I just finished reading I’m Only In It For The Parking by Lee Ridley. I admit it has taken me far longer to get through than it should have, but I’ve fallen out of the habit of sitting down and reading properly. I didn’t give it the attention it quite deserved. Now that I have read it, though, I can see how stupid it was to instantly shun it when I first heard Ridley had published a book. While it isn’t perfect, I’m Only In It For The Parking supplies the general reader with a rare insight into the world of disabled people, and communication aid users in particular.
There is a lot I could say about Ridley’s book. The stage name he has given himself now strikes me as rather ironic: Ridley’s voice is far from ‘lost’. In this book it comes through quite clearly: he uses a simple, approachable tone to explain what life is like for him as a man with cerebral palsy. The experiences he details apply specifically to him, of course, so some of the things he talk about, like having a job or using pens, wouldn’t apply to all of us spastics. I also think his tone can be a bit too lighthearted and jocular at times: Ridley writes as if he is talking to people or doing a comedy gig, which I felt does not really suit the quite weighty subjects he tries to deal with at times. On the other hand, Ridley could just be employing this tone to make issues which might be very foreign to some readers seem more understandable.
Nonetheless, I would go as far as calling Ridley’s book quite a seminal piece of writing on the subject of disability: here we have a first hand account of what life is like for a communication aid user with cerebral palsy, detailing experiences ranging from dating to having epileptic seizures in a way nobody else could. He may have been given an opportunity to write and publish this book on the back of winning an itv talent show, but Ridley has used it to give readers a rare, valuable insight into a subject they may have been totally oblivious to. Far from being lost, Ridley knows precisely where his voice is and uses it to great effect. More power to him, I say.
I just stumbled across an old clip of the Monty Python guys on the Graham Norton show. It was obviously from their 2014 reunion. It had been posted on a Facebook page, so I put a question asking whether they could ever do another reunion show like that. Moments later, someone posted the obvious reply that they couldn’t do such a show without Terry Jones. Of course I had to agree: as cool as I think it would be to see the guys perform the classic sketches once more, they couldn’t do it without Terry J.
That got me thinking, though: If the Pythons can’t perform, who could? Their 2014 Reunion was enormous news, all over the media. It was five years ago, though. Who else could make such a come back? Are there any other comedy groups or bands whose reappearance would make such a splash? Status Quo? The guys from Blackadder? To be honest I can’t think of any, but we all know we could do with a bit of a comedic distraction right now.
A second tv debate is airing as I type: a second debate for an election very few of us will get a vote in. Should I watch it? What would be the point? I would rather sit here and write blog entries about how pointless such debates are. It’s a complete waste of airtime if you ask me, only a fraction less farcical than the soap opera it replaced.
I must admit I did not watch last night’s debate so I can’t really comment on it. I have no interest in watching five self-righteous, spoiled men talk between themselves, congratulating themselves while being utterly oblivious to the suffering they and their party have caused. I loathe every one of those men, and the p’tahk who thought himself too important to be there. They think their class endows them with a right to run the country, yet none of them have any idea how the world really works. What’s the point of watching something when you know it would just make you furious? Why watch a debate between a group of highly privileged straight white men making bids for an election most of us can’t vote in? More to the point, how the hell can the uk still call itself a democracy?
Paper drinking straws might be nice and recyclable, but try drinking hot cappuccino through them, particularly if you have a tendency to bite down. Soggy paper straws really are unpleasant to drink through. Unfortunately more and more cafes and restaurants are stocking them rather than old fashioned plastic bendy straws, which are far nicer to use. These days I usually carry one or two reusable thick plastic straws around with me, a habit I picked up from Lyn, but today I was caught short. I went up to the South Bank just for a walk, and decided to get the Thames Clipper back. On the boat I fancied a coffee. The coffee was a good one, but, trust me, that’s the last time I leave home without a straw in my bumbag.
Over the last two or three days, I have kept coming across an odd notion which is so utterly implausible it just might be true. Two or three times the idea has cropped up that the Tories could elect Boris simply in order that he can run Brexit into the ground, and when he does they’ll just blame the ensuing disaster on him, cancel the whole farce and things can return to normal. Could that be true? I think it just might be: the tories surely know as well as anyone that Brexit is an utterly stupid idea and always was; if it goes ahead, they and the country will be fucked. They can’t just stop it without looking completely ridiculous, so they need some kind of scapegoat to blame the whole farce on. Could Boris be that scapegoat? this bumbling, bungling fool, already a laughing stock in the public eye? It’s quite a ridiculous notion, but at the same time, it’s intriguing.
I was watching Mock The Week last night when I was struck by a thought. I’ve almost finished Lee Ridley’s book (I know it has taken me a while). On the whole I think it’s a very good piece of text with lots of valuable insights into the world of people with cerebral palsy who use communication aids. In fact I’d go as far as calling it quite seminal, given how Ridley uses gentle humour to introduce people into what you might call ‘our world’. (Of course, it’s not without it’s faults, and I could say a lot more about it, but perhaps I’ll leave that for another entry).. Last night, though, a thought came to me: could it now be possible to see a communication aid user like Ridley on a topical news show like Mock The Week? How cool would that be? After all, ‘we’ have as much to say about the issues of the day as anyone else. Thanks in large part to people like Ridley, communication aid users are gaining a bigger and bigger foothold in the mainstream media. I didn’t watch it, but Francesca Martinez also apparently made an outstanding appearance on Question Time last night too. With guys like Lee Ridley and Ted Shires on the assurgent, surely it’s only a matter of time before we see them going toe to toe with the likes of Ian Hislop and Paul Merton.