Thursday, April 24, 2008

In Praise of Gail Porter

She's a wee baldie pixie who used to be a glamorous TV presenter/model but is now what exactly?
Well, she made me cry this morning while on the Matthew Wright Five TV phone in show, The Wright Stuff, not because she was being sad at losing her hair, or maudlin or morose, but quite the opposite. Gail Porter's irrepressible joy at being alive is just about the most indomitable spirit I've witnessed in a long time. There she was, being quizzed on a show about baldness among women (2m in Britain apparently suffer from alopecia or have some kind of hair problem) surrounded by models displaying glamorous wigs, people phoning in because they're having chemotherapy and need to know what shampoo to use on their nylon barnets, and a hairdresser who does everyone's hair from Robbie Williams to the Queen who now wants to cut wigs because "women losing their hair is the most devastating thing" and wee baldie Gail's sitting in the midst of it all laughing!

And what's she laughing at? Well, at one point she said that because she had no nose hairs the snot just runs out her nose "It's like having a wee tap stuck on the front of your face" and then she was describing the panic at actually losing her hair (she really couldn't stop laughing at that) and then the worry about what her daughter would say ("I went to America with long blonde hair and came back a wee baldie") and she kind of laughed at that. She explained that she "used to be good looking" (she's as cute as a button) and is lucky because she's got a "nice-shaped head". At which point she laughed again. Probably at the prospect of having a not-nice-shaped head.

In fact, Gail Porter kind of laughed at everything all morning and made me laugh too. And cry.

I read her book recently, which starts with a suicide attempt, goes through self-harming, divorce, humilation, hair loss, deceit, and yup, you guessed it, you end up laughing (at all the other bits). She loves her wee daughter, she loves her mum, and she loves probably everyone (except her ex, some failed popstar called Dan Hipgrave) (but in fact because he's her wee daughter's dad, she probably doesn't mind him all that much).

Yeah, yeah, go on, analyse it, make out she's just a nervous wreck. Well I watched her this morning live on TV for over an hour, and she's not. She's a perky wee soul, who at whatever age she is, has had the lot thrown at her, and she's come out the other end laughing, laughing, laughing.

Gail Porter, I salute you. You're a laugh.



Anonymous said...

Well said Nationwide
I too watched it with a tear I am on week 24 of chemotherapy I lost all my hair and discovered a fantastic hairdresser who just looked after cancer patients she cut my wig for free.
Watching Gail I share her cheerfulness too, as when you have endured on a journey like this and come through it then life is so good and to awake and not feel like your head is nailed to the floor is a feeling so great
Life is beautiful !

Nationwide said...

A friend's father who is the archetype "glass-is-always-half-full" and never half empty kind of guy. He was diagnosed with the Big C last year, got cured, and at 80 went out and bought himself a new car! While in hospital he came round and asked the nurse if he was going to die. "Course not" she said. "Good" he replied, "what time's the football on?"

H said...

I love Gail Porter. I spend my days surrounded by superficial morons who act like the world is about to end if the've got a pimple or can pinch a half-inch of skin somewhere below their ribcage.

I long to a)give them a good kicking and b)make them read Gail's book, but I know it would be a total waste of time.

On Wednesday I am going in to hospital to have a lump removed from somewhere a lump really shouldn't be, and I'm feeling really positive about it. What other option is there? For now, I am fit and full of life, and until someone tells me I've got half an hour to go I'd like to think I'll remain so.

Anonymous, I salute you. Get well soon.


Anonymous said...

Don't worry H factor I can assure what ever happens to you do not worry.
I start 5 weeks of radiotherapy this week and my consultant compiled the report on my cancer to give to the radiologist I read it and I could not believe I had survived all the diagnosos and treatments listed in that report
I cried again but it was with joy this time
Cancer is a challenge you lose your hair but not your sense of humour and you somehow just keep going
x x x

Nationwide said...

In my experience ladies have lumpy bits all over which are not only harmless but fun. Hope that's what you've got.
I'm in South Gloucester right now, Dyrham Park, but managed to survive almost a full Bank Holiday Sunday in Bath.
What is a grockle anyway?

H said...

my word Nationwide - Dyrham Park is about 3 miles from my house. You should stop by for afternoon tea.

Yeractual said...

Dearest HFactor,

I just left a twatty remark on your blog, only finding out how twatty it was when I popped in here.

Lots of love to you. Also from Bas 'n Merv.

Hi Nationwide, I am a fan of Gail too. And I'm about 10 miles from HFactor. I reckon that makes me almost famous.

nationwide said...

We were in Dyram itself, if that's close, which is a mile or two from the Big House which we also walked around in the rain (a bit less crowded than Bath Central but just as wet).
Hope the lump thing goes well, it is a daunting thing, but anonymous (not very, guess who it is) is right, once you're there it's get on with it, as you appear to be doing. Been through the mill in various ways....
Yeractual, we did seriously try to find both Lower Shagthorne and Upper Shag, but none of the charming locals seemed to know what I was on about. One in particular seemed to think I was referring to his wife for some reason. She seemed OK about it.

Nationwide said...

Oh fuck, I meant to spell Dyrham correstly. Bollocks.

Anonymous said...

Or even correctly.

Nationwide said...


Yeractual said...

Little Shagthorne is unfortunately now a ghost town (a story in itself) except for a few furtive looking MOD bods pretending to be walking their dogs.

Nationwide said...

Bit loike Imber then.