Thursday, 6 September 2007


Our Directorate is fine, all our patients are seen within 2 weeks, patients and GPs love us, outcomes are consistantly above average and we've run without finincial overspend for over a decade. All is good.

And then . . .

. . . 10.00am, meeting with hospital managers and a number of Directors explain the "vision" for our Trust.

I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame the earth seems to me a sterile promotory.


Cal said...

I recognize that! It's from Hamlet!

(If I were cleverer I would give you an Act and scene number. I think Act II but I can't remember beyond that.)

I love that play to pieces.

The Shrink said...

Act II, Scene II, you clever wee thing, you!

PhD scientist said...

Notably... brilliantly delivered on film, with lashings of self-loathing, by Richard E. Grant at the end of "Withnail and I"... in the rain to an audience of wolves at London zoo.

A classic scene.

PhD scientist said...

LC / Shrink

Checking your other posts for Withnail refs I would guess this scene must be a fave of yours too.

What I like about it is the meshing of absurdity and character revelation - the way the speech makes manifest the self-disgust at the bottom of much of the Withnail character's other behaviour through the film.

The Shrink said...

Aye, it's fantastic and it works!

The original text, ending with him pouring wine in to Monty's gun and drinking it whilst shooting himself, really is a touch too bleak to my mind.

Marwood's break with a job in Manchester and Withnail's drunken withdrawl, embracing the miserable rain and fading away, works just perfectly.

Oh, and thanks for stopping by and commenting :-)

PhD scientist said...

With you 100%, the other ending sounds far far too "grand guignol".

Or.. like something that Bruce Robinson would have written in his early 20s in the original youthful novel, but then dished as OTT/ not believable when "re-visiting" the story / scenario in his late 30s to do the script for the film.

[After all.. far more people living with their inner demons than the alternative,as it were]

I reckon Withnail can be read as an interesting "take" on one's semi-ludicrous youth viewed from the relative safety of more-or-less grown-up-ness... Notably in the way that you take yourself incredibly seriously and make a great drama out of things (even something as minimal as getting the drinks in!) when you are an early 20-something.

That sense of Robinson taking a wry look back is very present in the film, I think - it is done affectionately but with a clear eye, which is why the film is astute as well as hilarious. I reckon Withnail reminds many middle-aged people of their student days, even if those weren't in the late 60s.

Always good to find a spot to talk movies. Makes a change from getting flamed as an out-of-touch /rosy-tinted-spectacled old fart on Hospital Phoenix's thread about medical education...!

Cal said...

Ok, what is this whole Withnail thing? Who is he? What is it? A program? Eh?

Cal said...

PS: Shrink, no need to be sarcastic!!


PhD scientist said...

Are you taking the mick, Cal? If not, check out:

..and you really ought to check out the DVD / video (do they still have those?).

PS Was reading your blog - is the B.Sc. year compulsory? I guess if you are at a London med school it probably is. Still can't figure out why you would pick Molecular / Cell Biology as a subject, though..!

Cal said...

Only just caught your comment there, phd scientist!

I will most definitely check out Withnail and I... I think I'll try and see if I can download it from online somewhere - it sounds hilarious from what I read of it on Wiki - although I quit reading after a while cos it gave the plot away completely!

And you know what the most annoying thing about the BSc is? I chose to do one... I mean, what, was I on drugs at the time or something??


But it's not actually in cell biology - it's just that the BSc gets us down to a very molecular level, so even a BSc in cardiology, say, would be all about signalling pathways.


PhD scientist said...

Ah. Well, as long as "total immersion" in kinase-iness is not compulsory, you will probably be OK.

All degrees have bits you really like, and bits you don't. Usually you get enough "leeway" to pick the bits that keep you interested. I remember as B.Sc. Chemistry student having to do a dreary final yr unit on "chemistry of metal surfaces" which didn't exactly float my boat (I was interested in organic and biological chemistry at the time). You just have to minimize it, then grin and bear it.

My only useful bit of advice about molecular biol / signalling etc. etc. is to try and think "conceptual understanding" rather than "memorize pathway! hundreds of abbreviations! great!". Unfortunately the latter way is how a lot of people in biochemistry seem to think - they never met an abbreviation they didn't like. See if you agree with me when you've done a bit.

One plus of doing this sort of intercalated B.Sc is that you should get to hear some really interesting "molecule to malady" type stories - you know the sort of thing, change one base pair that changes one amino acid in one protein and you get some complex disease. Sickle cell and CF most obviously, but there are thousands of others. Every time I open Nature, or even the newspaper, there seems to be a new one I hadn't heard of.

It can definitely be fascinating stuff when you get the whole picture this way. Although my other half always raises an eyebrow and points out that you could go through a whole career in hospital acute (general) medicine and never see a single person with a RARE genetic disease - what with them being, well, rare and all. So in some ways scientists (inc students) get to read and think "preferentially" about all the fascinating curiosities and rarities that medics just learn for MRCP and then forget.