I have just come across something which cheered me right up. The beeb is celebrating Monty Python’s fiftieth birthday in october with a series of programs and events. According to the report, the celebrations will include an attempt to break the record for the biggest gathering of gumbies. I have one more thing to look forward to, it would seem. While there is no mention of the chaps performing together again, I still hold out hope. 2014 may have been the last big show they do all together, but the golden jubilee in October could entice the guys to perform a few of their biggest hits again. What’s the harm in hoping for one last Parrot Sketch or rendition of the Lumberjack Song?
[This is the first bit of something I started today, just for fun. I want to add to it as and when, perhaps turning it into some kind of artwork, but I thought I’d pop the first bit on here, as a cheerful little entry.]
Rudi and Mimi were rather perplexed to see three customers enter their sociable little cafe in Charlton Park one morning. The first they recognised easily enough. Matt was one of their regular customers: due to his Cerebral Palsy, he used a powerchair and communicated using an Ipad. The second two gentlemen were completely new to the cafe owners: the first was totally bald and wore a strange red and black top with little silver pips on the collar. The second man wore an expensive-looking suit of the kind only available from tailors up in London.
The three walked in and seated their selves at a table. Mimi went to take their order. “The usual, Matt?” She asked. Over the years it had become easier just to assume the disabled man would have the same combination of a double espresso and cappuccino, rather than wait for him to type out a new order every day. Matt nodded his consent.
“And for you two gentlemen?” The Japanese cafe owner asked, turning to the two new men. Their answers took her aback. The bald, older man spoke first:
“Tea, Earl Grey, hot.” he said, rather sharply as though he had said the same phrase many times before. Mimi hesitated slightly, but turned her head to the other man anyway.
“And for you, sir?” She asked. The reply was, however, even stranger, especially given the cafe was not licensed to sell alcohol.
“The same please.” He said, but then added, “No, wait. One medium dry vodka Martini. Shaken, not stirred.”
Things are becoming very charged indeed at the moment with respect to politics; it is becoming really frightening. People seem to have lost their minds, on both sides of the Atlantic. In America, people have started to talk of immigrants being put into concentration camps. When I first heard that, I thought it was just silly talk: the death camps of nazi germany were horrendous, terrifying places – no matter how bad these camps in the States are, to compare the two must surely be going too far. If people use such language too much, they lose credibility.
Yet I just came across this New York Times article, and it chilled me to the core. They might not actively be murdering people there, but what is happening in such places must surely be stopped immediately: kids are left to sleep on floors, infants are dying. People have objected to these places being called concentration camps, citing Godwin’s famous law, but Mike Godwin himself responded: “Chris, I think they’re concentration camps. Keep in mind that one of their functions by design is to punish those individuals and families who are detained. So even the “charged” term is appropriate.”
What goes on in these places sound utterly sickening. People are being treated totally inhumanely, just for trying to enter America. All because the embarrassment to humanity currently in the White House wants to look like a strong man. How the fuck can this be allowed to continue?
Yesterday while I was in the shower, I had another of my silly, random ideas I sometimes get. I was thinking about how both my friends Lyn and Charlie are into music, and how L creates music on her computer and Ipad while C conducts choirs. Then it struck me, what if we combine the two? I have seen communication aids being programmed to sing two or three times now, notably by the american Sarah Pyszka. I don’t know that much about how it’s done: I know she uses a Dynovox to create her music, but that’s about it. Yet of it is possible to get one communication aid to sound like it’s singing, what would a choir of them sound like. Granted, it might just produce a cacophonous mess, but I think there is a chance you could get something beautiful out of it. The harmonies between all the different synthesised voices could be incredible. Who knows, you could get something awesome going – a group touring the country, using their communication aids to sing to people. Of course, I have no idea how you would start such a choir up, but I thought the idea was worth noting,
Mark Field is clearly nothing more than a thug. He may think himself important because he’s a Tory mp, but we need better than such lowlifes running the country. You can easily imagine what happened: Field is at this black tie event, probably feeling as though he’s the centre of attention and lapping it up, when this activist appears and steals all the attention. To field, possibly unconsciously, this feels like an insult – a diminishment of his prestige. It interrupted the event, which was supposed to be all about him. Of course, at that point the mask slips and the tory prick reverts to the thug he really is, using bruit force to reassert his dominance. It didn’t take much – just a Greenpeace activist interrupting a dinner; but we can all now clearly see these aristocratic thugs for who they truly are. Full of self importance they demand to be awarded a degree of reverence simply because of their backgrounds, but in reality they have as much class and dignity as a pile of horse shit.
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.