When the Government suddenly lowered the age range to offer free COVID vaccine jabs to anybody over 30 – which you’ll be surprised to learn I marginally surpassed – I felt like I’d just been handed a Golden Ticket for Willy Wonka’s Vaccine Factory! This was like chocolate, only better.

The process was amazingly slick. Smiling staff greeted me and walked me through each step of the journey. I got given free stickers, a pen, a keepsake souvenir brochure reminding me of my big day out and a lollypop for being particularly brave.

You can’t tell cuz I look like an alien bug but I’m really smiling here!

So Brave!

But my little bubble of bliss barely lasted 20 seconds. As I walked out, the crowd had turned inexplicably angry. I asked a harassed security guard what the problem was and he informed me that the vaccine I had received seconds earlier had been “permanently suspended for safety reasons”.

My stomach lurched, my heartbeat quickened, my vaccinated arm felt like it belonged to somebody else. 5 seconds ago I’d been in WonkaLand, finally having a decent day out worthy of the portmanteau ‘staycation’. Now I was going to have to spend the evening sawing my own arm off to prevent the rancid vaccine from spreading.

I checked my phone for a reassuring explanation, but the only advice I could find online was a vague appeal for calm by Hong Kong’s Chief Medical Officer urging recently vaccinated people “not to panic overly”. I was panicking alright. But I could not tell if I was panicking overly, underly, or just right for the situation.

It wasn’t until I was speed-walking home that explanations about cracked vials, faulty packaging and vaccines being stored at the wrong air pressure emerged in an avalanche of news alerts sent to my phone. As I trawled through them, the slight discomfort in my vaccinated arm was suddenly cancelled out by the primal face ache caused by a nose cracking, as mine made impact with a rogue lamppost.

I’d like to say the lamppost came out of our tussle worse off than I did and ended up looking something like this …

… Unfortunately, this is just a diagram of my sinuses.

Anyway, it turns out the vac was only suspended through an abundance of caution. I received my second jab today. As she jammed the needle in my arm, the nurse asked if I’d experienced any unpleasant side-effects from the first jab. “Only a broken nose,” I nasally assured her.

The Mental Ideas Podcast lifts off TODAY April 2nd – on RTHK Radio 3! (Sorry about the short notice, but I knew you wouldn’t believe me if I posted this on April 1st.) Tune in LIVE on Radio 3 or via the RTHK app @1.30pm or download the podcast on the RTHK and Mental Ideas websites!

HUGE thanks to my mental guests and especially to composer Nick Samuel for creating the mental music, zingers & stingers!

UPCOMING EPISODES:

APRIL 2The Depressed Comedian

Depression. It’s no laughing matter. Or is it? Why are so many of our best loved comedians depressed? I trance in and out exploring this tragi-hilarious topic with award-winning cartoonist (creator of the SCMP’s iconic Lily Wong strip and the first cartoonist to have a full-page spread in Time Magazine) depressed humorist (at least he seemed a bit disappointed by the end of the interview) and best-selling author Larry Feign!

APRIL 9A Bipolar Love Story

In a Mental Ideas Podcast exclusive, I am rewarded for all my bad work with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interview a living legend live on RTHK Radio 3! JACKIE CHAN is on the podcast!!! No, I am not making this up!!!! She works in banking and has bipolar disorder!!!!!! Oh. But she could kick THAT Jackie Chan into 2021!!! (Well, it can’t be any crapper than 2020.) Plus, who wants to interview THAT Jackie Chan anyway? Not since he’s been outed as a spy for the CCP. (Well, I wouldn’t have minded tbh.)

APRIL 16The Agitated Air Stewardess

One type of podcast guest that’s proved easy to secure in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic is grounded airline cabin crew. Bipolar disorder is a condition that’s traditionally been associated with mad creative geniuses, like Van Gough, Beethoven, Mozart, Theresa May and Carrie Lam. But what if you work as a first class bathroom assistant for a living and don’t have a creative bone in your body? The Agitated Air Stewardess is a harrowing tale of triumph in the face of absurdity. And I know I’m not supposed to have favorites but Florence Wong ROCKS!!!

APRIL 23The Psychopathic Actor

Psychopathic actor and entrepreneur Philippe Joly attempts to explain to me why psychopaths make such great CEOs and movie stars. But since I usually meet Philippe at the studio to improvise sketches, the interview quickly deteriorates. He also has the gall to bring up his experiences working with Jackie Chan. No, not the bipolar banker I interviewed in Episode 2. The other one.

APRIL 30 – PUBLIC HOLIDAY – NO SHOW!

MAY 7 – The Criminal Sleepwalker

I’ve got a criminal record as long as your arm, but most of my heinous crimes were committed while I was in Nod. At least that’s what I told the popo.

MAY 14  – Death & The Frozen Tundra

A deadly podcast about Death by Anxious Showman Mat Ricardo is poignantly paired with American actor Dan Davies presenting the weather forecast… in Wisconsin. It may be Spring, but Winter is Coming…

MAY 21 – Virtually Eugenia

Virtual Reality dance-maker Eugenia Kim joins me on the podcast and explains how her bipolar disorder has fueled her creativity and inspired her latest VR film! It’s called Lithium Hindsight. And yes, it IS better than Avatar.

MAY 28 – The Depressed Banker

She banks. She cares for her Mum. She writes books and takes magical photographs of Hong Kong old shops. She’s in tears twice during the interview and has the most infectious raucous laugh I’ve ever had the pleasure of developing tinnitus from. She’s Christina Yung: the Positive Depressive!

JUNE 4 – Trolls Anonymous

Mat Ricardo reminisces about the time he was starting out as a street performer and a member of the public walked onto his pitch and took a dump. Left to raise the tone (uh-oh) Dan Davies gets trollied in Wisconsin and gives a moving account of his own experiences with internet trolls. Only he has another word for them (and he uses it a lot).

JUNE 11 – The Unwellness Entrepreneur

I coin a new catchphrase from an interview with wellness entrepreneur Ifat Hyndes and test it out on a taxi driver. Mat Ricardo talks about the power of acceptance. Frankly, it’s unacceptable.

JUNE 18 – Money

I talk dirty. Great big wads of dirty money. You can’t use banknotes anywhere in Hong Kong since the first wave peaked. Too dirty. Toilet paper is our only currency now.

JUNE 25 – PUBLIC HOLIDAY – NO SHOW!

JULY 2 – Crazy

I’ll leave this one to your imagination…

MORE PODCASTS TO FOLLOW!

Mental Ideas Podcast.jpeg