Friday, 1 February 2013

People try to put us down... Just because we're still around…

Well, not me, I thought as I parted with the best part of £160 this morning to watch a pair of septuagenarians rattle through a 40-year-old album. Whatever The Who may have sung back in the 60s; given my current condition, the sentiment "Hope I die before I get old" isn't one I'm massively keen on these days.

Anyway, My Generation isn't on Quadrophenia, the album/rock opera the surviving half of the one-time loudest band in the world are touring when they come round in June. And as far as I'm concerned, they can skip it from the hits selection they're planning for the end. Unless they're planning on changing the words to "Look, I got old and haven't died!".

Lumpy brain notwithstanding, I'm planning on lasting at least as long as Townshend and Daltrey have, and ideally a great deal longer.

The last thing I'm going to do is die.

Although if I'd had access to anyone in authority at TicketSoup, the SECC's ticketing service, during the booking process for this show, the early expiration wouldn't have been mine. What a mess!

My first shot was yesterday for their "pre-sale" system, which didn't seem to work at all at first. Despite an early start at the recommended 9am, I was over an hour in an apparent queue facing dire warnings not to refresh the page or face losing my place. A place I'm pretty sure I never had. Eventually I had to leave it to go to the doctor's, but four hours later I looked in again just to see the same page with its useless spinning logo and no information.  Later still I tried again and this time it did make me an offer, but of what appeared to be not very good seats (although still at the full price of £70 a shot) so I gave up to try again during the general public sales this morning.

Again, I went for it at 9am, and this time I was offered seats which became magically unavailable three times mid-transaction, until I ended up with something similar to the ones I balked at last night.

What a disaster area: websites aren't supposed to keep changing their minds. Online booking has taken most of the sting out of getting tickets for big gigs these days: you pretty much get them or not, all the nonsense of queuing or hanging about on phone lines is supposed to be behind us. The big agencies cope with it all the time – is this the best Glasgow's own TicketSoup can do? There's no excuse. If they haven't got the server capacity, they shouldn't be in the game.

At least I got my seats - my sister nearly didn't at all. Eventually she was stuck with single seats in different blocks, despite being offered and then arbitrarily refused pairs in other places on several occasions, just like I was. She couldn't get the pre-sale thing to work at all.

I can't help feeling that the SECC and TicketSoup should be refunding their obscene £8.40 booking fee per ticket to each and every customer they messed about today and yesterday – it's hard to see what service they've provided for it. If they can't get the servers in place, they shouldn't have the cheek to take people's money.

I mean, £70 a ticket is steep enough, but adding on TicketSoup's pound of flesh plus their cheekily inflated postage fee, I expect a seat on the edge of the stage and a lift home in Roger Daltrey's Range Rover with a trout supper from one of his fish farms, thanks.

Still, on the bright side, it's given me something other than cancer to rant about here for a bit. And now, at least with my tickets booked, I can look comfortably forward to seeing Pete 'n Rog creaking across the stage on June 12 and settle back down to the Recuperation-Go-Round here in the Tumourland Fun Park.

Which is going well, thanks for asking. That's two weeks today since they let me out of hospital and – boredom and tiredness aside – I'm not feeling too bad.

The stitches came out without incident last week, and the wound is well-healed, nice and clean and infection-free. It does still look a bit swollen and sound a bit squelchy, but my GP tells me that's fine. I've also had my steroids cut down to a relatively low dose, which I'm pleased about, given how unpleasant I found the high doses this time round.

There are still some other side-effects: dexamethasone seems to come with a whole package of 'em - there are some here on Wikipedia, but I'm not sure this is even the full set. You might remember that around this time last year I was singing the praises of the Joy of Dex in this blog. Well, not so much now, I have to say. I don't doubt it's an amazing drug, but I'll be delighted to be off it as soon as I can.

The worst just now has been the effect it has on my eyesight – I go through periods where things just seem to go quite out of focus, pretty much as if I'd taken my specs off, and others of odd photosensitivity, where I feel I'm either lurching about in the dark, or quite dim lights seem very bright. All of which makes reading, from paper or a screen, quite tricky at times. Which is a bugger given what I do for a living, and is also why it's been a bit since I've updated this blog. Still, I'm told that's temporary, and it does seem to have been better over the last couple of days.

The other side-effect which seems to be clearing up is an occasional intense pain in the muscles and joints of my legs, which has given me a couple of nights of really terrible sleep. It doesn't seem to be in a consistent place, and moves depending on my position, as if it's coming from my back. I'm hoping this one's just a side-effect – if it turns out I've got a bad back on top of brain cancer, I'm going to be very upset with someone. Probably George Osborne, since I'm fairly relentlessly furious with him anyway, and it would save effort.

Anyway, that's all stuff I will find out more about on Tuesday, which is my next oncology clinic, and also the day I find out what's happening with my new and exciting combination chemo, the one which will stop me enjoying red wine, cheese, and most of my other favourite things in what I suspect will be interminable-seeming 11-day cycles over the next few months.

Still, more on that next time – I'll keep you posted after my winey, cheesy weekend…

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