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SamBurcherYTCTaking a leak, a jimmy riddle, or a quick pee is something we take for granted. However, a rare condition called a urethral stricture means that this call of nature will at some point require medical intervention. While this can make coping with the problem easier, it can also present new challenges in learning how to self-manage the condition, in choosing the right ongoing treatment, and not least in dealing with the NHS long-term.

I first experienced the extreme physical discomfort of complete urinary retention as a young woman. This happens when one is full to bursting and the mounting pressure intensifies the desire to pass water, but does nothing to relieve it. In addition, the emotional and psychological distress from the fear and denial that my body could not function in such a basic way was profound.

It turned out I had a large bladder stone - quite rare nowadays, about the size of a golf ball. The white calcified mass lodging in my bladder had been undiagnosed for nine years and in combination with the stricture eventually caused me to stop 'going' at all: a potentially life threatening situation, only relieved with the aid of an indwelling catheter which filled a bag strapped to my thigh. I could now choose when to visit the loo, but this private convenience turned into a nine year holiday for my urethra, which may have contributed to it having gone into a dormant and possibly irreversible state.

Read more: My Urethra, Frankly

blitz girl cutA feature article in Plectrum - The Cultural Pick issue 10 Nov/Dec 2011






Read more: Blitz Girl

09 December 2010

Sam Burcher dusts off some vintage memories of being a ‘Blitz Kid’

steve strangeEveryone claims that they were a regular at the Blitz club. But my claim is real and I can prove it. I remember queuing outside on the very first night in February 1979 eager to get in. However, to gain admission to the Blitz, I had to pass the strict door test. This meant being fashionably sanctioned by Steve Strange, who was sitting imposingly behind a polished wooden counter as soon as I got my foot through the door.

A pair of strikingly made up eyes scrutinized me. “Hi, it's two pounds to get in and a pound for membership,” Steve Strange said.  I pushed three crumpled green  notes over the counter in exchange for a Blitz membership card. Steve graciously motioned towards several stubby pencils, one of which I used to sign the card, while simultaneously thanking my lucky stars.

Inside, the Blitz was scattered with tables adorned with red and white checked cloths and simple fresh flowers. The low lights were coming from candles wedged into empty wine bottles, swollen with cascades of wax that had dried into hard rivulets. Bright lights over the bar were reflecting in the tantalising selection of glass bottles glowing with coloured liquids, primed and ready to be mixed into all manner of mind-blowing cocktails.

Read more: Notes on the Blitz Club and the New Romantics 1979-1981