The dark of the city

Cold concrete, warm within.

My wheels whir as I ‘walk’ Through the streets, crowded, yet also desolate, as only the streets of a metropolis

Can be.

For where but in a city can you pass the cite of such a murder and see people drive by as they always had?

***

It’s bitter out there;

But in here, dry and warm.

My love as I left her

She shelters me from the contradictions of the city: Her affection a fire – a glowing blaze banishing the dark, the solitude, the endemic mistrust of the metropolis.

***

The cold rain falls

blurring the street lights. They are oddly pretty just as the city has it’s odd beauty:

vibrant and warm but an illusion in the cold rain

Their light barely hides the dark of the city.

‘People like me should have a voice’

Further to my entry about her work as a channel four introducer last week, this evening I’d just like to direct you here, to Kate’s own account of her experiences. I don’t want to say much about it – Kate is perfectly able to speak for herself – but I think it is well worth a read, and raises some very good points about the issues we communication aid users face.

just not cricket

Call me a sore looser if you wish, but I am seriously considering lodging an official protest concerning the Australian cricket team and the outcome of the ashes this season. Given the appalling behaviour of the Australians, both on and off the field of play, I believe the season should be rendered void and the urn kept by England. Outclassed and outplayed though they may have been, the English conducted themselves with far more respect and dignity; in contrast, the australians were hostile and aggressive, conducting themselves in the lowest manner. In short, Australia did not deserve to win. Therefore I demand the outcome of this ashes series should be rendered void and the urn retained by England.

ebooks

I love books, or rather I claim I do. I have plenty, yet I must confess I rarely sit down to read them – I always seem to get distracted. However, the last two days have been different, for yesterday I bought my first ebook, and was instantly converted. No more struggling to turn pages, no more worrying about dribbling; I can just read and read and read. Moreover, it is a book highly relevant to my studies.

In his appraisal of my thesis, one of my examiners noted the lack of a named film theory-based model of identification. This was not a major problem, but struck him as a slightly strange omission given the focus of my work. The truth is I’m slightly rusty on that side of things, so I thought I better brush up. I did some googling, and yesterday found an ebook which fitted the bill exactly. It is An Introduction to film theory through the senses, and as such for me constitutes partly revision,but also offers me a bridge between the theory we covered in my last year as an undergrad and my own work on cinephilia. Crucially, though, it covers concepts such as spectators physically entering into texts, as well as kicking myself for not reading it four years ago, but deals from them at a different angle then my work. Two chapters in, I’m finding it fascinating, but I’m also wondering how to incorporate this theory with it’s rich history with my own work. I think I should at least reference it, but the question is how and to what extent. Mind you, I suppose I better finish the book first.

Pronunciation note

Tonight, just let me get one thing of my chest which has been bugging me for months: The dragon’s name is pronounced ‘Smorg’ not ‘Smawg’. My dad was right, peter jackson is wrong.

That is all.

the ghosts of segregation past

It has been a long day: a couple of hours’ work at school, then bexleyheath for money and groceries. Yet it seems I missed a bit of action up at westminster. I just came across this report of something of a victory for the alliance for inclusive education (ALLFIE). By effectively occupying the offices, Campaigners have finally secured a meeting with an education minister, after occupying Department for Education (DfE) offices in protest at the government’s attack on inclusive education.

The tories are turning back the clock on inclusive education, in effect reverting to the segregation of disabled and able bodied students. Now, we all know this is a very complex issue: there are kids with some very complex and profound needs out there. One of the reasons I volunteer at Charlton park is to get a better handle on the issue, and my experience taught me that there is no room for dogma. Nobody would disagree that kids must be included in mainstream schools where at all possible, but the problem is some cases is finding ways to make that possible. Inclusion is a fine principal, but until a way is found to include all kids, until a way is found to adapt mainstream schools so they are accessible to all, some kids must remain separate.

We were progressing, albeit slowly, towards that goal. In the last twenty years, more children than ever were included. To let the tories turn the clock back is utter folly. Growing up, I saw the worst of it:we were effectively taught not to try; perfectly able kids left to waste. We were not pushed. And every now and then, you got into class of a morning to be told that yet another of your mates had snuffed it. We cannot let that return, and that’s why the alliance is so angry: the tories want to reverse the trend towards inclusion; the legislation they are passing will weaken the SEN framework that has traditionally supported disabled children and young people in mainstream education. For the sake of all children, disabled or not, they must be stopped.

Good luck ALLFIE!

The pink lady introduces the yellow family

The episode of Simpsons on channel four was good tonight. I had fallen out of the habit of watching it, preferring to catch up with the news, but tonight I made an exception. I found the person announcing the episode especially interesting, as it was none other than the Pink lady herself, my friend Katie! Channel four have began a season where people who use different types of communication, and whose voices are not often heard, announce their programs. If you ask me it’s absolutely brilliant; after it hosted the Paralympic games last year, c4 seems to have become a champion of crip culture. I sincerely hope it keeps it up: we need more voices like Kate’s on the tv.

helping disabled people into work

Yesterday was quite an awesome day. Knowing I had an interest-cum-obsession with last year’s olympics and paralympics, and especially with their associated ceremonies, my friend James offered to take me to a talk by the director of the paralympic opening ceremony. Jenny Seeley, it turned out, would be giving a talk at his work up in London.

It was a fascinating presentation: Seeley spoke about her background as a Deaf performer and director, as well a going into detail about h the ceremony had come to be. As James had requested,, I was on my best behaviour but I had to raise a grateful fist when she mentioned the inclusion of I’m Spasticus by Ian Dury. That moment in the ceremony was very special for me: the moment wen I realised it was the disability community talking rather than being talked about. Thus, I realised last night, I was listening to one of my heroes.

It was a great evening. Basically the company james works for(a big firm in central london) is exploring how more people with disabilities can be employed. That is a good thing, of course, although I didn’t really want to go into the ins and outs of it last night. After the presentations, we talked abit over canapes and drinks. At one point, I asked one guy how such a company could employ someone like myself, not realising I had just inadvertently asked quite a senior exec for a job. However, I would now like to help more: while I still see the tory-led destruction of the welfare state as pure evil, surely efforts by big companies to employ more disabled people must be welcomed.

New paraorchestra site

Inept fool that I am, I completely forgot to flag up the Paraorchestra’s new website. It looks wonderful, and can be found here. On it, you can find profiles of all the paraorchestra musicians, including one about Lyn, as well as links to last years documentary and videos of the performances. Great stuff indeed.

A piece of Africa in london

I took a roll up to London yesterday, to Trafalgar square. Lyn was having a bath, and on such occasions I often go out. I felt I needed to go, to see the crowds which had apparently gathered outside South Africa house. What I found up there, in central London on a cold but bright december afternoon, both humbled and amazed me: A group of South African women, chanting and dancing in a circle, a small group gathered around them. It felt kid of eerie, sort of magical and mesmerising, yet happy. I do not quite know how to describe it: it was as if a piece of some lush land far to the south had been transported into the sprawling concrete metropolis in order to honour a great man. I found it incredible.

I sat there a while listening to the rhythmic words I did not know the meaning of, and then, after popping in to Waterstone’s, headed back along whitehall. Passing the entrance to Downing Street, I gave my usual two-fingered-salute to the current occupant. I put even more venom into it than usual yesterday, furious at the hypocrisy of a Prime Minister now lamenting the death of a ‘great man’ who he had once advocated executing. The sheer gall of the right, now hailing Mandela as a secular saint when when they had once vilified him as a terrorist is sickening, but I digress.

I then headed to the statue of Mandela in Parliament Square, wryly noting to myself how his statue and Churchill’s had been placed at opposite corners as if to keep the two from arguing – somehow I don’t think those two would have got on. There, too, a crowd had gathered, and again I sat a while to listen to the singing. But it was getting dark, and before long I decided it was time to head home. On my way back to the tube station, however, I decided on such a night going back by boat might be more fun.

At that I caught the clipper. Getting aboard wasn’t that hard, but I did not think it would take so long to get to north Greenwich. I got home at least an hour later than I would have done, tired, hungry, and fancying a beer. Yet it had been another cool day, one upon which I had seen the magical sight of a par of Africa being brought to London in order to honour one of that continent’s, and the world’s, greatest heroes.