New Article Round-Up

Here’s a round up of some of my recent articles.

First is a  piece on Wheelchair Dance in Disability Now, as it doesn’t matter whether you live on wheels, legs or both you can cut a rug on the dancefloor.

Then I have an article on sex and disability published on Miss Alice Gray‘s website. It’s the first of a two parter, with the second art being more of a “how-to” guide to sexiness and disability.

I have also joined the writing team at Disability Horizons as an occasional contributor. My first story for them was about dressing up for the party season if you are disabled, called Festive Fashion, but it works for all times of year. You know me, I never need a reason to dress to impress… or shock! The next article for DH is on the recent casting at the BBC for the cream of disabled acting talent which asks Is It Time For Our Close Up? Ages back I wrote my views on Assisted Suicide, so if you missed it maybe check it out.

You can also check out my column in PosAbility magazine at their online portal. It’s not the most recent, but keep checking back as they update it regularly.

So that about it for now. Got loads of new articles coming up, so I’ll keep you all posted.

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Latest Huffington Post Article

My latest article for the Huffington Post has just gone live. It’s a review of the Graeae Theatre’s production of The Limbless Knight, which premiered at the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival this Friday.

It’s a great show, that entertains and challenges in equal measure. I described it on Twitter as “Like being hit by a brick wrapped in a beautiful velvet cushion”. For a longer exploration of what I saw in the show see the Huffington Post Entertainment section.

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Too busy to blog!!!! or why I hate Children In Need so much I found time to blog!

It seems that at the minute I am too busy to blog. In fact I’m too busy to think some days. It’s one of the joys of being a freelancer, that when a work offer comes in you have to say Yes. With no way of knowing when the next job might appear, you have this terror that this offer might be the last for a while. Even if the work is rolling in, you can’t be sure that it will stay that way. So that’s why my blog has been sitting dormant recently.

Annoyingly there have been a load of things I wanted to blog about. Almost every day something came up that got the blood boiling and the fingers hovering over the keyboard. But work got in the way, so the time past. The thing that I really wanted to blog about this week was Children in Need. As someone who appeared on something very similar at the start of my career, with a two day non-stop live appearance as presenter on the Thames Telethon back in 1992, and who had that career severely damaged by the bad reaction of people who felt that charity was wrong, you would have thought I would be in favour of this yearly charity fest. But you would be wrong. You see, on many levels the whole thing is equally wrong.

Let’s think about the portrayal of disability first. Anyone who reads my blogs and articles will know that portrayal is very important to me. I feel that the media should try so much harder to ensure that it changes the way it covers disability, yet with this kind of charity event negative portrayal is essential to keep the money coming in.

Poor little crippled kids… they need your help. Their lives are so awful that without your money they will only be sad and their future is bleak. Give generously. Your money will make their tragic lives a little better. Poor little things, it so sad that they are the way they are. Aren’t you lucky?

Of course charity always has to pull on your heart strings, but the reason why I did the Telethon way back when is that I thought it would subconsciously say that disabled people can give charity as well as receive it. But after I did it, I was accosted in a lft by the wonderful Vicky Waddington who explained why the charity model of disability – which paints us as victims in need of help – has no positive effects for us disabled types. After talking to her I understood that charity is just plain wrong, especially this kind of jumbo media event. Sure it could be vehicle for real change, with money being raised to pay for the changes we really need in society. Better access, better understanding and more equality. But those are not the kind of things that pull of those heart strings and purse strings. The point of a telethon event is raising money, so that is the sole point of the program. The aim is to raise more money than the last event. That’s how you measure the success of it.

Now I could write on this subject for pages, but as I said I’m too damn busy. So I hope that all of you that did watch Children in Need/Stand Up To Cancer/Red Nose Day felt a little uncomfortable during the hours of “fun”. Just imagine if it was people like you who were targeted as being deserving of charity and pity. Not a great feeling.

Let’s take the item on the One Show that Ade Adepitan presented on dancing for disabled kids. It claimed that giving money to a special dance class for disabled children is a good thing. But if you think about it, wouldn’t it be better if the kids that went to this special class could just go to a mainstream dance class with other non-disabled kids and learn to dance? A totally mixed class where everyone was equal. I have just interviewed the fantastic disabled dancer Laura Jones for a Disability Now article, who was the first disabled person to study dance at college. She helped choreograph the Paralympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies, and is a superb dancer. Surely that is the way to go? Not only is it inclusive but it will mean that more disabled people will become professional dancers. But even if they don’t, and they just do dance for the love of dance, they will have an experience of being equal to the other members of the class. Not special, different… and in some way less.

To me it’s the same for all of the various good causes. To raise money they need to focus on the difference, yet the only way to make the world better is to make everyone see that we are all the same. Whether we’re disabled, poor, old, young, or whatever, we are all human. So we all deserve the same chances and until charity aims to do that, it will divide us all. I mean even the title of Children In Need spells out difference.

Anyway, that’s enough for now. All I ask is that you think about it.

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Busy Bank Holiday

I find myself with so much to blog about that I feel I may have to end up writing about nothing instead. I wanted to cover politics, that wedding, disability politics and a myriad of other things, but have had such a busy couple of weeks that I haven’t had time. Now each subject has slipped to a position of equal importance and so I can’t decide where to start.

I wanted to examine my recent experiences with various disabled people’s organisations (DPO’s) and how each one has different politics. What would this splintering of direction mean for the future of disabled people and our fight for equality? I also wanted to delve into what exactly we mean by “equality” and whether this fight might cause disabled people to end up worse off that we were went we found ourselves unequal. As a republican I am finding the way British society is ramping up the crazy as we run up to the 29th of April is obviously causing me to feel the need to write something. Just not sure how much of feelings I want to make known as everyone seems to have been swept up in the spirit of this “joyous” occasion. Then there was the whole question of assisted suicide that seems to have even found a supporter in the BBC. With Terry Pratchett making a documentary following a man’s visit to Dignitas and claiming it to be a dispassionate study of the questions around the right to die, even though Sir Terry is a personal supporter of assisted death, those of us who who feel deeply against changing the current laws must make our voice heard or we will loose the debate. That’s just the top three.

In the end I must admit I find myself so full of thoughts that I end up with my head spinning. Never the best time to write something that will exist forever in the ether of the world wide web. So instead I will knock out a short blog, with no rants or deep thought. No this time I feel just thought I’d mention that this bank holiday my wife and I have been busy building furniture for my recording studio. In fact we have been action painting some doors for a cupboard that will be the home of my unused analogue synth collection. Loads of fun throwing paint around in our living room, and they have come up great. So hopefully by the start of May I will have a studio that works and can start writing music again, after an age away.

Before going all arty, I did an interview for a new online magazine, called Sin Zine with the marvellous burlesque and performance artist Marnie Scarlet. I videoed the interview and it will be up on my Youtube page soon, and the Sin Zine interview will follow shortly too. I plan to do a series of these interviews, and put them online, so if you know anyone who you would like to see me chat with please get in touch.

Lastly, I have signed up to appear in the new Graeae show, Broadway Babes. It is going to be a crazy show like their famous Rhinestone Rollers show, but with Broadway musical numbers. I shall be dancing my way through a half hour set of classic musical tracks… and I shall be in drag! Yes all those years when I was a New Romantic, wearing tons of make up will finally come in handy. I don’t think I’ll be going the whole hog, mainly as I really don’t have the figure for it. Instead I feel I’ll be a kind of dancing tranny. Tee hee. Anyway, if you fancy seeing how it turns out, come along to the Greenwich festival this year and search us out. I’ll keep you all posted when rehearsals start.

So I hope you are all enjoying the sunshine and are having fun this Bank Holiday? Today is the first day I’ve a minute to spare, and so I feel I may sign off now and go outside to soak up some sun before the weather goes back to it’s default setting… of rain.

TTFN

Mik

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