Day to day musings of a cat minder/ sitter in North Tyneside and Newcastle upon Tyne . For details of services go to http://www.catminders.biz

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Thursday, 2 August 2007

Paul Watson , Mr and Mrs Pointon

Furore developing over the weekend re Paul Watson's documentary of the latter stages of Malcolm Pointon's life after a diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease. I have a vague recollection of seeing a film about this man , a former composer , and being moved by Paul Watson's film and his involvement with this family . I had an interest , having been hugely entertained by his earlier fly on the wall intrusion into the life of The Family ( That Family , warts and all , whose daily doings engaged the voyeuristic tendencies of the masses in the early seventies , if Ive got my dates right . ) I have less clear memories of Noelene and her brood , filmed in Sylvania Waters , though when N and I stayed in South Carolina two or three years ago in a lakeshore house I had a flashback to the images of boats and marinas. Enough of that . Suffice to say my starting point is I'm wholly for Mr Watson , and can say he has enhanced my life .
Cut to an article in the Sunday TimesA man’s death is not a spectacle for TV -Times Online this week making comment on his latest work and bemoaning our disintegration into a fly on the wall society , requiring as we do ever more titillating images to keep us hooked . Robert Winston is cited as the first British film maker to show a death on tv which confuses me somewhat as I have a vivid memory of a piece about a young man dying of Aids which as I recall it shows the moment of death , and which I watched in June 94. Its a clear memory for me as my baby was three months old , sleeping from time to time as babies do , during the day and not the night , and I recall watching the start of the programme then setting to record as she fell asleep , and watching the following day , a Saturday as she slept in my arms . This timing is etched on my mind as I thought it through many times as the events of that particular weekend . On the Sunday , I visited my grandmother where she lived home alone despite her years and increasing frailty , and found her dead . The memories of placing the three month old baby in her car seat with handle carefully on the floor in the sitting room in order to deal with things in the bathroom , is etched on my mind . And as we had no clear picture of when she had died , the issue of the moment of death later took on some significance for me as I tried desparately to piece together what might have happened . The front door was closed but not locked , as usual . So she had not died during the night , furthermore it was before she had lit the open fire as it was laid ready for the match . Placed on her neatly made bed was the daily newspaper for Saturday morning , so she had collected that at the front door and placed it in passing in her room . There were few other clues . But when I tried to make sense of things ( and death , even of an old lady in her nineties , never makes sense ) and wondered about the moment of her death . I remembered having lain awake listening to my baby crying for a few minutes and having some of those inexplicable moments of terror when death becomes something beyond plain fear , and moves into straight terror . I placed this as having taken place at around two am on the Sunday am , and my fear receeded when I took the baby into my bed and fed her . I recalled the fear when I woke and connected it to having watched the documentary and seeing the man fading into nothingness. Later , when I thrashed in my mind for evidence to reassure myself that my grandmother's death was peaceful and easy , I could find only this sense of terror within myself and hoped against hoped that this did not coincide with her moment . I did not want to face what this might mean , and having heard from others since then who have survived near death experiences and heard their testimony , I tell myself there is nothing to fear . A niggling doubt remains , and I have other stories which if I were to face them , would scare me more . So I dont .
And , I reckon , its this niggling fear which has fed the media hounding of Paul Watson and Barbara Pointon , supposedly in support of Malcolm Pointon and his right to privacy . My belief , for what its worth is that the players in this drama set out to show what Alzheimers can do , how little support there is for those who have to do it , an d as far as I can see , Mr Pointon was part of the decision making which involved Paul Watson in their lives . I don't myself see a problem with whether they filmed his actual death , or his near death , and if there was a misleading about when he died , well , really is that the issue here ? I think not , though I know most people will not agree with me . I am glad Paul Watson walked away before the moment of death as that seemed the right thing to do ( though it raises important points about life and death . We are all entitled to privacy and dignity but films of birth are commonplace and where is the difference ? Birth and death are part of life both . ) I'm all for remembering why Paul Watson and this couple collaborated to make this film and want us all to make sure that it wasnt done in vain .
PS I haven't seen the film yet . Watch this space .The man who would play God - Times Online

2 comments:

scamp1970 said...

Didn't see the program myself, but there has been a bit of an outcry in the media. I agree with you in that anything which highlights the trauma of alzheimers can only be a good thing.

MsCatCalls said...

I think the documentary is on next wednesday evening .
Thanks for the comment . Much appreciated .

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