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On missing Unlimited 2014 / 14 September 2014


Today the ocean seems to be falling out of the sky. Wheeling out is ill advised.
Having blogged my distress at missing Unlimited 2014, I have tried to follow what I can from Tokyo, which of course means Dao blogs and reviews. Today is a good day for catching up, sorting my growing collection of photos and doing some rather neglected drawing.

I have really enjoyed the video blogs from Colin and Tony and from Sue Austin (10th September 2014)
The added atmosphere of Sue's busy Southbank interior and the guy's windy corner, brought the missed experience closer. And their spoken words conveyed so much more; gave access to a more intimate expression of what the pieces had meant to them.

I do hope we get more like that.

As a wheelborne rail traveller from the south of England, the Southbank is one of the more easily accessible London destinations - if you don't take the expense into account; but Tokyo has proved to be a more accessible, more affordable place to get around in.

Like a pleat in time the link, the contrast and similarities between 'my' London and 'my' Tokyo get lined up close to each other for appreciation and respect.

In Tokyo I can miss the sense of community with other disabled people, and have come to think of that as a British thing. I've not sensed it in any other country, which of course could just be the foreigner-thing; but, people watching, I've particularly not noticed it among Japanese disabled people who, when not alone (rare) are relating only (like everyone else), to the people they know, the apparent-normals who accompany them.
I'm reminded of the English doctor who, years ago, told me not to associate with disabled people as it would only reinforce my own disability and be bad for my mental health; but this is a misleading mental leap which only illustrates the difficulty I have in shaking off the negativity of life in England.


In London I miss the freedom; the universal organisation that attempts to make life equally easy for everyone. And of course the courtesy that allows me to be out and about without seeing and feeling public distaste at my presence.
I really believe that Disability Arts need to come out from under: assuming our equality, presuming our talent, more positive statements - less questioning, less reacting to the obnoxious attitude of some miserable specimens of 'human' life.

That's why I'm sad to have missed Unlimited 2014.



The sun shone briefly facilitating
my escape from aircon and indoor lights,
I rolled to Sumida, bowed my respect
like any assistant entering or
leaving the shop floor; the gently angled
gaijin bow that works on wheels, engaged me
with the river. Swollen with rain and sea
tidal Sumida preoccupied with
her own rolling, balances a small barge
ferrying rubbish, supports the huge wake
as the waves, cresting white, break on her banks
reaching for the edge of the concrete
bed with an eagerness to spill over,
to lap at my feet and run through the spokes
of my wheels. All of Sumida's faces,
all of her personalities, are one
in this bold concentration of water.