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Monday, 12 December 2011

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Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Election Fatigue & other matters

My last few blogs have been of the audio variety, so I thought it was about time I put pencil end to keyboard and mulled over the last few weeks or so.

I had a great inspiring trip with a few close friends (56) up to our favourite outdoor education centre, Bendrigg Lodge. The energy, talents and friendship the young people share on this trip is always inspiring and this trip was no exception.

You may have guessed from my twitter, facebook or diary antics, that since December I've been getting more & more involved with the life & times of Ian Dury and in particular the brilliant Theatre Company Graeae. I've been singing as part of the development stage of there latest production "Reasons To Be Cheerful". Written by Paul Sirett, it's a funny, gritty, sometimes hard & sad story intertwinned around the songs of Ian Dury. I think this description of the show will be better articulated as I get to know the story once it's finished it's 100th or more re-write. I've only met Paul a handful of times but i love watching him, watching us, wondering what his next thought is. What might he be thinking as a result of a flippent rehearsal comment or action that might end up in the next script, or not? We are in the safe and genius hands of Jenny Sealy who I love being around & learning from. She is a very experienced Artistic Director and great fun to be around. Robert Hyman is our MDand he can sure hit them keys.

You'll have to come and see!

Anyway on Saturday, it was confirmed that I'm in it, doing the vocal. I'm over the moon, and completely over whelmed by this new opportunity. It feels like I'm punching well over my weight on this one, even though others tell me different and in my heart I know if I work hard and focus I might just get close to living the total dream!

I've sung all my life, never brilliantly, but always tried entertainingly. I live & love music and have been lucky to make a living from it in different ways and to do this is a boyhood dream that has stayed with me through my life.

It's the people around me who are so skilled and talented that are the icing on the cake, you should see them, they are top banana & I'm going on the journey with them!!

I realise, I've not actually mentioned the elections, well why should I?? None of them have said much about the things that matter to me, Inclusion, rights, social justice, valuing informal learning & young disabled & non disabled people growing, learning & playing together....except yesterday when the bias of all parties towards segregated education was shown to still be in existence!

And Mr Steen MP, I'm giving up on ever hearing back from you about your bad parking habits. With any luck he's going to get kicked out on 6th May and we'll never know about his parking antics or expenses behaviours ever again. With the greatest of respects, thanks for showing you never did actually want to hear from Disabled People, I hope you are very happy polishing yer pearls & may you never need a parking space in SW London!



Thursday, 18 February 2010

Archive audio blogs - last: The wheelchair saga!

My audio blogs are via the link above, click & it will take you too all my audio blogs with most recent at the top, plus older audio blogs too.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Testing my mobile blog access

In an attempt to keep my blog updated I'm trying a few new settings. Technomungus!

I see Mr Stein MP has been naughty with his expenses. No wonder he parks in blue badge parking bays as it saves on having to claim on parking tickets! Surprisingly he still hasn't responded to any of my emails which is disappointing considering he said he wanted to hear from anyone put out by his attitude...I mean actions, apparently he feels we have too many parking bays, so therefore he parks on them when he feels the need.

I'm still waiting Mr Stein!!

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Oh Janey Mac!

I'm not nearly, I am! And it all feels fine so far. My head hasn't fallen off, I haven't forgotten how to party, I don't need more or less sleep and best of all I can still do my own version of that rub yer stomach pat yer head thing that people do, except I can't reach my head and my circular motion is just around me belly button!

I guess just acknowledging I'm 40 means theres some significance to it, but I haven't been able to put my finger on it's exact significance yet. My feeling is yahoo, I've got here and my life has been great so far. We've had some pretty major challenges in our family and so far survived and become stronger as a result of them. So no complaints apart from still not being able to properly access the tube for the last 34 years (mum got me on when I was 6 by carrying me down) or being able to access the best intimate live venues in London without the bouncers (oops door supervisors) needing to call for back up to get me in!

we had a great party where it confirmed that I know I've got the best family and friends a 40 year old could wish for and they can all still party too!

So what pearls of wisdom have I learnt over 40 years (the following is only useful for my self guidance and not meant as advice or to be followed by anyone else, you can do your own!):
  • Humility is a great virtue to which I will always wish to work towards.
  • I haven't got all the answers but I'm happy to continue looking.
  • I'm on a journey and love sharing it with others.
  • Don't tinkle in a field in the wind, especially in Dorking in the middle of the night.
  • Have a good time all the time.
  • I'm a lover not a fighter (except where freedom and discrimination is concerned).
  • Disability has nothing to do with ability.
  • The road to Holyhead is two-faced - it's the best journey and the worst all in two lanes!
  • Being in a wheelchair is absolutely fine & dandy unless it breaks down. It's steps, stairs and attitude that stops you doing things.
  • Keep practicing, there's always something to improve.
  • Trust in others, the Holy Spirit & yourself.
  • My glass is nearly always full to over flowing.
  • Never sit in a deckchair on the Isle of Wight with Ginger, without having a good limerick up your sleeve.
  • Independence is not being able to do everything on your own.
  • Cows are lovely things and I still haven't quite worked them out.
  • I like music loud.
  • I don't trust cucumber.
  • This is a beautiful world which we need to look after and I hope to continue seeing the most beautiful sites it has without damaging it too much.
  • Normal doesn't exist.
  • Music is my bag.
  • Don't end the day with things left to do, resolve n plan, but go to bed settled or you'll never sleep.
  • Irritable bowel is really irritating when your nervously about to perform/facilitate/present/meet someone important/speak or if you haven't got a pa/hoist/strong mate/accessible loo nearby (although I have to add, I've been lucky so far!).
  • I love my Mum & Dad, friends and family and my life so far.
  • There's always a way to do and manage anything life throws at you.
  • Augusto Boal and Paulo Freire have taught me loads.
  • There's not much on telly.
  • Extreme wealth is as bad and obscene as poverty.
  • Why does business news get air time when community news gets zilch (by community I mean good news opportunity to work and support each other to create change, embrace differences and do things for the good of each other and our world).
  • I'm not the best musician or singer but I love playing and rocking it with a crowd who's up for it.
  • All means All.
  • Nothing About Us Without Us.
  • My van Lizzie, is wicked and changed my life.
  • My life is always changing so don't try to stay the same.
  • I still haven't found my soul mate, but I've whittled it down to about 30.
  • It was hard writing the last one without breaking into a U2 number.
  • There is definately good. There is only bad if you want to look for it or if you let 'em win.
  • I'm proud to work with so many inspiring young people.
  • Vic Finklestein & Michael Oliver, Jane Campbell (Dame, sorry Jane) & Jenny Morris have best articulated both my understanding of disability and my experience of disability.
  • The Fonze is still coolamundo...Eh!
  • Colombo is still a genius.
  • Elvis in his youth sung the butt of a song.
  • Frank Spencer is still my hero!
  • My impairment is a total part of me, it's not secondary, non-existent, to be cured or made better or made normal, it's part of me, not the whole of me or the dominant part of me, it's part of me, not to be hidden, or ashamed of, or to be blamed on others or myself, its part of me and like the wheelchair (see above) it doesn't stop me doing anything that is important to me.
  • My top 5 songs (see along right hand side of blog) hasn't changed much over the past five years so need to re-visit.
  • Jacks is the best bar in my world and serves the best Guinness in the World.
  • Thank god I'm not a good business man.
  • Try to be as honest as you can to yourself and to others.
  • Turning 40's cool.
  • Don't rush, the journey is as important as the destination.
  • There's plenty of time but don't procrastinate or even worse don't not do the things you need to do (and I'm not talking about the washing up)!
  • I've got the loveliest, talented, kindest god children you could wish for.
  • Do the washing up ( I prefer doing it as you go long, as long as the food doesn't go cold).
  • Lists are good so always put at least one thing on that you can tick off straight away.
  • Get the balance between doing the hard things and the easy things right.
  • Doing things together collaboratively fuels and motives my individual work.
  • Inclusion is the way of the Jedi.
  • The Saw Doctors, Pogues, Dubliners, Elvis, Elvis Costello, Robert Wyatt & Billy Bragg to name but a few.
  • I'm a tiger (when I need to be).
  • Don't forget yer shovel if you want to go to work.
  • Keep wasps off my sandwich.
  • Don't be pretentious or self important.
  • Never wear a mankini at your birthday party.
  • Do it!
  • I'll be sorry about writing at least one of these someday, so will update when I'm 80.
  • Nothing is definitive.

So enough reflecting for now, still got some major freedom fighting and plenty discrimination to beat off and I'm not going to rest on that. You know who you are and you've been warned.

Be lucky

Friday, 4 September 2009

From My friends at DAN

I don't usually post other peoples writing but Dan are trying to spread the word about this action, so please read on:

The Disabled People's Direct Action Network (DAN) is once again taking
action against Birmingham City Council (BCC) on Monday 14th September for
the rights of disabled people in Birmingham and everywhere to life,
liberty and the choice and control over our own lives that most
non-disabled people take for granted, but which we can be denied at the
whim of a local authority.

BCC promised to work with DAN towards establishing genuine independent
living for disabled people in Birmingham after our last action in March
(see report at won us
a meeting with Peter Hay (Director of Health and Social Care) and other
Council officials, but has not delivered on that promise, and 6 months
later there has been no apparent change in BCC's treatment of disabled

Yesterday (30th August 2009), a disabled service user and DAN supporter,
for whom members of Birmingham DAN had been advocating in the "social
care" system, died in hospital in Birmingham following BCC's refusal, only
a few weeks before, to provide him with any care or support to live

Disabled people in Birmingham are still being refused assessments for
direct payments to employ Personal Assistants (which is breaking the legal
obligation of all Local Authorities under the 1990 Community Care Act),
being told by social workers that they do not have any needs or being
bullied by council officials into signing agreements they do not want to
sign, simply to save the council money.
Other disabled people are still homeless, living in totally inaccessible
housing, trapped against their will in nursing homes where they have no
choice and control over their own lives, or living in total social
isolation and disgustingly filthy conditions, not because of a lack of
funding for accessible housing and social support services, but because of
the absence of the political will to use council funding for those

How many more disabled people will have to die and how many more lives
will be put at risk before BCC gives us our human rights?

The action on September 14th will start at 1pm and will be in Birmingham
city centre. For further information contact Steve on 07931 421947 or or Tom on 07816 275985 or

Please forward this message to as many disabled people (or anyone else who
you think may be interested in taking part in the action) as possible.


Steve Graby, Birmingham DAN