My Radical Eye

May 24, 2017


I’ve never believed in luck. In fact I’ve always thought that you make your own luck – being in the right place at the right time; the harder you practice the luckier you get – kind of thing.

But I found myself in another hospital at the weekend having laser surgery on two tears in my retina. We were in London at The Radical Eye exhibition (there’s a joke there somewhere – I’ll work on it) where I’d earlier noticed a couple of floaters in my right eye. As we came out into the light the floaters had multiplied into oily looking streaks. I realised it was blood in my eye. No pain. Slight panic.

I called the chemo suite and asked the nurse if this was a known side-effect of chemotherapy, and should I be worried? The nurse, evidently trying to keep her voice steady, said “Are you near an A and E?” I said “Well, Moorfields isn’t far.” She said “Yes, Moorfields, perfect, perfect, go there, go there now.”

Many, many long hours later, the last one and a half of them in surgery having my eyeball somewhat vigorously pushed about so the surgeon could get a clean shot. Bright green flashes seared my poor eye while I lay back, clenching my teeth, and gripping the chair for all I was worth.

It’s fixed now. The twice torn retina has been laser riveted back against the wall of the eye. The resulting scar tissue should hold it all in place, and should prevent a complete detachment. It’ll take a week or two for the soft focus to sharpen up again.

Bad luck I know. Nothing to do with cancer. But is all this some kind of cosmic retribution? Did I kick a puppy as a four year old? I don’t know, but it’s been tough to keep smiling.

A day or two later Amanda and I took a picnic to Wendover Woods, one of our favourite walking places in the Chilterns. I was all dark glasses and pulled down baseball hat, looking like an ageing C list rock star.

Then I dropped my sandwich.

Man, I really lost my rag. I suddenly felt so angry, so utterly powerless over my own body, my own fate and my own luck. I wanted to shout, swear, punch something. I really had to work to quell my rage, and it took a lot of resolve to steady myself. Sometimes it’s the smallest things that tip you over the edge. Happily normal service is now resumed.


The exhibition had my eye opened in an unexpectedly radical way. There, that’s the best I can do ๐Ÿ™‚ Can you do better?

Here are some shots taken in and around the radical new wing of the Tate Modern, the Switch House.





Giovanni Maggiora
07:24 July 27, 2017

Love the new Tate Modern wing. You capture it perfectly, here. My love Includes peeking into the ghostlike fancy apartment towers across the street. We photographers are voyeurs by definition, right?

Andrew Billington
07:56 May 25, 2017

I love the Tate - great to see some lovely photos around it. I haven't been to the new wing yet. That's an arse of a thing to happen but lucky you were near Moorfields (no better place). If it helps I know I lose it when I drop food!

23:14 May 24, 2017

Lovely to see you and Amanda smiling and laughing in the reflections photo. Sorry to hear you've had to go through all this. Pleased to hear you were able to vent some of the frustrations beneath those lovely grounding trees at Wendover. Thanks for sharing Steve and love to you all xxx

Neale James
21:36 May 24, 2017

You know, earlier I thought; "I must give Steve a tinkle, see how he is?" And then I read this. Would you just start looking after yourself a little more please? I agree with Brenda though, anger can be a good release now and then. I hope you gave that sandwich a sincere talking to! x

Giles Penfound
17:46 May 24, 2017

Beautiful images Steve and there is nothing wrong with going milliamp once in a while (is ones fuse going...) especially when a bloody sandwich goes south. love and hugs dear chap

17:16 May 24, 2017

I was so stunned by this news and how does such a good guy get such shit cards.. You are amazing Steve and your family and friends adore you

14:38 May 24, 2017

Dan and I are outraged this should happen to you. Both of us are sending love, and so glad things are better now. Good job you were near Moorfields but it sounds like it was a ghastly procedure. Thank gawd they put it back together xxx

Caroline Greatley
14:09 May 24, 2017

I suppose "it never rains but it pours" doesn't help? No? Then how about 'the final straw'? Lots of trite phrases to cover these situations but a healthy display of rage is good. You just needed someone to say 'temper temper' to tip you right over the edge. Enjoying reading your blog.

13:54 May 24, 2017

You are dealing with the cancer so well and I suppose you have a measure of control because there is a process of treatment - a sense of knowing what comes next. Then wham! Your eyes; where you don't have even a tiny amount of control. No wonder you lost it Steve. But you know, anger can be a great release. We both send our love xx

13:53 May 24, 2017

Words sharp and distinct. #emotional


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