This Morning Brothel Discussion

Here is the video of the This Morning Debate between myself and Becky Adams on the issue for a brothel Becky is planning to open which is specially designed for disabled customers. I have already written several blogs on this issue, which can be found in my blog section. Please give it a watch if you haven’t seen it and I wonder which side you fall down on, if you excuse the very mild pun?

First shown on ITV Jan 18th 2013

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Web TV Debate

Here is the web TV debate for everyone who has been asking to see it.

I just wanted to say it was great day and it was a joy to be able to discuss the issue in a sensible and rational manner, well for most of the time. Heather Pratten was a joy and the team at Markettiers were amazing too. It was an honour to be able to represent the voices of so many people who are usually ignored in this debate. If we could explore the issue this way more often we might come to a conclusion that works for everyone.

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Right to Die? I need your views.

Anyone who reads my blogs or hear me talks on the subject of assisted dying knows my views on this issue. I have repeatedly explained how I fear a change in the law to legalize assisted death would destroy the doctor/patient relationship, worsen the way that way that society views disability and illness, put pressure on those who are disabled or sick to end their life prematurely and even lessen the amount of medical research carried out in to serious illness and disability. But this is a message going to all of you, as I need your views on the matter.

This Monday, May 13th from 1pm onwards, I shall be taking part in a live online web TV discussion on the topic and want to ensure that I can quote views other than my own. Even if you are in favour I would like you to comment on this blog as I feel it is essential for me to fully understand the differing views on such an important issue.

You can also put your own questions to myself and someone from the Pro-Assisted Death campaigning group Dignity in Dying by going to one of these two websites. Either visit Studio Talk TV or Benenden Health and post a question.

I will be running the debate on this site too, so please tune in. I will do my best to get over the arguments against a move to legalize medically assisted suicide, and I hope that many of you will support me in this. Whatever your views it is a major event in the debate, especially as Jane Nicklinson and Paul Lamb are taking their cases to the High Court on Tuesday May 14th.

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In The Bag!

Phew, that’s my radio show in the bag. I had a great time, especially as I got to play some music I never thought would get aired again. If you missed the show it’s now online at the BBC i-Player

Also if you’re a fan of Howard Jones, or a synth head, then check out my full interview with Mr Jones on TinDecks. You can download it as an MP3 too. On top of that you can grab all of my back catalogue of music from all the bands I have been in over the years. So if you remember Freak UK, Eroticis or Scarlet Messiah you can get everything for free!

Hope you enjoyed the show as much as I did. You wouldn’t know (I hope)  but I was joined in the studio by a documentary film crew who are making a film about the event. More news soon.

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80’s Music show this Monday!

It’s getting closer. This Monday, from 2-4pm I will be playing the best in 80’s music and waffling about the fun I had back then. I also have a great chat with Howard Jones and have the Luton based indie synth kings Click Click coming into the studio. So if you fancy some great music (that you don’t usually get to hear on the radio), fun stories and other fun tune in by clicking here – BBC3CR

And if you have any stories from that time I’d love to hear them. So if you do have something to say or a tale to tell, contact the show by either ringing in – 08459 455 555, texting – 81333 – Start your message “3CR”, on Facebook – BBC Three Counties Radio or at Twitter – @BBC3CR.

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New on YouTube!

I have just uploaded a new video interview with disabled model Kelly Knox. There will also be a written piece to accompany it on the Disability Now Online website soon.

Kelly won the BBC UK’s Missing Top Model competition and has gone on to to become one of the rising stars of the fashion world.  I met with her as Debenhams launched their new campaign that features Kelly and another disabled model, Stefanie Reid.

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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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DAiSY Festival this Saturday

If you are in the Leatherhead area this Saturday I will be appearing at the DAiSY Festival all day. I will be starting off in the morning at the FreeWheelers media training workshop in the Park House between 10am and 1pm. Next, in the afternoon I’m doing a couple of musical numbers at the Rockin Paddy’s Acoustic Jam (if they have a piano or a CD player – but that’s not very acoustic is it?). Then it’s off to the reception for the event in the early evening at the Leatherhead Theatre before getting ready to be interviewed as part of the Free Wheelers performance of their mickey take of Top Gear, Top Wheel. Yes I get to be the Star in a Reasonably Priced Chair!

Hope too see you there, as it looks like being a superb event!

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