I finished re-reading Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” today, just as news was breaking of the deaths of Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett.

It’s easy to juxtapose The Savage and the Civilized mob in the Puttenham scene with the media circus around these two events.

Farah’s death was protracted and hence more a spectacle (but it’s early days for the King of Pop). They say it wasn’t entirely her fault; that some employee at the LA Hospital sold information about her illness to the media.

But it led to this: “We are being entertained by death – which has no place among the living….” (The Anorak).

Farah’s death was also from cancer. A rare form – Anal Cancer – which is completely different from Colon and/or Rectal Cancer. Don’t ask me why, it used to be just a hole to me too.  I’ve seen a comment that she was offered and refused a colostomy – the implication was that it might have saved her life. I infer from that (if it’s true) that it was more likely that she refused surgery, from which the colostomy would have been a consequence.

My news from today’s review was that the Liver (Hepatic) team have considered my case and are thinking about a combined surgery for both the rectum cancer and the liver metastasis, to be done in late August. It’s a trade-off between the advantage of going after everything at once versus the physical impact and risk. They talk about the difference between ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ surgery – guess which organ is which, eh?

This week I have worked five full days and three evening meetings. Whether or not it will be one really big operation or two big operations, I need to have things in a state of readiness before the end of August.

Two things to share with you. First, some Laurie Anderson that for some reason makes sense in this context, at least to me.

Second, some Aldous Huxley, whose strength lay in “his combination of dazzling dialogue and surface cynicism (often very funny indeed) with a foundation of great conviction”.

Then, with a click, the bathroom door opened and, very pale, the Savage emerged.
‘I say,’ Helmholtz exclaimed solicitously, ‘you do look ill, John!’
‘Did you eat something that didn’t agree with you?’ asked Bernard.
The Savage nodded. ‘I ate civilization.’
‘What?’
‘It poisoned me; I was defiled. And then,’ he added, in a lower tone, ‘I ate my own wickedness.’

Brave New World, Chapter XVIII