Monthly Archives: October 2018

Describing the Indescribable

Candice Derman is a remarkable woman whose magic is truly indescribable.



The title of her book is Indescribable, in a different, most horrible context by telling the story of her sexual abuse at the tender age of eight by her stepfather.
Quartet is proud to have published her book; written beautifully, it evokes every possible emotion that makes  the reader shiver with pain and sympathy rarely experienced.

As her publisher, I was totally overcome by everything she felt and said and could only marvel at her tenacity and clarity of vision in recalling her ordeal.

I sincerely hope that her book gains the readership it deserves and will draw our attention to the sexual abuse of minors who are, by reason of their innocence, totally defenseless.



In her book Candice says:

I don’t think of myself as a wounded woman with a painful past. I am a woman who is so lucky to have understood kind love in amongst the bad from such an early age. I am a wife not a survivor, I am a woman not a victim, I am a person who will continue to ask questions like a child but who will hopefully find answers as an adult.”



Professional liars are often hard to detect. Research suggests that people who look you straight in the eye may be lying. A study of deception found that ties associated with untruths, such as shifts in eye gaze and hesitation, were more common in honest people.

Scientists suggested that liars may be skilled at suppressing such signals. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh used an interactive treasure-hunting game where players were free to lie at will, to assess the speech and gestures of liars and study how listeners interpreted clues to tell truths from falsehoods.

They found that listeners judge truthfulness extremely quickly within a few hundred milliseconds of encountering a cue. However, they also found common cues associated with lying were more likely to be given by truthful people.

Dr Martin Corley, lead researcher, said: ‘The findings suggest that we have strong preconceptions about the behaviour associated with lying, which we act on almost instinctively. However, we don’t necessarily produce these cues when we are lying.’

So now we know!

The study is published in The Journal of Cognition.

Pot calling kettle…

A review by freelance journalist Stuart Jeffries in this week’s Spectator of Jane Haynes new book, If I Chance to Talk a Little Wild, published by Quartet, is certainly causing a bit of a rumpus in the academic world. Jane is a formidable lady who has the knack of stirring up the Establishment, as the title of her book truly infers.


Professor Christopher Prendergast takes issue on many points with Jeffries in a letter he addresses to the Spectator criticising the review for many of its inaccuracies with no holds barred in the language he uses. Could this be the beginning of the best sort of running battle for which Academia is so noted for? Let’s wait and see.

Jeffries takes a swipe at Quartet along the way, suggesting our jacket copy detracts from the book’s merit by its use of an endorsement from the actor and comedian Matt Lucas and our mentioning in our author’s biography that Tatler described her London consultancy as one of London’s most prestigious private practices. Perhaps the 5 quotes on his own latest book jacket are from a better class of person? And calling his memoir of watching television Mrs Slocombe’s Pussy was not a commercial choice to catch some attention, but a serious piece of social criticism from an important critic. Go figure…


Candice Derman book published recently by Quartet books is receiving a great deal of attention. First The Observer carried a small but effective review on October 21st which read as follows.



The Observer Books

In brief: Indescribable; My Father Was a Man on Land and a Whale in the Water; Remember This When You’re Sad – review

Candice Derman’s stark account of sexual abuse

Candice Derman

Quartet, £10, pp159

“I like swimming parties, spare ribs and cats,” says Candice Derman, recalling her happy eight-year-old self. Derman grew up to be a renowned actor in South Africa, but here she goes back to the moment her parents split up and her mother’s boyfriend, Joe, appeared on the scene. The first instance of his sexual abuse comes just pages in and is recounted with stark, unflinching simplicity: “Joe touches me down there… In this moment I learn I can become an object.” Published, rightly, to critical acclaim in South Africa in 2010, Indescribable distils Derman’s indomitable spirit in the face of trauma and reveals her to be a stunning writer.
And on the 25th October the Ham & High conducted a most moving interview with Candice with the following heading ‘I know how to carry myself not broken ’.

Candice Derman’s step-father Joe began to abuse her when she was eight years old.

For the next six years she lived a double life, outwardly the happy, extrovert living in a wealthy Johannesburg suburb, but inwardly a scared, numb girl who had developed an eating disorder. When she eventually broke her silence, her shocked mother had no clue what had been happening under her roof.

Candice grew up to become a successful TV presenter and soap actress in South Africa – but quit to write her unsparing account of those years of abuse.

Living for the past five years in Kentish Town with her husband and three-year-old daughter, she publishes Indescribable in the UK this month.

“I always knew I wanted to write this book but for a long time I couldn’t while being in tremendous internal pain,” she says.

“I just needed to be ready and one day I decided it was time. I had a wonderful career but I needed to be free emotionally and mentally, so decided to leave the soap and go on this journey.”

Derman says she felt “compelled” to describe the abuse, in the voice of her younger self, revealing how her parents’ disintegrating marriage broke the family apart, and left her vulnerable to a manipulative father figure, who told her she was clever and beautiful.

“It’s very complex, he became my father. He was loving, interested. The grooming is shocking, as you start loving this person, these things start happening. This person can take you to the movies but they are also dark and scary.

“It’s very confusing. You keep the secret because you are petrified, you are so young. It feels wrong, but you are told that God will understand, and you live with this fear and belief that hopefully it will stop,” she explains. “I didn’t want to hurt anybody,
there are so many mixed emotions, the longer it goes on the longer you can live with the secret, and compartmentalise yourself.”

Derman praises her “amazing husband” for helping her through the difficult writing process. “It was painful for my body physically – our bodies can carry so much, and mine had got used to holding on to pain. But I would read a few pages or a chapter aloud to my husband and have an amazing release and ability to move forward.”

She deliberately describes the abuse in unflinching detail: “I talk about the horror without protecting the reader. We use words like paedophile but no one really understands the horrific nature of what takes place. I wasn’t afraid of what people would think. I thought it needed to be written.”

Derman recalls that it was only when she turned 14 and had a boyfriend who showed her kindness that she started seeing the difference with her stepfather’s ‘love’.

“It had been going on for a very long time but I couldn’t keep it inside any more. I was becoming stronger and my anger was coming out. I’d had enough.” But disclosing her abuse to her mother while Joe was on a trip, brought its own problems.

“Joe chose my mum when she was vulnerable, he came in like a knight in shining armour. She gave him everything and without knowing, her daughter.

“It is hard to tell something really shocking to someone you love. My mother had no idea tragically. People always say ‘how can it happen under a mother’s roof ’ there is a lot of judgement, but these men are manipulative and get away with it because no one imagines it can happen. She didn’t cope with it very well, no one is taught how to cope with something like that, she was angry and I was angry with her.”

She was also swept up in the justice system and in the following years there was despair and suicidal thoughts.

“Being examined by a government gynaecologist, giving a statement to a policeman, talking to a prosecutor, it was a cold and shocking environment for a child. A teen can easily switch into a silence as a coping mechanism. During the court case
I felt so lonely, confused and angry, silence became my friend. Sometimes even now I can have that numbness and ambivalence.”

Although she was spared from testifing, Joe was sentenced to two years with the chance of being out in six. But Derman, who soon immersed herself in art school then acting, refuses to think about what happened to him.

“The justice system let me and other children down, my mum had so much anger but I couldn’t carry that idea of what he might be doing. I wanted to be free, I didn’t want him in my head any more.”

Acting, she says, was a “release” the chance to be different characters and disappear into other worlds. “I was a big performer as a child, I loved the attention. And later it was a gift to help heal, a freedom to be someone else and yet to explore my pain and

Recently, looking at schools for her daughter, she was shown around by a 10-year-old, and it triggered a feeling of “what was going on at that age with me”.

But she refuses to be a victim and long ago resolved to move on and live a good life, without handing over “a baton of pain” to her daughter.

“Me as a child, I feel so sorry for her, but I also feel so much love. I had the ability to see joy in a day when horrible things were happening I feel lucky to be born with a character that could have that thirst.

“I am not my story. Of course I am, but at the same time I am not. I know how to carry myself not being broken. “I live with her all the time now.
She is also me and I love her.”

For only £10, everyone of us can acquire this gem of a book.


Women’s orgasms, we are told, are much stronger than that of men’s and normally longer in duration. Also, multiple orgasm is something that some women enjoy, whereas men do not experience such a gift. Researchers have now found that those women who have Botox treatment to smooth out facial wrinkles are less likely to achieve orgasms. Injections of the toxic substance paralyse nerves making it difficult to produce the full range of facial expressions.

Psychologists at Cardiff University have discovered that, as a result, women find it harder to communicate to lovers that they are enjoying sex. This, the researchers say, affects performance between the sheets and blunts the women’s feeling of physical enjoyment. Dr Michael Lewis, who led the research, explained: ‘that just as people find it difficult to be ecstatically happy without actually smiling, so people struggle to reach orgasm without having full control of the muscles in their face.’

He said: ‘Facial expressions associated with orgasm utilised the same muscles targeted in typical botulinum toxin cosmetic treatments. The predicted consequence of having treatment is that women may feel an orgasm to a lesser extent and may find it harder to reach climax. Analysis from our study suggests that’s what is happening.’

The study involved 36 women, 24 of whom had been treated with botulinum toxin, measuring their female sexual function index orgasm satisfaction score. Those whose frown lines had been injected reported a notable drop in their satisfaction score.

Writing in the journal Scientific Reports, Dr Lewis said: ‘Reduction of mobility in these muscles may interfere with the expression and feedback of excitement during sexual activity. The current research which provides support for this hypothesis is that participants reported that following BTX treatment , there was a decrease in sexual function – especially orgasms – which were harder to achieve and less satisfying.’ He added: ‘the results suggest that facial expressions do not occur simply to communicate pleasure. They are an integral part of the feeling of pleasure and are important in the process of achieving orgasm. This demonstrates an important cue for facial feedback within sexual intercourse and it is potentially a significant negative impact from BTX treatment.’

It’s news that could well have women furrowing their brows – if they still can.

So, the choice is clear – Botox or orgasm? I know which I would choose if I were a woman…


Last weekend, as usual, I read most of the newspapers and quite frankly the more I read the more disillusioned I felt. Politics has become unbearably a profession that seems to have lost its bearings and with it its respectability.

The Tory administration is no longer worthy of its position to lead the nation and is in a bubbling situation of its own making. The Prime Minister has lost credibility and is vilified by most of the nation, described as a lady bereft of any credentials to lead us, let alone extricate the country from a situation likely to immerse into a disastrous outcome.

No one appears to know where we are going, and the omens seem to get worse with the passage of time. We reach a stage where Brexiteers and Remainers are both groping in the dark. Even the British community of 200,000 living in France are applying for French passports, which is rather shameful but understandable.

We have no friends left in Europe and our reliance on the US is almost laughable. It is time that Theresa May stops this charade and resigns forthwith. The Tories should turn to someone within their ranks who will be able to save us from the catastrophe waiting to happen.

The Labour Party is also in total disarray, but seems to appeal to the young
generation and will certainly come to power if the present Tory administration
does not clean its act and appoint a new leader. There is no time left to waste.
Corbyn is at the door. He must be stopped. His economic policies will ruin the
country for decades to come.

The Ides of March are, so to speak, a real threat. We must take heed before it’s
too late.


Last evening we celebrated the launch of a remarkable book ” Indescribable by Candice Derman at Daunt Books, 112-114 Holland Park Avenue, London, W11 4UA.


Here is the short address I made to an illustrious crowd which came to pay tribute to Candice who merited all their attention:

” We are here this evening to mark the publication of INDESCRIBABLE, a book by Candice Derman, someone who suffered horribly at the hands of her stepfather Joe when she was only eight years old. It has taken immense courage for her to describe what she went through – sexual abuse the likes of which we could hardly imagine.

Her recollection is sharp and precise whilst her innocence makes the reader full of admiration for her tenacity, but at the same time, despite the brutality of her attacker, remains steadfast and bewildered at what was happening to her by refusing to panic in circumstances beyond her comprehension.

Child sexual abuse is a terrible crime which must not be overlooked, yet the Establishment often seems to have tired of giving it the attention it requires to stem its practice.

One may well ask why Quartet in particular has decided to publish this book. The answer is plain. Quartet built its reputation, since its inception, on challenging the Establishment, with books that rocked the conscience of those whose have the power to change things for the better. Candice’s book, beautifully written with a pathos that melts the heart and a courage one rarely encounters, in such a piece of writing.

It must be read, and so I appeal to everyone here to buy a copy to promote it throughout the nation, so that everybody knows that such evil continues to be perpetrated on young children.

Sex is a gift from God and must never be manipulated into a situation that causes such pain and anguish.”


A tempestuous relationship has never been good for one’s health. Scientists have now discovered that having a row, even with your spouse over the in-laws or money, can quite literally make you sick to your stomach. The impact of stress from heated discussions can cause stomach contents to leak from the gut into the blood stream. This can lead to inflammation raising the risk of significant illnesses.

Researchers recruited 43 healthy married couples, asked them about their relationships, and then encouraged them to discuss and try to resolve an issue likely to provoke strong disagreements. The emotive subjects discussed included finances and in-laws. Their blood was tested for a marker chemical known as LBP which indicates the presence of bacteria. Couples who had the nastiest rows measured by aggressive language and gestures, harsh criticism of a partner, and dramatic eye-rolls, had the highest level of LBP.

Dr Janice Kielcolt-Glaser, a psychiatric professor at Ohio State University, who led the research, said: ‘We think this everyday marital distress – at least for some people – is causing changes in the gut that lead to inflammation and potentially, illness. Hostility is a hallmark of bad marriages, the kind that lead to adverse psychological changes,’ she added.

The participants ranged in age from 24 to 61 and had been married at least three years. The researchers compared blood taken before the argument to that taken afterwards. Michael Bailey, co-author of the study said: ‘With leaky gut, the structures that are usually really good at keeping the gunk in our gut – the partially digested food, bacteria and other products – degrade and that barrier becomes less effective.’ Earlier research has found marital discord can slow wound healing and drive up for inflammation – related diseases, including heart disease and diabetes.

Although this research relates in principle to marital discord I find that the same symptoms happen to me whenever I have significant rows, be it at work or with a close relation or even in a heated political argument.


Missing out on sleep could apparently cause men who stay up late at night to end up with lower testosterone. A study found that for every hour of sleep lost below the average of 6.9 hours, leads to a 1.5% fall in levels of the hormone.

Researchers, led by the University of Miami, looked at the average sleep of almost 2,300 men, which ranged from two to twelve hours a night. Despite the recorded falls, testosterone levels stayed within the normal range. The study also found a higher body mass and alcohol consumption drove down readings. Sleep may cut testosterone by disrupting brain signals that control the sex hormone. The study, presented at a meeting in Denver, states that sleep quality should be taken into account when studying falling levels, which can lead to a loss of sex drive, depression and fatigue.

Professor Darren Griffin, President of the International Chromosome & Genome Society, said: ‘This perhaps should come as no surprise. Sleep deprivation has a number of adverse health effects and we all know how badly we function when we’ve not had a good night’s sleep.’

I could not agree more. Deprivation of sleep, which I often suffer from, leaves me in a terrible state of fatigue and can easily lead to depression. We must not let this happen to any of us.


Jeremy Bending is an internationally recognised authority on diabetes and its treatment. Having published more than 50 scientific papers in academic journals on the subject and founded an award-winning diabetes team and centre in Eastbourne, he was a consultant physician in diabetes and endocrinology there for 27 years, retiring eventually in 2014.


What is unusual about Jeremy is that whenever he was asked at a party what exactly does a physician do, he would simply reply: ‘I don’t cut anything out, or stick anything in for I am basically a listening doctor.’

When he came to see me with a view to publishing A LISTENING DOCTOR, I found myself unhesitatingly inclined to publish his new offering, for the man’s honesty and lack of pomposity were his most appealing characteristics. I was right, and the book is attracting rather splendid reviews.

Here is the latest review which I hope will convince our readers to acquire a copy of his splendid autobiography.

“Autobiographies by surgeons are quite common. In the last few years they have included a distinguished retired neurosurgeon, a young gynaecologist and a best seller, written by a young man who, disillusioned, gave up early in his career.

Physicians seem to be more reticent, so this interesting and well-written volume, by a recently retired physician who set up the diabetic unit at Eastbourne, is welcomed.

Dr Jeremy Bending qualified in medicine at the old Westminster Medical School (now part of Imperial College,
London) in 1974. He mentions that I was his Professor of Surgery at that time, but refrains from saying whether this was related to his choosing medicine rather than surgery for his future career. He received valuable experience working as a medical student in Accra, Ghana and later as a physician to isolated fishing communities in Newfoundland.

As a research fellow at Guy’s Hospital, London, he was involved in the early development of the insulin pump. In 1987 he was appointed consultant physician at Eastbourne with the remit to set up a specialized diabetic and endocrine service, retiring in 2014.

Dr Bending ranges over the changes, sadly not all for the better, that he has seen in the NHS, where the administration seems increasingly to impede rather than to catalyse the effective management of patients in the name of ‘ efficiency’. Nicely written and full of medical anecdotes, he stresses, in these days of high technology, the value of the physician being a ‘listening doctor’.
Harold Ellis, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, London”