You got me singing, even though it all looks grim

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

I have a very bad tendency to break into travel retail industry-speak when discussing medical matters in The Moodie Report’s interim Hammersmith Hospital Bureau.

Having asked and had answered the key question (“Am I alive?”) from my surgeon as I emerged through a drug-ridden panic from heart surgery last week, I then asked of this man whose skill had kept me on this planet (hopefully in a much-enhanced state), “How would you describe the… what’s the word I’m looking for?… ‘execution’ of the operation?”

“I wouldn’t probably use that term Martin,” he replied with a kind laugh. He was right, of course; here was I talking of open-heart surgery in the manner of a ‘buy one, get one free’ promotion. I duly resisted any reference to a ‘Trinity-like’ partnership between surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses.

Apparently I chatted away in completely surreal mode for quite some time during the moments after I came out of the operation. Time and again I checked with my children Sinead and Declan the surgeon’s opinion that I was alive, eventually deciding that their consistency of reply made it certain I was. I asked the anaesthetist where he was from.



Apparently I looked alarmed for a moment (sorry, an insider joke) but quickly realised there was no travel retail link here.

The staff here are amazing, the nurses and ward assistants doing life-saving work for a pittance, dealing with patients stressed (sometimes to the very limit), by pain, fear and the never-ending dance with death. Britain’s National Health System is increasingly and disgracefully starved of funds and I, like so many others, fear for its future.

If I had a dollar for every reader who has contacted me with a plea (or demand) to slow down, I would be a rich man. Thank you for those sentiments, neatly expressed by a certain Martin Petchey, as described in another Blog the recently retired Chief Commercial Officer of World Duty Free Group.

“You have had 2 wake-up calls now so take my advice and at least have a period of personal reflection about where you are going from here on in,” wrote Martin. “I know that for me, even though the last 40 years have been a fantastic experience, it was time to shake off my ‘old skin’ and move on. For me the future is of course uncertain but I see it like an undiscovered country that I can’t wait to explore. And I’m sleeping a lot better too. Last night I slept like a log – I woke up this morning and I was in the fireplace.”


Ah there’s nothing quite like a Tommy Cooper quip to mend a broken man – or to break a mended man. Actually I did sleep like a log last night too. I’m not in the fireplace, however, but managing a rare burst at my keyboard (my kids wisely kept it from me during my morphine moments). I had expected to be out of here days ago but an infection has, annoyingly, put paid to that. Hopefully today I’ll get some good news. I pine for home.

I hurt all over but for the first time in days I woke to the sound of the birds singing, a sure sign that I am recovering. On that literal note, I have turned often in the past few days to the music of a man I adore, Leonard Cohen.

In the spirituality that inevitably envelopes us at life-affirming moments, I found particular inspiration in two of the master muse’s most powerful songs – ‘You got me singing’ and ‘If it be your will’.

Take a listen to these indescribably moving pieces via You Tube below. I’ll close out this Blog with lyrics from the former. All of your goodwill messages have got me (and kept me) singing. I may still be a little off-key but the execution sounds perfect to me.

You got me singing
Even though the news is bad
You got me singing
The only song I ever had

You got me singing
Ever since the river died
You got me thinking
Of the places we could hide

You got me singing
Even though the world is gone
You got me thinking
I’d like to carry on

You got me singing
Even though it all looks grim
You got me singing
The Hallelujah hymn



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  • Dear Martin,

    that must have been quite a lullaby someone was singing to you………….
    take your time Martin, take your medicine as described, then enjoy another fine
    drop from NZ before you even consider booking your next flight…………

    Get well soon, but take your time doing it……………