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.


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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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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Access All Areas review

Access All Areas CoverMy review of the art book Access All Areas, Live Arts and Disability have just gone live on the A-N website.

Here the full version of it.

Access All Areas – Live Art and Disability

For several decades a growing group of highly talented artists have been honing their skills and developing their methods and techniques in their goal to create engaging, challenging, though provoking work that is also beautiful and stunning while leaving an indelible valuable mark on whoever interacts with it. This group are members of what is euphemistically called the Disability Arts scene, and they use their mediums to explore the issues that disability raises in our modern society. One major element of this groups methodology is the use of Live Art. Creating engaging interactive Live Art works enables practitioners to explore the questions around the barriers thrown up into the lives of disabled people by the wider society, as described by the Social Model of Disability, examine their personal journey through their experience of impairment and challenge the wider stereotypes of what it is like to live in a society that disables some of it’s members. The Disability Arts scene has been mostly hidden away from the judging gaze of the wider arts community but all that is changing. This stunning book Access All Areas, Live Art and Disability, published through the Live Arts Development Agency, captures the creative explosion that took place at a two day event, called Access All Areas, held in London in 2011 that highlighted the very best in Live Art practise within the Disability Arts scene and exposed them to the public and the wider art world.

However to describe this book only as a document of this event sells it short. It is in fact a combination of a stunning collection of works by the cream of Disability Arts scene’s Live Art creatives and a challenging piece of artistic work in itself that I feel will become an essential snapshot of a moment in the evolution of an new artistic force as it breaks through in to the mainstream. The book has captured the two day programme of the Access All Areas event in a manner that enables its reader to feel as if they had been there, and then guides them through the issues raised, all in an exciting and creative style. Made with the input of the artists it really is an amazing publication.

But it doesn’t stop with the written word, as the publication is accompanied by two DVD’s. DVD 2 captures essential video highlights from past works of the stars of the Disability Arts scene, all of which were screened at the Access All Areas event, and DVD 1 allows the viewer to virtually attend the event as it contains video taken through out the programme. It also has an audio version of the entire book and audio recordings of the dialogues and discussions held over the two days.

On an accessibility front this book/DVD package is one of the first accessible publications I have had the pleasure of interacting with. Printed in a cleverly laid out large font with the DVD’s fully subtitled, fully audio described and very well thought out, Access All Area, Live Art and Disability demonstrates that the barriers that disable people can be removed in such a way to enhance the experience of all users. How many books have you read that allow you to actually interact with the research material? This accessibility also means that the publication will be an amazing resource for the academic study of Disability Arts, as it contains in a one stop shop such a rich collection of creative output, discussion of practise and the thought processes behind that creativity and the wider social issues that the artists wish to explore.

I am proud to have Access All Areas, Live Arts and Disability on my bookshelf. It’s a publication that encapsulates the wealth of creative talent beavering away within the Disability Arts scene, contains the very best of their work, intelligent comment and discussion of process and practise, and looks great too. I believe it will become a seminal publication, not only for the Disability Arts world which it exposes beautifully but for the wider arts community as it demonstrates how make art books accessible. A must have for anyone interested in the arts and creative practise.

Access All Areas, Live Arts and Disability can be ordered by clicking here

Review by Mik Scarlet © 2013

“This writing was first published on Interface 30/10/13 as the result of a book giveaway by Live Art Development Agency/Unbound”.

It can also be found on the Huffington Post Lifestyle section.

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Previous Columns in PosAbility Magazine.

Here are a all of my columns published in PosAbility Magazine up until the most recent issues.

Love’s Great Adventure Published December 2011

Tomorrow Is Getting Closer Published February 2012

Adventures In The Sun Published April 2012

What Doesn’t Kill you Makes You Stronger Published June 2012

Body Beautiful Published August 2012

What Are Words Worth? Published October 2012

Scarlet’s Christmas Carol Published December 2012

To See Yourself As Others See You Published February 2013

Equality; You Can’t Pick and Choose Published April 2013

Keep checking back as I will be adding new pieces on a regular basis.


As well as my column I am now writing articles for PosAbility. Here is the first one.

Home Or Away? Published April 2013

They are all PDF files, so just click on them and they will open in a separate window.


Click here to Subscribe to PosAbility Magazine

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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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© Mik Scarlet. First published in The Independent as ‘I don’t want a normal life. Why does that shock you?’ on 14th November 2000.

I don’t normally get asked to write articles on such a sensible topic as social rights. I usually get asked to write about sex, clubbing, partying, fashion, and sex again. But then I think that’s what social rights are really. The right to do what everyone else does, what everyone else takes for granted. I have always felt that during the fight for civil rights, those at the front line sometimes forgot that there is more to equality than just having access to public transport or the right to work. I must admit I have always been more interested in the fight to make nightclubs accessible than public transport. (From the horror stories I hear about train crashes, faulty train lines, and overcrowded tubes and buses, I think I’ll stick to my little blue sports car). In the past I have been condemned for being too interested in having fun, but this once very unpopular view is now becoming more accepted, even trendy. With the event of campaigns like “Attitude is Everything”(the new drive to make live music venues and clubs accessible to us disabled types), the right to entertainment and enjoyment is being acknowledged. I see the fight for equality as the fight to do what you want to do, to live your life your way.

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© Mik Scarlet. First published in Best For Music magazine vol.2 April 2001

Now I know I’m getting old. Soft Cell playing live! One of THE bands of my teenage years, back together! Yippee.

So with full make up on I drive, with “Non-Stop Erotica Cabaret” pumping out of my little blue sports car, to Ocean, Hackney’s new music venue. Being a blaggy bastard it’s the opening night. Invite only and free drink all night… yes I drove… duh. I sit through speeches by Hackney council types, all patting each other on the back (well it’s not often they can do that, so I’ll let them off) and then it’s the opening night fireworks… lovely. At last all the hoopla is over and we are allowed into the arena. I find myself rushing to the front, like a mad teenage fan. It’s all coming back to me…. “Marc, we love you!”

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Edited by John Brockman Book Review by Mik Scarlet

From the moment I learnt to read, I devoured anything science based. By the time I was 12 I saw the future as a place populated intelligent robots, biomechanical engineering, interstellar spaceships, aliens, and ray guns. A fantastic future that would resemble a mixture of Star Trek, Star Wars, and 2000AD comic.

Yet here we are 25 years later in a world that is pretty much the same as the one I lived in as a pre-teenager. In fact instead of conquering space, we are only just building our first real major space station, and that’s in near Earth orbit. This is where anyone who tries to predict what the future holds; they are too unrealistic.

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© Mik Scarlet. First published in The Independent

So it’s that time of year again. The BBC’s Children In Need campaign. A whole night of stars begging us to give money to help the “poor little things”. Terry and Gabby front this all night-er and we give. Or should I say you give. As someone who comes from one of the groups portrayed as IN Need then I won’t be. Yes I used to be a disabled child.

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© Mik Scarlet. First published in Best For Music magazine vol.2 April 2001

It wasn’t planned, it kind of just happened. This weekend I did something that I haven’t tried since I was about 18. I STAYED IN ALL WEEKEND. My girlfriend Diane and myself spent 48 hours in our flat, broken only by a quick lunch time jaunt to our local pub with her friend Veronica. Other than that we didn’t go clubbing, gigging, to a cinema, or even back to a pub. We spent two days IN!!! Ok, we were in bed for most of it (tee hee) but what shocked me was not the fact that we stayed in but the fact I didn’t miss going out. And what’s more I know it’s not because I’m getting old (the main subject of my last London Calling). It’s because clubs are changing. Dance music is becoming a parody of it’s self or it’s turning into garage hell (garage music is without doubt total shit – anyone who says other wise should remember we have garage to blame for Craig “Ego” David), in London most rock clubs are held in some dive that smells of piss, pubs seem to have forgotten they are not clubs and have turned up the music to a Ministry of Sound volume and gigs seem to be full of crap bands doing the same old same old. But the main reason why going out is losing its appeal is Cocaine!

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