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Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Was I just in the wrong place?

The 3rd December is/was International Disabled Peoples Day, but you might not have known that. I kept a look out, told people on my face book, was hoping there might be a story or two for my students to pick up and talk to me about in their lesson. Nothing, zilch, zero. I know there must have been something going on, the day couldn't have gone by un-noticed, could it?

The UN started the day and each year have a different theme, this year was 'decent work for disabled people (well people with disabilities is what they say, but I just can't physically right it that way, it's not very social model now is it). The aim of the day is to mobilise support for disability issues! Well I'm mobilised, but did it touch your day? Did the person who has never thought about disability issues suddenly see the light as a result of the day?

I know it takes more than a single focus day or some gimmicky thing to change attitudes and I'm sure that there were some excellent conferences and seminars, debates and lunches and I know not everything has to be splashed across the media for it to make a difference, but just one ickle recognition of it would have got my mobilisation up to full speed. An opportunity missed? probably. Attitudes changed or challenged? Who knows. Disability issues promoted in the media? Not much.

Well next year I'm going to colour my hair yellow and blue, get naked (dependent on the temperature and speed of my mobilisation as a result of other events on the day) all day and I'm gonna get Guinness to mobilise me inside and then I'm gonna head to Downing Street and I'm gonna celebrate my unique diversity and my general contribution to global politics and get on the news for kissing Gordon Brown whilst singing The Stranglers golden Brown, but humorously singing Gordon instead of Golden (D'oh). Or then again, I might just carry on doing my own little thing, obviously that will still include Guinness but fully clothed and with no trip into central London, so probably better all around, and it probably won't mobilise many new allies!

Be Lucky,


Friday, 30 November 2007

Oh Voltaire

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it!"

Sounds good, apparently he had some very dodgey views indeed, which has put me off this quote a bit!

It's going round my head as to how it works, especially when people see you as all the same. Positive & negative freedoms all link towards discrimination and oppression, I'm not sure what I wanted to write here, but new I wanted to say something as theres so much in my head. It's exciting, it's hard, it's confusing, it's tricky...Once I know what IT is I'll be sorted.

Question Time had a good debate last night about The Oxford Union & their Freedom of Speech debate the other night. It's tricky to know whether it was a genuine debate where extreme views could be put down for what they are through academic rigor, or was it just a publicity stunt? Certainly the BNP had a publicity shot up on their site of Griffin in the Oxford chamber within a few hours of his entrance (the bbc news story had a link to the site).

This is probably as confusing to you, as it is to me, but it'll make sense at some point in the future. I know learning of any value is confusing for a bit so I must be learning masses at the moment. I went to a friends funeral yesterday which was sad and has probably added to my reflective mood. His two son's spoke and I realised the strength we have within ourselves in the most difficult of situations, it's our humanity that comes out and speaks the truth and when it does, it is so powerful. They were amazingly strong and were not afraid to show emotion. I'm sure Alan was so proud.

I guess the two bits to this blog are linked, the first bit is about freedoms that we have and don't have and how we either use those freedoms properly or we abuse them. The second part is about when we speak from the heart because we feel & we believe, we recognise the positive strength of our humanity and thats what quashes people who speak just to wind things up and have a bit of fun with it, because it doesn't affect them in any way. One is Intrinsic because it means everything & the other is extrinsic because it means nothing to the person saying it and everything to those who are oppressing or discriminating.

I had an embarrassing blog moment yesterday when I commented on another blog and my tag read "sit back & enjoy the ride" the observant amongst you will see I've made a few changes, but this blog demonstrates that my blog is a bit of my journey and I don't always know where I'm going...Tom tom anyone?

Be lucky


Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Why do we need a CIL in Merton?

That's the question I was asked today.
As some of you will know, I've finished my degree studies and am using some of my time before my next venture in a productive and local way.

The answer to why we need a CIL or Centre for Independent Living is that there is no officially recognised disabled people led organisation which is providing an effective voice for disabled people in Merton and we need that (not that I know of at this point). We need an effective peer support organisation around issues of Independent Living, a CIL provides a new opportunity to have that focus and for disability issues to be listened to on our terms.

There are gaps in support services which are responsive to independent living that can campaign and lobby for equality and better participation in society locally that is led & controlled by disabled people. Nationally, where CILs have been successful services have improved and been closer to what disabled people want, because disabled people have led them themselves. There is a gap in supporting disabled people in a way that doesn't split us into catagories or that tries to fit us into boxes.

In a nutshell, disabled people who want to live independently with control over their lives want a peer support organisation that is resourced to encourage social change and full inclusion in our communities and that understands what is needed to achieve independent living at a level that we can choose and control.

There are lots of organisations doing some good work but they rightly have a focus on their particular interest group. Undoubtedly they are important to supporting disabled people to take control of their own destiny and a CIL will need to work in partnership to fill the gaps that do exist. So it's about collaboration rather than competition, choices rather than this or that.

Unfortunately, discussions about the new CIL have been drawn into a context of cut backs and reductions in other social services. A CIL must be about adding to choice and filling some of the gaps around supporting independent living that reflects a social model of disability. It is not a replacement day centre or any other type of replacment centre. In fact, until disabled people get together and decide locally, we only have our own thoughts and assumptions and examples from other CIL's as to what our CIl will be or do!

What a local CIL is and does must be decided by disabled people locally and should be very different from traditional services, thats where the gap is. If it replecates any other service already in place it will not be achieving it's purposes and will be the same old same old. A new CIL is a different discussion from what is happening in terms of current reviews and cut backs in existing services. A CIL cannot be seen as a replacement or a cheap option. It is only when a cIL is working that it can demonstrate it's value and people can make a choice for themselves, but it cannot be limited by assumptions and limitations even before it gets started.

I do support the proposal for a disabled people led CIL, as I've experienced and hear from Disabled People every day about the gaps and barriers we face in achieving a decent level of independent living and also the ability to make choices and have control over what's important to us. All of this is essential to our ability to participate fully in our community.

In the past couple of months I've talked with perhaps 50 to 60 disabled people about issues around developing CILs both locally and nationally, some for and some against, and the key message has been to get it [the CIL] done properly with adequate and varied funding and infrastructure and sustainability and secondly that it needs to be developed on our terms.

A CIL is about providing a different or alternative choice for people, not forcing them to have a CIL instead of something else. It is also not about grouping us together because f some imposed label. We are individuals who share common experiences that can bring us together, but just as important is our lives in relation to all people, friends and communities. We are not just all about disability. How effective a local CIL is, is dependent on how well Disabled People get involved in partnership to make it work, adequate funding and capacity and how inclusive it becomes as a user-led organisation. As a disabled person I value having control over my life, what I do & how I do it. Direct Payments has put me in control and a CIL would help to ensure more disabled people have the support and opportunity to have more control over their lives.

I'm old enough now to know that it won't be the answer to all our prayers but it will be a massive leap in the right direction towards disabled people being heard and valued in our local community. There is of course an important role for non-disabled allies and organisations to collaborate and share with us the journey, so it is up to us all to make it work.

Be lucky,


Monday, 16 July 2007

Sorry It's Been So Long

My first update is to say that I haven't had any response from Mr Steen MP to my email sent on 1st June, so it's obvious that he isn't interested in apologising for his actions but in just getting a few column inches to promote himself. Obviously I've sent him an email asking why he hasn't responded after asking people to contact him. A publicity stunt perhaps?

My final dissertation gets handed in next Monday & I've had an amazing three year journey. I feel like I have learnt about some new principles that will be important to my future practices, primarily around the importance of Autonomy, clarity around equality and the role of Social Justice & Haman Rights. Also the importance of participation in democracy, so nothing small or easy but all important.

My next journey, seems to be taking me towards strengthening my understanding of research methods and a focus on 'building community'....oh yeh, and how to survive a night out with the lads as my alcohol consumption has definitely decreased!

My last three years has developed my understanding around philosophy and the use of philosophy to clarify a concept such as equality or the social model so that it can withstand the rigors of challenge and debate, academic or otherwise.

Philosophy & theory are important but the last month has also re-enforced my own belief in the importance between theory & practice and in how they underpin or support each other. Why, because I've listened and seen at first hand that disabled people are still experiencing discrimination and struggles on a daily basis. More of this in my next entry.

To catch up, I'm going to make a few seperate entries as in one it would be too long and boring to read (probably!) and then you can read as much or as little as you wish. Oh yes, I've also been involved in a national launch of our resource pack "So What Is Inclusion", (an ideal stocking filler for Christmas, easter present or any celebration), DJ'd 2 weddings, been featured on a national podcast and also a spread in a Nigerian Disability Issues magazine, been quoted in Young People Now and finally had my hair cut.

Be Lucky,


Friday, 1 June 2007

Email to Mr Steen MP

Dear Mr Steen,

You asked people to make contact with you if inconvenienced by your rather poor parking. Unfortunately, I have become very inconvenienced by your poor use of language and rather blinkered views as to our needs.

Could I just point out disabled people are not a minority but gladly your views are.

Will you now be resigning as you obviously cannot represent the views of all of your constituency very well at all?

Yours disappointingly,


If you've been inconvenienced by Mr Steen's Parking he would like to hear from you. You can email him here link

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Yellow & Blue

Yellow & Blue
Originally uploaded by rockinpaddy.

Took a mid-week break from the ol' degree and went crazy with the hair! We lost by the way....

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Saturday, 17 March 2007

The jury is out on Comic Dis-Relief

Last night was Comic Relief and I always feel split on what happens. I know it saves lives and has made big differences. I've worked on funded projects that could only have happened as a result of Comic Relief & the like. But........
As a rule, I reject the idea of Non-disabled actors playing about in wheelchairs, there are plenty disabled actors out of work as a result and at least three owe me money!
Andy Pipkin, Brian Potter and even my beloved Borat have got me thinking. Harmless fun? Making a laugh at societies attitude rather than impairment? Means justify the ends (or is it the other way around)?
I don't want to be a hippocrite, I have loved and laughed at Peter Kay, Borat and Little Britain, but last night rammed home what I don't like, or feel uneasy about, in each of them. It was amplified by them all being together and now to be on the same record and video which will be a hit for sure.
So the Jury is out. I might have to burn my beloved Phoenix Nights and delete Borat from mySpace friends.
Well, it's St Patrick's day, rugby's on and we are stronger than any comedy characters..but the jury is definitely out on these old faves of mine.....Help.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Yesterday at just after 3.45pm went live. Do visit and sign the guestbook. I will continue to use my blog for major dickering and ranting, so text on the web stays reasonable. I shall also continue to use my Flickr site as my main picture site so uploading the website stays a reasonable speed. My aim is that they will all compliment each other and be used in different ways for different information. Enjoy!

Saturday, 10 March 2007

I know I've said it before!

The resource pack has now finished the proof reading stage and amendments made. Now it's off to the printers in the next week, soon to be available in all good UK Youth resource catalogues!

As a result, I haven't done much else, apart from studying, writing and more studying. My aim in the next two weeks is to get my dissertation completed. After my last few negative TV watches I haven't missed getting angry at poor TV portrayal.

On another note The BRBB might be getting played on a podcast thingy! Wics! I'll let you know when/if it all happens.

I took a little break on Thursday afternoon, I needed to get out for air, so headed to Richmond Park for a half hour. Hence the piccy! Spring in the air......spring in the air yerself ya old eejit!

Oh yeh, The St Patricks Day count down is on, come on the boys today. The triple crown could be coming to Irelands shores! Up the boya!

Be lucky


Saturday, 3 March 2007

New List Added

Just for you Robin!

If anyone can add please add to comments. The list can be found down the righ hand-side.

Be Lucky


Friday, 2 March 2007

So What Is Inclusion?

Well after over a year and a bit, we are nearly there!

I've been writing a resource pack and have had an amazing journey doing it. Thanks to Abby for trusting in me, I hope it's all going to go OK in sales. We have got our first order! Yahoo!

At times the pack has over taken my degree, but luckily I have been able to use it as part of my studies, so I guess that makes it not so bad. In the last two years, I don't think I've ever written so much. This blog is part evidence of that. I've got word diarrhea!

You have to understand, when I started at Uni, nearly three years ago, I honestly felt I couldn't write that well. Then I started doing OK with my results, and suddenly it all comes out...The worry for you is I know there's loads more to come. There's lots of stuff that didn't make it into the resource pack and I'd like to do something similar, without all the HTML interactive stuff. A little simpler so I can just write.

I now understand why writing a good book takes so long. Don't bother with those auto biographies by celebs who do it in two months. Reflect and then reflect again!

I've got a tutorial programme running at SFX on Monday, which is amazing for me. The whole college does the session, run by their tutor group leader. It's a bit nerve wracking as you wonder how the tutors interpret your plans and notes, but it's a good college with good tutors, so I hope I haven't let them down in writing!

Be lucky,


Monday, 26 February 2007

The Strangest Hotel (documentary/channel) in Britain

Oh dear channel 4!

I thought I'd tuned into channel 5 for a moment.

You know, that human interest type programme with bizarre title to match, kind of thing. Comedy voice overs, comedy music, lonely person shots, it was all there.

The people in it, fine, the hotel....was it me...or was it empty half the time?

The sad thing, I know one of the guys in the film (although he didn't have a starring role, even though he is a star) and I'm not sure I like the way him and his friends were portrayed!

On another note, doesn't it hurt when you pull a muscle. I'm stinking of deep heat and don't ask me to look right.

On yet another note, if you get the chance, another friend, Robin Ince is currently on his own stand-up comedy tour, as well as touring with Ricky Gervais ....go see him, it's funny, although for obvious reasons, I disagree that 37 is too old but I do agree in his theory on a good list.

You can't beat a good list, like top 3 children's films, top 10 songs "about washing up" (you try it) and of course your top ten miscellaneous (no boundaries, what do you put in & what do you leave out?).

I'm plucking up the courage to publish My "Dragon's Den" ideas, except I'm concerned my ideas will be created into winning businesses!

You don't half get paranoid trying to be creative & the song goes...It's all been done before...but then again, as another song goes....tip toe through the tulips with me!

It would be wrong of me not to acknowledge Saturdays historic rugby match. The ultimate in reconcilliation and forgiveness, very emotional and then...............Yahoo, we kicked em all over the pitch! Up the bouya!

I was torn between the shamrock and the rose...and then the Guinness kicked in.

Be lucky,


Saturday, 24 February 2007

On such a historic day for Ireland Rugby

I found out that at the end of your primary school experience in Honduras it is compulsory to learn the chorus and 7 verses of their national anthem!

I think that says something.

Happy Birthday mum

Be lucky


Saturday, 17 February 2007

100th Reader

Thank you to the 100th reader for your visit. You win a night out with Rockinpaddy, all expenses paid for by visitor 101.

While I'm saying thanks - whoever you are - thanks for the rose on valentines day and a Happy Birthday to me ole' mate Bal.

Be lucky


Long time no speak

Well Uni is back in full swing, my resource pack is getting close to it's completion date and it's all happening. Writing so much for that lot, I try and get away from the computer whenever I can.

Still, I had time to read my mini shreddies cereal pack this morning and it inspired me to write!

Basically it was all about high fibre, healthy lifestyles and going regular, if you know what I mean. There is a picture of Dr Carol on the back and she is going on about how we should make sure to buy cereal with this particular high fibre logo on. Fair enough, then you know you are eating healthy stuff. Just in case you are wondering, I was actually havin a sausage (see the weekly order list for Saturday) at this point.

But then her picture gets me thinking....She was proudly wearing this high fibre logo as a badge? Why in Swansea would you want to wear a badge that signifies "I go regular because I eat high fibre"?? Birthday badge - ok, favourite band - why not, even "I love real ale" is acceptable content for a badge, but not "I eat high fibre and so I have regular bowel action". Whats really funny is that she's got one of those big false smiles that say "I'm feeling a bit uncomfortable and need to go" type thing.

So, although I could write about serious things like children's rights, inclusion, the culture in primary schools or even the UNICEF report released earlier this week, I would rather use this blog to alert you to this crazy fashion statement and encourage us all to be brave and say no to "healthy bowel action" badges...feel free to join me...with the no badge thing...not with the downstairs activity.

Be lucky


Editors note: The toilet picture is instead of the actual logo, which I have got but because it's copywritten, I thought it not best to reproduce, if you want to see it - email me and I will oblige.

Sunday, 4 February 2007

The best christmas present

The best christmas present
Originally uploaded by rockinpaddy.

This is possibly the worlds greatest invention for a straw slurping, guinness drinking, wheelchair using vocalist! A christmas present received yesterday by my dear Gingey.

You will never know the impact that this is going to have on future gigs. I had to practice using it today, so along with Irelands rugby match and my new found independence, this is likely to be the only entry today.

A lovely comment added yesterday. A bit cryptic but thank my 'lucky' stars, I've got a strong idea who Anon might be! Absolutely Phabulous.

Come on Ireland!

Be lucky!


Saturday, 3 February 2007

Godstone Farm's Brilliant!

This is just a quick entry (ooeer!) to say what a lovely day it's been today, down on the farm. Thanks to Mr O. for his hospitality and brilliant farm. I spent the entire morning with two of my God-children and friends playing with the animals.

On another animal note, I've had a few comments about my "bird watching" entry of last week and the comments were not nice at all. I shall be reviewing this entry tomorrow before I comment any further...but you know who you are...don't stop my freedom to pour out my love of you hear...don't stop me..there, I've said it now.

More to come soon on this, once I rise above it.

Be Lucky,


Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Crip on a Trip

Yesterday I said I would write a little bit about "Crip On A Trip", a TV programme shown on Channel 4 last week. It was the story of Dominic (Dom in the, a young disabled guy travelling around Europe with five non-disabled mates before they all split up and went off to university.

On the whole I really like this programme. It was perhaps a truer picture of disability than some other docs that I switch off as soon as I hear the orchestra lament. It had good elements of humour and honesty and it was a 8/10 on the positive portrayal scale (I've just made that scale idea up, it doesn't officially exist, but to give you a contrast, Daniel Day Lewis would probably get a minus/10 on the positive portrayal disabled actors need apply...doh!).

I particularly identified with the various "toilet experiences and stories"! Glad they blurred his doins though..dignity and all that. Dom and his mates came across as very genuine and with a pretty good attitude. I know what you're thinking "there's a but coming along"......... And there is!

I suppose I look at these documentaries a little bit closer, as it's kinda my job and my passion. So what was the problem with this documentary, well it continued to contribute to three very subtle cliches that are made about disability and disabled people. Although overall I think the programme was good rather than bad (100% better than last night's " smallest people" programme with mood piano music to accompany), I think it is right to share my disappointments here.

the first subtle cliche, perhaps more an observation, is around the need to quell curiosity about "whats wrong with you, how did you get it, were you born like that, I suppose you read a lot" stuff. The majority of documentaries have to spend at least the introduction (often the whole programme, detailing the medical condition and its impact on the body. Now although I strongly don't want to deny the existence or impact of impairment, quite the opposite and this doc didn't spend lots of time there, but it still did. I would argue that it is not always necessary to go into the nitty gritty medical details and comparison with the "normal body". It turns the whole experience into some kind of science story and emphasises our difference in a negative way and also subconsciously creates value judgements based on the idea of a normal body (thank god that's not me..or poor thing). I think someone once said "curiosity killed the cat". It'll be nice to see a documentary that acknowledges impairment without the need to go down the medical science and value judgements about normality, with the exception of perhaps Quincey!

the second assumption, and probably my biggest "damn it moment" with the whole programme was the "in my dreams" bit. Now we all know disabled people are all different individuals with a collective experience of discrimination and abuse of parking privilege.... don't we...(lol) and so automatically we all think differently. A lot of TV programmes and documentaries miss this difference bit out by portraying some kind of assumption that disabled people would wish to jump out the chairs and run the 100 m in under 10 seconds or throw away their cane or turn off their hearing aid to turn off the feedback (analogy not working now, but you know what I'm getting at...getting rid of impairment for some kind of normality) . I except that some disabled people do wish to be different from that which they are, but then again there aren't a lot of alternatives shown to challenge that feeling and say "you can be okay the way you are, look and live". This is part of the makeover obsession that dominates television at the moment, but that's another blog.

In my dreams, my chair breaks down and suddenly it can fly, I'm stuck on a desert island and a giant Guinness appears but in the glass there also appears a giant straw. It would be really nice to see a documentary where the disabled person is on the whole fairly happy with themselves, not perfect, but just okay about themselves. I suppose the editing team would argue that's not quite as interesting. I just want to see a documentary with that "in my dreams" sequence a little less cliched. You know that "in a bowl of jelly" one perhaps.... or is that just one of my weird dreams?

the final assumption was the "sex thing" cliche. Now actually, if you listened really carefully, Dom dealt with this one really well and actually challenged the myths. Again documentaries have this thing about making disabled people out to be non-sexual and/or desperate (delete as appropriate). Yes I know, we are all different and there are some lonely people out there desperate for a bit of whooopie..... But again, there are also people who are happily off (literally) in relationships, or successfully flourishing, as my Uni lecture might say, in the downstairs department.

Now I just ripped apart a programme which actually on the whole I was pretty happy with. I enjoyed it, it made me laugh and I liked the way the people in it came across. But it was tainted by the three cliches and it would be nice to see a documentary take a fresh approach. And I'm practicing my journalistic/writing skills along the way.

In context, talking about any of the three cliches: impairment, dreams and sex is fine, but at least portray them in different ways, with different outcomes, that really do reflect the we are all different. Not that we are medical curiosity freaks (good name for a band!), who sleep a lot dreaming of athletics whilst longing for a bit of downstairs action(referring to docs in general here, Not Dom who came over well and should be able to say those things without it contributing to assumptions generally made, if that makes sense)...... Now my blogs getting going!

Or am I just a bit over sensitive and needing a lie down!

Be lucky


Monday, 29 January 2007

Flu Blues

I've been curious about my for a little while now, so today I set up my own my space. I know nothing about HTML so I gave up pretty quickly!

Getting over the flu does make you feel a little blue so the html just brought me down even further. Hopefully tomorrow I will be sorted and back to my normal ways.

Later on in the day and out of complete boredom, I downloaded Channel 4's latest online offering which resulted in the need to update my media player and net passport. What another computer-based nightmare!

One bright note is that I have successfuly added a counter to this blog site as I'm curious to see if anybody visits.

I watched Channel 4's 'crip on a trip' and I thought it was pretty good. I'll write about it a little bit more tomorrow, once I've watched it for a second time.

Be Lucky,


Saturday, 27 January 2007

2000 Hits! (and 54 to be precise)

Just a quick one to say my Flick'r site has passed the 2000 hits mark! Hooray.

I went to bed and it was on 1982 and just now it had hit 2054, so 60 hits in 24hrs pushed it over.

Thanks to all that visit. Not sure if 2000 is huge in the big scale of things, but I'm happy.

Be Lucky!


Bird Watch

This weekend the RSPB are doing a national bird watch. I don't know why I felt interested in joining in. So over the past hour, I have been sitting by my window overlooking the garden and filling in my little full. Believe it or not, it was really peaceful and kind of nice. I got a bit mixed up between my chaffinch and wren, but apart from that I think I did okay.

There has been quite a few television programmes over the past few days, particularly on the history Channel, about our environment. One documentary was about Mount St Helens erupting in 1980 and the other was about the heatwave in August 2006. For such a major event I could not remember the 1980 volcano eruption and an hour-long documentary on the heatwave of last year amazed me. I couldn't remember it being that bad.

I do care about the environment and have tried different ways to be better but on a big scale of things I'm not very good. I drive a diesel van, I do recycle but could do better, I leave nearly all my plugs and appliances on and I don't have a compost heap. With the exception of the compost heap and the recycling the other things are all necessities and limited by my access needs. When it came to my van I did not have the same kind of choices about what type of vehicle I could have and that was 10 years ago and more environmentally friendly vehicles has certainly developed in that time. The reason I leave my electrical appliances on is so that I can be independent and not reliant on my PAs. If the switches are off I need somebody to get them back on. If they are on I can live independently for long periods of time. My chair, hoist bed, front door and other gadgets all require the electricity to be left on. so you can see I feel pretty guilty about my contribution to global warming.

The other thing that I am conscious of is that a lot of the food that I can manage to cook for myself are highly packaged. When I have a PA to cook for me, I usually cook all my fresh vegetables but on my own it tends to be the more easy to cook foods. I am getting better at this by preparing ahead but still, when on my own, I still tend to cook the easier foods I can manage alone.

Apart from my van, electrical consumption and use of packaging material I'm very conscious about our environment. my family has a farming background, Mum and Jerry have small herd of cows. In Abbeyfeale we are surrounded by farmland and my uncle Patsy is a well-educated farmer who knows his stuff. Whilst working at Felbury we were surrounded by hillsides, Woods and beautiful scenery. Whilst working at Orpheus we did one or two projects to develop environmental awareness even taking the group on a day out composting.

For a crazed rock 'n' roller like me you might be surprised that I think or care about the environment, but I do. So perhaps one hours birdwatching is not such madness after all!

Be lucky!


Friday, 26 January 2007

The thaw sets in

The thaw sets in
Originally uploaded by rockinpaddy.

I'm just testing the link between my Flick'r & my blog. The two will work hand in hand if this works.

Who am I writing too. Then again, who am I?

Dear ?,
I haven't been able to get the excitement of my new blog site out of my mind. I've currently got the flu and am feeling a bit rough. The creation of this site is keeping me from a) going a bit mad and b) daytime television.

I've been thinking thatI want to personalise who I write my blogs to. You know the type of thing, dear diary or dear whoever. There are two names in contention and that come to mind. First there is 'Dear Valerie', inspired by Derek and Clive. Second there is 'Dear Bernard', inspired by Julian and Sandy's great ode to "our darling GBS". Bernard, is also inspired by Steve Cogan's sketch which has stuck with me for years, where he cries out randomly in the middle of a scene "I love you Bernard".

both Valerie and Bernard are valid and I could write happily to either, but are they original enough? In reality, who ever I write to, the name is going to be my way of personalising you, the reader. A way of imagining who I am writing to and giving me a focus or purpose to write.

But there is another idea.

In the 18th century a guy called Rousseau wrote a book about an imaginary child called "Emile". It's a very thick book to read but the idea behind it was Rousseau's theory on education. By using Emile, he wrote about the ideal situation of how child should be brought up and educated. I have had a few ideas, based on a few discussions in my old job about using this kind of narrative to help people understand disability issues or perhaps to explore an alternative way in which disabled people could experience a more accepting, supportive society. so I could use this idea to write about an imaginary character instead of writing to an imaginary character.

The third strand to this strange entry is me, or is it Rockinpaddy? Rockinpaddy was a spur of the moment name that I created after listening to a Shane MacGowan & the Popes CD. Rockinpaddy is a way of me and a few friends still being able to play when one of the band is missing. You see my other band, "The Big Red Bambino Band", has a definite membership of four of us, and when one is missing it doesn't feel right to play as BRBB. So Rockinpaddy, is a mishmash of various musicians and today nine musicians have been Rockinpaddy.

I guess the only constant in the idea has been I have played throughout. Some people think that I am rockinpaddy and certainly my mates down at AFC Wimbledon all call me rockinpaddy. so I guess in some ways I am Rockinpaddy, but because in my head Rockinpaddy is more a concept, a bit of a mad creature, up for the craic and crazed on Guinness, Rockinpaddy gives me an opportunity to explore a different part of being me. I'm sure Freud would have something to say about this!

Perhaps the key to this blog is Rockinpaddy. He knows how to have a good time, he knows his stuff about music and he has views on the world in which he lives. Combined with my Flickr website Rockinpaddy has a pretty rounded existence.

Let's think on it for a day or two, reflect. I certainly didn't think today's entry would take us on this journey.

Be lucky,


Thursday, 25 January 2007

Testing, Testing, Testing

well I thought it was time I tried out the technologies of a blog site. As it is the beginning of 2007 it seemed like a good time. I'm not sure who is going to read this. In fact I'm not sure why I'm doing this? It just felt like a good idea. I have a flickr website and have had great fun with it, but as I have been writing a lot recently, a blog seemed like a natural progression.

I guess its traditional with the first entry to tell people about yerself but I guess anyone interested probably already knows me, or if not, will do by the time I've done a few entries.

My old university lecturer at Goldsmiths, London told me "when I'm training others, always find out the purpose? Why? So what will I explore in my blog, what is the purpose?

Well, I think it will be a place where I will let off a little bit of steam! Fairly regularly I get very annoyed with different news articles and the way media portrays or makes assumptions about disabled people, so this seems like the perfect place to vent that fury.

I have also got a lot going on in my life this year. I'm in the final stages of an education degree, so no doubt that will be a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I should hopefully be getting a new adapted van so this will provide a few adventures. And finally the band is planning a few gigs, so this should provide one or two humerus entries. I guess everybody says that their blog will be a mixture of funny and serious but I'm not too sure about mine. I'm just going to see where it takes me.

Do you fancy coming along for the ride?

Be lucky,