'I hate feeling like a lower-class citizen, a freak.' ... Picture shows L-R: John Davidson and Stuart Colquhoun (also known as Chopper) Photograph: Philippa Robinson/Prospect Cymru/BBC
My preview disc for Tourettes: I Swear I Can't Help It (BBC1) has a different title written on it. Tourettes: No Laughing Matter, it says. I don't know why it was changed - the new title is a bit crass. Maybe someone decided that the original one wasn't accurate, that Tourettes can be a laughing matter. John Davidson, who has Tourettes, knows that. "If you ask anybody what's the funniest illness," he says, "most people will say Tourettes."
And it can be funny. It is in places here. At a meeting for people with Tourettes, a lady is running a relaxation session. Well, trying to. "Picture in your mind a beautiful green field," she says. "Think: what's the length of the grass you're standing in? Is it long grass ... ?"
"I'm up to my knees in fucking cowpat," John blurts out. It's hard not to laugh. You're not laughing at the condition though, you're laughing because John has said something funny. It's a tricky one. Then there's a dull session on disability forms, run by Heather Smith, from the Galashiels Citizens Advice Bureau.
"Hello, I'm Heather from Citizens Advice Bureau, Galashiels ..."
"Fuck off," says John.
"Fuck off, nosey," says John's pal Chopper. John and Chopper trigger each other off.
"Chopper died his pubes ginger!"
"Your dog's got tits!"
Poor Heather does her best to carry on with the session, in proper CAB language. "It's arguable that benefits-wise you should be given the maximum benefits, because at any given moment you might need a minder ..."
They're quick, these guys, Paul Merton quick. Then Heather herself says "inca-PISS-ity benefit".
"You've got Tourettes by proxy," says John, delighted. She laughs, everyone laughs; it's a lovely moment, probably the nicest session Heather Smith has ever given. Of course, and this is the bit that's easy to forget, for 95% of the time, Tourettes is not funny; it's a bloody great ball and chain that you have to drag around your entire life. "I absolutely hate it," says Chopper. "I hate feeling like a lower-class citizen, a freak."
Greg, a 15-year-old with Tourettes, is very good at talking about it. He describes one perfect day he had. It was a beautiful summer, the grass was green, like on TV adverts, and he had just one tic, instead of the thousands he usually has. There hasn't been another day like it since. "I'm never totally free like I was then," he says. "Sometimes when I get really depressed I think, 'One day there will be another day like that.'"
That lack of freedom is what comes across most, the constant worry that they're going to upset or offend. And it's interesting how they sometimes treat their tics almost as another person. Greg says he feels like Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, except that it's his tic ensnaring him instead of the power of the ring. Chopper's girlfriend talks of Mr Tourettes - it's him who says "big fat arse" to her, not Chopper. And most interestingly John, who's had the hardest time with Tourettes, says that if it went away, he'd miss it, would actually feel lonely.
They all speak beautifully about it, honestly and openly. It's
a touching and moving portrait of a difficult and untreatable neurological condition that can also be funny. I'm glad the film, and the people in it, don't ignore that. The one thing I wanted to know was whether any of them ever faked a tic - told someone to fuck off just because they know they can get away with it. You would though, wouldn't you?
Post original: http://migre.me/1j1Dj
Também assisti o documentário anterior a este, de quando o John tinha 15/16 anos, JOHN'S NOT MAD. É bem triste. Em algumas cenas, era como se eu sentisse meu coração murchar dentro de mim. Foi um sentimento bem intenso mesmo.
Eu amo o John Davidson. Depois de tudo que eu vi, posso dizer que sinto uma compaixão tão grande que chega a ser um sentimento de amor mesmo.