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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Folk In Motion Feb 15th

FIM01v1Sepia+LogoIf you are in the Camden area on Saturday February 15th, why not pop down to Cecil Sharp House. I’ll be performing as part of Folk In Motion, The wheelchair Folk dance troupe as we celebrate the fact that Cecil Sharp House, the home of English Folk Dance and Song Society, has just been made fully accessible for disabled people. It’s a great show whether you are a fan of folk or not, and shows what us wheelies can do when it comes to dance. It features guest performances from Liz Porter and Penny Pepper and I shall be singing “The White Buck of Epping”, that was written by a Camden based musician in the 1960s,  so something not to miss. Oh, and it’s free too!

For full details click here.

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Time for a spot of dinner.

In the last few years I have developed a diet that has helped me loose quite a lot of weight. It revolves around eating soup for two days and then a normal meal on the third. As I really enjoy cooking I tend to make both the soups and then go to town on the main meal. But every now and then I think it is important to treat yourself, especially when you are on a diet that revolves making such drastic changes to the way you eat for ever. On those treat days Diane and myself have a few local restaurants that we love to visit. One that is at the top of that list is our local Italian eatery Good Fare, 26 Parkway in our home town of Camden. But it’s not just because it is nice and close. We both feel that it serves some of the best Italian food in the capital. Not the posh highfaluting stuff but good quality home cooked Italian fare… Good Fare!Mik and Menu

We are both creatures of habit when we visit Good Fare. Diane has two dishes that she loves, Penne Italiano and Tortellini Spinachi, and I always have Penne Al Arrabiata. As vegetarians we normally have a very small choice when eating out, but at Good Fare this isn’t the case… so we could go nuts. But if something isn’t broken why fix it? As Diane always points out, there is nothing worse than trying something new and then all the way through the meal wishing you had gone for your favourite choice. As the Penne Al Arrabiata is the best I have ever tasted I’m sticking to it like glue. Just the right combination of heat and yumminess that keeps me coming back for more. In fact that’s the same reason why I love Diane… tee hee. So my choice was easy, and Diane went for the Penne Italiano as she was the mood for cheese. As this meal comes covered in a wheel goat’s cheese the size of a small plate, it was a wise decision.

Di waits her foodAs we waited for our food to come we sat and watched the world go by.  Sitting outside in the busy heart of exciting Camden Town soaking up the sun is one of the joys of this restaurant, and the attentive and friendly staff is another. The meals arrived with the usual speed, and we tucked in like greed piggies… who had been fed only on soup for two days. As per usual the meal was gorgeous. Di was rewarded by joking with our waiter that she would like “loads of Parmesan” cheese with a deluge of the her favourite food… cheese! So she was in food heaven, as was I. By the end of the meal my lips were just the right amount of numb to indicate a good Arrabiata, and I was shortly followed by Diane clearing her plate. Di normally eats much slower then me, so it showed how much she enjoyed her meal that I wasn’t left waiting for ages. In fact we both fell on our meals so quickly that I forgot to take any photos of the food, so you’ll just have to take my word for how good it was.

All goneWe then ordered another Good Fare favourite, Caramel Latte. Trust me, if you’re in Camden and want a coffee, forget the chains; it has to be Good Fare. Truly great coffee. Another treat to try is their breakfast cakes. A personal fave is the chocolate twist, served hot with chocolate sauce. Just thinking about it is making my mouth water. If I’m honest, the only draw back for me is they don’t have an accessible toilet, but that’s it. (Well they do in their sister restaurant Al Parco but the door is fitted wrong so I can’t get in with my chair unless I don’t mind the entire restaurant watching me do my business) Our meal, comprising of two beers, two lovely meals and two yummy caramel lattes came in under £30. So not only great food but great value. Of course now I’ve told you all about Good Fare I’m worried it will become even more popular and we won’t be able to get a table next time we want to treat ourselves. All I can say is “cheers Good Fare!”.

Cheers

 

 

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The Skin I’m In

Kings Rd 02

Every now and then I am reminded just how amazing and weird biology can be. Especially mine. A few days ago I was wheeling down a street in the Kings Road, during a shopping trip that broke my heart as what was once a street filled with the coolest of fashion is now just another chain store high street (even if the chains are a little more up market), and I hit a pot hole in the pavement. With the annoying habit that the laws of motion have on a person on wheels, when my chair stopped I did not. Luckily I did not fly out of my buggy into a crumpled heap, but I did twist my spine quite badly. I soon started to feel the pain of this little accident but as we were searching for a coffee, which would have allowed me to take a break from the discomfort of both the pain in my back and the sadness at passing yet another boring chain store, I soldiered on. We tried to visit the Bluebird Cafe but were royally ignored by their waiting staff in a blatant act of either discrimination or ignorance, and ended up scoffing a lovely creme slice and sipping a caramel latte at Patisserie Valerie in the sunshine. With no shopping for me but loads for Diane, which was also rather a downer on the spirits as I was hoping to do some serious spending, we ventured home. I spent the evening laying on sofa relaxing the old spine, hoping that my near crash hadn’t done too much damage.

It all seemed OK at first the next day, when we decided to take in some more of the unseasonal sunshine by wondering around our home town of Camden. As I smiled at the fact that Camden is one the few places in London that has resisted the onslaught of the big brand, I started to notice that my left leg was feeling weird. It felt like it was growing in length, gradually at first but it soon felt like it was huge. Only my left leg, which by now felt around double the length of my right one. If this wasn’t disconcerting enough, the weird felling began moving into my entire left side. By the time we were walking towards our flat I felt like my body was the shape of the hunchback of Notre Dame, with one really long leg and a huge left arm that was more muscley than three Popeyes. Of course I may have felt like this on the inside, but on the outside I looked just as normal… your standard Mik.

Why was I undergoing this bizarre transformation? Well one of the lesser known side effects of nerve damage is a change in sensation. Some people experience phantom pain, some experience sensation that comes and goes, some experience changes in the way their body feels, and some are like me and get the whole lot. This time I was being told by my brain that my body shaped nothing like reality, all thanks to the fact that the messages my skin was sending to my noggin were being scrambled and turned into QuasiMikdo somewhere on their journey up my spinal column. I cannot explain how strange it is to inhabit a body that can change it’s shape on an hourly basis but it can tick you off a bit at times.

What makes it more annoying for me is that through out my younger years I also fought with Bulimia, and even today I have issues with my mirror. I still see someone who could loose a stone or two, no matter how thin I get. I really learned how distorted my vision of myself is when I was very ill back in the early naughties. I kept loosing weight as my spine collapsed, causing pain that stopped me from sleeping for days on end. This pain meant I needed stronger and stronger pain medication, and the lack of sleep and drug induced haze meant that eating was the last thing on my mind. Within a few months I was thin, and few months after that my Mum was ringing my poor wife to check if I was OK, after she saw me on TV looking gaunt and skeletal. But did I see this sickly bag of bones? No, all I saw was someone who was finally approaching the weight I dreamed of being. It was only after living through this period and coming out the other side that led me to the much happier place I am now. Once I saw photos and video of myself looking so bad while remembering how happy I had been with my decreasing size, I began to shake the distorting glasses of body dysmorphia.

Typically this revelation led me to put on a pile of weight after my last surgery back in 2003, but I finally understood that I needed to find a healthy way of getting to the size I should be, but not the size I thought I should be. So I began a healthy eating campaign and over the last couple of years I created a menu full of all the things I need (and like, can’t cut out the choccy completely – that would be crazy) in sizes that have allowed me to get to a weight I like. I will never totally shake the disease and end my battle with Bulimia, but I am happy with a stalemate. I might see a huge fatty who needs to loose weight big time but I know that isn’t what the rest of world sees.

The key issue for me is when the two types of dysmorphia combine to create my own personal type of crazy. Every now and then the person I see in the mirror is matched by the person I feel through my skin, with both my eyes and my that pesky skin lying to me. But whatever I might see or feel, I try very hard to remember that it’s all just lies. I might not manage the perfect physique, with a six pack,  muscle definition and a tiny waist, but I don’t look too bad for a guy of 47 who beat cancer and two broken backs. Not bad at all.

As I write this I do wonder if I’m giving away just a little too much information, but if those of us who have these kind of problems don’t speak out about them, and explain that it is possible to live successfully with them, perhaps even beat them, then they just stay secret and hidden. I feel that being open about this kind of thing is important, so there you go. Isn’t that the point of blogs?

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La Patagonia – A Taste of the Argentine

As my wife Diane and I left our Camden flat on a wet Wednesday night for our visit La Patagonia I did feel a little trepidations. Argentinian cuisine is best known for being carnivorous in nature, and as we are both vegetarians I wasn’t sure if our meal would be to our taste. I was also worried as nothing spoils a veggie’s meal than eating through the fog of the smell of cooking meat. I didn’t know yet but all of my worries would soon be proved very unfounded.
We had booked our table for seven pm, but even this early on the aforementioned wet Wednesday the place was packed. The staff met us with a friendly smile and were totally fine with my placing my wheelchair next to my seat at our table. Even in the 21st century I still find that some restaurants are unhappy when I turn up on wheels, so this set the tone for the rest of the evening in a good way. We placed our order, after being impressed at the choice for us non-meat eaters. As we waited for our order to arrive, we were brought a plate of bread and some pickled Aubergine that was lovely. We were joined by one of the owners Noah, and we chatted about how well things were going with his plans to bring a rustic Argentinian menu to the streets of Camden. The restaurant is a warm and friendly place furnished in a designer rustic style. It’s filled with all manner of memorabilia from the country, collected by the owners over the years, and the whole experience is most enjoyable. But let’s get down to the food shall we?
As soon as a flash our meal arrived, and Noah left us to watch the football on TV (another Argentinian passion). We had both ordered the same thing, Calabaza con Humita which is a Butternut Squash filled with a corn and béchamel sauce filling served with a nice side salad. Even though I have been a veggie for over 20 years, I have never tried butternut squash and neither had my wife. On our first mouthful we stopped and stared at each other…. yummy! It was gorgeous. The squash itself was done to perfection, soft, sweet and tender and in combination with the corn filling it was a treat. I may have wolfed mine down a little too quickly, but that is usual when I am enjoying my food.
Next up was desert. Normally I would have stopped at my main meal, but I had heard that the desert menu at La Patagonia had to be tried to be believed. Boy had I heard right! Yet again my wife and I had matching orders, the La Patagonia Tiramisu. I freely admit to having a rather developed sweet tooth, and as the huge half pint (0.35L actually – I’m showing my age using Imperial) Kilner style glass jars filled with chocolately yumminess were presented my heart skipped a beat. 

 

Even though there was easily enough in each serving for us to have shared, I was so glad we had ordered one each… I would hated sharing this desert lovers paradise. The latte we ordered to accompany this gooey, chocolately, caramelly heaven was equally as tasty and as I put down my spoon and slurped my last mouthful of coffee I felt wonderful. Full, happy and a little drunk on sugar. The bill arrived and we were both very impressed that such a great meal could be so reasonably priced.
Both of my wife and I laughed as we wondered home through the streets of Camden at what a great night we’d had. It had also occurred to me that if you do eat meat I would imagine that your meal would be as amazing as ours, if not more so. I can’t recommend La Patagonia highly enough, and I do know that it has been added to our list of favourite restaurants. I know we’re going to become regulars and I think you should too. Whether it’s for a romantic night out, a night out with friends or for a party La Patagonia won’t let you down.

 

Una gran noche fuera!
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Time Out Pieces 01

I thought that just in case anyone missed the articles I wrote for Time Out last week I would up load them. So here you go…

It’s a quick guide to places I like in Camden, so if you are planning a day out round these parts take a look.

I am also writing a series of three pieces around the Paralympics and this is the first of them. I will up load the rest a week after they are out.

It’s been a fantastic opportunity to discuss some of the issues that the games bring up, and well done to Time Out for allowing me to do so.

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Dear Diary….

To everyone that reads my blog, I have decided to change what I use it for. You see I have lust landed a post of columnist for the new magazine PosAbility and kind of want to keep a lot of the stuff I would have once blogged about for publication. Instead I thought I’d turn this blog into a diary type affair. Of course there’ll be comment, as nothing can stop me moaning, but with a more personal edge.

2012 started off as a weird year. I spent most of the festive season struck down with a succession of illnesses. While most were just the standard Man Flu stuff, I also spent most of Xmas reeling from one of the fun elements of my disability. I don’t know how many of you agree with me, but I know I have always been amazed at how little information you get from the medical profession when you are disabled. I have always found that if I had been informed about what the future might hold for me thanks to the effects of my disability I might have made different choices. Ever since I a baby, the treatment I had for my cancer has been effecting my body but I have never been told in advance what might be coming. I understand that not many people survive cancer for as long as I have, and that being used as a guinea pig for a new treatment as I was means that no one really has any idea of what is around the corner but it would have been nice to have been given a vague hint of what might be possible. Take my spinal collapse when I was 15 for example. Only after it collapsed did my medical team inform me that they were planning to fix the issue with my back, but they wanted to wait until I had taken my exams. My spine collapsed on the day of my first exam, my German O Level. Now if I or my family were included in this decision, and I am sure we would have preferred to have my back fixed. Especially as I ended up having to go back a year to take my exams anyway… oh and I got a present of paraplegia out of their choice to wait too.

As I get older I find that other issues are coming up from the radiotherapy and chemotherapy I had as a baby, on top of the usual getting old crap. They are nothing too terrible at the minute, but they do mean I have to keep an eye on things as I rush towards old age. I know that many of them could have been lessened if I had known about what my future held when I was younger. Mainly as I might have changed the way I lived and thus have had some kind of control over my body. It’s funny but I have always been obsessed with controlling my body, so I know I would have been obsessive about looking after myself. I mean I am now a tea total, non smoker, who eats healthy and tries to exercise all in an effort to ensure I am in control of my body, yet when I was younger I can only describe my lifestyle as… unhealthy… very unhealthy! I admit I had a pile of fun and am not sure I would have wanted to miss out on what a good time I had. However it would have been nice to know not only the obvious issues I was dicing with but to also have known the problems I might have been causing that were special to being me. Then no one is to blame for whatever happens except myself.

Of course, this is all a bit self indulgent. I am one lucky little sod really as I beat cancer and a really nasty one too. Neuroblastoma is a real pig of a tumour, and I am one very few people who have beaten. OK that number is growing, with a large amount of help from the Neuroblastoma Society. They fund research into finding a cure and give help and support for families going through treatment. I am a patron and working with them really made me realise how lucky I really am.

Having said that, I have also had some annoying experiences around access so far this year that demonstrate how far disabled people have to go in this society. The first thing that happened was I have been asked to leave a local campaigning group after I insisted that access was as important as other local issues. It is a collection of local interest groups all giving their opinion on a new development where I live in Camden. I don’t want go into it too much but on many occasions I have found that my attempts to make people understand that access cannot be bolted onto buildings as an after thought, but needs to run through a design from the ground up, have been met with hostility. Mainly as many of the other people in the group had their own areas of interest. The people who were interested in heritage seemed to be especially upset by my fight to make Camden more accessible. I have never understood why heritage and preservation bodies find the idea of making changes to improve access so sacrilegious. They seem to imagine that the only way to make somewhere more accessible is to destroy their precious heritage, and do not care that maintaining it at any cost leads one section of our society to be left out in the cold and may even not be able to experience or witness the heritage at all. But whatever the individual group’s area of interest, surely access should be of interest to all of them? I know there are methods to allow all of us to work together in such a way that we can all get what we want. Sadly I shall no longer be part of this group, but will continue to fight for a more accessible Camden. At the minute Camden is a very inaccessible place, and I will not rest until it gets better.

I realised just how inaccessible the world can be for disabled people this week, when I attended the funeral of my mate’s father. It was held at the same place as my Dad is buried, so I went up early to visit my Dad’s grave. However I could not get to it, as it was in an corner of the cemetery that I couldn’t get to without pulling a wheelie over other people’s graves. Something I felt I couldn’t do, partly out of respect and partly for my own safety. So instead I had to ask my wife to take a photo of the headstone to allow me to see it. I haven’t seen it since I went into my chair, 31 years ago. As I sat there in the freezing cold, trying to look at a photo on my wife’s smart phone it really hit home just how far away an inclusive world still is.

Anyway, here is that picture. That way not only can I look at it whenever I want, but so can members of our family who are spread all over the world.


That’s all for now, until next month,

Mik

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Fame… makes a man think things over

As I hurtle towards my 45th birthday, I’ve had a weird week. I wonder if I might be about to hit my mid-life crisis. Let me explain.It began with a visit to my chemist. While queuing to collect a prescription, another member of the queue turned to me and said

“You live in the same street as me. I see you wheeling up and down the road… oh and of course I saw you on TV” That’s nice, I thought, still being recognised.

“Yeah” I said.

“You used to be more handsome back then” was then next comment.

“Nah” I replied “Just younger”. We went back to queuing and smiling at each other. My smile hiding just how much a throw away comment can hurt.

Now fame is weird. Once people feel like they know you, which is one of the side effects of being let in their home via their TV screen, they feel they can say whatever they like to you. Can you imagine going up to someone in the street and informing them that they are looking uglier than they used to be years ago? No, neither can I. Yet it happens all the time. A few months ago while in Boots (I seem to spend too much time in chemists – although this time it was for hair care products, which I obviously spend a fortune on) a woman said hello and then informed me of how fat I had got. OK I know I’ve spread with age, but she was… huge! So surely she must know ow it feels to be called fat by strangers. Yet fame meant this was fine.

When I was at the peak of my celebrity, way back in the 90’s, I had all manner of problems. People would just come up and insult and even attack me or even worse, attack my loved ones. I even had a stalker, who threatened to kidnap and rape me. Nice. The most annoying thing was that all the time I was presenting the TV shows that meant the public felt they owned me, I was being paid well under the going rate. (Too many TV companies had the attitude that disabled talent deserved less pay. In a business where people can get paid £100,000s per show I was lucky if I got £100s per series. I would have earned more if I stacked shelves in any famous Supermarket) So I couldn’t afford the security that I really needed. Hence way I started going to private members clubs and the like. To be safe.

But why, if fame was so bad, did I continue? Why am I still fighting to get back into the media world? Well fame has it’s up side too. No it’s not all models and parties, although there were a few. The best thing about fame is being taken notice of.

For ages now I have been trying to get Camden council to wake up to it’s responsibilities around access for disabled people in the borough. This week the local paper, the Camden New Journal, ran a story about experiences and my blogs on the issue. Since the article, I have been contacted a councillor who wants to start up a committee to examine what an be done to improve Camden and it’s access. Now if I wasn’t “Mik Scarlet – Broadcaster and Journalist” would the local paper written the story and would the council have taken notice?

And that’s my mid-life crisis. I feel I am at a cross roads in my life. The media always focus on new talent, as the current search for presenters to work on the Paralympics demonstrate, and I could never be considered “new”. I have had to take years off from working to recover from my spine surgery back in 2003, and even though I feel I am ready to go back to work, will I be able to get back into an industry that everyone knows is almost impossible to break into? Especially if you already used to be in it! The other factor is do I want to anyway? As I have already said, fame is no picnic, and the rewards are not always that great.

I know I have gained many skills through my time as a musician and broadcaster that would apply to many other professions. I keep asking myself is it time to grow up and stop seeking a way back into the media. Are the rewards of fame worth all the hassles?

So what would you do, dear reader? Do you think there’s a Mik shaped hole in your TV viewing? Do you think I should fight to fill it, or go out and get a real job? I really need your advice.

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The "Social Model" strikes back!

Now I didn’t really want to write a yet another blog that is heavy on the disability issues agenda, but recently I’ve had a bit of access bother that really grinds my gears! I live in Camden Town and as everyone knows it is a shopping Mecca for those of us who like life on the alternative side. I first came to Camden from my home town of Luton back in 1983, and soon became a regular at the Camden Palace. and the Electric Ballroom There were always issues about enjoying Camden in a wheelchair. Whether it was crawling down stairs to get to the dance floor at the Palace, or fighting to go to the toilet in the Ballroom, it was always kind of do-able. But however hard it was to experience Camden in the 80’s, there were two things that made it bearable. One was that the rest of London was equally as bad, and the other was that things would obviously have to get better in the future.
So let’s leap forward in time 27 years, to today. While other areas of London, such as Islington, Covent Garden, The South Bank, Spitalfields, Kensington and pretty much the entire East End, have made steps towards building access into the environment, Camden seems to be going backwards. If I was to list the problems individually this blog would be a mile long, so instead let’s look at this in a more general fashion.
Where should I start? Well to get around a place you have to use the pavements. Paving in London is in a shocking condition, even in some of the areas listed above. Here in Camden the council have just re-paved Camden High Street, from outside the tube station (let’s not get started on accessible transport just now) right up to where it meets Chalk Farm Road, and there are plans to re-pave that part of Camden too. So wheeling on new paving should be like wheeling on glass (not broken of course). No chance! Large areas of the paving is concrete with slab pattern etched into it, which makes the surface bumpy. Even though it has only just been laid, it has already been dug up by a power company and they filled the holes with tarmac, that has sunk to cause great big holes that you hit in a wheelchair on pain of death. There are trees planted at regular intervals with huge areas of earth around them. These will turn into quagmires when it rains and will be equally dangerous to anyone with mobility issues. Then there are areas for delivery vans to park on that are paved with cobbles. COBBLES!
Cobbles in themselves have there own place in hell, and are the bane of anyone living in or visiting Camden in a wheelchair, pushing a pram or even wearing high heels. They are everywhere, and are even being promoted as a paving material by the council’s planning department. The Henson Building, a new housing development in my street, has been paved right up to the front door with cobbles, and not even well laid cobbles at that. So you’ve had it if you want to buy or rent a flat there and you are in a wheelchair. Huge areas of Camden have been paved in cobbles. Almost all the Stables Market, and the Dingwalls Market are cobbled as well as bits through out the borough. Now I’m currently advising the Stables Market’s owners on how to improve their access, but they informed me that they were told to lay cobbles during their re-development of the site by the council. Even if every cobble in Camden was lifted and re-laid and re-pointed so they are a level surface, they are just not suitable for high traffic areas. As the cobbles stand at the minute, with their uneven surface and massive gaps between them, there are places in Camden that are dangerous for Olympic athletes to get round, let alone those of us with mobility issues.
Lastly, so many of the shops, bars and restaurants in Camden have steps up to get into them. Not only that but some places have had their access made worse during recent re-furbishments. One bar on the High Street has had it’s disabled toilet turned into a cupboard, and a restaurant near my flat has had it’s level entrance replaced with steps. Has the council pointed out that this not only breaks the Disability Discrimination Act but also building regulations? Have these venues had their licenses revoked for barring disabled people? Of course not. This week I visited a cafe/bar that used to have a fantastic wooden ramp outside that was so good I used as an example of good practice to other businesses in the area, only to find the ramp had gone. When my wife asked the staff in the shop, she was told they had removed it after the council had told them they couldn’t leave it on the pavement, as it blocked foot traffic. To put it back the shop needed to apply for planning permission, even though it was a temporary ramp that was laid out when they opened and removed at closing time. If that is the case, why have so many places in the area got folding signs, with menus and “2 for 1” drinks offers advertised on them, outside on the pavement? They cause people to have to avoid them just as a ramp would. But then most places in Camden don’t even have a portable ramp that can be put out when needed, which is now required by law. Time and time again I get the “Huh?” response when I ask how I get into a shop or cafe.
I thought that council’s all understood the social model of disability, and how it is our environment creates our disabilities. So why is it that Camden council seems hell bent on making Camden less inclusive? Let’s face it, in less than two years time there is going to be a massive influx of disabled people into London, thanks to the 2012 Paralympics. Does the council want them to visit Camden and feel excluded due to the terrible access? Do they want disabled people from Third World countries to come here and think “Hey it’s a bit like the pavements back home”? Whatever the council think, it’s time that we disabled people say no more. So come on everyone, let’s stand up to this injustice and tell them we’re not going to take it sitting down any more! (wheelchair joke to end on!).

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