Last night I went with my Valentine’s date to the NME music awards dinner. It wasn’t because I’m actually a really successful song writer on the quiet, or i was invited by Liam Gallagher, it was just a case of me having seen tickets for sale and I bought one. I suppose these things always have a spectator allocation, to get extra clapping volume ?

Anyway, I went with a(n) un/lucky lady and we saw various luminaries winning awards, and heard various bands/ artists playing their award winning stuff, which varied from great to not so great, to be honest, but overall it was definitely worth the considerable effort of the journey.

My date was definitely shocked by just how hard it is for me to travel. I just have to take the difficulties on the chin, as the price I have to pay for still living life to my ( new ) full. I could stay in all of the time, and it could all be SO much easier, but for sure I’d get depressed and top myself eventually ( and no, I’m not joking ).

What was actually apparent having heard all the various music people speaking on stage, both winners and presenters, was how bloody thick they all were. I wasn’t quite sure how to phrase that last sentence, so I just said it how it was, rather than, well, lie. They all seemed to struggle to string a coherent sentence together. I suppose you could conclude that that’s why they are in the music business, because they’d really struggle to ‘do a proper job’.

Christ, I sound like an old codger.

The journeys there and back, planned in advance as always. çame very much undone when I heard whilst en route to Brixton tube station that the lift there was out of operation ( actually until September ). As my iBot has very limited battery charge, I know not to risk long journeys in it, and suddenly I had just those, now having to switch from Tube to bus at Vauxhall, which wasn’t that straightforward and used up essential battery power. The very real worry that I really might get stuck somewhere without any charge, with a girl that has absolutely zero chance of pushing 250kgs of IBot and me, is actually very mentally stressful for me, which almost makes me not want to use the iBot, which then means I’m deprived of height, which has its own huge disadvantages. Last night, the wheelchair section wasn’t actually that – it was sort of a general standing area, and if I hadn’t had the iBot I’d have been stuffed for a view…. so I’m in a no win situation really, in that sense.

The journey back, late, cold, with buses that didn’t arrive, and then when they did, didn’t stop, the Uber that I called that couldn’t find me etc etc, was depressing.  As usual, I put it all behind me and I tell myself it was all worth it, which of course it IS, to me.

Because I’ll be fucked if I surrender and rust away in this chair.

Tonight I’m going to another gig actually – the once mighty Simple Minds are playing in Camden.

‘Alive and kicking’,  after all – like me.

1 thought on “

  1. Dear Russell,

    Please forgive me for attempting to get in touch via your blog. I do not subscribe to Facebook or any other form of social media and, not having your direct email or postal address, I feel it is the only channel open to me and, well, I hope you’ll give this correspondence a try.
    You will no doubt recall my previous and clumsy attempt at trying to make contact; I’m pretty certain my ill-chosen words would have seemed like turds falling into a flower bed – inappropriate and unhelpful. I’m really not that sort of person; my only excuse is that, having just concluded some very late-night planning for work, I did the inevitable and went online. Being a long-time exile, like yourself, I regularly seek comfort in Googling things Cwmbran. Even though I haven’t spent a night within 20 miles of the Afon Lwyd in 30 years, the Celt in me survives on scraps of information about my home town and surrounding area. Anyway, upon dropping in on the Fairwater High School site, I found a picture of former staff at a reunion. That led me, eventually, through your surname, to your site. You get the picture.
    By the time I’d read enough of your gripping, but occasionally harrowing, blogs to get a reasonable appreciation of your situation, it was 3 am and not an appropriate time to be composing a message of any kind. I felt absolutely devastated about what I had been reading and felt compelled to add a comment to your latest blog – a mistake. That’s my excuse and I hope it goes someway to ameliorating any irritation or hurt you might have felt on reading it.
    Since finding your online self, I have thought about you often and have been unable to not look in on you, so to speak, at least once a week. I damn well nearly cried (my wife asked me what was wrong when I groaned out loud) when I read about the damage to the iBot charging plug (it seems pretty obvious that amazing gadget is one of your lifelines), and as for your travails with carers and buses etc – well that just makes me want to scream, tear my hair out and kick the irritants in the b_ _ _s. Having said that, your latest friend from Zimbabwe appears to be a rather special person. If so, you deserve someone like that – articulate (erudite even), straight talking and – dare I say it – caring? A pretty essential, but sadly it would seem, not always an inherent trait in a carer!
    However, my interest in your life does make me feel slightly uneasy and somewhat voyeuristic and I apologise if it seems so. Nevertheless, my disquiet is countered somewhat by the belief (I hope it’s true) that the purpose of your blog is partly to let the world know about you and, through the likes of me and others following your struggles, to help spread the message about the plight of people with disabilities. Following your blog has made me much more disability aware.
    I have my fingers crossed that you have stayed with me thus far, because I need to say that I feel your pain Russell, and all the more so because I consider you a friend. Our paths crossed only briefly in the late 70s / early 80s on three Fairwater Comprehensive School skiing trips – three weeks – inconsequential you might think, but far from it for me. They were very prominent highlights in my formative years, representing interludes in an otherwise extremely difficult phase in my life and the fun and friendship I enjoyed with yourself and Stuart on those holidays, regardless of whether it was reciprocal, was a beacon in the dark and personally highly significant. I want you to know that I was touched then by your willingness to be a friend, albeit briefly, and it hurts me now to know that you are faced with such immense difficulties. I hope you will take me at my word because I mean it sincerely. If you were able to make such a big impression on ‘insignificant me’ way back then when you were a mere youth, I’m pretty damn sure you’ve affected others similarly over the course of your adult existence. That in itself is meaningful and a reason to stay positive, feel worthwhile, squeeze every last drop of interest, companionship, enjoyment and fulfilment from life that you can. You seem to be doing that admirably. Everything I read about you suggests that you are important, both to yourself and the incredible people around you; you are an amazing person.

    I’m not going to claim to be your intellectual equal, I’m quite obviously not, but I hope my words mean something. If you feel the need to reply, that would be great, needless to say, I only wish you the very best Russell.

    Fond regards

    Mark (Halliday)

    PS Given a choice, I would rather you remove this from your blog if that’s acceptable and technically possible.

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