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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.

Signs: Discrepancy

22 May 2016

Blog

Standing by your locked gate My inner core is iron My outer shell is tin Hit me with a hammer To let my past times in I turn to drink As I try zinc To get my red corpuscles moving For being here Beside you As left me totally still I return to the institution. It's different. Still for kids. Kids lost in activity. It feels right and pleases me as much as anything ever will. The gate is iron. Visitors press 0 for reception. Code words are not needed, no special numbers, no secret signs. Just...

Comments: 0

Impairment Haiku

9 May 2016

Blog

Chest cooed like a dove A Cardio-vascular Expression of love Walking up a hill, feeling weary, I thought my chest had started up again. But no it was a dove. Or a pigeon. Probably a pigeon actually given their current predominence but I thought it was a dove. So, the words were basically there; a given. I wrote it down on an envelop somewhere. It was on the table. Then it wasn't on the table. Now its not on the table. Probably in a cupboard somewhere. The cupboard is still there. So is the...

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The Green Man Walks

8 April 2016

Blog

The Green Man steps out. Ginger. Late for the Vernal, early for May the red orange Beltane fire. Vapid grey skies pierced by blue Cannot deny the yellow hue of the daffodil, the snow of the drop nor the vivid darkness of the bell. The ginger man steps out. Green The rain, the cold, the winter shroud of hearth, quilt and blanket kept him home but not alone And the black tar, scarred and shadowed pleurositic lung raps at a lack of confidence Keeping the green man; ginger This green man went for a...

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Signs: Sold

30 March 2016

Blog

If we could sell our day what would we be bid who would want to buy we who were always sold who would profit from our debiit what would be our lot who would take our benefit Found this new sign today a short distance form the Swale. It amused me. Today is what I have. Today is what i've done. All the thoughts thought during the hours. Experiences. Sights, Sounds, Dreams, Emotions. I took a whole tranche of photos of the Short Brothers creators of amazing flying machines. Close. Together....

Comments: 1

Signs: Inducement

28 March 2016

Blog

Beneath a Waterloo arch I spied an empty Billboard. Fill it with your own message. A sign for your own making. The sign is bordered by bright lights. I couldn't get far enough away from it to get the vertical lights in. If i did the words Prime Sight would have been clearer. The sign backs onto a wall. Invention, building, design. Is it a contradiction of capitalism that even where there is no capitalism that capitalism is every where; not just elsewhere. My signs read; 'My life is the...

Comments: 1

Trudell's Gone To Mama

12 December 2015

Blog

Trudell's gone to mama He'll meet her in the sky Trudell's gone to mama He knows the reason why   Trudell's gone to Mama I never heard him cry Trudell's gone to Mama His ideas won't die   Sorry about the words. I just wanted to say something. I knew John Trudell in sound. He only lived in sound. For me that is. For others John Trudell breathed love. John Trudell breathed fire. I'd heard the name John Trudell. Not in sound. I never heard the name in sound. I...

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A Heavy Load / Participatory Review 2

22 February 2015

Blog

The Muddy Lane String Band. We Are Waiting

I like that. Participtory Review 2. It the rhyme. A happy accident. Unplanned. Adventures in liminality continue. Where was I. Oh yes. The review continued like this. A photograph. The same one that appears here. A flash. I am now in the scene. Participatory. The words that followed came like this. "The band waits to play. Some are attentive of each other. The banjo player knows he is being shot. A set list lies on the floor. This is the Muddy Lane String Band, contributors to the Private...

Comments: 0

New Project - Would Love Some Opinions

12 December 2014

Blog

I met Neale a good 30 years ago, I was runing a community darkroom. He came in and said he wanted to be the best photographer in the world and he wanted me to teach him all I knew. That took about 6 weeks and he was soon better than me. I continued to give him space and time. He became stylised and constantly went in search of beauty. Our ideas on that were very different. A tory recession hit the country and the darkroom closed. We went our separate ways but we stayed in touch and...

Comments: 9

Mother and Wheelchair User Reunion

8 December 2014

Blog

photo of a wheelchair-user getting on a bus

 Following on from today’s ruling (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-30376446 ) I was moved to do something arty, but nothing would come and then I remembered Paul Simon’s 'Mother and Child Reunion' and wondered what it said. Seemed to me if I changed very few words I could come up with something portentous. No I would not give you false hope On this strange and mournful day But the mother and wheelchair user reunion Is only a bus stop away Oh, little crippie...

Comments: 2

Brother Malcolm Eats His Beans

4 September 2014

Blog

black and white photo of Malcolm X

Remember how you hear a political song that has ideas that stay with you forever. No Sell Out does that for me. Credited to Keith Le Blanc of Tackhead and probably featuring all group members No Sell Out is a collage of recordings featuring Malcolm X, I use a quote in the first line. I love that line and have played with it often. Changing it, paraphrasing it, extending it, turning it into something else entirely. Its something I sometimes call on. So, its there, ready for use. And so it...

Comments: 0

Picture from a Not Dead Yet Movement

21 July 2014

Blog

Way back in time  a fellow named Lord Joffe tried to get the Assisted Dying Bill through parliament. The Disabled People's Direct Action Network (DAN) mobilised and put on a show which the majority of the Lords supported. I remember taking a shot of an activist from Birmingham (Paul? if memory serves). He was holding a placard reading 'Lords of Death'. I looked for it. It felt apposite. Timely and with shades of Doctor Who. A science fiction skit perhaps wherein the elderly,...

Comments: 1

He Was - I Was

1 July 2014

Blog

Saturday Night, Peter's Bistro in Devizes and an unlikely meeting across tables forming a friendship. I retained these details in my head as it seemed to say something about engagement (my current area of work at Merton Centre for Independent Living). I didn't realise it would take this form. Neither did i realise i would be experiencing this on the day the Battle of Westminster raged. He Was - I Was He was a Royal Marine, fought in the Falklands I was into peace and love, didn’t...

Comments: 1

Blah Blah Blah

18 June 2014

Blog

a man appears out of the words blah blah blah which are written lots of times in different black and white shadings. I love the smile on the man's face.

This blog first appeared today on Merton Centre for Independent Living's Inclusion Blog where I explore issues around engagement and reveal what our members are saying and getting involved in. It can be found here:  But it felt too good and arty to just stay there so her it is. We do this. We do that. We sell the brand. The blind man sat and got pounced on by the organisational evangelists with their we do this, we do that, we sell the brand mantras. We sing. We jump. We swim. The...

Comments: 0

I think of you often. The way you were that day we spent together down by the sea

23 May 2014

Blog

I think of this picture often. It has entered my personal mythology. I turned it into a story.but looking at it now I can see that I tell the story wrongly. In my mind I see a toilet entrance and three signs. One saying gentlemen this way, ladies that and disabled people yet another. I think my story tells it better. I am narrating a tale of language and exclusion. Segregation. 'No whites, no cats, no english'. The ridiculousness of it all. But a Nat King Cole Documentary is being shown...

Comments: 6

On folkie Spiers & Boden’s and their current Back Yard Tour.

29 May 2013

Blog

I am interested in community gigs and caught up with Spiers & Boden in my own back yard at Cecil Sharpe House in Camden Town - hoping to learn about making connections. 

Spiers and Boden, long established folk duo, founder members of great festival band Bellowhead, are in town. They will play twice today in the same but changing venue of Cecil Sharp House – the home of English folk music. First a ceilidh. Then a concert.
 
The floor is cleared for the dancers. These people...

Comments: 0

Stimulants

17 March 2013

Blog

Today I’m going to see Dolly Sen’s film, a part of 'Wonder; Art and Science on the Brain'. I’m hoping to see friends there. I feel good but not all that good. I travel and write a travelogue of the present that takes me to the past en route to a future better than this, better than my changing mood. Stimulants Making it not making it in a mood travelogue wet with rain Always outside of the inside or on the inside looking out Car wipers grate scratch like chalk on the...

Comments: 2

Sleep - A Thought Provoked by Liz Crow Continuing Bedding Out

10 March 2013

Blog

When I used to practice writing with a passion, strong and heavy into the night I would wake up with sentences being formed in front of my eyes rather than dream in sound or in vision. It still happens sometimes. It happened again recently. The words appeared. They took poetic form. I woke up and they were gone. I let them run away, escape me. Then that Dawn Willis started a facebook page, Bedding Out Live  a promotion of a Liz Crow performance. I began to contribute and as I did...

Comments: 1

More About Writing

28 February 2013

Blog

I’m desperate to find my way into the new blog set up of DAO but can’t find my login. This will give me time to think, to consider what it is that I might have to say. For in truth there is nothing there that’s long enough to be a blog entry and one day the login key may appear and I will still be left vacant, with nothing left to say. I am aware of a theme that has been building, found in the simple, long term rush of writing. I have learned something old afresh. It is not...

Comments: 0

Finding My Words Everywhere

21 February 2013

Blog

Just the other day I was doing some browsing on the net, looking for a disabled artist someone else had told me about. I didn’t have her name. I had some connections, some concepts, some sites to visit. I was on one of the latter, just scrolling as the sun came through the window of the carriage I travelled in, when suddenly there I was looking back at me. A mirror, reflecting my lovely visage. I was shocked. Horrified. It was like I’d caught an eel at the riverbank. A whole review stolen;...

Comments: 0

Beware Words Written Here

24 January 2013

Blog

Words are mine. I use them. Here in the willy nilly. Spontaneous and free. Careless. Far from frank but mostly honest. Committed to an idea of truth - what ever that might mean. As someone important said its only what you see, how you see it, not how it is. Not how someone else might view it. That will serve as an introduction. Now, two adventures to relay. Wouln't it be great if critics could be embedded into festivals. That's Colin's idea. I think there's some merit in it. I spent hours...

Comments: 0

The Theatre Crowd

5 December 2012

Blog

theold, the young and the pompous

Yeah!!! Three DAO pages achieved by my last entry. This entry was put together on a reporters pad, one day when tramping the streets. I was between appointments. I had been in and out of galleries, done a little bit of work here and there, composed a poem for DAO on seeing Lord Nelson from the National Portrait gallery. Later i went to a favourite cafe and watched the theatre crowd unfold. In the cafe, as shops close, the theatre crowd gather to eat and chat. What a wondrous show. three...

Comments: 0

Self Indulgence

5 December 2012

Blog

I am sitting in a car in winter time. Its good. I've got writing and can indulge in a poem or two. Love as you know it Is nothing To write home about A far too easy word to say A bitter pill to swallow I felt it once A passing fancy Relegated like a team To lesser delights Smaller achievements A football To be kicked around With spite, with venom In a never ending circle Of oppression Be warm you say Be nice wouldn't it Cough Swallow Bile In failure The nothing Nowhere Man Returns to Urban...

Comments: 0

Delta Grumptoktapus 2 - A Children's Story

5 December 2012

Blog

Jim welcomed me in through his door. It was great to see him. He showed me the children's stories that his brother had published. Some of them were very good. They inspired me to do something with Delta Grumptoktapus. Write my version of a children's story. Delta Grumptoktapus lived in a river. Saddened byhis wetness, Wondering as to his purpose. From time to time he would rise to the surface to check the flotsam, check the jetsam, feed on debris, rubbish thrown away to findits way to the sea....

Comments: 0

Delta Grumptoktapus 1

5 December 2012

Blog

I have discovered the joys of radio 4. Listening in one day, a report came from China, read by Damian Grammaticas. No one in the world could be so named I thought and had to check him out on the internet. He's there. He exists. So maybe Delta Grumptoktapus does too. Delta Grumptoktapus Named in response To Damian Grammaticas Are you real? Delta Grumptoktapus Of the waters Tentacled Reaching Out Feeding And Consuming Giving And Taking No mere taker Fat and fabulous Delta Grumptoktapus Simplifies...

Comments: 0

Cutting up the Lucinda Williams Experience

14 November 2012

Blog

Lucinda Williams performed old songs, new songs, covers, her songs, herstory at the London Jazz Festival in the Royal Festival Hall on 11 November Take the image, steal the vocal, remove the backing band. All that is left are the songs and moments captured from the lives they reflect on. It is the easiest thing to tell you how much the words of Lucinda Williams mean to me, how real they seem, but that just leaves hagiography. So take the lines that spoke loudest to me - the ones that crashed...

Comments: 1

Comments

Rich Downes

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26 January 2012

Kev self organising, self advocating, putting ourselves forward to be counted should always be important whether we are within or without a movement. your point certainly picks up on Deborah's point that to be heard we need to speak and be received appropriately.

Imelda i love your QUIM and will remember it. Its very funny. I only asked one question whilst outside the Lords but carried it and the criticism that was made with me all day. The reply led to the other questions. I did resolve for 2012 to return to questions. I gave them up as irrelevant in 1983 but recognise that if i am to understand i have to ask.

Thanks for the support Bib.

John i didn't see the Francesca Martin interview but others have commented on it and claim to be alarmed and concerned because of how she was treated (is it on you tube?. Was this just another part of what i call the current media conspiracy to attack disabled people. Can we prove there is one?

I like Bob's idea of an organic movement. It chimes with what Kev was saying. I also like common aims, shared agendas, different styles of getting a message over, and think that's why we achieved what we did over 20 years.

I'd like to say Mighty Villa has a point but i'm with Bob as a Baggie but, unlike Bob i'm real black country so who care what the higher strata says.

So..... YES.... continue with our model, build on it, positively promote rights and opposition. Hang the thought that we can't say what is ours and continue asking questions

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