Two disability-related stories

I have probably been a rather lax disability commentator this week as I have failed to mention two quite large disability-related stories. The first is the news of a woman with dwarfism who allegedly held  up a train because someone refused to move their prom for her mobility scooter. I think that is disgusting: the woman was put through hell for sticking to her rights. The train company even tried to blame her for delaying the train. It’s a problem I encounter quite frequently on the busses, but I’ve never been as traumatised or humiliated as this woman was.

The second disability-related story I want to bring to everyone’s attention is the news that Dwayne Johnson will be playing a leg amputee in his next film, Skyscraper. It’s probably the former wrestler’s usual action-packed guff. The problem is, I’m not sure things like this should be acceptable. Of course, I’m all for as much onscreen disability representation as possible, but this is a clear case of an actor ‘cripping up’ to get attention. Surely characters with disabilities should be played by actors with disabilities. After all, it is definitely no longer acceptable for a white actor to ‘black up’ to play a black person; he has very little real experience of having a disability. Johnson has drawn widespread criticism from the  disability community for this, and frankly, so he should.

If only.

mp courage


Frankly, the whole affair is getting so pathetically stupid that surely it’s only a matter of time before they get real and call an end to the   entire Brexit episode.

The return of Captain Picard

Last night I set up a Google alert for Patrick Stewart and Star Trek. To be honest I haven’t been this eager for  news about something since the announcement of 007’s  involvement at the London Olympics or the  reunion of Monty Python – I might  be even more excited this time. I haven’t written anything about it on here before now because there isn’t really anything  definite to go on:  there is speculation that Picard might appear on Discovery in a cameo, or as an admiral  in his own series, or as a tutor in a series about Starfleet academy. As you can imagine, the fans are going crazy trying to glean anything they can from the sparse information we have at this point, and I better not join them. Nonetheless, this is a news story I will be keeping a very, very close eye on: the possible return of Picard,  my favourite Star Trek character, has me squealing like a kid on Christmas morning. I just can’t wait until we get a first glimpse of Stewart  back in that role, or even striding up to a replicator and uttering the immortal line once again:  “Tea, Earl Grey, hot.”

Climbing again

I went climbing with Dominik again today. It had been  ages since I went the first time and, to be honest, I  found it much harder today.. I think they reconfigure the walls down there fairly often, so this time, the ‘easy’ routes weren’t that easy. It was harder for me to find the grips, and I ender up banging against the wall and scratching myself a lot more. Nonetheless, I told myself not to give up  and eventually I made it to the top. Thus it was simultaneously excruciating and exhilarating. It’s probably also great physio for me, so, a few cuts and bruises aside, I fully intend to go a lot more.

Students challenged to design clothing for both disabled people and mass market

I was over in Woolwich this afternoon on one of my usual walks. I saw an  awesome coat which  I  really wanted  to get, either for me or Lyn. It was sparkly, fluffy and pink. I was  about to buy it, but then I checked the price: seventy quid. I was out of the shop  like a shot. It’s a shame, because I haven’t had a good dress-up session  in ages.

I would have forgotten about it, only I  just came across  this ITV story. A  group of  students with disabilities have begun designing clothing specifically for people with disabilities. “A TV producer has set a group of final year fashion students at Leeds University a new challenge. Chaz McAlpin, who runs a channel for disabled people, says no-one designs a range of clothes that are both fashionable and functional, for people with diverse physical needs. He asked the students if they could come up with a range of clothes suitable for everyone and they have now revealed what they created.” What makes this story even more  interesting  for me is that it includes Nadia Clarke, one of the VOCA-users I know from onevoice. It’s great to see her  doing so well.

How long before Trump is fired?

After the events of today,  surely the  only question any reasonable person  will be asking is,  how long before the Americans get  a  grip and throw Trump out. Before today,  the notion that they could do so has  always seemed  vaguely fanciful, but after Trump’s embarrassing performance in Helsinki today, surely it is becoming a realistic prospect. How could any self-respecting nation bear to be  shown up by such an egotistical  moron, willing to discredit his own intelligence services for his own self interest? Even Republicans are denouncing Trump for his behaviour today. In all seriousness, it  can now be only a matter of time – weeks, I suspect – before  America finds a way of  replacing Trump with someone more qualified.

The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan

Smeg I miss Michael Palin. There currently seems to be a flurry of travelogues on Sunday evenings: first we  get to watch Simon Reeve exploring Russia,  which I find quite interesting but which Lyn says is ‘Russia bashing’. However, we then get to watch something I find very strange indeed: The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan seems  unable to make it’s mind up to the extent that I find it rather irritating. Ranganathan is  followed  by a camera  crew, as a presenter ordinarily would be; but, at one and the same time, he seems to pretend that he is a naive ingenue separate from the camera crew, while still doing voice-overs. He addresses the camera crew as if  he is just some ordinary guy who just happens to have a camera team following him  about, and in the next shot we hear him deliver  a professional voiceover. The result, I must say, is rather patronising: it feels like Ranganathan is trying to con us. The program is clearly fully planned out with thee presenter at the centre of the team, but  it’s as if we’re expected to believe everything on-screen is unplanned  and unscripted. Ranganathan  is clearly desperate to be presented as a naive wisecracking everyman separate and removed from the camera team he is working with. It is the fact that  that is  clearly a fiction, and that Ranganathan is a travel show presenter just like any  other which I find very odd, and rather condescending.