Sky’s the Limit!

Recently I was asked to appear on Sky news, to talk about access for disabled people here in the UK. It was part of the press around the national Disabled Access Day, and I got roped in to do some of the press. I had met with the guys behind the day to do an interview for Disability Now, which should be out soon, but they needed a media type to tell the world. Hence I got voted that job.

Up at some unearthly hour, Diane and me were then whisked our to the wilds of West London, to the Sky Studios. Talk about security! Easier to get in to Buck Palace than this place. Once in, it was make up time… despite the fact I had already got make up on to hide a rather bad attack of zits. Before I knew it I was on. While I felt I had left a thousand things unsaid, I received loads of tweets saying well done. Scary how many people are up at that time on a Saturday!

Looking good while changing the world?

Looking good while changing the world?

What made my day was the fact that while I waited I got to meet Helen Lederer, a comedy hero of mine! Her dead pan style and acerbic wit always hit my funny bone, and she was just as funny in person. I also met Stuart Miles, Heart radio Breakfast show DJ. Of course, I’m not normally up at that time although I am now old enough to listen to Heart. All those 80s hits are a dream for me.

Mingling with the Stars

Mingling with the Stars

Anyway, something amazing came out my appearance. The lead reporter Stephen Dixon remembered me from my TV days and got the production team to get me in to do a news paper review. That’s coming up on Feburary 13th. So if you are up at 6.40am, 7.40am and 8.30am you can catch me telling it like it is about that days news. Must just remember not to swear or call Tory MP’s crooks. I did that on BBC News 24 many years back and they sacked me. Doh!

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Busy little Beaver!

Been rushed off my wheels recently. Been writing and appearing at events all over the country. Here’s a round up of events so far!

Proof we can still cut it and look cool!

Proof we can still cut it and look cool!

Things started off rather glamorously as Diane and me were invited to the launch of Firetrap’s Deadly Denim ad campaign in East London. It was a great night, and we even danced.

Sea Changers 02

The Sea Changers panel.

Next I was asked to appear at a literary event in Brighton, called Sea Changers. It was an amazing night, and a real honour to be involved with such talented writers, all of whom campaign to make the world a better place. However, it was a little marred by how inaccessible Brighton is as a town. I wrote an article for the Huffington Post exploring how inaccessibility leads to disabled people being seen as a problem and now part of the community which was then taken up by the local Brighton and Hove Independent.

A stormy faced Mik in keeping with the sky!

A stormy faced Mik in keeping with the sky!

Then I went to an event at Channel 4, which I covered for Disability Now. They announced the launch of the channel’s commitment to ensure inclusive casting of disabled actors in their future dramatic output. However, I won’t deny I have been to a few of these things, so I will believe it when I see it. I also met some talented actors, and smoozed as usual.

Posing with New Tricks Actor Storme Toolis

Posing with New Tricks Actor Storme Toolis

I also began running Disability Equality Training for Leonard Cheshire Disability in November. The plan is to roll it out next year, and if a business wants to hire us they will get a bespoke training course created for their business and sector. It means I have to dress rather smartly too.

Suited and Booted!

Suited and Booted!

Lastly it was off to the BBC, for the Xmas edition of the BBC Ouch podcast. It was a great show and as soon as it goes live I will post the link. I do like getting paid to have a laugh and eat mince pies. I just pity Damon Rose, BBC Ouch’s editor, as it will be a nightmare to cut.

Xmas Ouch fun

Xmas Ouch fun

This weekend I am off for a break in Cardiff. Two days of respite, with nothing to do but shop, rest and eat. Then it’s off to Roma Sports to collect my new Vida wheelchair. Can’t say too much until I collect it, but it is a totally bespoke wheelchair at the cost of the standard wheelchair. And it looks amazing too. I will be reviewing the chair for Disability Now very soon.

This is all you can see until next week!

This is all you can see until next week!

So that’s it for now. There was more but I have forgotten it right now. Well, it is nearly Christmas! Can’t wait!

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Brighton Performance 15th November

If anyone can make it to the Fishernman’s Vestry, St Pauls Church, Brighton this Saturday I will be performing as part of an event called Sea Changers. Four writer/campaigners will be discussing how their work is tied to the sea, and I shall be exploring my thoughts on the connection between the sea and disability. Each writer will be doing a 15 minute slot, and then there will bee questions from the audience. It’s free, on a first come first in basis, so get there early. Doors open 7.30pm

For more info visit – Sea Changers

To book tickets (to make sure you get in) – Evenbrite

If you are lucky I might be performing a couple of musical numbers, but that is if a keyboard I ordered online arrives in time….

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Sexpert Mik

I can now officially announce that I am part of a team of non-expert sexperts giving out advice for the charity Enhance The UK. They run a advice section for disabled people seeking help around sex, love, relationships and body image, so if you think I might be the right person to help you with any of those please get in touch via the Love Lounge.

In the meantime, here’s my introduction video.

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Birthday Boy

Cocktails at Bayou Soul

Booze Ahoy

I must admit I have been rather silent on the blogging front recently. I must throw my hands up and admit that it has mainly been due to a busy work load, but the other reason is that it was my 49th birthday last weekend. I honestly intended to do loads this week, but instead I did nothing as I realized that as you get older it takes ages to recover from even the mildest of party weekends!

Mik and mates drinking!

Cat, DI, Birthday Boy & Rob – The Gangs Going Wild!

On Saturday together with my oldest mates, Cat and Robin, we decended on a new bar in Camden, the Bayou Soul, for some very nice cocktails. I do like my drinks to taste like sweeties and I was not let down. Yummy and boozy!

Mik with his brother Steve

Brothers in Arms… or the Camden Head!

The next night my brother Steve came down from my home town of Luton and off we went to see the Dead Kennedys at Koko in Camden. Before we got to the venue we popped into the Camden Head for a pre-gig drinkie and Steve showed off the family skill for pouting!

Dead Kennedys playing live

Dead Kennedys Rock The House

The gig was great, although it made me feel very old. My school mate John Brandham was a huge Dead Kennedys fan and the gig took me back to sitting in his bedroom as a teenager listening to Fresh Fruit and Rotting Vegetables on his record player while I envied his lime green fun fur bondage trousers. Good days!

Mik and his wife Diane

The Bestest Present of All!

So after just two days of fun I retired to the sofa to recover… until today! Shame! Had a great time, and a big thanks to all my mates, my baby brother and my wonderful wife who made it possible. Next year I may need to book a month off as it is my 50th! Not bad innings for someone who was told he’d be dead by the age of 5 eh?

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New Website for My Access Business

Screenshot of Mik Scarlet Acess WebsiteI have finally gone corporate, as my new website dedicated to my access consultancy and training business. It is now available at Mik Scarlet Access.

I’ve been working in the field for many years, especially since 2010 when I completed my training. I have had some major successes and am proud of the work I have done to make our society more accessible and inclusive. So if you require the services of someone to ensure your business is accessible, whether your physical environment or your business practice, or you want to to provide top quality training for your staff please get in touch. This isn’t just a job for me, it’s a vocation. I really want to make the world better for the generations of disabled people who will follow mine.

I should also like to point out that site was created for me in less than a day by my wonderful wife, through her web design business Site By Diane. So if you like what you see, contact her as not only will she build you an amazing site, but she’ll do it quick and at a great price!

Advert over.

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Shrink Wrap this weekend on BBC3CR

The face for radio?

A face for radio?

This Sunday I am appearing on the BBC 3 Counties radio show Shrink Wrap, chatting about my experiences of education. The show is all about Inclusive Education and SEN provision, so I went off to Putteridge High School, my old high, to chat with the students and staff about what it is like to go to a mainstream school if you have an impairment. I was the first disabled kid to attend Putteridge and I know how much it set me up to be the man I am today. The biggest thing I gained from my time at school is the knowledge that just because I have an impairment doesn’t mean I am any less than anyone else, just different. One thing’s for sure… I like being different!

Mikat BBC3CR with Chetna and Toby

In The Studio – Mik at BBC3CR with Chetna and Toby

It is a rather serious subject, and as I sat in the studio listening to Chetna Kang and Toby Friedner, the programs regular hosts, chat with experts about SEN provision and the forthcoming changes on how it works I felt very sorry for parents of disabled kids today. In the program I chat with my Mum to find out what it was like for her way back when I was tiny, but it’s nothing to the hops parents have to jump through now. Typically when it was my turn to join in the atmosphere cheers up to the max, but even though I do like a bit of humour I do hope my key message comes through. I truly believe that we need to work towards an education system that allows everyone to attend the same school, with the chance to study to whatever the child#s ability level is and that allows children to grow up understanding that disability is just part of life. Let’s hope that it happens one day eh?

To hear the show, either tune in to BBC3CR on 95.5FM or 103.8FM or listen via i-Player.

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Lets Get Busy!

What a busy bee I have been recently. It started with a great couple of days playing music and recording vocals for a project run by Drake Music. I spent two days with some great people, including the amazing John Kelly, and can’t wait to hear the results. We took the old jazz track Chinatown, My Chinatown and bent it right out of shape. It’s now too cool for school!

Outside Drake Music - Let the Creativity Flow!

Let the Creativity Flow!

Talking of school, after having my love of music rekindled it was off to my old school to record for an  BBC3CR documentary I’m making on Inclusive Education.  I spent a day chatting with the students, interviewing the staff and then I was called to the head teacher’s office. Luckily now I’m an adult I wasn’t in trouble, so instead we had a nice chat about how mixing disabled and non-disabled students together in a school helps everyone concerned. I know this as I was the first disabled student at my school and now it’s a center of excellence for the area. All because of me of course…. NOT! I’m amazed I didn’t put Mr Price off the idea. He was the head teacher back in my day who introduced the concept of inclusive ed to Bedfordshire. The program should be going out on Sunday July 27th. Keep you posted when I know more!

Mik Outside His Old High School

Like a scene from Grange Hill? “You boy…. come here!”

Tomorrow I’m off to the opening of the Imperial Was Museum’s grand opening of the WW! galleries and the new atrium. I worked on the access and can’t wait to see how it turned out. So good for a few free drinkies I hope.

Then on Friday it’s off to fight the good fight on Assisted Dying. I’m joining the lobby outside the House of Lords while they debate the new bill. To be honest it’s going to be scary as both the pro and anti groups will be there…. fight! To wind down after the day in the evening it’s off to Kew Gardens for Kew The Music, with Jools Holland and Marc Almond. Lots of singing at the top of my voice while eating sandwiches and drinking elderflower cordial. End the week on my idea of culture! (But no rest for the wicked as over the weekend I have to edit my radio doc…. eeek!)

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Hello From Hospital

Just woken up from surgery.

Just woken up from surgery.

 

If you’re wondering why it’s all gone quiet in the world of Mik it’s because I have had to go into hospital. Yes after nearly two years of battling an injury I picked up at the Paralympic Games Opening Ceremonies, it was decided I needed to have an operation to fix it. So in late April I came into the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore to go under the knife. I won’t bore you with the gory details but I am still here as May comes to a close. Hopefully I will be going home at the start of June, but will still need a little while spent recovering before I venture out into the world again.

So the Scarlet news will be lacking in dramatic action for a while. All I will say is I am healing nicely and so far everything is looking very good for a full recovery. Which is fantastic!

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News Round Up March 2014

Well it’s been a strange month. After starting off crazily busy, both with work and finally grabbing a social life I am now unwell. Boo! I have had to retire from the outside world while I recover from a flare up of an injury I gained while rehearsing for the Paralympic Opening Ceremonies. It was actually caused by the appalling access at the rehearsal spaces, and has been my Paralympic legacy ever since.

arch-angel

However enough moaning. Even though I have been stuck in bed I have still been working (no rest for the wicked), and have had a few articles published. The first came out of of taking part in the Disability Now Download podcast. We recorded it just before I crapped out, and it was great fun. It really comes accross too. You can listen to it here. As part of the discussion we explored the concept of disabled heroes, especially as a recent poll voted the UK’s top three national heroes as disabled people. Which set me thinking, what about those of us who don’t like the idea of being all goody goody. So I asked myself, where have all the bad roles models gone in “Rebel Rebel – Wanted, heroes with Badass Style“. I didn’t write the title, but the piece has caused a real discussion in the disabled community about what heroes and role models actually mean to us.

On top of talking about heroes, I have had the second part in my series for Miss Alice Gray’s website on sex and disability. The first one “Sex & Disability – The Question That Never Stops Being Asked” was well recieved, but that explored attitudes towards disability and sex. In the second part “Sex & Disability – The Ins and Outs of the Old In and Out” I give a few ideas on actually doing the deed. Oh yes, Mik get’s smutty again. Sex, sex, sex it’s all he ever thinks about….

Anyway, there are a few more that will be coming out soon, this watch this space.

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