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> > Richard Downes

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.

Documentary Evident - Searching For Sugar Man

30 August 2012


As a reader of friday and weekend reviews I have noticed a hunger for documentaries. My initial feeling about this was pphhhfffff!!!! so what. But is seems that I have finally succumbed and i blame the wife who took me to see Marley earlier in the year.   Last night we went to see Searching.... at the Curzon Soho and stumbled upon an extraordinary story which i'll spend some time on later but first the Curzon Soho. I'm no expert on access and i would need someone to back this up and find...

Comments: 0

The Paralympics - Reinforcing Attitudes Towards Disability

30 August 2012


I boycotted the Olympics because of the involvementof ATOS. I was going to boycott the Paras for the same reason only listening to friends and adding my own prejudices I added Dow, McDonalds and Coca Cola to the mix. Then I started to change my mind. Someone said the fourth principle of the Paras is equality. I can support that. Then articles on access started to appear in the press and media. Even Disabled People Against Cuts and other activists groups began to get a mention. I can go with all...

Comments: 8

Paralympic Censorship

2 September 2012


Following on from the perceived protests by Team GB at the opening of the paras and the actual protests at the Closing of ATOS Ceremony by DPAC and UK Uncut it seems relevant to demand the truth.   Was there a protest or not? Could it be that Team GB were the only team that could not cope with wearing lanyards in the wind? Was there a sudden pandemic of collective amnesia within the ranks? Are we the only nation on earth that doesn't know how to dress properly?   It certainly...

Comments: 0

Historical dates

8 October 2012


UK Disability History Month logo

Tomorrow Tuesday: Nabil Shaban celebrates John Lennon's Birthday on 9th October by launching on Kindle the original first draft and performance draft of his play 'I am the Walrus'. Nabil introduces the event as: "The world believes Mark Chapman killed John Lennon... but Broadmoor psychiatric patient, Charlie Markham, a little man in a wheelchair, knows he, Charlie was the real killer, even though he was Lennon's 'Number One Fan'. These drafts date back to 2001 when Nabil Shaban, disabled...

Comments: 1

The Thoughts of Frida Kahlo Today

4 November 2012


Frida Kahlo is a dead disabled woman. Frida Kahlo may also be a living woman of colour. I am reading some of the latters recent thoughts. Whilst the name survives the grave Frida Kahlo seems to be very much alive. These initial thoughts come from An Interview. Frida Kahlo: "... the most influential galleries and museums exhibited almost no women artists. When we showed the figures around, some said it was an issue of quality, not prejudice. Others admitted there was discrimination, but...

Comments: 0

A Special Residential School Experience

25 February 2016


Illustration by Paolo Veronese of Jesus healing a woman with a flow of blood

Independence is an attitude If Jesus don't want ya Fuck im And your parents too You don't want no one That don't want you Well, that's what I think anyway. it all came back to me today. Independence ain't got nothing to do with life skills. Life skills they can teach you in schools and centres. It's how they tie you up. Life lessons happen outside the classroom. They come to you in the dark, day or night, like blinding flashes of light. You don't need to go to school...

Comments: 5

Signs: Read Em, Write Em, Weep and Vomit

15 April 2016


Sitting on a train from Harpenden to Kentish Town I see a blue panel with 5 characters on it. A wheelchair user, a woman, a man, a baby and a carer. I think that's the correct order. So i start telling their stories in my head. Photograph the panel as I'm leaving and cut and paste it here. My stories feel true today. Austerity claws on and attitudes stink - worse than you think. So here in reply are my two profound moments Scenario 1. Baby comes into the world, grows up to be a man,...

Comments: 0

What could the Southbank's 'Festival Of the World' be to me and you and us and them?

6 June 2012


photo of an installation as part of Southbank Centre's Festival of the World. The installation consists of a series of extra large alphabet cubes.

I am here. You are there. Different, diverse, separate, apart. Can I share your world? Can you get into mine? I cannot speak for you. Except for those things we share. I cannot tell you what unless, in making this approach, I give you clues about what things I have myself. Clues. Games. Treasure Hunts. Learning. Sometimes in leaving my world I find other worlds I think I could make my world if I would give it a try. Snowdon. I look at the mountain range through a camera lens. I see it change...

Comments: 4