards, outside. And we were doing this, you know, is it ever good to have a disability? Or is it a bettter And we doing it's very similar conversation to do it. And I clumsily and he said something like, Well, you know, but depression can't be good. Because you know, that that's not a good thing to have something like depression. And she countered by saying, but going through that gives you a perspective, it might give you a different outlook, it makes you a different person, that could be an improved person. So it's a sort of clumsy way of me trying to get to the point of we assume, is it good or bad, and it's not, it's complex. And certain conditions can make you a different person can make you appreciate me give you I used, I was interviewed about being short. And I said, it's open more doors, and it's closed. Yeah, and I sort of believe that is the case,

Phil Friend :

I think some of this is some of this is also about where we start from, so you grow up in a family that take a view, they do things, they make sure that you go through a decent education, they do all that stuff. So you emerge and then in one sense, it's now what you make of it is now what you make of it. There will be I don't know, I've not met many small people, for example, who perhaps were born into poverty, who didn't get the education, you know, all that kind of stuff. So their life chances were also very limited because of all of that, and then they had to manage being small as well in a world which by and large, is not very friendly to people who are different.

Simon Minty :

You come back to our fundamental point, which is impairment and your condition is one thing, your life chances where you were born, what your family were like, and then how that has created you as a personality you will have five people with exactly the same condition as me but our life has been different through other factors and we're back to the nature nurture and and you're quite right.

Phil Friend :

What you want is a world which treats whichever group you came from treats you fairly IE it doesn't restrict your near the big debate in our society now isn't about right it class is a big issue, particularly in the UK. So you know,

Simon Minty :

you're right Am I yeah, I wasn't destined for a life of criminality I don't I can't.

Phil Friend :

I'm very angry that I didn't ever get to see the inside of the prison. It's just been awful when you

Simon Minty :

Once you've shot the 17th parakeet you may well get your chance a couple of stray bullets you'll be there.

Phil Friend :

Yes, 10 years on the Moor breaking up rocks.

Simon Minty :

Thank you, I I was struck to see it disappear. And if I read that about dwarfism, I think there's too many complications with my condition and the genetics and the, the spontaneity and the randomness and all of that. But I, in a couple hundred years could have gone through science and that'd be a sad day. In my head, at least.

Phil Friend :

In some ways, what you want is you want small people to be born that don't have any of the other stuff that comes with it. So they could just be small. You don't want the the hips and the knees and all that.

Simon Minty :

And that's what the smart bio pharmacists sale, that's all we're doing. And you go see that and they go, well, we're gonna make you a lot taller. And I realize it's tricky that as a slight aside, and here's a really random bit, I do have an ISA I have some savings and investments. And opportunist me realize there is a company that developing a vaccine for COVID. All right, and I thought well, that's the one to invest in, isn't it? Unfortunately, in that same little trust is a company that make the altering gene that would stop dwarfism. And I can't go there I cannot find something that is going to make them

Phil Friend :

They won't be getting your money.

Simon Minty :

No. And I think that will change the whole path of that multi billion with pharmaceutical company.

Phil Friend :

They will be bust by tomorrow.

Simon Minty :

That was a nice subject I enjoy talking about that. Thank you again for your your honesty, and I have a reflection, which I'm going to use, because by the time this show comes out, it will probably be several weeks we record and then we play with it and tweak it. Today I am beyond stressed because I'm looking to move house and I want to buy this flat. And it for three days, I'm not sleeping, I don't know what to do. And it's all that the anxieties, I just get feeling in a month's time. It will be sorted.

Phil Friend :

Well, let's hope so.

Simon Minty :

Well, what I mean, and what I'm trying to say is if you are really stressed and things are really difficult, I always feel just, you know, in a couple of weeks in time, things change. The world keeps turning, things will happen. Each will get to decided, yeah, so it's a little I have it when I have scary training things or events, and I'm terrified and I go, I've worried about it for weeks, and then I go in a day's time, it will be done. And then it's done.

Phil Friend :

I think the other thing that helps me is to say, I've done this before you've moved before. I mean, you moved into the flat, you're in now lovely. It's very nice. I don't remember actually how stressed you are. I remember you when you lived in your previous accommodation, which was also very nice. So it's kind of looking back and saying Hang on a minute, I've done this before. So and it worked out. So what's this about? You're right, though, if you can protect yourself for to you. And so I won't be thinking about it in years time.

Simon Minty :

I think there might be an age thing going on. I've lived here for 15 years, I think back and I haven't even got involved. I was so busy with the business with you. My parents came up to London, they did a lot of my packing they helped with all sorts. I remember coming back one evening after work, and my favorite bottle of wine I've been saving for several years. had been drunk by them.They grabbed hold of it. It's all that looks nice. Now I couldn't begrudge it because they were doing so much to help me. But I was so busy. And I was mid 30s. And I'm like, oh, carry on. And

Phil Friend :

Well look why don't you just say get them back? It worked, then why don't you just get them to make the decision for you.

Simon Minty :

I could lock the wine away this time.

Phil Friend :

I think that's a good move.

Simon Minty :

I because they're 15 years older too, I would have to and they're not going to do it this time. I got me doing these little virtual estate agents that you go round your flat and with your camera and challenge everyone. And the bloke said, Well, you could sell it, then you could move into temporary accommodation for a bit and then you could buy the one but he said you don't want to move those books twice. Do you? Just do it once and quit?

Phil Friend :

I'm not sure I mean, it. I mean, it is a very stressful thing to move house. We know that. And it's full of all sorts of issues. But I think what's stressing you, dear listener is that he hasn't made his mind up whether he wants it or not. That's the problem. If he makes that decision, then everything else gets sorted after

Simon Minty :

I agree also that making the decision of the hardest then you just get on with it. And excuse the clumsiness as a short person is for stretching myself. and they say you're supposed to stretch yourself if you're going to buy somewhere but it terrifies me. But I also the flat next door to where I live. That's the one I wanted got too scared about going for it and I bailed out.

Phil Friend :

I told you something else happening in my head now that I hadn't thought about before. Which is that when I when I first left my mother my mother's house I went and live with other people squatted you know, did all that stuff. And then I moved I bought a little place with Dave my mate and we had that and then I met Sue and Sue and I married and we moved into our first house then we had our children there we stayed there for 30 odd years actually. And then we moved to this place and I suspect we'll die here I don't see us moving from this place. Now that is fairly typical route that most of us follow. You're a single bloke, you've you don't you don't do it for those reasons you don't move to have a bigger place with the garden because you got a family now you're moving so one of your challenges I know because you shared it with me is you want to be a bit closer to your mum and dad because they're getting older and now you want to be able to get in support and be be around for them. So part of your reason for moving is geographical it's not really about that you need to move you don't need more space although COVID and no garden and all of that really did hit you know it did

Simon Minty :

The markets very strange. I mean, who would have thought that people want to move to places with outside space? I thought I'd be the only one. If they listen to our show and realize the problem with rabbits and parakeets and herons they won't. Also I do need more space because I realized I need to make more short people don't I to keep the keep the generation going You're gonna have lots of tiny little nursery, seven kids running around on the small balcony.

Phil Friend :

Well, we'll have to keep the listener posted on a) your emotional roller coaster and b) what decision you eventually come to. And then maybe in a year or twos time, you can talk to us about the babies and how that bits going.

Simon Minty :

Is it appropriate to announce the crowdfunding thing I'm doing for my new place? Is that Is this the place? The Simon stressed fund?

Phil Friend :

Just giving page?

Simon Minty :

Oh, I feel terrible. We had one message. You just reminded me that to me, Melanie Coughlin I don't know if I've said that right Melanie from Canada, she picked up on the I call them disability ninjas the people who suddenly burst into talking about disability, she came up with heavenly helpers, these people who just can't help to get involved. We even went as far as disability parasites, which was brutal. But there is a little bit we both we all noticed. There's panels of experts talking about social care, talking about disability. And there ain't a lot of disabled people on that panel, or they're rocking up there doing the lived experience for five minutes. And then they try and laugh while people make decisions. So disability campaigners don't just do your lived experience. Make sure you stay on that boardroom table, that discussion, because we got to keep influencing it. Yeah. So thank you, Melanie. That was lovely. It's lovely to hear from you.

Phil Friend :

And our final quick mention of Dave Rees my old oppo who also has sort of binge sessions without podcasts. He listens to two or three at once. And then he writes to us saying what he thinks of them. And this time he thought they were very good. He found them very interesting and stimulating. So that's always good news. Thank you, Dave. Yeah, thank you, Dave. That's very sweet of you as well. Thank you. Anything more from you, Mr. Friend? No, I think I'm done. So it's been good to talk to you again as always Simon.

Simon Minty :

Take care everybody lovely to speak to you Phil. See you again.

Phil Friend :

Yeah, take care. Bye.

Announcer :

This is the way we roll presented by Simon Minty and Phil Friend. You can email us at [email protected] or just search for Minty and Friend on social media. We're on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Our Friend James Partridge
Parakeets, Herons and Rabbits
Do you want to be cured?
Managing a stressful situation.