Captains Log 01/03/16 21:52
My mobile rings.
“Hello, is that Rowan?”
“Yeah who’s this?”
“It’s Dave, sorry I was out when you called on Sunday.”
“Oh hi Dave, no it’s OK.”
“Listen, I’m chockablock this week but could you make it over around 6.30 on Thursday?”
“Yeah sounds great.”
“Perfect. I’ll tell you what, we can do a trade. You show me a poem and I’ll play you some music.”
Captains Log 03/03/16 18:37
This is the first time I’ve ever gone door-to-door at night. I feel like some sort of vigilante.
Dave invites me in, we shake hands. “You’ve got an audience here, my daughter is calling on Skype from Sudan.” We step into an office room with a computer in the corner, a girl of about my age is sitting at a desk, drinking from a very big cup. We say hi. Dave leaves me to go and make some tea.
This is surreal. I find out her name is Anna. She tells me it’s really hot; she’s drinking white wine because it’s the only cold thing in the house. She’s over there working for a company that sorts out education for girls. “So door-to-door poetry, is that like a thing that people actually do?” I tell her I’m the only one stupid enough to try it so far.
Dave comes back with tea. I do the poem for them both. They seem to like it, Dave says he’s going to use it in a talk he’s doing on shared decision making. He tells me the only inaccuracy is the line ‘Like Che Guevara but less hairy | and minus the beret’. It turns out Dave does wear a beret. All the time. What are the odds? He asks Anna if he can call her back and we talk for a bit longer.
I decide it’s time to go, I don’t ask about the song, I feel like Dave might want to speak to
his daughter when there’s not a poet ranting about drugs and chips in the room (see below). We do a quick selfie and then I head off, agreeing to pop over sometime soon with Helen’s poem.
Captains Log 04/03/16 09.18
Dave e-mailed me last night asking for a digital copy of the poem for his ‘records’, I Iove that he said records. He also sent me a picture proving he really wears a beret and asking if there was any chance I could change the line for him. He suggested ‘hmm, less hairy | But wears the same beret.’ So like every good writer, I stole the idea.
There’s a doctor in North Shields
Who treats his patients like his equals
And preaches power to the people,
His name is Doctor Dave.
He’s the anti-establishment GP,
The healthcare revolutionary,
Like Che Guevara, hmm, less hairy
But wears the same beret.
If you want kebab and chips
And you don’t want to hear the risks
Of it daily slipping round your lips
He’ll say no more about it.
He’s not going to lecture you
Until his wised cheeks turn blue,
There’s loads of options there for you
But he’s not going to shout it.
Doctor Dave, Doctor Dave,
He won’t say you need to behave
Or stop you going to a rave
In a snake infested bog.
You could smoke 50 a day
And give up walking for Segway
While sniffing lines of pure cocaine,
Guilt tripping’s not his job.
I know there’ll be some people who’ll
Think that it’s despicable
That doctor Dave’s so liberal
When it comes to giving lessons.
Their heads will shake till they spin off
And just before it they will scoff:
“Those scumbags need a telling off!
Where’s Doctor Christian Jessen?”
But from each shivering student drinker
Out without a coat in winter,
To heroin smoking pensioners
Who didn’t want so long,
We spend the most time in the grave
And no one ever changed their ways
Because they heard a doctor say:
“I’m right and you are wrong.”