Diana, AIDS and Mary J Blige


‘ No More Drama' belted out of the car stereo in my Clio. I played it so loud the distortion was physically painful. But worth it. Worth it for the feeling of being invincible.

During A Level Dance ( dance, yes dance, no, not darts) we were required to use HIV/AIDS as the theme for choregraphy. It was 1993.

Some sat in silence. Some scratched at walls. Or skin. Some danced slowly. Some even slower than that. I rocked up at the local AIDS charity and started to learn.

What I learnt, from listening, still guides me today. I struggle to recall the desperately sad, although I can and there was.

My choregraphed piece was about change and hope. Princess Diana had done the unthinkable. She shook hands with Kevin at his bedside.

It changed his life and I learnt it changed HIV/AIDS stigma rapidly and provided hope. When she shook his hand patients were sometimes still being pushed food, through a door, like a dog in a shelter.

The fear was high. Margaret Thatcher didn’t help matters ( those tombstone adverts) either. But one high profile woman, did one simple act, which mattered.

That is why, for one afternoon, I left Mary J Blige to one side and took the train. To Kensington. To lay flowers. I had to. She got me through my A Level Dance exam.

As did Kevin.

As did service users.