Saved by A Wild Viking in Soho!
Deliberations about life following his quadruple heart by pass surgery
A true story by Colin Richards
A family friend recently commented on Facebook ‘OMG Colin; you never do things by halves.’ Her reaction to hearing the news that I had just undergone an emergency quadruple heart bypass operation. A five-hour procedure that separates the sternum, takes four veins from arms and legs, and then uses them to circumnavigate the existing blocked arteries attempting to feed blood to the heart.
Her OMG comes from knowing me from age ten since she worked as my eldest sister’s children’s nanny for many years. Having kept in touch with my sister and her past charges for almost 50 years, she also followed my life at a distance.
Her reaction may not be unjustified since, for someone who has never intentionally gone out to live a remarkably adventurous life, on reflection, it seems to have found me.
Life started in an unusual way
It began December 11th 1959, born in Beckenham Kent as the fourth child by eleven years to my next sibling and the only boy. An unusual start as I was chloroformed nightly for the first six weeks of my life by the ether addicted maternity nurse who could not afford to have the infant in her charge wake at night while imbibed in her secret addiction. No wonder I was seen to be a very well behaved baby who slept so well!
Because I grew up with three sisters considerably older than me, I was as much an only child as I was the fourth child. I grew up within the confines of a 130-bed remotely located family hotel on the South Devon coastline. A converted coastguard station that my parents bought in 1961 on a let’s get away from London whim.
From as early as I can remember I related to guests and staff a bit like the ship’s cat with a loving but alcoholic mother and an emotionally disconnected but supportive, hard-working father. I soon learned that to get on in life and get a sense of belonging it was best to help others so empathy became instinctual to me.
At the age of eight my parents sent me to boarding school four hours drive away. Boarding school educated until the age of eighteen followed by two years in hotel management training that subtly shoehorned me into running the family hotel business from the age of twenty that continued for the next twenty years. Married at twenty-six, to a Swedish wife, five children were born within the next nine years.
So far, so good and nothing particularly out of the ordinary, in fact a privileged start to my life. But from these secure beginnings things were about to change quite drastically and all out of my control.
Unwittingly the egg time of life was turned and the next thirty years took me through events that most people thankfully only experience a few of.
It began with the financial collapse of hotel business. Having been enrolled as a Name at the Insurance institution known as Lloyds by my father and his agents. ‘Colin will be the youngest Name at Lloyds’ Unlimited liability? Nothing to worry about it never happens’ was the agents final encouraging twist of enticement to my father to sign me in. Two year laters it did happen and Lloyds crashed and by 1992 I faced over one million in debt of money I never had in the first place.
Simultaneously sued by a national newspaper over a boundary dispute in their Dream Cottage competition prize that for me turned into nightmare.
Both parents passing away within two years of each other.
Outed as a gay man by my wife’s lovers wife. Lots more on this another time!
Divorce then eventual personal bankruptcy.
2005 – Now down to living in a cash only world with zero assets and at one point with only £5 to my name to make ends meet I moved to London and started working as a male massage escort.
In 2010 I qualified as a Pysychosexual and Relationship therapist and because I want to continue with the body work I redefined myself as a sex engineer, giving over eight thousand erotic massages in fifteen years.
By 2015 – 2018 my work was being noticed and subsequently featured in national and international media and on Channel 5 TV as the man who helps women over come orgasm challenges.
This developed into teaching aspect to my work, public speaking, group trainings and hosting my own adult lifestyle events parties, teaching men women and couples techniques to enhance lovemaking and erotic foreplay.
I survived the pandemic and in summer 2021 I had the busiest period ever turning over £130,000 per annum with projections of £150,000 for 2021-22.
Then just as it was all coming together I am told I am about to die and that I urgently need a quadruple heart bypass.
Life Between Life
I once read a book titled Life Between Life, which discussed exploring past lives through regression hypnosis. The premise is that when a person finishes a life and before they embark on their next life, they create, with the help of ‘wise ones’, a template or potential route map of what this next life should include furthering our spiritual journey.
This life journey is not designed to be a straight start to finish route but more an adventure with endless choices put in front of us, rather like continually arriving at a fork in a road and having to decide wether to go left or right to continue the journey. However, the choice to be made is based on what the soul senses is right rather than the logical mind. Apparently the soul has the ability to link back to the original life lessons agreed with the wise ones.
In my case, it seems that I was blessed to have with a pretty easy early life from which to start the journey. On seeing my horoscope, in 1993 an astrologer once commented that I had been given much at the start that most people strive to achieve in a lifetime. A secure affluent upbringing in a safe and supportive environment.
However he went on to say, ‘you are living your life backwards’ and now its all about to change. Little did I know what was in store for me or where it would lead.
Many people who have heard aspects of this journey have said ‘you must write a book’. So whether a novel or a podcast, it will happen one day. For now, though, I need to bring my clients, followers and friends up to date with this latest chapter. It seems I have been given extra time. Maybe all that has gone before will make complete sense with what unfolds over the next ten or twenty years.
So on to the wild Viking
September 5th 2021, after a pretty busy day, my partner Clare and I decided to go out for a meal in London’s Soho. The previous four months had been hectic for me with back to back appointments and classes. It seemed that the Covid pandemic and subsequent isolation and social distancing rules had energised many to seek out and explore their sensual intimacy even more so than before. I had never been busier and although feeling quite physically tired I had put this down to simple ageing, i.e. joints and energy levels and a night out seemed a nice break.
After a good meal, Clare and I decided to pop into a local bar, ‘The Friendly Society’ off Wardour Street. A door in a wall denotes the small, unassuming entrance and down fifteen steps, takes you into an eclectically decorated bar frequented by an array of personality types. Completely LGBTQ inclusive, it is never a surprise to see a smorgasbord of people types in this bar.
As I reached the foot of the stairs and turned into the main bar room, I was confronted by the sight and sound of a 6ft 5in wild-haired, bearded man who looked as if he just had stepped off the set of an episode Game of Thrones. For no other reason than I was there, this wild Viking turned, glared at me and shouted inches from my face the words ‘it’s a fucking gay bar’.
Squaring up to me, I genuinely felt at a loss as to what to do. Was he telling me, warning me or voicing his dislike? I had no idea. All I was aware of was my reply, ‘ I know and it’s fine with me, how about you?’ This appeared to anger him further, and more expletives and ‘you fucking cunt’ was screened at me as he took a step closer as if to make his next action physical.
Fortunately, at that very moment, the bar owner, Maria, passed by and having met her a few days before Clare launched herself onto Maria ‘Oh darling lovely to see you again’. This distraction seemed to confuse th Viking and off he wandered to the exit continuing his cussing and shouting.
This incident only took maybe three minutes, and in normal circumstances, would have passed by pretty much without consequence. I then spent thirty minutes waiting at the busy bar to get a drink for us both and after few dance moves later, and blood pressure clearly rising a sense of ‘I don’t feel quite right’ took us both back out into the fresh air and onto the night time London streets.
Now feeling a bit breathless and with an ache, in my chest, we slowly wandered to Piccadilly circus to catch a number 19 bus back to Chelsea. Three hours later, the discomfort subsided and following a little flare up at lunchtime the next day, to be sensible I called the GP, who recommended I go to A & E. Thinking I new better rather foolishly I left this until the Tuesday 7th morning at 7 am.
At the hospital a morning of ECGs and blood tests followed and I was diagnosed with stable Angina, told that the doctors did not believe it was anything more serious and I was sent home and told to return in a couple of weeks to take a treadmill test.
On September 17th, in conversation with the nurse about the treadmill test she mentioned long delays due to Covid and asked whether I had private medical insurance. Fortunately, in 2015 I had taken out took out private medical care, so on hearing this and to speed things up, she recommended I see a cardiologist in Harley Street that same afternoon.
‘So Colin, you are saying you had an experience on Saturday 4th with a mad Viking and this made you feel a bit unwell? And these are the blood test results taken four days later on Tuesday 7that A & E?’ Hmmm…. well the levels of Troponin shown here are, without a doubt, indicating that on Saturday 7th at 11pm, you experienced a heart attack.
I was not expecting that
Aren’t heart attacks more dramatic, collapsing, blue lights, ambulance screaming to a hospital not a bus ride from Piccadilly, followed by a Sunday lunch and a few aches and pains.
The cardiologist continued by recommending an immediate angiogram, stating that at best I may need to go on statins and blood thinners and at worst I may need some stents inserted to enlarge the arteries.
On September 21st, after withdrawing the camera from my arm the cardiologist leaned forward and rather matter factly said, ‘ Well, Colin, you are extremely blocked up and require an urgent quadruple heart bypass. In fact, I am surprised that you have survived the past two years.
It appeared that although I have a strong heart, the plumbing to it was not so hot, more than likely genetic with a pre disposition of creating cholesterol. Not just one but all four main arteries were considerably blocked.
The operation took place on October 30th. In a 5 hour procedure, the sternum is separated, then veins are taken from the leg and arms and used to circumnavigate the blocked arteries outside the heart. It is a substantial but now quite common surgery. Always with risks.
According to the surgeon, my operation was successful but was ‘tricky’ as my heart stopped partway through. But the genius of these people is quite unfathomable, and now nine days on, I am out and about taking things slowly but walking further every day.
The future, one which I probably was not destined to have, now looks bright. I am the lucky one as not everyone gets saved before its to late. But in so doing and realising that without this intervention my time was probably up I have now had the opportunity to consider my mortality. When you are given an extended lease on life, it makes you consider about what one should do with this extra time.
I love my work as a sex and relationship engineer and teacher of sexual intimacy. I love helping people understand, explore and learn more about this most personal aspect of their life. I love to challenge the conventions of sexuality. I enjoy being a maverick, and I am thankful that all the challenges experienced on my route map of life have led me to work in a field that is not only fascinating, rewarding but make me feel immensely privileged. I am excited to see what comes next. two months convalescing is giving me time to consider how I move forward. An ambition to set up an Intimacy Centre may be a possible direction. More media and TV work bringing my style and philosophy on sexuality to the wider audience is also a possibility.
I am not sure what this latest chapter going to steer me, but for sure I am never going to take life for granted. For me know each day is a new day, a special day, a day to enjoy and to help others.
So thanks to the crazy Viking, even though he does not know it his behaviour saved my life. Skol!
Colins forthcoming availability during his 12 week recuperation
Colin will be seeing clients in stages over the next 8 weeks. His estimated schedule is below
November 1st to 30th – Closed but taking future bookings
December 1st to 15th – Open for face to face and online (talk only) coaching consultations and relationship counselling – See here
December 16th to 22nd – Open for 1-1 sensual massage classes for couples & singles (with an assistant supporting the demonstrations) – email me to discuss
December 23rd to 27th – Closed
December 28th to 31st – Open for 1-1 sensual massage classes for couples & singles (with an assistant supporting the demonstrations) – email me to discuss
January 1st to 2nd – Closed
January 3rd 2022 onwards – Fully open for all treatments and classes
February 2022 – Dinner & Decadence parties re start