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Disabled - so what?

I’ve written two blogs since day out in Chichester and not posted either of them, my self-preservation instinct over-riding everything. I need to overcome this paranoia.

My fear is real, but what about the threat? The instinct to hide is a relic from my “dinosaur brain”. Threatened, like the wounded animal, I seek isolation, and I am so easily made complicit in my own marginalisation.

Integrate. Hide. They shout
from behind the barricade
of “Normal.” Is this progress?

Or an offer of safety
until the war is over?

Except this isn’t war.
This financial instability
merely an excuse to mask
the poverty of aspiration
that sees a generation
overwhelmed by its
complexity of knowledge
and its poverty
of understanding.

Times are hard; as a consumer of fringe products, I discover my choices are slowly being eroded by the decisions people are making in order to survive this financial turbulence.

As a disabled person I notice my needs are more openly ignored as people struggle for their own existence.

The hard times are actually the times when I really do need recognition and support, but I am dismayed to find the so called “New Thinking” that is designed to enable the arts to at least tread water, actually offers disabled people nothing except the encouragement to hide.


Integration, if offered as a catch-all solution is doomed to failure. It may seem politically modern/correct to play the "Black - so what?" card; it may be right for society, but is it right for the arts?
Black is not a problem - and by saying that I'm not denying that hate crime happens. I am saying that it is always totally and utterly unjustified in any shape or form. But I am also saying that people need to feel free to create from their personal perception of their uniqueness without fear, or risk of recriminations.
I'm proud of creating issue-based arts.  When my disability became a visible disability, people's perception of me changed, I was treated differently. Eventually I began to create this thing labelled Disability Arts.
Maybe I'd rather we had a bigger label. What I'm looking for is the kind of Universal that celebrates the culturally diverse and unique. And minds that are open enough to recognise all kinds of cultural diversity.
For me the "problem" is the way society is mentally and physically cobbled together, without much of a clue about how to change for the better. No laws or lectures will change ingrained thinking - it takes artists to do that, or a personal experience.

Posted by Gini, 26 September 2011

Last modified by Gini, 4 October 2011

Self actualization.


North begins to whisper and sing to me at this time of year. It is a powerful influence on my work, but defies adequate expression.

I don’t often try to research or explain this longing to travel north in winter and south in summer; I think of myself as a migratory being with an inverted compass, and I’d like to find a unique way to express it.

Years ago a reference to Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” set me seeking and finding authors and poets who were trying to express the journey in out of the ordinary ways. I explored James Joyce because I too had experimented with creating my own language from a concoction of languages and emotional utterances. I doubt this made communicating any easier

And I came full circle with an article about the Danish author HC Branner’s efforts to depict the preverbal and non-verbal, with the claim that authors can become mediums for an inner or higher linguistic reality.

The uniqueness of the telling creates the emotion, reveals and becomes the journey; last autumn I began working with the words.
This year my seasonal migration instinct feels dulled by the equally primitive instinct to hide. Under threat, under pressure in these turbulent times, I feel like I’m heading downwards on a Maslow triangle; clutching the basics in my personal “hierarchy of needs.

My uniqueness becomes a burden when I try to hide. I can only be bold and attempt to share it. I have no desire to be integrated, which I see as the antithesis of artistic, and I am proud of making Disability Arts

But right now I am visually perplexed. Perhaps the current climate is dulling my creativity? Perhaps the need to travel north is something that can only be expressed by doing it? I think I need to be looking back up at the top of my triangle.

Posted by Colin Hambrook, 11 September 2011

Last modified by Gini, 28 September 2011

Elusive artwork

The artwork is biding its time. My mood needs to improve. I call on my muse to little effect. My day out is taking its toll. I would have shrugged it off if not for the disparaging emails that followed up my initially tentative criticism. Memories of fear and oppression have been awakened.

Brown, with a slight bend
like painfully produced turds,
strategically placed fir-cones
provoke instant hilarity;
my laughter is unrequited.
An anxious frown follows my slow
rolling progress. If I did have
special needs, would I feel thankful?

“Look! She’s so happy to be here”
I remember clapping my hands
on a winter beach as they walked
briskly by. Sitting still was just
so very cold.

The misunderstandings around
my requests for information,
urge me to feel guilty that I
do not conform to expectation.
But the final straw – presumption
of ignorance – flabbergasts me.
With effort I rise above it,
but the ire just roils and rumbles.

Imagination tells me that
Utopia is somewhere out there,
when really it lives inside me
in the strength sustaining the still
Hidden Secret.

I do need to move on, but for now my attention is claimed by the arrangements that must be made for filming “The Wheel Story” on 14th September.

“The Wheel Story” is to be LinkUpArts’ entry for Salisbury Arts Centre’s film festival. “What’s the Story” will contain a selection of short films where the audience has to guess which well-known tale has been re-invented, so I cannot say more … my lips are sealed. We might get selected.

Requesting the presence of a fellow “roller” on the 14th I suddenly realise that he could be part of the aforementioned elusive artwork. It is still happening - in spite of me.

Posted by Colin Hambrook, 8 September 2011

Last modified by Gini, 27 September 2011