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Bibliographical Information
Chris Needs - The Highs and Lows
Chris Needs
ISBN: 9781847713773 (1847713777)Publication Date November 2013
Publisher: Y Lolfa, Tal-y-bont
Edited by Gabe Cameron Format: Paperback, 215x140 mm, 176 pages Language: English Available Our Price: £9.95 
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This book by Chris Needs tells us so much more about his life than his previous books: Like it is and And there's more. Chris delves into those experiences in his life which have kept him alive and, on the other hand, those episodes which have nearly killed him. There are also new photographs, previously undiscovered, and would be of interest to his legions of fans.

Pan fu Chris Needs yn ddifrifol sâl o ganlyniad i sgil-effeithiau ei feddyginiaeth, daeth ei ffrindiau a'i wrandawyr ynghyd i fod yn gefn iddo. Mae'r llyfr hwn yn croniclo'r dirywiad yn ei iechyd, ei ofn y byddai'n colli ei yrfa yn y byd darlledu fel roedd ei lais yn pallu, a'i anesmwythder wrth feddwl na fyddai'n gallu perfformio ar lwyfan fyth eto. Yma mae Chris yn agor ei galon.
Chris Needs’s books are written from the heart, in the modern idiom of transparency, and perhaps this one even more so than the others. When he was writing this chapter of his life (2011–2013), Needs was suffering extreme physical pain and at times considerable mental anxiety as well. He writes of his disillusionment with Wales. He feels that he and his partner Gabe are victimised for being homosexual. ‘Believe you me, it’s a hard thing to be a well-known gay in Wales.’

It is in Spain that he feels totally at home and where he wants to spend his retirement; indeed he has asked Gabe to scatter his ashes there, if he should die first. However, this is not an endless tale of woe. As in his previous books, Needs weaves in reminiscences and humorous insights into numerous scenarios from his past that serve to lighten the tone.

On 13 March 2013 at the City Hall in Cardiff, Needs and Gabe tied the marital knot, after a relationship spanning more than twenty years. It is Gabe who has written the foreword and the conclusion of the book. There is no doubt that Needs is depressed by the homophobic treatment he receives from his compatriots, but, having read Highs and Lows, I believe that, if Needs were to leave Wales for good, he would miss the people, his ‘In the Garden’ BBC radio show, and certainly the Grand Theatre, Swansea. And the folk of Wales would miss him too, not only for his BBC slot but also for his extensive charity work – not just fundraising but in there at the grass roots, visiting the sick and terminally ill.

This is a read not just for Needs’s devoted fans but for all those who have a social conscience.

Norma Penfold

It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.

Gellir defnyddio'r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatâd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
Author Biography:
Chris Needs is a very well-known Welsh broadcaster. He was born in Cwmafan in 1954. He hosts ‘The Friendly Garden Programme’ on Radio Wales between 11 p.m.–1.a.m. each weekday night.
Further Information:
Chris Needs: “I Thought I was going to Die”

Medical Cocktail caused Radio Presenter to Lose 7 Stone, unable to eat or talk

In a new book called Highs and Lows Radio Wales presenter Chris Needs reveals all about the moment he thought he was going to die following medication. In November 2010 Chris attended a diabetes clinic check-up. He’d previously been prescribed medication derived from simulated lizard’s spit, as he referred to it. He was looking well, feeling good in himself and had been losing weight. Unfortunately, although the weight loss was noticeable, it wasn’t significant enough as far as the consultant was concerned and Chris was prescribed additional medication.

Within weeks Chris was in severe pain, as Gabe his partner says: “What started out as a sore throat a few weeks later, which Chris initially attributed to a winter cold, was treated with a course of antibiotics, escalated into a series of ulcers. These spread from his gums and tongue to the lips, nasal passages, down his throat and, as later discovered, badly scarred his vocal cords. At the same time, the medication also continued to induce weight loss. Chris was in complete agony. He was unable to eat at all due to the pain he was suffering.”

Chris, who has now recovered, said: “I genuinely thought that I was going to die. I became extremely ill with repeated sore throats, swollen lymph glands in my neck and dozens of ulcers in my mouth, nasal passages and throat. I couldn’t eat, talk or do most things without great effort. I was too ill to sleep alone at night and Gabe sat up and watched me as I sort of drifted in and out of slumber. In one period I was really trying to move on and tried to lift my spirits and decided that I should go to my caravan at Trecco Bay in Porthcawl. When I got there I fell on my knees and cried because someone had spray painted ‘Queers’ on the caravan. I worsened day by day and cried myself to sleep nearly every night. My God, how I began to hate living here in Wales.”

The book Highs and Lows concentrates on the three-year period chronicling Chris’ life his treatment, his fears, the support of his friends and the Garden, and his eventual improvement. At the same time it is also interspersed with tales and thoughts of his past. And while this isn’t the jovial and light-hearted book that Chris had planned, it is the honest struggle of his recovery, not only from the physical restraints but also from the deep depression his condition caused.
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