‘Do you like my nipple hat?’

‘Do you like my nipple hat?’

Being a writer is helped by reading what others have written.  Not always, ‘writing’, mind you, but from various other interests one might have.  In my case, music and photography.  The heading comes from an article in the photography magazine, Amateur Photographer,  entitled ‘How a national cancer campaign was created with an old camera and no photography experience’.  

Lorraine Milligan’s dad gave her his old Nikon D40 for her birthday along with its kit lens and a 70-300mm zoom.  She has an eye for composition which is why she is an incredibly successful professional hair and make-up artist in the music, fashion, film and TV worlds.  As a former dancer, she was, as she said, aware of posture and body positioning.  

Her world changed on 12 November 2018 when her partner, Richard, was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.  It had spread to his lymph nodes, lungs and liver.  

He was just 40 years of age.  

It was whilst she and Richard were waiting in the chemotherapy ward that Lorraine caught the eye of a woman sitting opposite, Amanda, wearing a pink woolly hat with a nipple on the top.  

We smiled, and she said, “Do you like my nipple hat?” She didn’t have any hair, but she looked fabulous in her hat.  Lorraine wanted to know if she had one in blue for Richard.  They started to chat and Amanda asked Lorraine what she did.  On being told, she said straight away,  I’d love you to take some pictures of me for my personal journal, scars and all.’  

After the initial shoot with Amanda, an epiphany as Lorraine calls it, a conversation took place.  A campaign was born.  

Other women who had breast cancer, (what Lorraine calls her ‘breast friends’), were approached, the campaign was explained and over four shoots the powerful images you can see in ‘Bluegetitoo were created.  There’s also a film,   As the article says, ‘It’ll be the most powerful four minutes and nine seconds that you will have spent in a long time.  Like the author, I also found that I had some grit in my eyes, hence the tears…

Just one person.  A world changing experience.  A fightback.  A group of strong women who don’t give up.  And a man with a cancer that men need to be made aware of before it’s too late.  It is a thing and men get it too. Share the links.  It could save a life.  

J J Mitchell

‘No one left behind’

A strange form of intimacy

A strange form of intimacy

An interesting week just gone. Had to have some fairly intensive dental treatment, part of a campaign to sort out things various that have developed over the years. Ah, well, so it goes…

Anyway, imagine if you will, there I am, laid out flat, a team comprising the dental surgeon, his assist and the attendant, gowned up, and doing their thing in a highly professional way. You hear the murmuring of the surgeon as he directs the team, quiet, authoritative, and enabling. Nice word that, enabling. There is trust developed by self-confidence and knowledge that the training and communication are effective. And there I am, gob open, with anaesthetic puncture wounds, unmoving, totally at their command – and conscious. I’m allowing people to control me and come into my space in a way that in other circumstances would be intimate and uncomfortable. That it is why I call it a strange form of intimacy.  Consider heart surgeons for example, that really is quite intimate when you come to think about it.  Let’s just not talk about proctologists, eh?   

Like all writers, I began thinking vague thoughts about where I was, the feelings I was experiencing and what could be used in the book I’m writing, The Kold Kronicles, Book 2:  Defiance. Y’know, the things you do when you’re totally at the mercy of someone else when they’re doing their job. Thinking also passes the time, something we writers do, sometimes for too long. However I digress.  I can’t move until I’m told to turn my head this way or that, directions gently spoken but not to be ignored, he has the needle and / or drill after all…  My respect for the dental surgeon increases as I listen to how he controls the operation, a tad involved and in some areas quite challenging. I think to myself, ‘he’d make a great pilot,’ based on my experience of having flown helicopters on the North Sea for ten years plus. It was the ease of a co-ordinated team, with similar professional belief systems, practised techniques and clear communication that impressed.  At the end of the operation, the stitches were in, my mouth still a tad numb, but the work had been done well.  

So why the heading for this particular blog? Well, for a start I’m feeling somewhat philosophical. I’m also aware that we’re in a world where we have a strange form of intimacy with people in power, be it financial, political or those aiming to achieve power in these areas. It is an intimacy that we have never had in the past to the degree we’re experiencing now. The problem is, I find, that the intimacy we imagine we have may not necessarily be the reality. When one considers where our information is coming from and the vested interests involved, be they traditional or social media, perhaps this intimacy to which we are subjected is merely a chimera. Something drummed up by those who wish us to act in ways that benefit the few to the detriment of the many, i.e. you and me.  

It is a strange form of intimacy in that we think we know the people involved, their ‘crookedness’, their boorish behaviours, but in reality all we’re seeing is a show that people want us to see. It is not intimacy, it is a show and that’s all.  How we see through it, how we act like adults and remain part of humanity, decide whether we allow this strange form of intimacy to cloud our rational thinking.  

The choice is ours.

J J Mitchell

‘Never leave anyone behind…’