"The Good Listening To" Podcast with me Chris Grimes! (aka a "GLT with me CG!")

A GLT with me CG - Series 3 Ep 2: "Legacy: Life Reflections" Stuart Cox: Accept What You Cannot Change

February 19, 2021 Chris Grimes - Facilitator. Coach. Motivational Comedian
"The Good Listening To" Podcast with me Chris Grimes! (aka a "GLT with me CG!")
A GLT with me CG - Series 3 Ep 2: "Legacy: Life Reflections" Stuart Cox: Accept What You Cannot Change
Chapters
"The Good Listening To" Podcast with me Chris Grimes! (aka a "GLT with me CG!")
A GLT with me CG - Series 3 Ep 2: "Legacy: Life Reflections" Stuart Cox: Accept What You Cannot Change
Feb 19, 2021
Chris Grimes - Facilitator. Coach. Motivational Comedian

In a special "Legacy: Life Reflections" Episode of The Good Listening To Podcast, Stuart Cox - Actor, Shakespeare Director & Journeyman reflects on his "journey to now" in a conversation he would call - in summary: "Rubbing Shoulders"

Stuart returns to the GLT Clearing to talk, amongst other things, about "accepting" his chronic heart condition. 

"Legacy: Life Reflections" is a special 'series strand' of the Good Listening To Podcast - inspired by Shakespeare's "All the World's a Stage..." where I go into a bit of extra depth on "Legacy" and "How you would most like to be remembered?" And "What are your life-lessons-learned-along-the-way" that you'd like to share with us?

In this Episode Stuart Cox talks profoundly about his current state of being "at peace with NOW" - here in his Clearing - as he describes how he has accepted and completely come to terms with a chronic and worsening heart condition, with the opportunity of the Podcast itself (in being given a "good listening to") as catharsis.

A lovely, rich in-depth conversation, anchored around his great love of Cuba. And at its heart - the comic and almost impossible staging of a Production of Pericles! 

Leading Stuart through his story - as if "Life imitating Art" to one of his most important life-lessons:

"Accept what you cannot change..."

So thanks for listening to another Episode of a "GLT with me CG!"

The Podcast series that features "The Clearing":  Where all good Questions come to be asked and all good Stories come to be told!

With some lovely juicy storytelling metaphors to also enjoy along the way:

The Clearing itself - A Tree (where we get to "shake your tree to see which storytelling apples fall out, in the form of a lovely storytelling exercise called "5-4-3-2-1") - some Alchemy - some Gold - and finally a Cake with a Cherry on Top!

Think "Desert Island Discs" but in a Clearing! 

Also think about William Shakespeare - and about Jaques in "As You Like It" in particular:

"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages..."

Jaques: Act II Scene VII

And as my Guest in the Podcast:  Now is your 'moment in the sunshine' to share your story!

Who are you? What's your story? And what 'life-lessons-learned-along-the-way' would you like to share with us? And just to get bit "existential on yo ass" too (!) what would you like your legacy to be?  How would you most like to be remembered?

And all my guests have at least 2 things in common: They are all Creative individuals  - and all with an interesting story to be told!

If you'd like to find out more, then please do check out my websites www.secondcurve.uk + www.instantwit.co.uk - and there's also a dedicated "Good Listening To" Facebook Group c/o the link above.

Plus if you'd be interested in the experience of being given "a damn good listening to" yourself, or you'd like to explore the idea of some Personal Impact Coaching from me CG - to help level-up your confidence, communication, and personal impact c/o my online Coaching proposition: The Second Curve "Zoom Room" - then, by all means, do get in touch via any of the usual social media channels (see above) or you can email me at [email protected] 

(The Second Curve "Zoom Room": Coaching to help you 'level up' your IMPACT - or to get Clarity on how to get to "where next?")

Show Notes Transcript

In a special "Legacy: Life Reflections" Episode of The Good Listening To Podcast, Stuart Cox - Actor, Shakespeare Director & Journeyman reflects on his "journey to now" in a conversation he would call - in summary: "Rubbing Shoulders"

Stuart returns to the GLT Clearing to talk, amongst other things, about "accepting" his chronic heart condition. 

"Legacy: Life Reflections" is a special 'series strand' of the Good Listening To Podcast - inspired by Shakespeare's "All the World's a Stage..." where I go into a bit of extra depth on "Legacy" and "How you would most like to be remembered?" And "What are your life-lessons-learned-along-the-way" that you'd like to share with us?

In this Episode Stuart Cox talks profoundly about his current state of being "at peace with NOW" - here in his Clearing - as he describes how he has accepted and completely come to terms with a chronic and worsening heart condition, with the opportunity of the Podcast itself (in being given a "good listening to") as catharsis.

A lovely, rich in-depth conversation, anchored around his great love of Cuba. And at its heart - the comic and almost impossible staging of a Production of Pericles! 

Leading Stuart through his story - as if "Life imitating Art" to one of his most important life-lessons:

"Accept what you cannot change..."

So thanks for listening to another Episode of a "GLT with me CG!"

The Podcast series that features "The Clearing":  Where all good Questions come to be asked and all good Stories come to be told!

With some lovely juicy storytelling metaphors to also enjoy along the way:

The Clearing itself - A Tree (where we get to "shake your tree to see which storytelling apples fall out, in the form of a lovely storytelling exercise called "5-4-3-2-1") - some Alchemy - some Gold - and finally a Cake with a Cherry on Top!

Think "Desert Island Discs" but in a Clearing! 

Also think about William Shakespeare - and about Jaques in "As You Like It" in particular:

"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages..."

Jaques: Act II Scene VII

And as my Guest in the Podcast:  Now is your 'moment in the sunshine' to share your story!

Who are you? What's your story? And what 'life-lessons-learned-along-the-way' would you like to share with us? And just to get bit "existential on yo ass" too (!) what would you like your legacy to be?  How would you most like to be remembered?

And all my guests have at least 2 things in common: They are all Creative individuals  - and all with an interesting story to be told!

If you'd like to find out more, then please do check out my websites www.secondcurve.uk + www.instantwit.co.uk - and there's also a dedicated "Good Listening To" Facebook Group c/o the link above.

Plus if you'd be interested in the experience of being given "a damn good listening to" yourself, or you'd like to explore the idea of some Personal Impact Coaching from me CG - to help level-up your confidence, communication, and personal impact c/o my online Coaching proposition: The Second Curve "Zoom Room" - then, by all means, do get in touch via any of the usual social media channels (see above) or you can email me at [email protected] 

(The Second Curve "Zoom Room": Coaching to help you 'level up' your IMPACT - or to get Clarity on how to get to "where next?")

Chris Grimes  0:01  
Welcome to a very special episode of the good listening to podcast with me, Chris Grimes. I'm back in the caring, which I call a GMT with BCG, as opposed to a Glt. A good listening to with me Chris Grimes. But this is the very lovely Stuart Cox. And he's been very inspirational to me over the last period of the pandemic, particularly, but also actually I've known of him, and we've known each other for a good 25 or 30 years or so. And Stuart was particularly inspirational in the advent of the journey of the Good Listening to Podcast, partly because I got very stuck into Shakespeare's "All the Worlds a Stage" as an idea to go a bit deeper into legacy and life reflections. So this is a very special for reasons that you will shortly experience, Legacy: Life reflections episode with Stuart Cox, who's an actor, Shakespeare director, global traveller - journeymen. When I ever I speak to him, I'm always struck with a really affectionate and profound feeling of a quintessential Jake queasiness to him, which is, again, back to as you like it. And the very, you know, genesis of that speech, All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players, because he does have a melancholy quality to him, which is a complete compliment, but I think we will explain and he'll tell you a bit more about that. So I brought Stuart back into the clearing at his own request. And it's a privilege to have you back in the clearing on the good listening to podcast, Stuart Cox.

Stuart Cox  1:31  
Thank you, Chris. Very pleased to be here.

Chris Grimes  1:34  
And I'm very pleased that you're here to say, just explain, if you like, just tell us the story behind the story of why we decided to get back in touch with each other and do this.

Stuart Cox  1:44  
The thing is that I'm very unwell. And I don't tell many people about it, just close friends. But I think it would be good to share it with a wider audience, because I think there's lessons to be learned. So my clearing space is my life now. I clear the spaces is absolutely as I am now. And as I live now. And to get there, I have to go back really, to I was living in Cuba. And I deserve credit is there in 2016. Then I went back to Mexico to do 12th night. Also in 2016. It was the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, it all fitted very well. And then I went back to Cuba nice idea was that we live in Cuba, and work in Mexico. And with the small state pension that I had, because I was then 66. And I had a certain amount of my pension and the money that I earned in India, not in Mexico, I could afford to to do that. And I had work lined up and I said to myself, I will do this until I'm 70 which would have been last year 2020 years, still another three and a half, four years away. And I said because I'm absolutely fine, and I feel very healthy. But one day, I'll probably need the NHS. So I want to go back because I always flew by the seat of my pants and they never had proper health insurance. So if anything happened, I would have been stuck. So that was my plan. To live in Cuba work in Mexico for another four years. And in 2020, I would return to Britain. So make a plan and listen to God laugh. What happened in the middle of 2016, there was Brexit. And although I was always paid from from Mexico, in pound sterling into my account in Britain, it worked very well for me and for the people that were paying. So taking my money out of an ATM in Cuba. Suddenly after Brexit the pound dropped 20 to 25%. So I had a lot less money. So my financial considerations will change. And also as a foreigner, it's very difficult to live in Cuba unless you marry a Cuban and do arrange marriages and all that sort of thing which I was prepared to do. And I was renting illegally. An apartment with the the owner's handbook registered with the government, which is fine as long as I had a work permit. But when my work permit finished not living there as digital, they put the renter because they said in order to be registered with the government, it costs us more bum bum bum. But they're a bit silly and they put it up by a third. And I said look if I can't afford this, I won't be living here. And this is capitalism. You know. You can't just grab The money because it doesn't work like that. I have to leave unless, you know, keep the rent lower, and they wouldn't. So I was looking for somewhere else. And then so that the finances were getting difficult because of Brexit and because my rent has gone up. And I was in contact with a friend of mine, Jackie, who I worked with in 1972 and stayed good friends all the way through. And she said, Oh, look. I'm renting a house in a minus village in Wales. The house next door is empty. They're refurbishing it. What do you think? So I asked the owners if they would let you rent it. I said, Well, what's three or four years, maybe I should go back now because the finances aren't working out. And I've got my work in Mexico and go back to Mexico for no three months every year. In the winter, that'd be great. So and also, I thought, if I don't like it back in Britain, if it doesn't work out, I'll leave. I'll go back. I'll give it a year. It doesn't work out. I can leave. Okay, new plan. So I came back, lovely house, lovely cottage here, halfway down the hillside in a very tiny village of 30 houses. adjusting to being back. And six months later, I had a heart attack.

But it wasn't, it wasn't an ordinary architect. And this is what I'd like people to know. You'd have it started at 10 o'clock when evening. And the only pain I had was in the middle of my back. Now, I had never heard of a heart attack pain being in the middle of your back. I thought it was the chest and the arms and all of that. And there was no pain in my chest, no bed in my arms, and a severe pain in the middle of my back. I have a fever, and the shivers. And I felt very sick. And I stayed up all night, I thought oh, it's possibly a kidney infection. Because I had somewhere in my mind that kidneys affects the back. So I was up all night. And then what until the following morning, I called an ambulance. And as soon as they arrived, they said heart attack, get the morphine and get on the stretcher into the ambulance off to the hospital. So I found the time I got to the hospital, I've been having a heart attack for 12 hours. And I got into AMD and the man there who does this stuff shoved the needle up my arteries, to the blockage by which time I'm out of my brains on morphine, completely sky, I like to see the screen, see this massive blockage. And this thing's trying to push me gave up so I can't do that. Nothing to be done. And I cheered. So what does that mean? Then he looked at me said a lifetime of breathlessness and a cocktail of pills every day and walked away. I think you might have been on all night or Sunday or in a bad mood. But I was actually quite grateful for that. And then straight into intensive care where I was for a few and number of days. And on the morphine. So you remember much.

Chris Grimes  8:18  
We all know all of this as well. You would assign to this as Oh, yes. Very alone. Yeah. Okay.

Stuart Cox  8:24  
Yeah, completely assets. And I had a wonderful morphine dream. I sleep walked, which I've never done in my life. And I dreamt that the intensive care Ward was a performance art set. And I was doing a performance art performance. And it was like Jim Carrey in The Truman Show. If you remember that. And I went around the side, I could see around the side of the intensive care unit, the green fields, the countryside. And for all this performance art, it's like multibyte in the middle of a field, and it's all happening. Oh, it's terrific, terrific. I'm not at all. I woke up, mighty leaving and I will I'm not in at all I was just doing a performance. And then I saw at the bottom of my bed, my hospital gown, which I'd taken off and put at the bottom of the bed and got up and walked around. Fortunately, I was wearing underpants Otherwise, I would have been stopped it. And apparently a nurse grabbed me by the arm and walked me back and because they used to

Chris Grimes  9:34  
play a king and Rose and wandering around with his butt naked.

Stuart Cox  9:39  
And then I found out by talking to another young guy in his 40s she had a serious heart problem. And he was in intensive care for 27 days. And I spoke in the same Ward how to get him out and my hallucination was nothing because his he said that the nurses said they'd given him The Michael Jackson happier milk which was the illegal drug that Michael Jackson got his doctor to take him. And he said, for a number of days, he saw the nurses and doctors as golden Labradors up on their hind legs wearing white coats with clipboards.

Chris Grimes  10:19  
Happy Meal right there. We should google that.

Stuart Cox  10:23  
He said, he said, that was fine, until I looked across the bed opposite. And I saw Jabba the Hutt from Star Wars. Which he knew he was in trouble.

Chris Grimes  10:35  
It's a beautiful film set is just evolving, resolved.

Stuart Cox  10:39  
It's absolutely anyway, I came I went onto the ward. And then I go to a secondary thing. side effect, which is called Dressler syndrome, named after the doctor that investigates the 1956 and it is in fact it's called pericarditis. Did you say dress Dressler syndrome, but it's very it's another word for pericarditis. What is the name for polka gauges when it's a side effect of the heart, the pericardium is a is a membrane that surrounds the heart, presumably to protect it. And the wonderful stories that show them. When he died, he died very young, he had tuberculosis and he died at about the age of 3839. And they cut out his heart and they put it pickled it in a jar. And they put the jar in a church. And when the Germans invaded Poland, during the Second World War, they stole the jar. But after the war, they found the jar and put it back in the church. About three years ago, some scientists wanted to investigate the heart to see if they could find out how he died. And they didn't even have to open the jar up because they could see from the scarring on the heart, he died very carditis which was a side effect of the tuberculosis. So he didn't die of tuberculosis, pericarditis, which will be very happy. But across 160 odd years, I am one degree of separation from Chopin. Very good. Now my

Chris Grimes  12:20  
scarring then is what I'm hearing. So paragard is irreversible scarring.

Stuart Cox  12:24  
Well, it wasn't his holiday idea. The fact is, it won't kill me. But it returns. And I'm now I think just recovered from my 14th bounce card out just in three years and four months, which is just an average just under three months. So probably always UK. But the good thing is that this one was six months since the last one. So maybe it'll spread out. And it's just uncomfortable, it's painful, and, and of eating, etc, etc. So I had to add that as a side effect, which kept me in hospital longer. And then I was released and I came home. And that was all fine. And when I saw the cardiologist said Well, there's about half of the heart left working, the heart is a muscle, and half of it has gone now it is debt. And the other half is not really sufficient to release very inefficient in pumping the blood around. Because that's what art does, it pumps the blood around the body. And what I didn't know, which is absolutely fascinating, is something called an ejection fraction. And that says that on every heartbeat, the heart pumps out between 55 and 70% of the blood in the heart, which is an enormous amount, isn't it? When you think about all that is going on and you're not aware of it. So it is actually the organ that that controls the entire body, particularly the lungs. And so the the normal ejection fraction should be 55 to 70%. And mine was between 25% and 30%, which is very low. And they also said look, we can't do any surgery because there's not enough heart muscle nap. So he can't do bypass or anything. It's it is what it is. And that's how it's going to be forever.

Chris Grimes  14:35  
So the transplant territory in terms of advice you might have got,

Stuart Cox  14:40  
I wouldn't accept one even if it was offered and it would it would only give me a few years and I'm too old, and it should be for younger people notice offered it now. I wouldn't accept it.

Chris Grimes  14:52  
And by the way, I'm so struck with the fact that in terms of the stereotype of the Shakespearean stereotype of three school, year and 10 To 70, and yet you are now sort of permanent. And so I suppose, and again, it's a compliment that I experienced, he was being melancholy because it's the found meaning of it.

Stuart Cox  15:14  
Because I've got a quote here, I found a Shakespeare calendar. Remember the fourth part to what you are as a candle, the better part burn tapped me, the better my candle, which is the lighter day lift. And you know, and maybe it burnt out because the flames so strong,

Chris Grimes  15:38  
and also the whole story in the journey to now I'm really struck with how Jackie arrived at a point, remembering the adage, what's meant for you won't pass you by and energetically and in our journey together. And I know you said of your own volition before that you experienced the fact you're quite psychic. And I remember we first met, you told me before I had any kids that we're gonna have two children, you know, whether one agrees with that sort of thing or pays much attention to it. But there is something about you, which has always been quite other knowing. I think, well,

Stuart Cox  16:10  
jack knows the truth or she is a very powerful psychic, and much more than me. She's incredible. She's extraordinary. But there was a thing when we work together. It was just silly think or the British dance Drama Theatre, which sounds very grand, but it was in fact, touring schools sort of job you got your SD card on. And in that in, in that when we were touring on that, there was a scene from a play with Jackie and de playing old people sitting on a bench having a conversation. Now in front of Japanese house next door, there's a bench. And we were sitting there one afternoon. And we looked at each other and said, this is the play that we did nearly 15 years ago. recreate or the play

Chris Grimes  17:05  
years ago. So

Stuart Cox  17:06  
you've known each other that long, was not quite 59 to 72.

Chris Grimes  17:11  
is here that it was 15.

Stuart Cox  17:13  
Yeah, yeah. 1449 years. Wow. That is probably about 47.

Chris Grimes  17:18  
your neighbour now. Is that what I was hearing, but

Stuart Cox  17:20  
she's moved away now. But she was and was the reason for being here. But no, it was quite extraordinary. Just send us a we're doing the play for real, because we are now Oh,

Chris Grimes  17:34  
that's the Simon and Garfunkel old friends and fans like bookends.

Stuart Cox  17:41  
So they want to check that there wasn't anything left my heart that they could do something within an operation. So I had some new clear x rays just fine. It's just that they put some nuclear thing through your veins and the temperatures and the warning afterwards. Stay away from pregnant women, small children. Don't irradiate them. Everybody else was fine. It was just small children and pregnant women

Chris Grimes  18:16  
experience plans that you'd probably want to keep away from pregnant women. And

Stuart Cox  18:21  
then they sent me for what do they call it? An Amr eye. MRI, MRI in Bristol, which is the only one. There's only three places in the whole of Britain do it. And so this is one for the whole of the South of England. So very expensive. MRI machine is awful because it's so claustrophobic you're doing as you're looking there for an hour. After half an hour, they pulled me out because they've been getting rid of inject something into me. I said how much should I cope with this is Oh, try this bit. First, we got to do this injection, boom, boom, boom. So we can see very clearly. They put me back in. And within a few seconds, they pulled me back out. And I was surrounded by people in white coats. And they say oh, this is a teaching hospital, isn't it? Have you all come to have a look at me? And they said no, we're cardiologists, you've just had a major arrhythmia. Now arrhythmia is when the heart goes completely out of whack.

Chris Grimes  19:27  
Yeah.

Stuart Cox  19:28  
And you can have cardiac arrest, which is kind of instant death. Basically. It's the one that hospitals where they they get the defibrillator and you go clear bump. So they pulled me out and they said we have to investigate this. And you can't go home. I was only going to be there for the afternoon and said you can't go home until we investigate and they did a little investigation. And if it was in the upper chamber, it's fine. They could cauterise it sounds painful. Losing the bottom chamber is potentially fatal. And has something has to be done. So Oh, man was in the bottom, of course. So they wouldn't let me go home, in case they drop dead. And they kept me there until there's somebody free to have the operation. And it was two weeks, and it was Easter, and they kept putting it back. And I'm done. I think I phoned you from the hospital. Because I was in Bristol. And I was alone in this room for two weeks going nuts. Until next time, and then they did. And what they do is they've inserted a miniature defibrillator inside my chest, which has a lead, which goes to the heart. So and this is all separate from a heart attack. It's all separate from heart failure, which is what I have I have chronic heart failure, issues of health as we start to pack it sounds like this is a restart a thing. Yeah. Which is separate in case of cardiac arrest. So if I have a cardiac arrest, and electric current goes into the heart to restart it,

Chris Grimes  21:10  
and has that been invoked, as far as you know, no,

Stuart Cox  21:12  
no, I just, I never will seem to be there for safety. And I had a big discussion with a surgeon, because I said, hang on a minute, you haven't asked me if I want this. We said well, why wouldn't you? Maybe I don't want to be kept alive by a machine. We have this philosophical discussion of God doc said, Look, our training is to keep people alive. Yeah, alpha is to prolong life. Yeah. And that's what this is. And we did a deal Is it okay? If I if I get to the state where I'm really unwell, and I don't want to let my life hang on a machine, they'll turn it off. Which is fine, which I think is what they do. When you go into a hospice. They turn into had

Chris Grimes  22:02  
you been consulted beforehand, you might have sort of gone down the Do Not Resuscitate type of Ave

Stuart Cox  22:08  
know that I've done that. Now. I've done the Do Not Resuscitate. But it's part of what they're doing. The hospitals Do Not Resuscitate and turn off the machine. And I looked it up on on Wikipedia. And in fact, I am now a cyborg. Because if you look upside blogging, Wikipedia, it says, There are already cyborgs walking amongst us. There are people who have different relators implanted in their chest, which is an electric machine. And their life may depend on the machine starting up and electric current. So they are part machine part human. I am a cyborg.

Chris Grimes  22:46  
And do you have a USB port is the question on it.

Stuart Cox  22:49  
I did plug it in. And just to finish this off. On the Schwarzenegger had a major heart surgery. Is it triple or quadruple bypass it just two to three years, actually two years ago, I think it was. And the story was and I really hope it's true. I really hope it's true. But he came around from the anaesthetic opened his eyes, looked around and said, I'm back

the Terminator lives.

But I mean, that's that. If he did that is such a risky thing to do. It really is. I mean, it's wonderful. And I think it's true because it was reported. Yeah.

Chris Grimes  23:34  
And if he had a red eye contact lenses.

Stuart Cox  23:37  
Okay, so anyway, so I have a I'm a cyborg with this in case the kids had a cardiac arrest. I have chronic heart failure, which is a deteriorating condition. It never gets better. It just gets slightly worse as it goes. And I said to my cardiac nurse, I think this is like something I came across in India, which is step wells. In India, they have these step wells, because especially in the desert and register, the welder at least 100 feet down, step Well, sorry, step one step one step. And in order to get down to the water, they built these incredible architectural constructs, which are a series of steps and platforms going down in various geometric patterns, like ensure drawing back senate solid decades in the right dimension staircase. I said, Look, it seems to me that my condition is that I go down the steps. And I can rest on a platform before I go down, but I can never go back up the steps. She says Yes, that's right. So would you mind if I use that in my talks? I said, No, of course not. And that's the perfect analogy that and I have got slightly worse bit by bit over It

Chris Grimes  25:01  
is gradual. But But and permanent. So when

Stuart Cox  25:05  
it says, I will never get better than this, I will only get worse than that. And I think it's important to be realistic. I don't I don't go for this thing of illness that you fight it your battle? Well, no. So you have to accept and surrender to it. That's, that's really the only way. And that is also, if you tell people they're battling something, if if it gets worse, then they feel guilty. Why aren't I getting better, it must be me must be my fault. So this is entirely wrong with a major major illness like this. And I think certain cancers, I think the best that you accept it and say, I surrender to it, and you're much happier lap. So this is the statement I made. And the statistics are with my kind of heart failure. 40% die within a year. So I've overcome that it's now just over three years, three years and four months, I think 60% die within five years, and 90% die within 10 years. So the longer you go, the less the odds, but the more the more odds up in that sense.

Chris Grimes  26:22  
So as we know, none of us are getting out of here alive, but what you're attesting to,

Stuart Cox  26:26  
but I sort of think I know what I'm going to die from, which is quite a comfort in some ways, although something unexpected could come along and and come over the top of this, but

Chris Grimes  26:38  
you've described it before in conversations we've had where you're ready for the journey to the next galaxy, and you've got

Stuart Cox  26:43  
absolutely yes, I've booked my ticket for the next galaxy. I don't I just don't have a departure date yet. But I'm looking forward to demesnes because it is going to be a wonderful new adventure. And I've lived my life through adventure. So I look forward to that. Now the important thing that I have to say before I finish this to say where I am now is that in intensive care, I had an enormous feeling of relief. Because I suddenly thought, now, nobody, including and particularly myself, can have any expectations on me. And it was very freeing. You know, because I think as you continue to live and you live, and you live a life that outlet. It's like you have a, a rucksack on your back and he gets filled, and filled and filled and heavier. And, and it was like, I'm throwing it off. It had gone. I wasn't carrying any baggage anymore.

Chris Grimes  27:53  
And I'm hearing an expression which you haven't said, which is I am what I am, and therefore you're at peace with that presence here.

Stuart Cox  28:00  
And interestingly, I said to before, last year, Julie Walters on television, talking about her cancer, and she's doing it as a public service thing to say, if you feel ill go to the doctor, because I had it. And and now I don't. But don't hesitate. Go. I caught it early, so you must catch it early. But she said that when she was diagnosed with the cancer, she also felt an enormous sense of relief, and her words and she said, Oh, now I can get off the merry go round. Yes. And she said I may never work again. If I do have to be very, very special.

Chris Grimes  28:45  
And I haven't

Stuart Cox  28:46  
been enjoying it lately. And of course you hurt. I mean she carries projects. But if she's the you know the star of film or if it's it, it all depends on her. So that's a huge burden. Yeah, she suddenly realised I have a choice. I don't have to do this. And she felt that release of

Chris Grimes  29:06  
letting go. And in the syllabus company I find myself in with you today but I've also interviewed someone called Johann Elgon Fritz who is the founder of UK health radio. And his quote about finding peace with being in the now was the Mark Twain quote about the two most important days in our life are the day you were born. And the day you work out why

purpose

Stuart Cox  29:31  
and presence Yes, very profound. So that's why I say I know my cue space is that I am in an empty space. I cannot make any plans.

Chris Grimes  29:43  
And it sounds it sounds peaceful and you are at peace. You are I am. I am what I am in the clearing.

Stuart Cox  29:49  
I do actually live in the moment. Every day. I can't I can't plan what to do because I can't I'm not allowed to drive and advise not to fly anymore. Anyway, the thought of a train horrifies because I can't, people in crowds just will jangle me.

Chris Grimes  30:14  
And I don't know why I'm asking this question about I'm calling it the happiness index. If one is I'm not very happy 10 I'm ecstatic. What would you say your general kilter is of happiness, usually about eight or nine.

Stuart Cox  30:27  
Actually, happiness doesn't really come into. Because we're gonna go search early. Oh, it's just been half an hour already. But I will go back to Cuba. And the thing that I learned in Cuba was, you must accept what you cannot change. Now, this is a mantra I've heard all my life. And usually I say, really, what I'm going to demo, I'll show you. Don't you tell me what I can't do? You're not telling me what I can't change. I'll do it. And, and so as a precursor to this, I have that experience in Cuba, as we'll see of realising that if you surrender and say, I accept what I cannot change, then everything's fine. And that's how I live now accept what I cannot change. And it's okay. It's actually okay.

Chris Grimes  31:24  
And by the way, thank you so much for sharing that profound story of the three and a half year journey of late to now. Yeah, would it be helpful now at this point, now we're in the clearing to take you through the rest of the construct? What How would you like to play it?

Stuart Cox  31:37  
Yes, I think really, I think we should go straight to Cuba, because I think that is the most pertinent to hear, because I had lots of stuff lined up showing 30 years of adventures in Britain and British said, just make you sound like a lovey, lovey ish are going to do that. And then there was India, which is an extraordinary experience, because the play that I did in the middle of the countryside, the smallest audience was 2000, on the first and the next note was 5000. Then it was 7000. And the last note was 8000. Because they came, they were walking 15 kilometres, from other villages in the countryside all around. And I cannot tell you what an extraordinary, wonderful validation of fears of that was, you know, in a way that I never had really in this. I'm thinking

Chris Grimes  32:39  
of Peter burrata, that sort of thing. But this was Shakespeare that you definitely

Stuart Cox  32:44  
need to come from what I didn't tell you the last time when you've talked about that was in 1987, I did two months, all around India, looking at folk theatres, Calcutta, West Bengal registar, Maharashtra on Bay. And then Deep South Carolina, Joel said this, this is a this is a golden apple. in Kerala, I saw the oldest extent Theatre in the world with a continuous history of at least 2000 years. And that it's in Sanskrit and the plays are written on palm leaves. And it was it was denigrated by the academics and experts as folk theatre thing until they discovered a play by a very famous classical Indian classical theatre attic but they were still doing that they've been doing for 2000 years ever since since he wrote it. So, they have this big symposium because they discovered this this theatre have been going on for 2000 years and they are God is our roots is our Sanskrit which is wonderful, wonderful math is about four times as important as the Globe Theatre because I got fascinated by a lot of it was just a single actor in front of a big oil them and it's the some kind of Indian theatre you may have seen with the face is painted, bright colours and everything from their rice paper, headdresses, and so on. And but this this is the original, it's called kuciak tam and the flickering of the oil lamps over these colours on the face. absolutely extraordinary. And there's there's musicians, and it's some, the actor sings in Sanskrit It is so highly skilled, it's recorded so you can share it If you look on, if you look on YouTube kuciak ke u w TITY, ku KUWT, ku TK, who wt IY at a m, I'll send your projector not sound send your most extraordinary x.

Chris Grimes  35:25  
The Peter Brooks thing I mentioned was the empty space book informed what I'm doing now, which is the idea of a clearing. And bass is brimming and charged with potential. So, and they don't like talking about the Mahabharata, but no, no, that's the sort of referencing Well,

Stuart Cox  35:41  
I was going to say was that there was a director in Kerala, which is where this critique dam exists, but he was working with another much more modern kind of folk theatre, but just based on non traditions, few 100 years old. And so Peter Brook came because he went all over India, to look at the folk theatres. And you said, You came to my theatre and you took away one movement, the actual drawing the arrow on a bow, and he took that and put it into my browser. Peter Brook is a cultural tourist.

Chris Grimes  36:21  
Which is actually

Stuart Cox  36:24  
very mad

because he knew

which prison

Chris Grimes  36:29  
By the way, there's no such thing is an original idea. It's all in the repackaging.

Stuart Cox  36:32  
Absolutely. Nothing is wonderful and amazing. Apart from the fact that you can't do theatre theatre. And by

Chris Grimes  36:39  
the way, comically, that reminds me of the number in my early career going to loads and loads of commercial castings. You didn't get the job but the the comedy slapstick genius you might have done in the casting, they've nicked it, given it to another idea, right.

Stuart Cox  36:53  
from the horse's mouth, Indian theatre director, Peter books are cultural tourists. Very angry, very angry. Which made me laugh. So I think zoom has lots of other lots of other theatres all over India, again, Peter Brooks stole the movement for standing on one leg, or whatever it is in various nature programmes. But

Chris Grimes  37:20  
you went to Cuba before, right you

Stuart Cox  37:27  
The main thing I just want to say is that when I saw I went to villages all over India, and the plane would start 32 is dying. But I saw the remnants, who start at nine o'clock at night and finish at three in the morning, for the most extraordinary, extraordinary things. And they're different in all the regions. But there was one play at one village I went to, there was a newborn baby and a man dying on his bed. The whole village was there. With a newborn baby, and over in the other quarter, there's a man on his deathbed. Toby's was there. And it was an It was wonderful. And I thought must have the similar kind of feel for Shakespeare's time. So, so raw, so immediate.

Chris Grimes  38:17  
So like, that is happening on stage, but life and death is happening in the audience. I love that the baby and the life and death row.

Stuart Cox  38:24  
And when I when I did my play, you see, of course, I was anonymous, which is wonderful. Because I remember, it was the rise of the director in the 1980s and 90s. And I used to see on theatre posters in London. It used to be starring and the actors. But then it was directed by

Chris Grimes  38:42  
the director to Hoover.

Stuart Cox  38:43  
And he directed this thing, a village display in a village for you to play with 8000 people in the arts. And nobody knew that I was responsible. Wonderful. So free. I used to walk around amongst them and just be in different parts. And you've never heard anything so noisy. Because they were talking but they were talking about the play. Yes. They were talking about play. And it is any one point in four or five hours any any one point there's a dozen people go to the toilet. That of course. Yeah. How can there not be it was a cacophony

Chris Grimes  39:30  
happening isn't it?

Stuart Cox  39:33  
was an absolutely wonderful image, which is why I didn't want to come back to this is that too much excitement. It's been a bit dull, to go to children and read sorry, champion Rep. And whatever it was, it was very personal,

Chris Grimes  39:54  
gave a proscenium arch in all its dominance. Yes,

Stuart Cox  39:57  
it was like everything. Everything. So My career. It's like it's been an apprenticeship, which has led me to here. And now I had to go forward. Yeah, not backwards. And that's why I chose to go to Mexico and ended up in Cuba. Now, I love Cuba. But it's difficult. The tourists don't see it. The tourists want it to be wonderful, because it's so romantic. And now it's that way, the first time I went, I was romantically in love with the place. But I had the great privilege of working there and working within their system.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai