Category: Blog

August 6th, 2013 by Vobes

We have heard that Billy shall be staying with the Haywards Heath crowd for another 14 days. His condition is slowly improving, we believe, but I am not sure how much the doctors are telling us of their suspicions of the true situation. The deal we were given was that once Billy is stable and free from pain he would be able to come home, then after two months, he’d be off to Sheffield to receive treatment from something called the Gamma Knife. Now all that is in question. He may have to stay a further two weeks in the Princess Royal, then come home for a a few days, then return for another procedure (the name escapes me) where the doctors insert a tube with coloured dye inside his main artery from the groin up to his brain. Billy has already had this procedure once – it helps to determine the extent of the bleeding and subsequent damage, and/or any further operations of medical interventions required. If the results from this are good, he may not require the gamma knife after-all.

One thing this tells you is to take each day as it comes. The story will unfold in its own way and at its own pace and regardless of what you think will happen, things will change. Naturally, it is quite frustrating as the family cannot plan, work, relations or other necessary life stuff too far in advance.

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August 4th, 2013 by Vobes

Here is the update on Billy Lindsey. We have all seen the consultant and everything has been explained. So here is the thing…

Billy is stable and recovering from the initial crisis of the bleeding in the brain. The trouble he has at this precise moment is for his body to get rid of the blood that is mixed with the natural brain fluid in his skull. It can take a long time – another week or more for that to happen, in which period he will suffer headaches and bouts of drowsiness.

With luck, there will no more bleeding and he will be moved to a ward where he will be off the critical list. Assuming that goes well he will be allowed to come home. He will not be allowed to smoke, as that is the worst thing he can do. Nicotine is a menace for the brain.

In two months, thereabouts, after this, he will need to go to either London or Sheffield for a special procedure, which is a process using something rather nasty called a Gamma Knife – its a type of radio surgery where a small blood vessel will be cut out of his brain. It is very precise and avoid intrusive normal surgery.

The up shot is, that with luck, youth and healthy living, Billy should be ok – there are plenty of room for errors and the process could go into danger at anytime, but every day that passes with out incident is a day closer to recovery.

Thanks for your well wishes and thoughts, we do appreciate them. I am sure Billy will enjoy reading the comments when he eventually gets out.

For now, I just hope the pain is not too much or too long, so meanwhile we are remaining close to him.
We gave Billy Lindsey his phone earlier today and an hour or so a go I texted him to say how much we all loved him. Billy texted back that he loved us and was ok – but really wanted the pain to stop. I want it to stop for him too.

When I had my eye problem, which I eventually had to have it removed, I was in pain many times over the four years. The last nine weeks of constant headaches was dreadful and I remember how I felt I wanted to die rather than let it go on.

My friend Nigel Cooper said to me, among others, it will pass. I couldn’t see how it would and all I wanted was for it to do that there and then. I can imagine that Billy is in the same situation and just wants it to stop.

I know it will. But I want it to stop much more quickly than mine problems took – and yes, if I could, I would swap with Billy without hesitation. I cannot stop thinking or worrying about him until it is over.

I love him to bits!

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August 2nd, 2013 by Vobes

What do you do when your son is lying on a bed in an intensive care unit being monitored in case he needs to be whisked away to surgery because too much blood is leaking into his brain?

My son, Billy, aged 18, suddenly complained of a headache Wednesday night (it’s Friday as I write this) and it was not the normal sort of headache he had ever experienced. Within minutes he was vomiting and then becoming drowsy. I had already called the NHS Direct number as I wasn’t at first sure this was an accident and emergency, but I soon realised it was and told the woman on the phone I had to go and call an ambulance. She told me that she already had.

Billy became semi-conscious very quickly and was taken to my local hospital in Worthing. Like all anxious and confused parents, scared that the worse was about to happen, I didn’t feel his case was being looked as serious enough. The nurses appeared to go through the motions and were not terribly concerned, however, when a CT scan was decided upon and the results revealed he had bleeding in the brain, a second ambulance was dispatched.

Billy was taken to Haywards Heath to Hurstwood Park Neurological Centre and immediately placed in intensive care. My ex-wife Dawn stayed in the ambulance and my daughter Georgie and I followed in my car. It was about 3.30am by now.

More scans and tests were carried out and we, the family, were told the bad news and given a range of not good to absolutely bloody awful possibilities that was destined for our lovely, otherwise healthy and vibrant son. It was a bombshell and hit us right between the eyes. Basically, he could die.

A lot of mumbo jumbo medical speak was given to us, descriptions, explanations and possible outcomes – the advantage of this, the disadvantage of that; it was more that scary, it was horrific.

In essence, the situation is that a small part of Billy’s brain has leaked; blood from the main artery is filling his cranium. Ordinarily this can be corrected with a small valve or coil to reduce the pressure of the blood, however, this is not possible in his case because the other side of the bleeding, are a series of abnormal capillaries that service the brain’s blood supply.

Once Billy’s natural body functions has dispersed the leaking blood, which is a waiting game with an individually appointed nurse dedicated to monitor him, then a decision as to how to approach the leak and clot can be taken. Although the hospital in Haywards Heath is pretty good, it may be essential for Billy to be moved to another specialist unit in Sheffield – a total of some 5 hours journey from home.

Naturally, Billy has to go where the medical specialists and equipment are, that is not in question at all. The distance does nothing to calm the nerves, easy the anxiety and worry that the family is experiencing.

Yesterday, a procedure, the name of which has been lost in the general maze of confusion and fear, was performed on Billy. A tube containing a special dye was inserted in his main artery and sent up to his brain. It was inserted right down in his groin. The dye is picked out from blood by the CT scanner and therefore the amount of damage, flow of leakage and so forth can be gleaned by the surgeons.

This may be a regular procedure carried out by the team, but naturally, it is a frightening prospected for a loved one.

The range of emotions over the past 48 hours have been immense. The overriding thought, regardless of how much one is reminded of the professionalism, experience and dedication the surgeons have, is of losing my son. You never think it will happen to you. It has and it is very hard to handle.

I love my boy so very much. He is so very young to have to go through this. It is impossible to imagine how it can get any better. The waiting game is the hardest of all and trying to deal with the minute hand as it slowly makes its tedious way around the clockface is damn near impossible.

We wait for more information and a glimmer of hope.

So far, we have had good access to Billy and he drifts in and out of consciousness. He seems to know where he is, although the full extent of his injury and serious nature of it all is beyond his comprehension. It’s probably better that way.

Life on this planet can be tough.

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August 2nd, 2013 by Vobes

Billy is not out of the water yet. He has a blood clot and the the doctors are waiting to see if the body can clear the blood naturally. This will take time. The main problem is that the original cause is not an east one to solve. It could easily happen again. It is very serious and he may be transfered to Sheffield – about 6 hours from home. We don’t know much more than that – it is a waiting game.

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July 24th, 2013 by Vobes

I suppose it depends what you use it for. Or am I missing a trick?

I record podcasts, make videos and write blogs. I like to tell people about these things, just as I see other do likewise. However, although I constantly Tweet or put messages on Facebook or post blog posts on my RSS feeds, I cannot make the same number of connections or obtain the results as many others do – and I wonder why?

The snag is, when you work a lone, you need to be highly motivated to continuously make new content. You also need feedback and know that what you put out to the world is being watched, read or listened to. But is the world getting the message? It would appear not.

I am beginning to think that Twitter and Facebook have become too noisy. Too many people are shouting ‘Hey look at me!’ and posting their life story and not enough are actually bothering to look at the posts that have been posted.

I am sure that the marketing companies can make loads of money from selling books and workshops on how to make Twitter work for business promotions – the idea is great; a free way to market a product or service! Isn’t that what everyone wants, but, does it really work? I am no longer convinced.

From my observations, Twitter is too noisy now. It is like being in a sweet shop. So many tweets, so many links to articles, videos, websites or Facebook posts and in the end, hard to choose what to click on. And of course, it’s biggest drawback is that if you don’t happen to be on the programme at the time and looking at the main feed – you miss the tweets anyway. They are fleeting and soon gone.

Perhaps that is a blessing?

Maybe there is something knew around the corner, and I don’t mean Pinterest and variations of social media. Who knows? But for the moment, I am not convinced any of it really and truly works.

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July 10th, 2013 by Vobes

talkAt the beginning of 2011, I started to formulate ideas for a documentary series in which I explore the history, places and legends of the British nation. By the Autumn of 2012, I had a number of full length episodes produced and had been approached by the Community Channel to have them broadcast.

The series is set to grow and with luck transfer to other channels.

But why television and why go to the trouble and expense of funding these programmes on a shoestring budget in the first place? My story is an odd one.

I started as a teenager making 8mm home movies, went to mime school in London, walked on glass and ate fire for a living. I also wrote and starred in a children’s slapstick television series and acted as a bit part player in many of TV classic’s, including London’s Burning, Waiting for God, The Bill and Poirot, to name but a few. I have a few stories to tell there!

Unfortunately, in my mid 40s, I lost an eye and had a number of operations from 2006 onwards so turned to the corporate world of video production – I guessed, if I was no good in front of the lens, I could at least pay the mortgage by working behind the camera.

The corporate world is not a world I fully understand, or enjoy, so to combat that, I started to record audio podcasts – I even won an award for it for the best ‘Sound Seeing Tours’!

But heritage and history has been in my blood, only I didn’t know it. When I realised this, I wanted to learn more about our fabulous nation and make films about it.

My talk is fun, witty and entertaining. I come self contained, with a PA if necessary and do not need any hi-tech assistance.

Find out more here:

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July 4th, 2013 by Vobes

One-Eyed Man Asks Crowd to Fund His TV Show

Even if you have a good idea for a television show, trying to convince the commissioning-editors to give you the green light to make it is tricky, so one man in West Sussex has decided to turn to the great British Public to ask for help.

The Bald Explorer, aka Richard Vobes, 49, a filmmaker from Worthing, who lost an eye three years ago, has been producing a television series looking at Britain’s lesser-known heritage for a year now. They are shown regularly on the Community Channel, a UK TV station on the digital platform. So far, he has been funding the seven history documentaries himself, but now he has decided to try crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding is the collective effort of individuals who network, usually on the Internet on social media and pool money to support a project and help get it off the ground. Vobes’ TV show is on the Kickstarter.com website, which since it’s launch in 2009 has had more than 4.4 million people pledging over $683 million to fund more than 44,000 creative projects.

Television is a costly business; many producers are having to find innovative ways to spend their ever-decreasing budgets to get the maximum out of them. The Bald Explorer documentary is seeking just over seven thousand pounds to produce one hour of programming and some supporters have pledged amounts of £100 to help get this programme made.

But Vobes is no stranger to television; he wrote, co-produced and starred in a children’s series in the 1990’s Snug and Cozi for ITV with Scottish Television and as an actor, he appeared in many prime time series including The Bill, Poirot, Love Joy and Waiting for God, to name a few.

For many years, Vobes pitched new ideas in the form of video pilots to commissioning editors, ranging from comedy (he painted himself green and pretended to be an alien from the planet Mars) to spoof documentary (as Steve Snoops, he was the UK’s special sex detective).

‘Television executives tell you they are looking for fresh ideas and new talent,’ says Vobes, ‘but you only have to turn on the box and you see the same old faces presenting the same old formats. If I have to sit through another food show, I will explode!’

Vobes believes that mainstream television is too cautious and is frightened of taking a risk. He also thinks that with an ever-increasing population, the industry is marketing programmes to the wrong audience. ‘TV is aimed at the youth, yet they are switching away from traditional media in favour of the internet,’ he says. ‘The broadcast industry should be addressing the larger mature population, and that’s where my heritage series fits in.’

The Bald Explorer can be found on www.CommunityChannel.org or at www.BaldExplorer.com

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June 20th, 2013 by Vobes

Kickstarter_LogoI have seen a number of people in the UK start a Kickstarter project recently and thought I would have a go too. Kickstarter, for those that don’t know, is a fund raising platform that enables projects to collect money from interested parties on the all or nothing basis. In other words, if the who sum of money sought is not pledged within the time frame, then nothing is collected and no one is worse off.

I have been thinking that this might be a mechanism for my viewers and supporters to get behind the Bald Explorer videos that I produce and help make them happen – and more frequently. To this end, I am running a campaign to raise about £6500 to fund another one hour long episode of the series at the beginning of July 2013.

The reason the goal is so high is because when you start to calculate the actual cost of producing a piece of television with accommodation, fuel, wages for crew, fees, insurance, parking, sustenance, and so on, it all starts to become expensive.

In the past I have collared a mate, a relation or even a passerby to assist with the production. It has taken months to produce to the standard I think is acceptable and comparable to television and I have footed all the costs myself.

I just simply cannot afford to do that anymore. People tell me they would like to see more programmes, so I think this is the best way forward.

I think that Kickstarter is a bit like the old days of subscription. With the ‘rewards’ you offer, people are in reality paying for the programme to be made but they get the benefit of having it delivered to them in advance of everyone else – and with a few extras thrown in.

I hope my supporters will continue to help make these programmes. If they don’t I guess that will be the finish of the Bald Explorer and that would be a shame.

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June 1st, 2013 by Vobes

childhoodbookTime for another blog with praise for a book. I have had my snout inside this for last week or so. A brilliant insight to the story of childhood from the medieval period to the modern kid of today. Hard to think that children were swaddled in bandages for much of their earlier life and looked after by grown ups that were not their parents. It is also hard to consider how important it was to have children help at home or sent out to work to bring in a few extra pennies. This income could be the difference between eating that week or starving. The amount of infanticide, the abandoning and killing of unwanted babies and small children was rife in the 17th century and it wasn’t unusual to find a corpse stuffed into a hedge, left on the street or buried in a dung heap. The lot of a young one in the past hasn’t been a good one.
Another surprising observation is the lack of importance given to education enabling the poor a chance to better themselves. When it was offered, it had a very religious bent. Lower glass girls were brought up to work as servants or become wives, while poor boys were apprenticed to trades for excessive periods to learn (and keep) their masters secrets and rich ones to inherit, advance a career in the forces or enter the church.
The reason I am so fascinated with the social history of children at the moment is because of my writing projects. I am currently penning a book about a bunch of kids in a make believe world. It may be made up, but I wish to throw in an historical fact here and there to give it some feeling of authenticity.
Anyway, this book is definitely worth a read, if you have the inclination and want to know your own childhood roots.

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