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Penny Pepper's Blog - disability arts online
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Disability Arts Online

Sex and Drugs and Baby Punk Me: memories of Ian Dury / 10 January 2010

Penny still being political with a ranting poem, accompanied by Jo Cox on cello.

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I've just left a comment on the editor's blog concerning the new Ian Dury film. and it made me feel a wave of nostalgia for Ian and my baby years as a punk.

It was hard being a punk when so few venues had any hint of access and actually it makes me realise that some of our battles have had a real effect on waking society up to removing some barriers. This can be seen in the hard environment, more than anywhere else and attitudes remain especially slippery if not entrenched. If things were otherwise we would have a brilliantly talented disabled actor playing Ian!

My younger brother by 2 years, was also a punk and through him I was able to get a taste of what was going on out there. We shared records and he'd bought Kilburn and the High Roads - the band Ian was in before Blockheads.

I remember vaguely one of the album sleeves showing Ian with crutches - or was it another band member?! I do recall picking up very quickly that Ian was disabled. A crip. Like me. His anger and humour hit me with its passion and empathy, and truly changed my life.

I was in a specialist hospital institution a lot in those days, for long stretches of time, and it was a very sweet pleasure to blast out Plaistow Patricia (from LP New Boots and Panties) and the line 'arseholes, bastards, fucking c*nts and pricks' when I was down and depressed.

I met Ian Dury for about 30 seconds at the iconic disabilty arts event in West London in - 1981?? I believe Allan Sutherland has written about it - it was amazing, one of the first.

Dressed in my tight leather bondage dress, as 'Kata Kolbert' I was hawking my musical stuff around then, and my music was loud, punky-electro and very political. My partner Andy politely approached Ian after he did his slot to hand him a demo.

I was a timid, nervous little rabbit in those days and could only grin like a daft child and mutter hello, utterly overawed by meeting him. He was lovely, funny and of course very encouraging.

I feel sad he's not around now for us to talk to and exchange, and maybe argue happily with. I once read an interview with him talking about sex and disability, and had his impairment stopped him getting on. He said "no" by the way.... !

 

Keywords: access issues,