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Richard Downes - disability arts online
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I once wrote for life now I write in life. I'm looking forward to developing a blog presence with personality for DAO whilst delivering comment, reviews, photos and views on disability and how it's represented.

Shaping Up Another Entry

23 January 2012

Blog

Colour photograph of a stray glove placed on a steel traffic bollard in a car park in Lacock.

About an enjoyable day, the thoughts it caused, about past, current and future work that may or may not happen. A tale about a work completed with this blog entry - which may go further. Synchronicity. Does it work? It's Saturday. I'm reading the Guardian magazine. I like the Your Photos page. Always look at it but have never entered a photo. The next theme for entry is 'missing'. I remember a photo I took in Lacock. What is missing? A second glove? A person? This glove? A person's hand? I did...

Comments: 0

The Queen Is Dead The Song Lives On

24 January 2012

Blog

The last great Blues Shouter from that holy relic, Chess Records, has up and died. She could rock, she could roll she knew the meaning of soul. Ladies and gentlemen welcome to the page, The Queen of Soul, the divine Miss Etta James. We first dallied together in a loveless town in the east of england in the radio home of brit doyen of the blues, Alexis Korner, one of the big men behind the white blues boom. His sunday night show was one of the few that I'd religiously wait in for. He taught me...

Comments: 1

Sad Americana

3 May 2012

Blog

A couple of years ago just around christmas time I lost in quick succession and no longer in any order Vic Chesnutt, Mark Linkous and Jack Rose - 3 musicians that constantly delighted me.   Vic and Mark went through suicide. Jack a heart attack.   I was reminded of this listening to Lambchop's Mr M, their latest album, dedicated to the memory of Vic. Some at DAO will remember Vic has a wheelchair user. I remember, reading an unsympathetic review of one of his albums in DAIL...

Comments: 0

Write A Poem for Me

31 January 2012

Blog

Richard Downes gives you the opportunity to represent yourselves at a festival, talk about yourself, talk about our people, make a poem by simply adding lines. Are you up for it? Can you do it? Will you do it? According to Jim Morrison, with an echo and a roar, 'Out here in the perimeter we are stoned immaculate'. I am curating a festival starting 1st September and I want to be as inclusive as i can be. So i want you all to put a line down to show what we are, who we are, why we are, whatever...

Comments: 11

A Cracking Carol

1 February 2012

Blog

photo of a man standing behind a big book

Richard Downes takes a family day out to share a favourite club with others and to make lasting relationships in the arts Scene 1: The Past. A room in Tottenham. Summer. A long, long time ago. Franz Shealey, then a lip reader is watching Phil Sherman speak. He asks; "What is your favourite story?" Fran replies' "A Christmas Carol". "Wow!!!! That's mine too", reposts Phil. Immediately, Fran and Phil; the clown and mime artist respectively behind children's theatre...

Comments: 1

About Our Special Powers

10 February 2012

Blog

 Richard Downes has a grouse at Tempo House and wonders what your powers are. "Winston Churchill had a speech imp-p-p-pediment And look what he did He razed half of London" Currently my favourite lyric. I've caught it every time its come round on the The Fall's 'Perverted By Language' LP. I've actually got it on CD, but if i say LP you'll get more of an understanding about how ancient i remain. The small i too - that's a dead give away. Let us talk more of the small i one day....

Comments: 6

Chatting to A Chugger 3 - An Occasional Series

21 February 2012

Blog

photo of a man with a charity collecting bucket dressed in clown or harlequin outfit

For me the biggest word that comes out of the social model is responsibility. We all need to be responsible for change. In what ways can we be responsible? This is for you to answer for yourself but one way I do it is to chat with chuggers. A chugger is someone who collects for charity out on the street. The word is a composite of charity and mugger. I think it works well. The more time you spend talking to them the less they collect. The less they collect the less they work, the less they work...

Comments: 7

Another Playground Label Ahoy

26 March 2012

Blog

Travelling to the Shape Offices for the last day of the New Voices course I found myself shocked and alarmed by a poster on the tube. It wasn't the picture. It was the title. I suddenly realised that as a disabled person I was now at risk of acquiring another label. I was suddenly beiing asked to consider myself as one of The Undateables. Any search for love would be futile. Love for me had to be blind, disfigured and autistic. I could hear the word echoing around the playground, in the pubs...

Comments: 8

Keys To The Karamel’s Sweet Konnektions

1 March 2012

Blog

Up early, yesterday, sitting at the PC, marvelling at an early youtube clip sent by Chris Sheehan of Robert Plant getting up to sing a rollicking rock blues with Charlie Wood .. Late last night going home having seen Chris compere for Charlie’s chilled out jazz grooves at the Karamel Music Club, Wood Green, London, I thought I need to tell my readers about this place. This story reflects on Keys to the Karamel Club’s Sweet Konnektions. Chris Sheehan, Creative Director of Karamel...

Comments: 1

Rock N Rollers don’t wash their hair.

29 March 2012

Blog

This is a fundamental tenet of my beliefs. And I’ve had it dashed. Repeat exposure to old copies of Top Of The Pops, ancient photos revealed in the holy book of Mojo show the fathers of rock n roll, the progenitors of pop flouncing around with clean locks. I feel sick to my stomach. I keep on telling myself I will never believe again. But where did I create this mantra. It was forever in Chuck’s ducktail, Little Richard’s pompadour, Elvis’s Quiff. And blow me down; even...

Comments: 1

Struggling to Record the Action of the Hardest Hit

20 April 2012

Blog

I have a photo journal on flickr which i would like to contribute to DAO for safe keeping, debate and discussion. If anyone can advise me how to do this it would be much appreciated. I have tried Slideshare but my Power Point is too big. I've tried attaching it and mailing it to the Editor. Again its too big. The Power Point is an editted down version of the flickr set. Its about 3,100kb. Particpation in the first hardest hit march was a fun day out for us as participants. Much more fun...

Comments: 0

Introducing Jamie Green

23 April 2012

Blog

video still from Jamie Green's live show

Did you see my review of Laurence Clark's gig at  the Dugdale Centre, Enfield. I left a lot of stuff out. Something i've really liked about working with disabled comedians of late is that its easy to access them back stage and chat. In Enfield, I was listening in to Laurence talking with Jamie Green who revealed himself to be a stand up with a few youtube clips to his bow. I watched these out of interest. I'm not sure if I liked what I saw. Jamie certainly was getting the...

Comments: 5

What Is Writing Really?

5 May 2012

Blog

Questions WIth Gustave Flaubert

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe. Gustave Flaubert

I'm not sure if I believe that Gustave.

Lately it feels that the art of writing is the art of exploring what i don't know. Richard Downes

What do you think?

 

 

Comments: 6

Long Die The Tragedy Model

5 May 2012

Blog

manipulated photo of Ed Milliband

Good Grief! How did we miss this classic? Was it through our own grief at the passing of Jack Ashley? Anyway, how this came about. I was playing around with the Gustave Flaubert image that appears in my blog below. I had the idea to change the background to red on one occassion, blue on another, orange on another and blue and orange to signify the coalition. I was wondering who I might represent the 'You What' instead of Gustave. I immediately thought of Jack Ashley. David Blunkett ran through...

Comments: 1

Self Service Psychiatry

10 May 2012

Blog

picture of the word 'help' in capitals within a turqoise circular button

I attended a CPA yesterday. Care Programme Approach Meeting. It was the first one that my partner had been granted since 2008. She is supposed to have two a year. This was glossed over quickly by the psychiatrist who explained the lack of intervention through the excuse of reorganisation. We reorganise the office, the department, the co-working, we do all this and service users expect to be included, cared for, they go as far as asking for tolerance. Straight off he’s dealing with his...

Comments: 7

Another Song In the Key Of Strife - The Misanthrope

22 May 2012

Blog

My World View Seriously Sucks

I have no idea what the word misanthrope means - not what it actually means. It sounds like a combination of misery and strop. I think it describes someone who looks at humanity through a prism of misery, is unhappy with their world view, to the point that they go away and strop about it. Driving through Somerset the other day, the car cd played 'Regeneration' (surely a positive word) by The Divine Comedy (does not sound misanthropic at all). Led by songwriter Neil Hannon who (my memory might...

Comments: 0

Today I Met The B Man at The Festival of the World

1 June 2012

Blog

One of many designers at The Southbank's Festival of the World is Bee Man, not Beaman - Marc Cowan. He is the Bee Man because he likes bees. Well... partially. Not fully. He is the Bee Man bee cause he is involved in the days top story, told by someone else about a bee. The story was related by the Queen Bee. It involved Marc the Bee Man. Once upon a time we all beecame very small and found ourselves stretched out, feeding, cocoon like in a hive. Queen Bee June, the Queen of mid summer,...

Comments: 1

Ritual

18 June 2012

Blog

Just wanted to write something quickly  about something i experienced last week. Our mate Ken mailed us inviting us to a ritual. Funny that.... our mate Ken.... only just started calling him that and it hits him with a frisson. On the one hand its nice, warm and means friendship. On the other hand its not a colloquialism he welcomes and demotes him from our teeacher - the maestro. For it was ken who took us through his course on Folkore, Mythology and Witchcraft. These interests are...

Comments: 0

More Yoko No 1 - Sketches from my notebook

24 June 2012

Blog

Black and White photograph of Jan Pollock attending an ATOS action

The thought of meeting Yoko Ono - as a New Voices Writer excited me. If it came to be - and it did not - what would my interest be? Positive Activism. The Tragedy Model How to commit simple instructions as a way of overcoming personal tragedy The experience of exclusion The nature of segregation Participation and inclusivity  I will say more about Positive Activism in More Yoko No 2 - Yoko Versus We All Shot Pudsey Bear. The Tragedy Model. "Depicts disabled people as victims of...

Comments: 4

More Yoko No 2 - Yoko v We All Shot Pudsey Bear

25 June 2012

Blog

Yoko Ono, Planting Acorns, Bagism, Bed Ins, We All Shot Pudsey Bear, We Are Spartacus, DPAC, direct action

Walking down Oxford Street en route to the Serpentine it struck me that two things I respect may be incompatible.   Yoko's great campaign is for peace. She loves you. Single equality issues such as racism, feminism, ageism can be mollified through observance of the greater cause. Her tactic's have included planting acorns, bagism (against prejudice and stereotyping) bed in's for peace (protesting war, promoting peace). Her work is best seen as an opportunity to be included, involved. She...

Comments: 0

More Yoko No 3 - Move It

26 June 2012

Blog

It is a long walk from Tottenham Court Road Tube to the Serpentine Gallery. Made harder by an unusually hot summer's day. I wander whilst I wonder and wonder whilst I wander. Mostly I'm wondering am I going the right way. I've passed the Serpentine before. It's over there somewhere. It does seem a long way and a long time wandering. The new building surrounded by workmen's boundaries confuses further. I plod on wondering why I never depend on maps when I should and why it always comes good in...

Comments: 0

More Yoko No. 4 - Votive Offering

28 June 2012

Blog

I have an instinctive love and understanding of wish trees. I am drawn to them. They make me think. According to my old mate Wiki; “A wish tree is an individual tree, usually distinguished by species, position or appearance, which is used as an object of wishes and offerings. Such trees are identified as possessing a special religious or spiritual value. By tradition, believers make votive offerings in order to gain from that nature spirit, saint or goddess fulfillment of a wish”....

Comments: 5

More Yoko No 5 - Heaven and Earth

13 July 2012

Blog

a photo of an almost bare gallery space with a piece of rag on the floor

Health and Safety Alert!!!!! John met Yoko at the Indica Gallery. He climbed a letter to find a word that said YES. He was so pleased it wasn't anything negative and therein lies the roots of a love story. It will never be repeated at the Serpentine for policies are used to stop you climbing the ladder. It strikes me that the ladder has a place between heaven and earth that some of us would prefer to have replaced by a ramp and why not. It further strikes me that in this place there exist a...

Comments: 0

Get stuck into Karamel Music for the last time this season

17 July 2012

Blog

Rosely Funari is manager of the Karamel Club and she is is very serious. Every time she talks to me she talks to me about Disability Issues. I listen to her, she tells me what she is doing and then I buy a drink. Her latest pride other than employing a disabled person is the new ramp and an access audit that says other than the gap between bars the loo is accessible. She is so serious she won't even turn on the glitter ball because she was asked to turn it off once. I'm teasing her...

Comments: 0

The Revolution Starts Here - Just As It Started There Before

18 July 2012

Blog

Can I get something off my chest please. I just don't like the sub heading being used by the Southbank to push Unlimited. I don't like it so much my mind refuses to capture it but I think its; "The Revelation Starts Here...". I don't like it because it sounds a little bit holy moly for my taste. Its biblical man. Anybody else here remember the campaigns against Maurice Cerrulo and the like. Healers. Pah!!! It strikes me as being almost anti disabled people. And this is so...

Comments: 1