One of my Christmas presents from my parents was the CD ‘Parklive’, which Wikipedia says is ‘the third live album by British alternative rock band Blur, released on 13 August 2012. The live album recorded the band’s performance at Hyde Park, London on 12 August 2012, as part of the companion concert to the 2012 Summer Olympic closing ceremony’.

I happened to have been at that concert, and it has since proven to be £65 well spent. I have mentioned that I went to the concert before, for it is now something of a milestone. It was the last time I went out out before I was diagnosed with myeloma. It was the last time I was cancer free.

Clearly, I know I had cancer on that date. I also had a fractured vertebrae. I just did not know it.

I do not think my reaction when I opened the CD was what Mamma Jones intended. She gave me the CD because she knew I enjoyed myself and I enjoyed the concert, and she was right, I did. My reaction even surprised me, I cried.

I believe my counsellor would call this grief.

The 12 August was the last day I had actual, carefree fun. I was in a considerable amount of pain, but on that day, I pushed it out of my mind and enjoyed myself. Let’s face it, I also got ridiculously drunk and that probably used my last reserve of good health before I spent the week that followed on a drip, getting cancer.

On that Sunday, it was hot and sunny. A rarity for the UK this year. It was so hot in fact, chocolate bars were melting in a corner shop I entered to buy rizlas. Middlesborough and Katherine were late arriving, because I got to stand outside the entrance for quite a while looking at the crowds. They at least did bring me beer, and we sat outside the entrance making sure Katherine ate her sushi whilst drinking, before we got into the hour long queue to get in. If memory serves, I was not impressed by the search procedure on entrance. I appreciate a good rubdown search and I did not get one. As we entered, New Order had just started their set and I was pleased I had not missed ‘Temptation’ and relieved I could finally go to the toilet. From then on we drank, we queued for more beer, were merry and enjoyed the music. Writing this, I just remembered that I also kissed a boy. I had forgotten about that. I must have been drunk. Prior to this, I peed in the park, in the open. I am not ashamed, only impressed now, that I was able to do so with a fracture in my spine. See, like I said, drunk.

The next day I woke up and my pain was ridiculous; I couldn’t physically get out of bed. I also felt incredibly ill. The day after that I was admitted to UCH, and three days after that, I had myeloma.




Blur were amazing and I think I found it all a bit emotional on the actual day, especially the closing songs. I don’t think ‘The Universal’ will ever be quite the same for me. At the time, crying and me were not friends, but I cried on my way home. I was in pain and I did not know why… We all know why now. That day, the 12 August 2012, in Hyde Park, London, represents so much of what is now lost, that is why I cried when I saw the CD.

I wouldn’t take the day back mind; I think it was best to go out with a bang.

For now, I’ll listen to the CD and I’ll remember how I had it good for a while and aspire to get right back up there, as soon as my body starts behaving.