It is quite a cold day here, but I thought I would take advantage of the dry weather and go for a stroll. The roads are chaos out there – there has been some kind of accident up by the river, so everything is snarled up. Sometimes there are advantages to using pavements. Anyway, somewhere around woolwich I had yet another of my random ideas: would it be possible to set up a real disability-themed night-club?* Could such a place actually work? And could I myself do it, perhaps with Lyn’s help. Certainly there are plenty of disused buildings here in south London we could make use of; and certainly it would help raise the profile of people with disabilities.
I suppose the first question you have to ask is whether such a place is necessary. There are plenty of night clubs around, although not all of them are accessible; why shouldn’t we just party alongside everyone else rather than building or own establishment? On the other hand, it could be useful to have a permanent space in which to show off crip culture, where disabled people can meet and socialize. The paralympics last year began the work of showing the world what a great, vibrant culture disabled people have – could that now be translated into bricks and mortar. I know that other sites are springing up in which all kinds of artists with disabilities show off their work, but none of them has the unique vibrancy of a night-club, so such a place would be unique. It would be a place where disabled and non-disabled people could meet, drink, talk and party; there would be disabled musicians, DJs, comedians and performers; the decor would be disability themed. The ultimate aim would be to have disability fade into the background, so it becomes normal.
Of course, I know nothing about running a night-club, let alone setting one up, so this is probably just a fanciful daydream. I don’t have the capital anyway. Nevertheless I do think this is a good idea, and that there is a need for such a place; this could be worth exploring.
*I know something similar apparently ‘exists’ in online game Secondlife, but given that nobody takes such online phenomena seriously, what I have in mind is far more concrete an would have a much more profound message.