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Ems Coombes - disability arts online
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The Road Trip (from Plymouth to Dundee) / 17 January 2012

The plan is to get to Dundee by Wednesday 18th January for a Spac Symposium or Crip conference (my words). On my journey I shall be continuing with the 'Artist Treasure Hunt' which, I am hoping, will be quite fruitful as there will be a plethera of Disabled Artists up in Dundee and I shall catch them all....well maybe not all, but some.

As my plans had changed, I came straight to London to see Sushila, Lindsay, Steve and Indie. Well, I say 'straight', I missed the junction at Exeter to get to the A303 and it was trying to get me off the M5 all the way to Taunton where, eventually, I succumb and travelled miles and miles through the whole of Somerset, needing a wee for the majority of it and shouting obscenities at my satnav, til I reached the A303.

I have an unsettling, untrusting relationship with my sat nav, my first experience was when I borrowed my ex-boyfriends box to navigate around Bristol. I had gone wrong, somehow, probably from disobeying her that should be obeyed - and it was constantly telling me to turn around. But I was not having that, I knew best, as always. Well I got further and further into the bad lands of Bristol and thought, maybe just maybe I should listen to the one in the know, let go.

I find it very difficult to rely on other people, especially if they are actually a robotic voice (I had to change the voice of the sat nav as she just sounded so patronising, I didn't want to believe her!) This is why I undertook this road trip, I have little idea where I shall be from one day to the next, I have a few stops planned but I sort it out on the day...exciting, scary but I have let go...well I'm letting go.

ADVICE
Slow down
Breathe
Stay in the moment
Think of the journey as CHUNKS not as a whole entity...too scary otherwise
Feel the fear but do it anyway

Driving through London was uber scary, I passed Madame Tussauds, there were HUGE buildings with HUGE billboards – it looked like they were out of 'Sharktale' or some sci-fi film like 5th Element. London was big and scary (says the country bumpkin!), There was loads of traffic and everyone merging with everyone else but I am trying to control my roadrage and get over my scaredness! Ineed to push myself out of my comfort zone and I feel that I am totally doing that with this trip.

Before I left I sent an application to the BBC because they are looking for Disabled Presenters. I told my 'friend' and she said 'I don't think you are disabled enough to be a presenter.' I was furious about this comment and gave her a good rollicking about her attitude saying that this is the kind of attitude that I/we are trying to dispel. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought that she may be right, perhaps they are looking for visibly disabled people – thats one of the reasons that I take my walking stick with me (obviously I need it too but I find you get a different kind of 'service' if you are visdis (visually disabled))

Unfortunately it's the way it is. But it does it have to be? Well short of a backward tattoo on your forehead or a T Shirt with 'I've had brain injury, bare with me' written in capital letters, I don't see how we can change the attitude.

Is this the attitude that we have come to expect from 'norms' – actually I think the disableds are just as bad... me included. I have been known to be a little discriminatory at times. I moan about everything. I jump down peoples throats before they finish their comments and I'm uber arsey but it doesn't change the fact that it's just not on.

Another thing, I saw it at a service station this eve, there were two consecutive entrances, the first was automatic, the second was manual – WHY? Wheelchair users etc will be able to use one but not the other.

THINK PEOPLE… actually there was a Travelodge two seconds from the main entrance, am not surprised that its an accessible hindrance (project to come 'Travelodge is shit'...working title!)

TO COME : Tonight only, Manchester, comedy club, open mic spots....pooing my pants...stay tuned!!!!