Today’s podcast is dedicated to Tony Husband, who appeared on this show, not once, but twice – which, in itself, is testament to the man’s generosity of spirit and dedication to raising awareness of dementia.
After Tony and I had recorded our first podcast, I said that, for me, Tony was all about creativity, humour and love, and I’d stand by that.
“Life,” Tony once said, “is about laughing”. For the prolific cartoonist, that was absolutely true. He used his dark humour to investigate life’s paradoxes and frustrations, making the complex business of living seem simple. Through a few carefully placed lines on a page, through the twist of a mouth, the arch of an eyebrow, Tony summoned up the most profound human experiences, including what it means to live with dementia.
And, when his own dad succumbed to vascular dementia in 2011, he brought his considerable skills to bear on this most cruel of diseases. One night, after his dad’s death, Tony began to talk to him in his studio as if he were still there, asking Ron what it had been like to live with the condition. He recorded the conversation in cartoons on A4 paper which were later turned into his book, Take Care Son – the last words his dad ever spoke to him.
Tony’s was a phenomenal talent and he used it to its full and to the very end. He died on his way to a leaving lunch at Private Eye, the satirical magazine for which he drew his famous Yobs strip for 37 years. I think Tony would have enjoyed the irony in this and definitely made a cartoon out of it.
With me to talk about Tony, his kindness, compassion, wisdom and wit, is Gina Awad. Gina knew Tony far better than I did and collaborated with him for many years on different dementia projects, most notably on their Shining a Light on Dementia calendars and their book, United: Caring for Our Loved Ones Living with Dementia (available from Amazon, click here. Gina is the founder of Exeter’s Dementia Action Alliance and her passion and dedication to the dementia cause is tireless.