Appeal for info concerning electric wheelchairs in south-east London

I would like to post an appeal. I know I don’t usually use my blog for such matters, but I would like to ask if anyone knows of any good, reliable wheelchair suppliers in south London. I have been without my electric wheelchairs for about two months, and while they are being repaired, I cannot send them back up north every time they break. I had been using a company in Welling for minor repairs, but while they can fix straightforward things they are not specialists in my type of chair. I need to find a good reliable company which sells and or maintains electric wheelchairs. If anyone has any experience of this or anyone they could recommend, I would appreciate it if you could contact me.

back to bond and the queen

Believe it or not I am still intrigued by the sketch in the Olympics where bond escorts her majesty to the opening ceremony. While most would just say that it is merely a superficial bit of fun, I would argue that there are things about it which need to be pondered. I am interested in the power structures involved: before now I was incredibly amused by this sketch, but it occurs to me that, on another level, something quite sinister is afoot. What were the makers of this sketch trying to say? Were they trying to reinforce and uphold dominant power structures, or parody them, or both? By having the queen appear with bond, were they trying to claim some credibility in popular culture for her? Sort of trying to jump on the bond bandwagon in order to make the queen and thus hierarchy as central to mainstream British culture as the Bond franchise, thereby reinforcing and attempting to legitimise ideas like class. After all, Ian Fleming placed bond in a world where the decline of the British empire had not happened: he wrote as if Britain was still a world power. Bond, in this sense, is a figure of imperialism, just as her majesty is. In a way, then, this sketch maintains a nationalistic, imperial narrative, partly created by Fleming, in which the queen is the head of a superpower able to control world events. From this viewpoint, the sketch is quite sinister, as it tells the world ”we British still have a right to control the world just as we did a century ago.”

It also occurs to me that, now that Bond has been used in such a mainstream piece of culture, it could be argued that it has lost something – that some of its ‘street cred’ has been lost. That is to say, the franchise has been usurped by the mainstream in order to support something which, to many fans, isn’t very cool; the character was made to appear in something not really in keeping with Bond’s persona and the rest of the Bond franchise. In doing so, bond looses some of his cache as a rebel. However I’d say to such bond fans that you can’t get much cooler than seeing ones hero cough at a reigning monarch. Only 007 could get away with that.

It can also be argued that by having the queen appear beside such an overtly fictional character, this piece functions as a nod to the fact that ideas like monarchy are a fictional construction too. As I wrote here, if Bond is fiction, wouldn’t this sketch make the queen seem part of that fiction too? The queen is a real person, but it could be argued that, on one level, her position is as much a construction as the bond franchise. They are both pieces of the iconography we associate with britishness, both tales we tell about ourselves, so having the queen appear beside James bond can be read as an allusion to the fact that, at the end of the day, the queen is just as ephemeral, just as much a cultural construction as Double O Seven.

Therefore what interests me about this sketch so much that keep returning to it is that there are two ways of reading it which are directly opposite. On the one hand we can read it as speaking to and reinforcing the dominant political structures: it simply accepts the queen’s position and authority as read, using or even usurping a prominent piece of popular culture to lend it a legitimacy it may or may not have. On the other hand, the piece can also be read as an admission of the queen’s true position in our culture, as one of many pieces of entertainment. By uttering the immortal line ”Good evening, Mr. Bond” as so many caricature villains have done before her, the queen, in a way, enters herself into a fictional space and thus acknowledges the very constructed nature of her own position. Read like this, the film is quite politically radical.

Which is it, then? Is this short film part of an oppressive state apparatus which usurps parts of popular culture to make dominant hierarchical systems seem more legitimate, or does the film actually reread those very systems, admitting their fictional nature? I actually got quite perturbed about this the other night, when it occurred to me that I had been obsessing over something quite oppressive, manipulated into accepting hierarchy. But it seems to me that both readings are just as valid, and that as much as the film can be seen as presuming an automatic acceptance of authority, to the same extent it admits that that authority is a construction. That is what so intrigues me: this film plays with concepts like power and culture, what is real and what is fiction. There is a lot which can be read into it. Yet, on another level, it is just a six minute bit of fluff played at an Olympic opening ceremony.

not a fit and proper person to lead this or any other country

Can someone tell me what the hell david CaMoron is doing on American talk shows? Last night he appeared on Letterman, the first sitting prime minister to do so. Is it just me, or does that not strike you as cringingly, gut-wrenchingly crass? The UK is in the middle of it’s worst crisis since the war: people are fearing for their jobs; they are worrying about how to pay the bills, and CaMoron, rather than staying at home trying to sort the mess his government has caused out, is answering David Letterman’s vacuous questions as if he were an actor promoting his latest film. CaMoron seems to think his position makes him some kind of star, allowing him to swan about on the world stage, when in fact he is an extremely unpopular leader and his actions last night make it abundantly clear that he is not a fit and proper person to lead this or any other country. Some may overlook this episode, ignoring it as just a sign of the times or claim CaMoron was ‘promoting Britain’ or some such bullshit; but to me it shows CaMoron is more concerned about his own image than the wealth fare of the people he claims to lead. Not even Blair, who most people think was a terrible self-promoter, was shallow enough to go on a talk show when he was still in Downing street. Thus this really does piss me off: how can we allow any man so demonstrably shallow and egotistical, a man who values promoting his own image and swanning about with the American glitterati over carrying out the job he was elected to do, to remain as our Prime Minister?

‘the greatest tv moment’ indeed

I didn’t think I would make a blog entry today, but I just stumbled onto this. I was googling james bond stuff, and It seems I’m not alone in thinking the moment when james bond met the queen squealworthy. It has been voted number one in a list of all-time top tv moments. I know the idea of any such list is silly, and the article draws our attention to that very fact, but I thought I’d point out that I’m not alone in thinking that moment was rather special.

On chairlessness

I am now officially chairless. To tell the truth I have been without both my electric wheelchairs for a couple of months now, but it wasn’t until this morning that the guy from the shop where we bought the chairs came down from Cheshire to pick them up. With any luck I will soon have them back. I have, however, noticed something odd: part of me really misses them, of course. I am far less mobile; I cannot go out on my own; when Lyn and I go shopping, say, or when Lyn plays at an olympic ceremony, I have to walk as our one PA cannot push both our manual chairs. This exhausts me, causing my legs and feet to hurt like hell. Within a few steps I am craving my chair as a crack head craves his next fix.

And yet – and here’s the odd part – a few steps more and it’s okay. I start to enjoy it; the pain somehow eases. I hold my head up, remind myself to put my feet flat on the ground, and walk alongside my fiance. I cannot zoom ahead as I usually do in my char, and instead walk beside my girlfriend as any other couple would, an that feels right. I cannot go gadding off on my own as I used to either: it used to be a habit of mine to take long walks, something which thinking about it probably contributed to the damn things packing up; nor can I just decide to go down the pub at a moments notice. Instead I stay at home with Lyn, something far better when you think about it. We have really been hanging out together, spending time at home listening to music and watching the odd film in the evening. This is where I belong, not pickling myself in a pub, and certainly not hanging around with some prick called chopper who was full of shit and who rarely, if ever, paid for the beers.

(I have not seen him in months, by the way, which is probably a good thing.)

Thus, having no wheelchair is, without doubt, a pain in the arse, yet in a strange way I must say part of me likes it. Yes my legs hurt, but they also feel stronger. Of course I am longing for my wheels back, but I’m finding having to use my legs isn’t so bad. In fact even when I have them back I might consider leaving it behind sometimes, but then, why walk when one can ride?

‘Pleb’

I think I’ll post the following simply to ensure that we all know what a certain politician actually meant when he recently used the term. Aparrently, it’s perfectly okay with Camoron for his staff to look down on police officers and the rest of us in the inferior classes. [b]Pleb:[/b]

[quote=”online dictionary”]Actually defined as a member of a despised social class, a commoner, a member of the plebs of ancient Rome. Also low-born, undisinguished, vulgar, and my personal favourite: vulgar-looking.

Other words with similar meaning: Scrut, Townie, Kappa-Slapper, Rude-Boi, Scum, Greb, Scav, & c[/quote]

The emperor has no clothes!

I do not understand economics so before now I have held back from saying this, but today I think I’ll say something which I have long suspected, and which will make me either look very clever or very stupid: the emperor has no clothes! That’s right – the emperor is stark bollock naked! We are all caught up in a fiction; all beholden to an economic system which very few of us understand, but, when you look at it, amounts to a few arseholes in places like Wall Street and Canary Wharf moving numbers around on computer screens. It has no basis in reality; no natural event causes the Dow Jones to go up or down, so why is all our happiness dependent on such things? What is stopping us simply doing away with the entire system? Where does the current depression exist except in our minds, or rather the minds of those who want us to believe in it? They want us to believe because some people make vast amounts of money out of this system, but what do they do other than move numbers around on computer screens? But how does that contribute to humanity? How the fuck does that make our lives better? What is stopping us from crying game over and restoring ourselves to prosperity? The entire economic system is based of fiction – it is bullshit. The emperor has no clothes!

happy birthday bilbo, frodo and rocky

Today is september the twenty second, the fictional birthday of bilbo and frodo Baggins, and also coincidentally and less fictionally of my good friend marcie (happy birthday rocky!) To celebrate this, I think I’ll simply direct you here, to the newest and most awesome trailer for The Hobbit. It really does look like we Tolkien/jackson fans are in for a treat this winter.