A Weekend of Loose Ends

In three days we leave for Scotland and by this time next week I’ll have my first performance of Backstage In Biscuit Land at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival under my belt. There’s still loads to do and in the last couple of days lots of loose ends have been keeping me busy – two kinds of loose ends, In fact.

Firstly, there’s all the bits and bobs that need doing before we go, like sorting out my wheelchair’s brakes, buying last minute props, and finalising my support arrangements.

Second, and much more exciting, there’s taking part in Radio 4’s Loose Ends, which goes out this evening at 6.15pm. The programme, hosted by Clive Anderson, is a mix of interviews, live music, and discussion.

The guests sit round a large table, and besides me there was comedian Frank Skinner, performer and former Sex Pistol Glen Matlock, actress Sophia Myles and Loose Ends regular Scoteee.

I’d never done a discussion show quite like this before and I was a bit nervous about my tics causing havoc. As we were setting up I said to the producer, ‘You know I’m not very good at being quiet?’ She laughed and said ‘I know, it’ll be fine. When other people are being interviewed we’ll dip your mic, but if your tics can be heard it’s not a problem.’

As soon as we got started I knew I had nothing to worry about. The atmosphere in the studio was friendly and relaxed. As well as the table-crew there were two bands, Hercules and Love Affair and The Good Ones, and a small audience.

Scottee interviewed me and asked some really thoughtful questions. Both Frank and Clive have featured in my tics in the past, so it was fun to share what I’d said about them:

“Leaf through London like a novelette by Frank Skinner.”


“Clive Anderson died, lactating shepherdess.”

I reassured Clive that my tics often predict celebrity deaths, but that I didn’t feel he had any particular cause to fear the shepherdess community.

It was great hearing Frank Skinner talk about his experiences at Edinburgh, especially since I’ve never even been to the city before, let alone to the Fringe. Sophia talked about her new film Blackwood, which sounded great but it’s a tense thriller so I’ll need a lot of padding on to watch it. I explained to her afterwards how my tics over-react to even mild peril in films.

Glen’s also taking a show to Edinburgh and like me it’s his first time. Hearing him talk about his show made me excited about seeing it. I suddenly felt a real sense of what an immense range of shows there will be – I can’t wait, so it’s good that it’s all happening so soon.

And you can hear Loose Ends really soon too – catch it this evening at 6:15pm or the repeat on Monday at 11:15am Tuesday at 4.15am, or on the iPlayer.

I really enjoyed being part of the programme and it felt good to share my experience of Tourettes with new people. If you’re just finding this site after hearing the show, welcome: have a good look round. The site’s for people with and without Tourettes, to celebrate and share the humour and creativity of the condition. There’s the daily blog, a gallery full of tic-inspired art, a frequently asked questions section, and the tic pages where you can browse almost six thousand of my vocal tics, which include those about Frank and Clive. If you’re curious about what I’ve said about other celebrities there’s a special category for them and it’s 53 pages long, so you’d better get cracking.

Meanwhile I’m cracking on with sorting out the remaining loose ends of the other kind.

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