It appears that my attempt to make music a few days ago had more of an effect than I thought it would. I am currently over the moon, as look what I just found on Charlie’s facebook page. Apparently inspired by my effort (I asked C), it’s a joy to watch one of my favourite songs sung by some of my favourite people (ie most of the Jones family). Just how awesome is that? Now I’m wondering whether this could become a trend.
Earlier I came across some nonse trying to usurp the spirit of Thursday’s applause to try to get everyone to have a similar clap for Boris Johnson on Sunday night. Needless to say I was unimpressed by the idea – why should we applaud a scumbag whose party has gradually cut NHS funding over the last ten years? – and it seems the internet was equally quick to react.
”No society can legitimately claim to be civilised if it denies citizens care due to lack of means.” Too me, that statement is irrefutably true, which is why at eight last night I was outside my front door bashing a biscuit tin with a pair of scissors. The National Health Service is one of the greatest things about the United Kingdom; knowing that if I fall ill I will be cared for, regardless of how much money I have or whether I have insurance must surely be one of the greatest comforts anyone can want. This is when we need the NHS the most though, which is why I’ll just direct everyone here, to the moment when our health service got the tribute it deserves.
Perhaps it’s time for a bit of perspective. A couple of days ago I came across a meme about Anne Frank, basically saying that if she can hide in a basement for three years, we can self isolate for a few months. That struck a chord, but I’d like to add something to it: people are now moaning that they’re bored, stuck at home, not allowed to go out; yet for me it’s not that different from when, say, my powerchair breaks, or from when before I got my first powerchair and was dependent on someone else to be taken anywhere.
And I had it easy. Boy, did I have it easy. I know from the history of disability that it wasn’t long ago that people with conditions like cerebral palsy, particularly severe cp, were confined to institutions and long stay hospitals: unable to walk, feed theirselves or communicate, they were assumed to have severe learning difficulties and treated like babies in adult bodies. People like Anne McDonald, who notably likens her institution to a ‘sugarcoated concentration camp’: she endured around fourteen years of her childhood lying in a hospital bed, barely being fed. Unable to tell anyone her wishes, or that she understood what was going on around her, she was seen as little more than a breathing doll. She was spoon-fed mushed up food, rarely taken out for fresh air. Such horrific accounts litter the frighteningly recent history of disability. Indeed, Lyn went through something similar. I can only imagine the tedium and frustration of day after day of being treated like that.
I cannot help but think of such accounts when I come across people on the web complaining about having to self isolate for a few weeks. Even after all they experienced, people like Anne McDonald or Lyn do not bemoan their fate but take it in their stride; the same goes for my mates from school who had muscular Dystrophy. They knew how much worse things could be and counted theirselves lucky; they all had friends who did not make it. What we are all going through these days might seem harsh and restrictive, but I know that there are far worse fates to endure. I can get up when I want, choose what I want to eat, sip my coffee and browse the web. And in a few weeks or months, life will return to normal. People might feel isolated compared to the freedoms they enjoyed a few weeks ago, but perhaps they just need a bit of perspective.
I just came across something rather interesting and quite nostalgic. Fiddling around on Facebook as usual, I saw my old school, Hebden Green, mention that an episode of the CBeebies show Something Special had been filmed there and was due to air this morning. Obviously this aroused my curiosity, so I went to Iplayer to check it out. Now, let me make it clear that I don’t usually watch CBeebies, but today I held my nose and put it on. Sure enough, there was my old school: It has been almost twenty years since I last visited the place, but it was recognisably Hebden. It is a place which I still have strong memories of, and I found myself scanning the background of each shot to try to make out where it was filmed. In this way, you could link this to my work on cinephilia, insofar as it is a fascination with the peripheral details of a filmic shot. I tried to look past the nauseatingly upbeat presenter, Mr. Tumble (but then, it is a show aimed at young children with learning difficulties, so I’ll let him off) to see whether I could recognise anything; and sure enough I recognised the very swimming pool I learned to swim in. That struck me as rather cool, although that joy is tempered with the sorrow at knowing that so many of my fellow students I knew from that place have now passed on: it would seem Mr. Tumble’s jollity is in direct juxtaposition to the darkness which inevitably comes with growing up in such places.
After writing my entry yesterday I realised I was getting a bit glum, and what we all could do with right now is a bit of levity and humour. We’re all stuck at home getting bored, but that doesn’t necessarily stop us having fun: dire situations are often the easiest to take the piss out of. Realising that, I had an idea and got to work. It took a bit longer than I expected, and in the end I had to leave it for this morning to finish. It isn’t perfect, and some of the rhymes don’t work, so see it as a first draft; but please let me know what you think of this. Apologies, of course, to Eric Idle.