Aids: The Unheard Tapes ends with a great reveal

For those of us who have lived through the emergence of Aids in this country, the Aids: The Unheard Tapes (BBC2) series will always be uncomfortable.

t is based on tape-recorded interviews collected by the British Library. We will probably have to wait a while longer before similar interviews, collected by Irish organizations, will be revealed to the public.

Just kidding; The Irish never do something as devastatingly simple and important as documenting the reactions of their ordinary citizens during a national or international crisis. We were too busy queuing at Dublin airport.

Anyway, the interviews, mostly with gay men, began in 1982. The tapes had never been aired before and they were lip-synced on camera by the actors. That can be hard, but it works great.

The prejudice faced by Aids patients is expressed here by a young heterosexual woman who, after her diagnosis, was possessed, as we often say today, by her own mother. she.

In the third and final episode, we’re in 1992, approaching some treatments for Aids, and there’s a lot of words used that people haven’t heard in over 20 years. .

Words like Retrovir, the brand name for AZT, a cancer drug seem to hold such promise. What were we hoping for it! AZT was approved for use after a trial of just 200 patients. It was of no use to those who had progressed to what was then called “Comprehensive Support”.

Too toxic for cancer patients, it is prescribed in high doses and the side effects are brutal. George Hodson calmly said: “I believe the dose given has killed more people than HIV. His partner Sam had been with AZT for six months when he died in George’s arms.

Act Up and Outrage are other words we haven’t heard in a long time. These are advocacy groups started by gay men to put governments to shame about certain actions. In Paris on December 1, 1993, they covered the memorial in Place de la Concorde with a giant condom. The protests are funny; they are photo opportunities; As one person pointed out, they are the model for a lot of disability protests that will happen.

It quickly becomes clear how the Aids crisis has changed our culture, sometimes in surprising ways. A group of young people with a lot of funerals to attend is bound to lead to a lot of very specific end requirements. Sir Nick Partridge, a British activist, said of how the Aids revolutionized funerals: “Of course there had to be a disco song.”

Aids also looks back at the Second World War: young men died in great numbers and knows that it is not the if but when they will die. There are 12 beds in George Hodson’s unit at the hospice in London Lighthouse. Every time someone in the unit dies, a candle is lit. He came out of his room one morning and saw three people burning.

In a different way, Aids predicts the Covid epidemic. Are all viruses the same, as one contemporary voiceover put it, “a golf ball with thorns”? There is the same frantic rush to find a cure. In the end, nothing, simply management: in this case a cocktail of three drugs, God bless it. “Protease inhibitor” is another phrase that has been popular in the past.

Video of the day

Of course, hundreds of thousands of people never show up to the weird funerals, the triple-drug cocktails and the ecstasy pills in the clubs. One contributor said: “Clubs are our sanctuary.

Some of us know about wonderful people, funny people, people for whom treatment has come too late. So our assumption about seeing Support: Ice Unheard is that all these voices belong to the dead. Not so. In a brilliant move, the showrunners replaced the young actors we used to see on screen with real, now aged men. In fact, it is very moving to see how old they have become.

Only John Campbell, diagnosed at age 20, did not show up. He was fired from his job as an assistant hotel manager and has devoted himself to rallies and parties. He didn’t die until he was 39, which is a kind of victory of its own. In one of his stories about this historic project, he played a tape of his interview at his funeral.

Orange march

Then there are Twelveth, which airs on BBC One Northern Ireland on Tuesday evenings. There was controversy when the broadcaster refused to cover the traditional Orange marches live, after two summers devastated by the pandemic.


BBC provides live coverage of this year’s Orange marches

GB News stepped in to fill the void and its coverage was presented live by Arlene Foster. In Belfast, one BBC Newsline The reporter asked a member of the crowd what was wrong with suspending live coverage when anyone could attend their local parade, which was packed with people. “There’s someone in the house,” he said. You cannot argue with that.

Several representatives of Loyal Orange Lodges (it turns out ‘LOL’ means much older) said they didn’t want to offend anyone. Personally, being a Taig for my toes, I’m not offended at all. I say let the flowers bloom – although the music is quite monotonous.

Babies drumming toys decorated with Union Jacks, mobility scooters in between marching bands and commentator Helen Mark in a white cardigan at the Battle of Boyne site – away from the bonfires , all is OK. There were bands from the Republic, although the parade at Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal, was last weekend. “That’s much more comfortable,” said one official. Thanks God. Aids: The Unheard Tapes ends with a great reveal

Fry Electronics Team

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