iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for 02/08/2010

Sorry, this episode is not currently available on BBC iPlayer Radio


2 hours
First broadcast:
Monday 02 August 2010

Jeremy discusses the banks lending more businesses money, we talk about Ian Huntley suing his prison for an attack on him by another inmate, we talk about cannabis use and finally we discuss a mobile phone for the hard of hearing which has a ringtone louder than a 100 decibels.

Music Played

13 items
  • Bank Loans

    Bank Loans

    My business needs the banks to start lending me money.


    John McGee, Managing Director of Resilient Power Solutions, who is struggling to get a loan from the banks.
    Angela Knight, Chief Executive of the British Bankers Association

    Find out more here.
  • Ian Huntley

    Ian Huntley

    Ian Huntley is trying to claim compensation because he has been physically attacked in prison.


    Mark Leech, the Editor of Converse, a monthly national newspaper for prisoners

    Find out more here.
  • Cannabis Use

    Cannabis Use

    In our health special we talk to a father whose son committed suicide because of his cannabis use.


    Alistair Gray, a father whose son committed suicide because of his cannabis use.
    Dr Sarah Jarvis

  • Mobile Phone

    Mobile Phone

    Finally there is a new mobile phone for the hard of hearing which has a ringtone that is louder than a vuvuzela.


    Stewart Smith, Managing Director of Communic8 Ltd who have manufactured the mobile phone for the hard of hearing.

  • Alistair Gray's eulogy to his son Jamie

    Alistair Gray joined us in the studio to discuss the death of his son Jamie who committed suicide because of his cannabis use. Here is his eulogy to Jamie.


    Good afternoon. Firstly, may I thank you all for coming here today and express my family’s thanks to the huge number of people whose visits, letters, cards and messages of support have given us comfort over the last twelve terrible days. We are honoured and strengthened by your presence.

    We are all here to remember the life of James Alistair Russell Gray who was born in Dundee on 19th January 1988 and who died on 25th July 2009.

    There are a great many of us here today to remember Jamie.

    You may remember him as an ever smiling, ever running, ever climbing small child, who was inquisitive, mischievous and would never believe that fire was hot until he had stuck his finger in the flame.

    You may remember him as the youngest member of his primary school class, in one of the four primary schools he attended; where he fitted in within minutes, was leader of the pack within hours and had completely mastered to local accent within days.

    You may remember him as a sportsman. If you are unfortunate, you may recall him glowering at you from the front row of the scrum. He won medals in karate and represented the Central District at rugby.

    You may remember him at Balfron High School, where the school reports of his behaviour moved from “mischievous” to “challenging”. He brought laughter wherever he went, including to classes. Despite this, he generally managed to charm his way out of the most serious trouble.

    You may remember him at work, where he always gave his best; whether for two years in the kitchens of the Beech Tree, 18 months in landscaping or more recently doing the gardens of some of the hot older birds of the village. His best was always very good.

    You may remember him as an older brother, loved and loving, stimulating, sometimes a little scary and random, but always supportive; or as a son, awestruck at the wonderful child she had produced and waiting for that wonderful child to return.

    There are many of you here who never really knew Jamie but have come here instead to remember Chunky, with his swagger and his style and his ‘Nakamura ate ma dog’ Rangers strip.

    You will recall his energy, enthusiasm and stamina at a party. He may have invited your neighbours for a drink by knocking on their windows, even though it was on the second floor. Many will picture him with a glass in his hand and a laugh at his lips; in the pub, or, if he was barred, outside the pub. Full on, maximum volume – that was the Chunky way.

    You will recall him for his courage and loyalty, always willing to wade into any fight at your side as no one was going to mess with his mates. He always had your back.

    You will recall him for the Chinese letters tattooed on his neck of which he was so proud, saying – who knew what? If you are kind you will try to forget his singing.

    Food and drink were important to him, whether making it as Chunky the burritos king, eating it straight from your fridge at three in the morning or redecorating your car or your room with cheesy chips and pakora sauce.

    Many will recall his kindness, his gentleness and his natural courtesy. He would always help one in need, with his last pound for your bus fare, his only jacket if you were cold, or his tent at T in the Park if yours was lost; although giving you half of his sandwich if you were hungry might have been a step too far.

    However you remember him, everyone who met him was aware of the galaxy of talents that he had at his disposal. You will have seen his intelligence and wit. You will have seen his charm, his cheek and his charisma. You will have seen his pride and his honour, his determination and his unbending will. You will have seen his looks with his bright blue eyes, his dazzling smile, his strong build. You’ll have known his sometimes brutal honesty, his decency, his generosity of spirit and his loyalty to those he held dear, and you may have been one of the many who wondered why he had not quite seemed to make the most of all these abilities.

    I think it is only right that I try to explain what we understand to be behind this.

    When Jamie was around 13 and for several years after, he chose to smoke cannabis. The effect of this drug on his developing brain was to cause significant damage, such that for the last five years he suffered constant internal mental anguish which stifled him from leaving home, enjoying sport, travelling or having people close. He would never accept that there was a psychological cause for his problems and he embarked on a fruitless search for a physical explanation. The condition was, as far as we know, permanent and untreatable. He use his considerable reserves of mental resolve to continue living as normal a life as he could, only ever divulging his inner torment to one person.

    We cannot be sure, but it would seem that on 25th July, he decided that if the miserable and painful half life to which he was consigned was all he had to look forward to, it was not worth having. Therefore, he took the courageous, terrible and to him, entirely logical step of ending it at the time, place and manner of his own choosing. Today, comfort is very thin on the ground but, if there is any to be had, it is that his tormented mind now has the peace it could not find in life.

    There are some people who have felt that they failed Jamie and, had they been more attentive to him, might have saved him. To you I would say this: you could never have known. He used all his abilities to conceal the nature and degree of his problems, preferring instead to appear as the Jamie and Chunky that you knew. His condition had robbed him of many things and I think that he valued his friends as the mainstay of his existence. To have traded their love, affection and respect for their pity would, I think, have taken from him all he had left.

    There is a moral to this tale and I would sincerely hope that all of you, but particularly those who have teenagers, will have teenagers or are teenagers would heed it. Cannabis is not the safe, happy, recreational drug some fools would have you believe. If it can cripple, torture and kill one as mentally and physically strong as Jamie, so it could you too.

    I started this attempt at a tribute to the life and untimely death of a totally exceptional young man by speculating on how you might remember him. You might therefore reasonably ask me, his father, how I remember him.

    That, I fear, is too difficult a task for today. For I have so many memories of Jamie, from when I first held him in my arms, a few minutes old and cried with joy at my perfect, first born son; to when I last held him in my arms and wept with despair at his loss. To me, he was at his happiest and most free on a cloudless sunny day, high in the French Alps, hurtling down a steep field of fresh snow, with the wind in his hair, with his snowboard at his feet and with his great smile on his face.

    So goodbye, my beautiful boy, goodbye.

    By Alistair Gray.


Free download

  1. Image for Jeremy Vine’s Being Human

    Jeremy Vine’s Being Human

    Jeremy Vine explores what makes us human with leading thinkers and writers in this landmark BBC…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.