The We All Shot Pudsey Bear Facebook Group started its Burn Pudsey Friday Event five years ago. It always coincides with The Children In Need telefon event and so if nothing else saves us from watching crap tv with crap celebs doing crap things. So if you are looking for something to do on 16th Novemeber 2012.....
Historically the page started when Clare Lewis sent me a picture of Pudsey with a bullet wound, a gun and the slogan 'I Shot Pudsey Bear'. I found this extremely funny - though its violent content has been much criticised. The picture was used on the page but one of our younger members decided that Pudsey should be feeling sad about this and his manipulation has been used ever since.
Clare and I had a shared experience of being Danners. One of my first actions with DAN, The Disabled People's Direct Action Network was outside the BBC Centre, White City. Some of us used tickets acquired by Nick Saunders to get into the studio and chant Rights Not Charity at Terry Wogan and Gaby Roslyn. I remember Sue Elsgood and Rachel Salmon being there. We were evicted. Burn Pudsey Friday came out of this event.
Marisha Bonar and Dave Lupton have been great supporters of this event, participating and cocntributing images to the facebook page. I have celebrated it myself with the aforementioned Nick and Adrian Wyatt helping me to burn what Marisha calls 'the little yellow bastard'.
What i really wanted to hear about was disabled people getting together, saving their fireworks and bonfires for this event. The idea of sociability and solidarity figured pretty big in my head at the time. I figured that the event could be celebrated individually too and just the idea of disabled people burning Pudsey across the country would conjure a sense of solidarity.
Don't buy a pudsey to burn. That would be to contribute to a cause I don't believe in. Previous burners have used other bears and put a sling across his unblind eye. I usually print the bear out on a piece of A4. I've found it doesn't burn well but, if you buy a newspaper that usually discriminates against minorities, that will usually help him to burn really well. Last year I bought the Express and tore out pages that showed discriminatory views or charity adverts or tragedy model messages and just burned them. The evidence is on the facebook page.
Did it have an impact. Well, DPAC became really direct in taking action this year putting law breaking above and beyond simple theatre so maybe the wishes that went up with that smoke meant something to someone.
Are there other ways to celebrate burn Pudsey Night. You bet there are. Some have suggested direct action. I wonder if any cinema franchises support Pudsey. What would happen if we all went to watch a film together. Its a case of choosing your targets i guess. But having said that doing anything, messing with your imagination, puttiung some art out there. Whatever, its your call. No pressure.
We are walking through a busy Camden High road, too wrapped up in each other to notice the people funneling around the chugger so it is we find ourselves face to face with the garroulous scottish one.
"You ever heard of Battersea Dogs Home?"
"Are you english?"
I am english. Its just sometimes that when people ask me direct yes no questions i alternate my answers. Its fun to see how long it takes people to cotton on that i'm playing with them. never thought i'd get the chance to do it with a chugger but it might be usefull to bear it mind in future.
"Then i'm sorry but i can't ask you for money"
"I can only take account details from people resident here?"
Better stop this now before he gets to playing the yes no game with me. But what a great discovery.
Weeks latter I'm in a pub watching the football and relating this tale to one of the bar staff. he is well impressed but finds it a little dubious. Money is money. His australian assistant confirms this. It has happened to her too. Suddenly we are engaged with the thought of developing two armies of anti-chuggers. The yes no army that plays them along and sees how far they can go and the phoney foreign accent army who wish to spend less time with them.
Can we recruit you?
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 than we had a right to expect. It tortured us to decide to go. Other crips would miss out on it, descrying it for being led by organisations for disabled people, those who speak for us at the risk of losing our own voice,presenting our own ideas, which the For's have heard, stolen, misappropriated. Why should we give them credit by filing alongside them in protest. We knew the risk. One of us says almost a year later that they are still being persecuted by radical activists for having the nerve to choose to participate - ah, the rigours of being principled in opposition, the unkindness of friends, the devastation our choices roll out when taken, the risks that were too much to take, the quality of support.
So, why risk it. UKDPC were calling for partcipation under their own banner. it promised to be big. The mass mobilisation of disbaledpeople as a major fighting political force. Some hopes even then it would fizzle out again until the pain behind the vastness of the issue began tobe felt. the issue was important but we could a) support our brothers and sisters, b) make a contribution c) see friends who would go and d) show we were there
We had to find a way to make it acceptable for us, I came up with the idea of cheap photocopied posters reading OF on one side. OFF on the other. We would use these to subvert the march by idenitifyingourselves as OF Disabled People and OFF charities for and the bad intentions of government.
My work stands for what it is on flickr. I'd like to be seen more widely. I'd like this to be a useful tool that reflects the fun and humour of taking action, that talks of friendships that we have, links we make and positions that we adopt. I'd like for it to be useful in discussions we contniue to have about our stance on the tragedy model and its evil practitioners.
I'd also like for the We All Shot Pudsey Bear Facebook Group to be more widely recognised.
Feel free to follow the photojournal and join the group. They are in public domain. Steal what is useful to you in support of our struggle for equality. Use art and action to make your own statements.
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 the more likely they are likely to end up doing unpaid work at Tesco’s.
Some are really happy to talk to you. Some think the more they talk to you the more likely they are to persuade you to drop the cash. Some are very cocky. Happy to spread the bullshit round – either that or believes in the product. These are the best to talk to. They collect nothing for the time and seconds spread to minutes, to half hours and longer. It’s a good thing to do and represents a strong test for your tolerance levels which incidentally is not included in the all work test.
The chat I had with this next chugger found someone barely forthcoming. She was standing on the corner by a local supermarket. She had this kind of clown, harlequin outfit on. I happened to have a digital camera in my pocket. I had specifically started carrying it for encounters with chuggers.
This was the chat:
“I think you are really colourful. Can I take your photo?”
“Thank you Sir”
“Who are you chugging for?”
“Disabled Children and Older People”
“Families for Survival UK”
“Do you support people in the UK?”
“Yes and in other countries”
“Well I think you look great. Do you think it helps to chug if you dress up as something ridiculous?”
“I don’t know”.
I found her answer to be very funny. I wonder if anyone else knows.
The first in a series called Chatting To A Chugger http://detrich.wordpress.com/2009/10/02/chatting-to-a-chugger/
The second can be found here: http://detrich.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/chatting-to-a-chugger-2/
I’m sure i have another one somewhere – maybe our conversation was too complex for me. I did mean to write it though!