Busy, Busy, Busy!

At the launch of Disability Sheffield

At the launch of Disability Sheffield

It’s been a crazy couple of months. It started with a trip up to Sheffield to speak and compere at the launch of Disability Sheffield. It’s really great to see so many of these disability led organizations springing up all over the country, giving disabled people a real voice and ensuring we support each other as we fight to achieve equality. Met some great people and hope to go back in 2014.  The Midlands is a hot bed of disability activism for sure.

Telling it like it is at Imperial College

Telling it like it is at Imperial College

Next I gave a speech at Imperial College London as part of their Disability History event. We tend to forget that alongside disabled students, colleges and universities have many disabled staff and this event was to launch the Imperial’s disabled staff forum. Another superb event, run by some really committed people for the benefit of everyone at Imperial. It made Diane’s day as she always wanted to go to Imperial to study Physics. I hope that in the near future I will get the chance to work the Diversity team there, both with the staff and students. One of their big aims for next year is to get more people to identify themselves as disabled and you all know what a fan of disability pride I am… so watch out.

Waiting to see Mr Jones

Waiting to see Mr Jones

Then Diane  and me took some time out for some fun, and went to the 02 Shepherds Bush Empire to see Howard Jones. I was invited by the man himself after we got on so well when I interviewed him for my BBC3CR radio show. I was really looking forward to it, both as we deserved a bit of fun and as it was Howard’s 30th anniversary in the music biz. Synthpop heaven! Sadly the Empire access is pretty poor and before the show got the hits section we had to leave. I won’t bore you with the exact why, but I do wish venues wouldn’t just sit on their laurels and think that temporary access provision that made them legal when the DDA came into effect nearly 20 years ago will suffice forever. I have heard from loads of other disabled gig goers that they also have had problems with the venue. Come on 02, you could make this venue amazing. I am available if you need any advice!

Outside the SIA offices in Milton Keynes

Outside the SIA offices in Milton Keynes

The crazy thing is that only a few days earlier I popped up to Milton Keynes to attend a training session on taking out Equality Act cases. Run by the Spinal Injuries Association and given by disabled lawyer Jonathon Fogerty, it gave everyone who took part the knowledge of how to use the Equality Act to our advantage. I plan to write a fuller blog about what I took away from this day later on, but for now all I can say is The Equality Act – Waste of Space! I am also unsure if you can sue a venue like the 02 Empire as they do have access, it’s just crap.

All smiles at NCCA Xmas drinkies

All smiles at NCCA Xmas drinkies

We were then invited to a Christmas Drinks party at the Langham Hotel on Regents Street for the NCCA as they celebrated the cycle ride across the country by their special Santas, delivering presents to children currently fighting or who recently fighting Neuroblastoma. As this is the type of very rare cancer I had as a baby, and as the charity is also based in Camden, it seemed we were destined to work  together. It was an amazing night, made even more magical when the Santas delivered presents to one survivor and her sister.  It was blissful to see two wonderful little girls (pictured) tearing open the wrapping paper to get at the gifts within, and even more joyful to see their happiness at what they got. And it was only December 2nd! It also made me remember how lucky I am to have beat this cancer, especially as I did it back in the late 1960’s!

Outside the Beeb

Outside the Beeb

Lastly I learned my lines and got myself all ready to attend a special casting even for disabled actors at the BBC. Organised by the Equity Deaf and Disabled Members Committee, the Creative Diversity Network and the broadcasters, it brought together disabled actors and casting directors in an attempt to show how much great disabled acting talent there is out there. It’s a common claim from the broadcasting industry that there isn’t enough disabled talent, and so the DDMC decided to show that was not the case. With the help of Equity staff and the CDN we put this event together so hopefully in the future we will start to see more disabled people in TV dramas. Maybe even me eh? I should also say I am very proud to be the chair of the DDMC at the minute. Another passionate group of disabled people trying to make the world a more equal place.

With Christmas coming up, I doubt things will be letting up either. I do have something else to announce to the world, but that will happen on Monday.

And with that I am off to put my feet up, before it all goes crazy again…..

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80’s Music show Online

Are you ready to be taken back in time? To a golden age of synth pop, men in make up, big hair, women in suits, lots and lots of hair spray, aftershave that was so strong it knocked your socks off, and parents who just didn’t get it? Well then you’ve come to the right place?

If any of you missed my 80’s music show on BBC 3 CR earlier this year, I have put it online at Tin Decks. So you can listen away or grab it to play on your MP3 player at your leisure. Or you can listen below. I’m so good to you lot.

Upload MP3 and download MP3 using free MP3 hosting from Tindeck.

I just want to say a big thank you to everyone at BBC 3 CR, Howard Jones, Derek and Adrian from Click Click, everyone who sent in messages and requests and of course my amazing wife who danced her way through the show next to me. Also a shout out to Tasos and his film crew who caught the whole thing on video for a documentary. more on that later.

Here’s the full playlist for the show:

First Hour –

New Life – Depeche Mode (3.47)

I Die:You Die – Gary Numan (4.40)

Love Action – The Human League (5.01)

Howard Jones Interview Part 1

What is Love? – Howard Jones (3.40)

Sweet Dreams – Eurythmics (3.57)

Don’t Go – Yazoo (3.08)

Howard Jones Interview Part 2

Things Can Only Get Better – Howard Jones (3.56)

Quiet Life – Japan (4.52)

Planet Earth – Duran Duran (4.01)

Second Hour –

Click Click interview live in the studio

Perfect Stranger – Click Click (4.01)

Follow The Leaders – Kiling Joke (5.38)

Alice – The Sisters Of Mercy (3.35)

Underpass – John Foxx (3.53)

Bedsitter – Soft Cell (3.36)

The Walk – The Cure (3.33)

Ccan’t You See? – Vicious Pink (3.17)

All Stood Still – Ultravox (3.40)

Dynamo Beat – Shock (4.31)

Nowhere Girl – B Movie (4.41)

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