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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.

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

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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

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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

Long Die The Tragedy Model

5 May 2012

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

25 June 2012

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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 5 - Heaven and Earth

13 July 2012

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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

More Yoko No 6 - Engaging with the Medical Model

26 July 2012

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Bronze shoes with red paint on them exhibited before the Vertical memory Photographs

The room has four walls. One leading outside is full of windows. No art stands there. The other three walls hold a collection of photos in horizontal line. Each of the photos are the same as the one before. It is a blurred photo. Probably a portrait of a man who wears glasses. It is hard to tell. The piece is called Vertical Memory and is dated 1997. But you said it's a horizontal line and its called vertical. Why is that? Each photo represents an event in life. In life we grow tall - well,...

Comments: 0

Paralympic Censorship

2 September 2012

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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

More Yoko - No 7. A Maze In Room

3 September 2012

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At last; the time and space to do my last piece on Yoko's To The Light exhibition. I've been 3 or 4 times now. All pieces but this one was based on the first visit when i could not face down a moster called FEAR in spite of the instruction on the back wall 'Be grand', despite of the fact that I know a secret that would have helped.   In this room Yoko has constructed a maze made out of perspex. I know what awaits me in the metaphorical centre - myself. But that's not what i'm afraid of. I...

Comments: 0

Katherine Arianello's Sick

13 September 2012

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A still from Katherine's video with the words

Sick Follow the link to Sick to get good earthy you tube exposure to Katherrine Arianello - a video that she feels is on the edge, a video that she feels some discomfort with, a video that gives a message that may be misunderstood by some. A mighty risk. 'I am sick. I am disabled'. on the one hand we operate in a culture that seeks to minimise the impact of out impairments on ourselves. On the other we collectively celebrate our difference without necessarilly understanding what that difference...

Comments: 0

Touched by the hand of Jimmy Savile

12 October 2012

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a manipulated image of jimmy savile placing more emphasis on his hands rather than his face

 A response from a member of the We All Shot Pudsey Bear facebook group invited to the Burn Pudsey Friday event suggested that we should target the beeb for direct action. This has been done before and it is not the first call that i've heard for the same. I've never felt able to lead in this way but i've been thinking about things and I am wondering what the interest and commitment would be like. My first thought was maybe we could add that sad olympic mascot Mandeville to the burning...

Comments: 5

One Lovely Blog Award

27 October 2012

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I've just revisited an old blog entry Raising A Glass To The next 50 Years Of Jimmying, a poem reflecting on the SaVILE scandal. I visit old blogs to make sure I'm listening to the people who are responding to me. And blow me down, Melissa Mostyn Thomas  said she liked it so much she's nominated me for The One Lovely Blog Award. For a moment I dream't of other people reading Raising A Glass, liking it and coughing up lots of lovely spondies to me, its creator. Then the pale penny dropped....

Comments: 0

We All Shot Pudsey Bear Press Release

30 October 2012

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Following requests from members of We All Shot Pudsey Bear attending Burn Pudsey Friday on Friday 16th November outside a BBC studio near you. Shooters and burners (Non Violent Activists) amongst us,opposed to the charity model of disability,  are invited to visit the brand new We All Shot Pudsey Bear Blog. Here you will find a framework for an action - a new style action with no leaders. Likeminded activists are simply required to take responsibility for their own involvement in any...

Comments: 1

The Thoughts of Frida Kahlo Today

4 November 2012

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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

Delta Grumptoktapus 1

5 December 2012

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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

Delta Grumptoktapus 2 - A Children's Story

5 December 2012

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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

Self Indulgence

5 December 2012

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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

The Theatre Crowd

5 December 2012

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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

Beware Words Written Here

24 January 2013

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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

More About Writing

28 February 2013

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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