I have been watching cast-offs with growing relish, I must admit. In case you don’t know, Cast-Offs is a late-night channel four mocumentary about a group of disabled people on an island, trying to fend for themselves. I find it subtle, witty and intelligent. Through flashbacks we get to know a bit about these people’s lives back home, thus sketching a portrait of life with a disability in contemporary Britain. It is also quite sardonic and irreverent, unafraid to pussy foot around subjects, or show crips can be prats too. Mind you, the central characters of the last two episodes have been berks, especially Will, played by Matt Frasier.
I watched last nights episode this morning. What struck me is will’s vitriolic politics. Beneath his showing off for the camera, and attempts to impress his son, there seems to be a real sense of anger there. He was affected by thalidomide, and we see him writing to various people for compensation. There’s nothing wrong with this, but some of what he writes is inappropriate and offensive. This got me thinking: can this sort of behaviour go too far?
I do not pretend to know much about thalidomide, save that it was a drug taken for morning sickness which effected the development of the foetus. But I do know that, just as I will never blame my parents for having me at home, one cannot demand retribution for such mistakes. To do so, it seems to me, is to repeat the folly of Ahab. While I know crips need money, I’m not sure I like this culture of blame and entitlement. People like will seem to have real chips on their shoulder, and I’m not at all sure that’s a good thing.
Anyway, the next episode is tonight at about 11, I think. I’m really looking forward to it.