Monday, 28 May 2018


Charlie 'Chipmunk' Adley and Johnny 'Bad Blues' Bendel at the helm...

My eyes open. The world looks different.

No, it doesn’t look different.
It feels different.

What day is it? 
What am I meant to be doing today? 
Why do I feel it’s important?

Oh yes, I’m going to England today. 

That’s it. 
But no, that’s not the real it.

I’m dizzy again.

That’s why everything feels so weird. The stationary world is moving.

Oh bloody hell, not today.
Not today of all days, please.

Forgetting what I’d learned last year, when this inner ear condition that could be either Meniere’s Disease, labyrinthitis or vertigo first hit me, I climb out of bed way too quickly.

Stumbling on what feels like fluid ground, I shoot my arm out towards the wardrobe and steady myself.

My bedroom has become a cabin on board ship. Thankfully the sea isn’t too rough today, and within a couple of seconds everything has returned to normal.


Maybe just a one-off.

Yeh, that’s all it was.

Not going to make any drastic judgments on a bit of early morning light-headedness. Today’s one of those days when everything has to run smoothly, because there’s so much in it.

I have a box of pills for this condition, but yesterday I took an antihistamine. After months of breathing the sweet clean air outside my back door, dusty polluted London can instantly turn me into a vile allergy snot machine, so I’d wanted to be prepared.

Trouble is the anti-dizzy pills are histamines and I remember my doctor telling me not to combine them with antihistamines.

Sort of like matter and anti-matter.


Well, I’ll just have to stick to Plan A: Denial, fortified with a splash of It Never Happened.

Apart from the need of a swift clench on a metal bar in the loo at Shannon Airport, the rest of the day passes with little dizziness.

The wobbly spells seem to come when I jerk my head down, look straight upwards or move my head too quickly.

It’s very manageable and the universe is kind to me. All my arrangements proceed perfectly. The plane is half empty, arrives on time, and at the other end I get an email from Hertz to tell me my car is in Bay B24, keys in, ready to roll. Better still, it has an old-fashioned handbrake, instead of a counter-intuitive button.

The hotel gives me my favourite room, and by 4pm I’m sitting in my mum’s living room, enjoying a lively discussion about the Iran nuclear deal.

Despite my insistent protestations that when Russia, Europe and the US all agree on an idea, it might well be a good one, my mother decides to side with Trump and Netanyahu.

Our debate would appear to most readers of this newspaper a vicious shouting match, but such is the nature of Jewish culture, having delivered our best arguments with passion, gusto and gesticulation, we’re to be found two minutes later having a cup of tea, enjoying a slice of Victoria Sponge and a laugh, watching Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

The day has gone so well I allow myself two double whiskies back at the hotel. Sitting under stunning wisteria, I reflect how the Snapper and I were married right here, 10 years ago.

That night I have a brutal nightmare. Waking in the darkness, I’m still screaming for help and then, in horror, realise I’m in an hotel, and freaking out the people in the next room.

In the morning, I open my eyes and - oh yikes -


There it is: the full spinning carousel.

I know it’s not real yet I can’t stop my hands reaching out to grip the edge of the mattress on both sides, as my world rises and falls

whizzes around, speeds up 

and slows down.

Denial isn’t going to cut it any more, so I ask a doctor for some help.

He gives me more of the pills I was on before and tells me to stay off the booze. Not a problem while I’m with my family, but in three days I’m heading off to see my beloved London Posse, and in their company the desire for a wee drop might become irresistible.

I ask the doc what happens if I drink with the tablets and he tells me it’ll negate their effect.

Heard worse.

After a wonderful few days with my family, meeting my newborn Great-Nephew, Noah (who just happens to be an absolute cutie beauty) I head off to spend time with my other brothers and sisters: this group of friends I’ve been part of since 1973.

The medication is working quite well, and my evening with Johnny B, Kaz and Tim passes with narry a worry, much laughing and a curry.

The next day I head into town, and while Chelsea play their final game of the season this True Blue fan feels a zillion miles from football, sitting on the grass in Regent’s Park, having a wonderful talk with Dave, enjoying Jyl’s company and then finally meeting her mum.

Heading south I decide to avoid the inner ear challenge of the Tube’s mad swaying loud banging flashing light environment, so I grab an Über and enjoy watching the city of my birth go by.

At Lucy and Neil’s I chill and risk a beer, but truth be told, there’s only one thing that matters today.

As I sip my pint of London Pride, I’m very aware that I need no artificial buzz. I’m in the company of souls who know me inside out, as I do them.

I’ve known my wonderful Irish posse for 26 years, but still consider them my new friends.

How lucky am I?

I wouldn’t recommend Spinning London to anyone, but I’m safe and happy, my world stabilised by intoxicants far more powerful than beer and whiskey: the bonds of family and lifetime friendship. 

©Charlie Adley

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