This weekend Diane and me are off to enjoy Derby Feste, the city’s annual arts festival. It’s always a thoroughly enjoyable weekend for us, as Derby is one of those places that gets access for disabled people and so allows the disabled visitor to switch off while they are there. When you combine this freedom with a fun filled itinerary of arts for all the family, from street theatre through to the music and firework extravaganza that ends the festival, which this year is courtesy of Les Commandos Percu and Deabru Beltzak, it’s one of those events that is a must see. Luckily I will be accompanied by my mate and local actor Emily Howlett, founding member of Deaf Arts company PAD Productions, who will be giving me the skinny on the secret side of Derby. I am planning a review for the Huff, both of the festival and of any key shows that grab my eye. So watch this space. And if you are knocking around Derby this weekend and see Di and me come and say Hi! Especially if you have something in mind that you think we just have to see!
Argh! August was a crazy busy month. It’s started with three days of training at the BBC weather department, as part of their weather presenting training scheme. It was an amazing three days and I learned loads. Being a weather presenter is one of the hardest jobs in TV, and I doff my cap to anyone who does it. You never know, one day it might be me!
Another video clip that came out in August was my contribution to the Scope campaign. End The Awkward. I originally did one about always being asked if I could have sex, but they went with a less rude experience instead. See what you think…
Then I spent a week celebrating hitting my 50th birthday, ending in a humdinger of a birthday party. A huge thanks to everyone who came. Here’s to the next 50 eh?
But I had no time to recover as I was then off to Brighton to act in a short film, directed by 90’s heart throb Toby Amies. I can’t say too much but I got to fire a gun… for the first time ever in my life. While it was a really long night shoot, I can’t wait to see the finished result as the film looks like a gore fest with a superb twist!
I’ve also just finished my regular column for PosAbility magazine, and an article exploring sex with a spinal injury. I also shot a film with Enhance the UK about the problem page I write for, The Love Lounge, alongside my partner Non-expert Sexpert Emily Rose Yates. I’ll keep you posted when that is ready to look at.
So as September begins it still looks just as busy. I have been asked to create an access guide to Camden by the owners of the market, have loads of Disability Equality Training coming up as well as a visit to Derby to review the up coming Derby Feste. If you are up that way for the festival maybe see you there?
Anyway, I will try to up date this website on a more regular basis. I did say try of course……
I must admit I haven’t been updating my website as much as I should have recently. I’ve been really really busy, but I had to tell you all some amazing news. On Wednesday July 29th I am starting on a three day course at the BBC, training to be a weather presenter. The course got loads of publicity as it was especially looking for disabled people to take part, and the right wing press went a bit ape over this as they said it was positive discrimination. Well, yes it is and I think it’s about time. Disabled people are still pretty invisible from our TV screens, unless they are talking about being disabled, and this is course is part of drive from the BBC to change that. All I say is bravo Auntie Beeb. Now I’m not sure I will end up with a job at the end, as I don’t exactly look like an stereotypical weather presenter, but the new skills will be fantastic.
Presenting the weather is a real skill, and one that if you do it right makes it look much easier than it really is. You have to get across loads of information in a fun and entertaining way, in a really short space of time and all live.Doing my audition was scary but by Friday I will have the skills to be a weather presenter. So watch this apce for news. Fingers crossed eh?
Recently I read an article about young disabled people using vlogging to highlight their experiences. I have been thinking about doing the same, despite not being anywhere near young anymore, but could never really nail down what to talk about. However as I now give advice on Enhance The UK‘s Love Lounge it occurred to me that this would be the perfect medium to dole out my pearls of wisdom around love, life and confidence. So Mik’s Tips was born.
After fighting with Adobe Premiere for a day, I finally got a product that fitted my hopes. Not a slick super professional job, but more a homage to late night TV from the 90’s like Get Stuffed. Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen… I give you the inaugural episode of Mik’s Tips. In this episode I explore my methods of turning rejection into a good thing… yes it can be done.
And remember, if you think I can help with a problem or issue you are having please drop me a line through the Love Lounge. You never know, your question might even end up on a future Mik’s Tips!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
So that’s it for now. There was more but I have forgotten it right now. Well, it is nearly Christmas! Can’t wait!
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….
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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?
I 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!