I know I shouldn’t get too political on my birthday, which so far has been really nice, but I think I need to flag this Will Hutton article up about the cultural impact of Brexit. He might go a tad far in his depiction of Outists as all backwards and inwards looking, but he’s spot on to point out that Brexit would ruin far more than the economy. The tolerant, open, welcoming society we value so dearly is now under threat, and, birthday or not, we must fight with all our strength to save it.
I realise I haven’t mentioned the Olympics or opening ceremonies for quite a while (and whatever regular readers I have will probably be thinking ‘tfft’) but I recently started to wonder, if a british city was to host an olympic games again soon, what would the opening and closing ceremonies look like? Thinking back to 2012, the entire country was united behind London; we all came together to put on a magnificent show. Now, just seven years on, the uk feels like a completely different place: half of us can’t stand the other half, or think they’re morons for being fooled into voting for something completely antithetical to their best interests; the papers spew the most vile hate every day; the whole country feels far, far darker. If olympic ceremonies indeed reflect nations, what would the opening ceremony look like if London was hosting the olympics again this summer? Instead of James Bond escorting the queen to the ceremony in a helicopter, Farage would have to escort her there in his Rolls Royce under armed guard for fear of being attacked by thugs. Rather than a tribute to the NHS, there would be a homage to american health insurance companies called ‘Give it a Try’. And instead of having the Chaos Choir sing it would have to be the choir from Eaton, as it seems we no longer cherish diversity and only the rich and privileged can be allowed to succeed.
I know I may be sounding overly grumpy, but what I’m trying to say is the country has changed since 2012, and not at all for the better. I’m worried about it: we’ve become more inward looking and more divided. I remember the spring and summer of 2012 and how great it felt to be a londoner that year. It was around this time that we first began to hear rumours that Bond was going to be involved. The contrast to the atmosphere in the country now is chilling, and I’m worried it will be a very long time before it is restored.
I rather like The Barbican, and think I might start going up there a bit more often. We just got in from a disability music event there. L mentioned it a couple of day ago, and, into disability culture as I am, I thought I’d check it out too. Truth be told though, there isn’t that much for me to note on here. Don’t get me wrong, it was cool enough, and there were some cracking performances, but events like today’s are more about networking. I met Adele Drake again, who remarkably remembered me; I also met Mik Scarlett. I said hi to him, and that I remembered him from BBC Ouch. We got chatting, and I showed him some of my work. A Really good day, then. I looked into going to a screening of Girl while I was up there, but it was showing too late. All the same, it was great to see a bit of disability culture – it really seems to be coming into it’s own.
For reasons which will become clear shortly, I was talking to Dom about India this afternoon, and he suggested I check out a film called Lion. It was on Netflix, and I fancied watching a film, so I put it on. I’d never heard of it before, but what I just watched was truly, truly beautiful. It was the type of story which I’d think was far fetched if I didn’t know it was true. It’s about a guy from India who, separated from his mum aged five, is fostered to a couple in Australia. Then, with help from Google Earth, he finds his mum again after twenty years. It’s told in a gentle, beautiful style which reminded me of Rabbit Proof Fence. You feel yourself cheering the character on as you watch his search. I now want to give it a second viewing in case I missed any details, but I think it’s already a new favourite.
I haven’t put a leotard on in quite a while, but this film makes me feel like digging one out. Joking aside,, Girl, directed by Lucas Dhont, looks very interesting indeed. It’s about a ballet dancer who, although born a boy, trains as a girl. The Guardian is hailing it as the most important trans film in years. “In May, Girl premiered to a standing ovation at the Cannes film festival, winning a prize for its 17-year-old male star Victor Polster and three more awards including the Caméra d’Or. Netflix bought the US release and there was a Golden Globe nomination (“the ceremony was surreal, watching Lady Gaga and her amazing lavender dress”).” It’s good to see stories like this finally starting to be told in the mainstream, and I’m looking forward to checking it out. The trailer hints that it explores the line between masculine and feminine in a fascinating, powerful way.
Hold on, hold on, let me get this straight: because they lost a referendum they never expected to lose, and knew the catastrophic consequences if they did, the tories needed to do a deal with the European Union which wouldn’t screw the country while still technically leaving the EU. They knew full well what damage leaving the union would do to the country, but didn’t want their credibility to be torn to shreds by ignoring a referendum result they never planned on. Then, when they ask parliament to vote on the deal those in favour of leaving didn’t vote for it because it wouldn’t lead to a clean enough break, and those opposed to leaving couldn’t vote for it because any kind of brexit is total folly. Would someone please tell me how the hell and at precisely what point things got so utterly, utterly ridiculous?
I’m still something of a Stephen Hawking fan, so I think this news is very cool. ”Prof Stephen Hawking has been honoured on a new 50p coin inspired by his pioneering work on black holes.” What better way to pay tribute to the major roll hawking played in both opening up physics to a wider audience and improving the representation of disabled people in the mainstream media? I can’t wait to have a few new 50p pieces in my wallet, although perhaps a 6.674p piece might be more appropriate.
I’ve probably mentioned Maryon-Wilson park on here before. It’s a small, densely wooded park between Charlton and Woolwich which I roll through just about every day. It’s so densely wooded that you almost forget you’re in the middle of a huge metropolis as soon as you go in; there’s a lazy little brook running through it, presumably on it’s way down to the Thames. I was just going through there on my way back from watching the skaters in Charlton park, and I was struck by the contrast in the atmosphere. Charlton park, with it’s cafe, skate park and football pitches, is a hive of activity, whereas all Maryon-wilson park has is trees and animal enclosures. I was then struck by an idea: wouldn’t it be cool if there was some kind of performance space in there? Some kind of band stand, perhaps? I could see people rocking out on the grassy areas between the trees on there, or perhaps listening to something more sedate and classical. It’s one thing Charlton park lacks which it’s neighbour could pick up the slack with. Of course, the danger is it’ll destroy the tranquility of the place, but it’s just a suggestion I’m throwing out there.
When one has cerebral palsy or any disability, patience kinda comes as a prerequisite; but the question I’m mulling today is: how long should I be patient with people who talk down to me, behave as though they have an automatic superiority or authority over me, and seem to want to perpetuate issues which should have blown over weeks ago? I know I must make allowances and accept people as they are, but no matter what I do to mend fences with this person, they won’t let things return to normal, and frankly, my patience is wearing thin.. Where with any other person, I’d expect trivial upsets to have been long forgotten, they seem to have blown things out of all sensible proportions and made some quite hurtful accusations about me. The thing is, they may or may not have mental health issues (I’m not sure) so the question becomes, do I make allowances for their mental health condition, or do I treat them as I would anyone else? I expect people to make allowances for my (physical) disability, of course, but when people go too far in that I see it as patronising. Hence, where do I draw the line in holding this person up to the same standard I expect of anyone else? I know I’m physically not able to do things people without CP can do easily, so I need help with things. In the local shop, for instance, staff members now come and help me get my things automatically. However, in other situations if people assume I need help or do things for me without me asking them, I’m prone to feel patronised or get annoyed. They are treating me as different. Isn’t assuming this person’s behaviour is related to their potential mental illness and thus ignoring it not a similar conundrum? If treating someone differently due to their disability is being patronising, then surely I should react to this person and what I perceive to be their patronising, childish behaviour as I would to anyone else.