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17 Mar 2013

Post 387: Some grovelling by the end


I reflected on Friday night that I’m glad I’m a person that does things and not just someone who sits at home because he is too scared to try stuff. I admit I’m lucky that the stability of my financial position thanks to my pension and my non-reliance on state support (which feels like it’s about zero anyway) enables me to get out to a couple of gigs a week. I was sitting at one of these gigs on Friday at the Shepherds Bush Empire which as a venue I love, but as a wheelchair user I hate. I think the reason people who can walk sometimes don’t like these places is they feel a bit crowded in and they have their ‘freedom of movement’ restricted. You should try being in a wheelchair for a day, better still, imagine what it would be like at one of these things! I took the following video to give you some idea. In the Empire it is pitch black and once you get to this position you’re in, you can’=t move for two hours! Now I thought, if I was a precious little princess about this I might kick up a fuss but I don’t because I don’t believe in making the already difficult even more difficult than it already is. That’s why I save complaining about it to a medium that will cause the least fuss (ie here) The Empire couldn’t (and wouldn’t) do anything about it even though it probably should – it’s already enough of a challenge getting access (the temporary ramp they put out so I can get in through the side is awful)and tickets to the place are bloody tricky to get. I’m not a campaigner. I leave that to wheelchair users and people with energy. Before I had my stroke I might have been an effective campaigner. Someone who had the energy and get up and go to be shunted from pillar to post. Some of the more mundane tasks at my old job involved tracking down people who were responsible for random irrelevant things that had been forgotten about for sometimes ten years – important sh*t then – and then the person involved would make up any old sh*t excuse as to why it hadn’t been done, not unlike male West African health care assistants who would literally make up ANYTHING to try and shift culpability, and before the PC brigade try and score points by shouting ‘racist’, I’ve seen it first hand – 2 odd years in London’s hospitals will do this, Proper racism is awful, this is merely playing with race
Anyway, I digress, despite the Shepherds Bush Empire being something of a challenge like any venue that’s putting on a ‘once in a lifetime’ event I’m going to have a go at going. It’s a fulltime therapeutic exercise for me to get the tickets and organise the logistics. Possibly the most important thing these days is to try and match the event to the person taking me. As the Friday event was Smith’s guitarist Johnny Marr, I had planned to take my friends Ched and Champ, both lads in their forties who would have lived and breathed the Smith’s in their formative teens and twenties, the time when the Music you listen to really defines you. I was a bit young for the Smith’s but I am familiar with their work. A couple of weeks ago Champ had cried off saying he was at the Cheltenham horse racing festival probably wagering obscene sums so I asked Ched if his wife Terri might be up for it – she was, so everything was hunky-dory and surprise surprise it was another brilliant (seminal, dare I say)gig even if the Friday night London traffic was a horse's arse! Luckily we left approx 2 hours for a one hour journey. I always feel terribly guilty that it is my fault that friends of mine are forced to sit in traffic because they are helping me out. When I try and communicate this I am invariably told to SHUT UP, anyway, another success of an evening – Terri saying ‘she wished she was 20 years younger’ – well I took that to be a good thing to say about the gig as getting nostalgic is one of the few benefits of getting old and Ched said on facebook:
Great night out, many more of those please !
So mission accomplished I think!
This blame business, it’s clearly the problem with being brought up in a household where it’s ‘always someone’s fault’ and penance is always ‘guilt based’ – it is vital to be able to blame someone, maybe it’s more important to avoid being blamed. Hell, we’ve all got a little west African about us!
Taking into account what I said about finding the right person for the job if I’ve got tickets for something, I’d seen that ‘The Stranglers’ were on in Guildford on Tuesday, for those unfamiliar with them the salient part of their Wikipedia description is:
"the most continuously successful" band to have originated in the UK punk scene of the mid to late 1970s.
So this was a job for Graham,a friend of a frirnd, now a great mate in his own right, a self- confessed Mod, we have been to some great stuff. I was a little worried that G-Live might be a bit of ‘sports hall’ atmosphere but it worked rather well , the Stranglers have got an amazing repertoire - I said to Graham a couple of times ‘The Kaiser Chiefs sound IDENTICAL to this and it wasn’t just because I saw them cover ‘No More Heroes’ at Brixton Academy two weeks ago. What was amusing was I was wondering how the most middle-class place in the world, Guildford, would react to ‘Punk Rock’, my question was hilariously answered when the lead singer of the awful support band ‘the Godfathers’ shouted before they started ‘COME ON GUILDFORD LETS MAKE SOME F*CKING NOISE, only to met by a wall of stony silence (hmmm, a stone wall even) made me chuckle a bit, the vintage of the crowd was probably a factor, 'they don't need a mirror ball' Graham said ' just shine a light on top of the crowd, all the bald heads should do it'. Graham has obviously been folically blessed. Because I can I’ll finish with a picture of my cats ‘Ham and Cheese’ looking irritatingly sweet.
It is probably the most important event for my mental health next weekend, my 36th(!) birthday – if you should know about it but don’t, please email me. I hope it’s a good party.
I am also faintly terrified of how I’m going to cope when my carers are going away for a month from mid-April. They’ve got things to see and people to do (something like that ;)) in South Africa, and I would have thought they are dying to have a break from how tedious I am! Don’t be surprised if you get a panic call to do me an evening meal mid-April to mid-May – if you are happy to do an evening or weekend please either facebook message me or email me your phone number. Please. I hate being this grovelly but sometimes needs must. Big thanks to a few people who already have put their hands in the air. Especially my neighbour Tracey and my mate down the road Isabel. Their stepping forward has been a big help.

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