14 October 2019
Tom GK- Hearing Loss: The Musical
On Thursday 24th October Tom GK (NF2 patient) is bringing his fantastic comedy musical "Hearing Loss" to London. The review has already received praise from a number of critics e.g. 'Leaves you singing for joy' ★★★★ (FourthWall).
Tickets are available on the following link and cost only £5, so make sure to secure your seat while you still can!
Tom also recently spoke to the Islington Gazette giving a greater insight into his musical career on top of dealing with NF2.
1) To start, could you tell me a little about how you found your way into music journalism?
When I was growing up I loved music, learned all the Boyzone dance moves and played in bands with embarrassing names like the Home Service and Miss Marple. But, let’s be frank, I was too rubbish. So I ended up standing outside of the Daily Telegraph until they gave in and let me have an internship. One 70 word demolition of a Keane album later, I became a regular review. I ended up interviewing Nick Cave and Jonny Marr and hanging out with Charlie form Busted for a whole night. Great guy, crazy days.
2) But you realised you couldn’t carry on at a Foo Fighters gig in 2011 – is that correct? What did it feel like when you realised this dream career was going to be cut short? – Sorry, this is a really bleak question.
I was really lying to myself about my hearing for a long time. I was at this one gig though, and Dave Grohl kept talking and everyone around me was reacting and I didn’t have a clue what he was saying. I think he was talking about their next album but… you just really need to pick up on those details and it took all of my confidence away. Or it was the straw of a million moments like that made me run away from it. By the time I was diagnosed I’d already talked my way out of continuing in music journalism. I guess I thought I’d just wrecked my hearing by being stupid and going to too many gigs.
3) When did you first get diagnosed with NF2? Could you tell me a bit about what it is, and how it affects you?
If you knew me and didn’t like me NF2 is the disease you’d probably pick off the shelf and send me in the post. It is a genetic disease which means I grow tumours around my body on my nerves. They really like to grow on your ear nerve and I have a couple of apricot/golf ball sized guys there. But I have dozens more and it can leave you blind, immobile and disfigured. Not even people who use wheelie suitcases on the tube deserve to have NF2.
4) I read a piece you wrote in The Guardian where you say that when life becomes uncertain, and you’re struck down by a serious illness, people grasp every opportunity out there. Has your diagnosis had a positive impact, in some way…?
I wouldn’t be performing if it wasn’t for NF2 I don’t think. When certain doors close off, it can make the ones which are open become clearer and I love the face-to-face nature of comedy and the creativity. Journalists rarely get to see people sniggering at the half-formed jokes they’ve crept into an article. I also was quite happily living in my able-bodied world, ignorant of the challenges and huge achievement of people living with disabilities. I did a kids show about disability with my childhood best friend (also, by coincidence, blind) in Australia this year. Of all the things I’ve done, getting a 10 year-old kid to high five you because she’s got Down’s Syndrome and you’ve got NF2 and disabilities are cool – to have a position where you can change people’s perspectives, raise issues and celebrate diversity – well that’s amazing for me.