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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.

More Yoko No 6 - Engaging with the Medical Model

26 July 2012

Blog

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

Documentary Evident - Searching For Sugar Man

30 August 2012

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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

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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

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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

Chatting to A Chugger 4

26 September 2012

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Crippen's Problem cartoon

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?" "Yes" "Are you english?" "No" 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....

Comments: 3

Welcome To the 5th Annual Burn Pudsey Friday

1 October 2012

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cartoon of a yellow bear with a spotty bandage and a smile - with a gun pointing at its head

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...

Comments: 0

Historical dates

8 October 2012

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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

My Bed - A Thought Provoked by Trish Wheatley's Description of Liz Crow's Forthcoming Exhibition

9 October 2012

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I'll never get over bed

I always enjoyed my bed The time that I spent there. Ill or not There was a time it was central Located near everything The Tea Pot The records The player Adornments of a life In Bedsit land People would come visit Sit around the bed The bed that I would stay in Two friends Left me there one night and let me sleep before leaving I felt blessed by their kindness But my bed has a longer history than that For many years it was just a staging post between falling asleep and working Short hours...

Comments: 2

EMPOWERMENT

10 October 2012

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photo of a protestor pictured holding up a placard

Once upon a time on a wode tip at Shepherds Bush Empire, Arch Drude Julian Cope said; "The most empowering thing I ever heard was you know". And you know what? After a moments reflection - I did. I know. What? Everything. When? Now. Where? Everywhere. How so? Just so. There is no need for me to ask because I know. Watching Magical Mystery Tour, the arena show, on BBC TV IPlayer I caught sight of the attached manipulated image. It has someone carrying a placard in front of a...

Comments: 2

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

Raising A Glass To The Next 50 Years of Jimmying

13 October 2012

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On October 13th 2012 I read that Penny Pepper was appearing at StorySLAM:Live on the south bank. It's theme "your five-minute story around the theme of '50', as WE celebrate the 50th Koestler Trust Award anniversary". I imagined myself a slammer and this came out. 50 years of jimmy in the kids home 50 years more in special school 50 years again detained at her majesties pleasure 50 years pleasuring the unpleasant A further 50 adding to all the 50's in all the world Until old, battered...

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

Today from the National Portrait Gallery (NPG)

6 November 2012

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Today at the Indigo Bridge project, having travelled past Paralympic Park, Haseeb is mocking the cost of the tower ride. He tells me about a part time cabbie on LBC, fallen Afghan hero, failing his Work Capacity Assessment and talks up his grand pap who was never fond of bonfire night, having fought for his country decades back he still cowers at every banger - every rocket sees him looking for his helmet. Most days he's ok though - just grand dad. Later i find myself at the National Portrait...

Comments: 1

The Train Seat - A Problem with Access - A Tory Guide to Budgeting.

20 November 2012

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  The Train Seat is embroidered with a pregnant woman, a woman with a baby and a man with a stick. What if the man with the stick sat on the seat with a pregnant woman who then had a baby? Wouldn't the man with the stick feel squashed. Who should stand up first? Who should give the seat up to whom? Surely as the baby came last it should have no right to the seat. I do get sick of babies. I do get sick of the coo coo ca choo. Out of the window with it. Save my taxes. Down with babies. On...

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

Chatting to A Chugger - Quite possibly the last in the series

5 December 2012

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The language in this one is not consistent with my the language I would normally use as a disabled person committed to the social model and i apologisein advance for any offence caused. It was not meant butit was inthe story as it unfolded. A vision in purple with an aerial on his head stands outside marks and Sparks rattling a tin. Who are you? Tinky Winky Why dress like that? It gives people something to remember I think you are lal lah No he's the yellow one I still think you're lahlah i say...

Comments: 0

A True Story for Georgina - Otherwise titled; 'Boring'.

5 December 2012

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Early September. Sun beats down and burns my arms. I sit in a public space with pigeons by a fountain. I'm not doing much. I'm reading a paper. Something she never wanted me to do. To pass the time its being read from cover to cover, back to front and front to back. I'm occupying myself - passing time. An older woman with dyed red hair appraoches my bench. She sits away from me and eats an ice cream. Sheis the fourth co-occupant not to acknowledge me. Her anme is Maria. I know this because she...

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

Austerity Signs (AKA The Three Bastards)

5 December 2012

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a skeletal middle finger points upwards as if to say up yours to the three bastards in this piece

This is one of my last great ideas. Note, not one of my last great poems. Perusing papers, looking for placed pledges There are none Charities have stopped pleading in the press Bastards Spoiling my anti tragedy model stance No chugger has stopped me in the street To pounce the unwanted penny The homeless man a yard away could use I've missed our chats Admin, Chief Executive Feeding Bastards Spoiling my anti-tragedy model stance Even the wee yellow Pudsey bastard can barely stir my screen....

Comments: 0