Four interviews with a dying man - Read by Peter Marinker

Four short interviews with a dying man John was born in a village on the south coast of England in 1930. He travelled north with his lift-engineer father in 1939 and back south in the mid fifties to take over a failing electrical shop which quickly went bankrupt. His time in National Service in the army was notable only for losing a pair of trousers. Despite his obvious education he says that he was never able to hold on to any full-time work. Most of his memories relate to a period in his teens and early twenties when he worked as a deckchair attendant. He has no surviving family and never married. John was diagnosed with, what he described as, ‘a rare form of Parkinson’s disease’ about twenty years ago. Although he talks about sitting in a chair he was in fact in bed and immobile during our meetings. John wanted to tell his story so readers and listeners would not just see him as ‘another man in bed’. John vividly describes his awareness of ever advancing dementia and the realisation that his life would end in a bleak and uncaring care home. “I’m quite accustomed to noise that would disturb other people… shouting and cries and so on… but what I don’t like is that the call bell itself is so unreliable… I can ring the bell for hours and nobody comes…I’m not sure it works. I’m sure they would come if they heard it… wouldn’t they? Maybe they don’t know that I’m still here… we should give them the benefit of the doubt… they might think that I’m already dead.” We completed four short sessions before John died. John’s story was read by Peter Marinker