A glimpse into disability music history

I just came across something very interesting indeed on my friend Mark Rowland’s facebook page. Mark was an old friend of Lyn’s from long before I met her. He’s a musician who participated in the Drake Music Project, which twenty one years ago appeared on the Jools Holland show as part of the Edinburgh Festival. As you can see, the video is a quite fascinating insight into disability music at that time; Adele Drake’s project was quite groundbreaking in finding ways for musicians with disabilities to make music. This short film, in a way, shows the very beginnings of a revolution which would eventually lead to things like the British Paraorchestra.

On Facebook Mark writes, ”I think that this concert showed true diversity of true musicianship with disabilities and able-bodied playing on a stage. I have not seen that since really. I think that is sad…” It is certainly true that concerts like this gave the wider audiences their first glimpses of what guys like Mark and Lyn are capable of; yet, rather than being a one-off, this concert was the beginning of something incredible. It may have been the first time musicians with disabilities were showcased on national TV, vintage computers and all, but things like this open doors to bigger, grander things (check this out for one). Thus I think this is a pretty awesome glimpse into the history of disability music.

Farewell Diana Rigg

What sad news to hear that Dame Diana Rigg has passed away today. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is still one of my favourite Bond films, and Rigg’s portrayal of Tracey – loyal to Bond, yet very  much his equal – helped make that film the masterpiece it is. Yet that was just one performance of a great many which secured Rigg’s place among cinema’s greatest actors. Alas, film has lost yet another great from it’s Golden Age.

The return of cerebral science fiction

While I don’t think I can expand much upon it since I haven’t seen the films it references, I think this Guardian piece is definitely worth a read. Science fiction, it argues, is getting ‘serious’. That is, there is a wave of new films about time travel which go to some effort to engage with the philosophical ideas underpinning the notion. We therefore see things such as characters trying to get to grips with the grandfather paradox, and referencing thinkers like Nietzsche. As the article itself says, that sort of stuff can get rather heavy and off-putting pretty quickly, but I think it’s great to see the return of this kind of cerebral sci-fi, unafraid to play with difficult ideas and stretch audiences a bit. These days, there’s so much action-based, comic-book–derived dross saturating the genre, I think something a bit heavier would be quite welcome.

On the mend

Sorry my blogging has been a bit patchy lately. I take quite a bit of pride in the fact that I keep my blog updated. I blog every day if I can. Recently, though, the situation with my health has meant that my blog has taken a back seat: it’s rather hard to find a subject and write a blog entry about it when it feels like there is a great big hole in your tongue. I’m pleased to report, though, that I’m on the mend: while my last full night’s sleep was about two weeks ago. I can feel my mouth returning to normal. Perhaps soon I’ll be able to concentrate on other, more interesting, things, rather than moping around feeling sorry for myself.

Mum and Dad come to visit

My parents came to visit yesterday. It was the first time we had physically seen eachother for over six months, so it was great to at last have their company. We just spent three or four hours having coffee before going up to Eltham Palace for a walk. Mum and dad couldn’t stay too long before needing to get back to north London – they were concerned about the tube, and how few people were wearing masks. Nonetheless it felt great to see them: I’m still quite close to my parents, and being able to catch up with them physically felt good. It felt odd not to be able to cuddle them – it seems this pandemic has ruled out even simple, natural things such as hugging one’s parents – but let’s hope that that situation changes soon.

Another bigot running the country

=I certainly agree that our new trade envoy to Australia should not be a climate-change denying homophobe. We already have too many bigoted crackpots running the country, and according to this, I am not alone. My all-time favourite wizard, Sir Ian McKellen, has joined the campaign to oppose Tony Abbott becoming UK trade envoy. ”Campaigners including Sir Ian McKellen today sent an open letter to the Government claiming that former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is unfit to be a UK trade envoy…The letter, which has also been signed by former Doctor Who boss Russell T Davies and activist Lord Cashman, says: “This is a man who described himself as ‘threatened by homosexuality’, and vigorously campaigned against the ultimately successful referendum in Australia to allow same-sex couples to marry.” Surely the last thing the country needs right now is a bigot like that becoming involved in it’s international affairs. Mind you, one must also point out that the only reason we need to appoint a new trade envoy to Australia in the first place is because we’re leaving the EU. Now we need to make our own trade arrangements, guided by the Tories there is room for stuff like this to come into the picture. Another oh so glorious consequence of Brexit.

Old drinking techniques

I suppose I’m feeling pretty  sorry for myself at the moment. I have quite painful mouth ulcers, so I have not been sleeping well at all. The damn things make my whole body tense up in periods of intense tongue pain where my body becomes momentarily useless. The sooner my mouth has  healed, the better. Another consequence of the ulcers is that it make it nigh-on impossible to suck through a straw, so drinking anything  has become rather excruciating. I have been becoming more and more frustrated, until a few moments ago. Just now, getting rather pissed off that I couldn’t enjoy my morning coffee, I had an idea: years ago,  when I was growing  up, my mum used   to help me to drink by holding a teatowel under my chin and putting the cup up to my mouth. I drank like that throughout my childhood, but the method became redundant once I started to use straws. Obviously straws meant I could be more independent. Today,  however, straws getting nowhere, I thought it might be time to revive it.

The results, needless to say, were mixed: I managed to at last get a good quantity of coffee drunk; but Serkan quickly realised that it would be wise for him to put a pair of rubber  gloves on, and let’s just say that  it’s probably a good thing that I was about to have a shower.

The Tories are feeling got at

Apparently, the right-wingers are now complaining that BBC comedy has got too much of a left wing bias. Too many jokes are  being told about things like Brexit and recent government cock-ups. ”Tim Davie, the new director-general of the BBC, is reportedly planning to tackle perceived “left-wing bias” in the corporation’s comedy sector. Mr Davie’s first speech in his new position on Thursday will reveal plans to restore “trust and confidence” in the BBC, according to The Daily Telegraph. There could be an expectation of BBC programme-makers to find a more “balanced” list of satirical targets for comedians, as opposed to jokes that consistently take aim at the Conservatives.”

Is it me, or does that sound like they’re feeling awkward about having the piss taken out of them:  The Tories know everything’s  going catastrophically wrong, and they know it’s their own fault;  but like a toff  who has just poured white paint all over his best suit in front of a packed pub, desperate to salvage a bit of self respect, all they can do is shout ”Stop laughing!” The fact that they’re clearly feeling so got at is simply  a sign of just how badly things are going.

A horrible night’s sleep

I’m not really going to say much about this because it’s quite miserable, but last  night I had the crappest night’s sleep ever. I barely got a wink. I went to bed about ten thirty, needing a pee, but after that my body simply wouldn’t  stay still – I just couldn’t relax. The way I kept moving  caused me to panic, just making matters worse. That lead to hours of tossing and turning, getting up to use my computer  and going back to bed. It was horrible. In the end I asked Serkan to call 111, mostly out of desperation, but that did n’t help much. In the end I got a couple of hours at about four, before the doctor from 111 arrived and woke us both up again. Needless to say I’m currently knackered, and really worried the same thing will happen tonight. I’m curious, though: has anyone else with Athetoid Cerebral Palsy had this problem?