All posts by Russ

Monster night.

When you are in a wheelchair you sometimes get ‘ concession’ tickets, it seems. You may as well milk that I think, so I do.
Hence I go the theatre more often than I ever did.
Monday I saw Frankenstein with my daughter. She goes free, as she is my help. Sometimes I wonder which one of us is helping the other mind you, but hey I’m not complaining. The play was really good – well acted in Richmond theatre. Because we were put at the back near the fire escape, we couldn’t see the actors when they were high up on the elevated stage. So we only saw Frankie’s feet killing his maker’s wife’s feet. Then we saw her when she fell to the ground, dead.
Still, we got the gist.

There was a large school party there. Funny old mix that night – 60 slightly noisy teens and 60 odd well to do complaining theatre dahhhlinggg… OAP’s Potentially combustible mix, but actually the oldies stayed quiet, probably fearful of a teenage backlash. I reckon.

Good plats in Richmond. Go and see some.

De Staat!

Wow. De Staat are the band you should see if you only see one band in your whole year.
Actually, make that your whole LIFE.

10/10 obviously. Just brilliant. We hadn’t really even listened to them before we went, and it was amazing. Being familiar with the tunes always helps, but it’s just not necessary with these guys.
Thanks to Leigh for the tip, and great to see them there, along with Bethany and Billy ( B&B ). I’ve seen a few bands with Leigh before and well, he’s not exactly Mr Moveaboutalot. He moves so little you’d be forgiven for not being sure which one of us is paralysed. … but last night he was like bloody Michael Jackson he was so animated. That’s the De Staat effect!


https://youtu.be/PTxoLaiaa7I

The trip back was fine, but the one there was a shocker. The buses were not following the rules and then the overground train service let us down. When you are in a chair you need a ramp to get on or off. Well obviously they can get you on – that’s not the issue, but then you have to get off at your destination station. The station you get on at phones ahead so they know and a guard is there waiting with a ramp.

Except he wasn’t bloody there. I’m in the iBot and that’s a total of 250kg, and there’s a 30cm drop to the platform as well as a 20 cm gap between the train and the platform. I had to get off, there wasn’t any other plan! I’d said to Wendy that if no one was there ( and that’s always my fear with bloody trains ) then we’d try by going off backwards and her shouting for strapping fellas to assist. Well we did all that but not a single male out of about 15 close by came to help her.
What the F is wrong with people? Society is falling apart. Everyone complains about the slightest offence but yet is quite happy to stand idly by and let a small woman manhandle a massive weight off a train.

I have to just get over this stuff straight away as it happens all the time. That doesn’t make it forgivable and I’ll write yet another email, but I do have to not dwell on it rather than be permanently f’d off…

Complaint to TfL 15/11/19

Sirs, 
Yet again one of your buses has declined to follow the rules, this time very clearly the driver’s own discrimination. The no 4 bus driver on the 237 route at Brent Lea bus stop argued to my Carer that he didn’t think a woman and her buggy should get off the bus to allow priority to me in a wheelchair. I am paralysed and am vulnerable to the cold. It was five degrees above. The woman herself wasn’t keen, but she was willing to get off the bus. She had another adult with her ( her mother ) to assist her. One passenger was very vocal and insistent he obey the law, citing the regulations, but he chose not to quite deliberately, and very much by HIS OWN CHOICE. This is unacceptable behaviour by your staff member and he should be disciplined. 
I look forward to hearing from you. 
Yours faithfully,

Russell Dawkins 

Heel!

Over these last 5 years I’ve witnessed something that’s bemused me. It does seem to be the way of the world, at least in Britain. When men and women get married here, at that point the relationship seems outwardly equal, both partners contributing, with both also listening to each other.
Give it 20 years and the dynamic has changed, and nearly always in the same way. One partner becomes dominant ( opinion wise ) over the other, so that a lot of ‘ obeying’ goes on. Back in the day that word was part of the marriage vows. The lady pledged to obey her husband. It’s not in there anymore, as women quite rightly didn’t want it to be. The thing is that it’s gone the other way. Men have become so dominated by their wives that they dare not cross them. I have lots of ( mostly former ) friends who just do as they are told. To me it’s extraordinary that they would do that. It would be equally offensive if they were to dominate and control their wives. What’s the attraction of having control over your partner? Beats me totally. Where’s the fun in it? For either party? It wasn’t like that when you liked each other enough to want to marry one another.

There really ought be a new wedding vow clause, so that you know how it will be 20 years after you leave the church, where the man vows to do as his wife tells him, forsaking all opinions of his own and capitulating immediately when She Who Must Be Obeyed speaks.

My advice? Don’t get married. In nearly all cases one of you will live to regret it. I can see rising levels of marital unhappiness ahead.

Friday in London!

Brilliant night last night. Maisie Peters was playing in a packed out Shepherds Bush. IBot gigging with iBot pubbing before it is about as good as it gets for me.
More of that tonight in Brixton seeing the wacky and talented De Staat. Now that the lift in Brixton is fixed it’s actually fairly easy to get there too. Looking forward to seeing Leigh and Bev too.

Maisie gets 10/10. I saw her a year ago and she was ok. Someone must have told her to get her shit together and have a personality injection. It’s not complicated really, is it? The crowd WANT TO HAVE A GOOD TIME.. so give them one?!

Doh! Just been told it’s not in Brixton, it’s in Highbury. Thank you Wendy for checking! Looks like the overground train is the way. Ramps for me!

The play.

The play was moving It was relocated to The Young Vic, because of the ceiling drama.
Death of a Salesman is about a happy positive guy who is married with 2 children . He has such hopes for his future and that of his family. All seems that life will go well and happiness will prevail, always.

However life doesn’t turn out as expected. His career takes a downturn, his kids lose respect for him, his kids don’t succeed as he thinks they are going to, his friends and his employer let him down and he is discarded. He is a good man, and he doesn’t deserve what happens. Eventually he does what he thinks he should, and kills himself. The writing was on the wall for some time yet no one spoke to him, not his kids or wife.

And no one cared enough to go to his funeral.

Thanks to Pia for being my PlayMate.

Again

Well the Lightning Seeds were brilliant. Once again I went in the iBot, this time with Wendy and feeling a bit protected by that. But the curse of London transport hits me every bloody time!

This time the tube destination was changed as a passenger had been ill. Everyone else on the train moaned about having to change tubes. I didn’t moan, I just thought’ oh fuck, I could be stuffed here ‘.
Everyone walking can just hop over to another platform and change trains. I can only do that at wheelchair Accessibility stations, of which there are very few.

So an hour journey once again became a 2 hour, involving 2 more buses and a totally different route. I had conflict with a bus driver who refused to move the bus until I was in exactly the position he wanted my chair. No amount of explanation on my part that no, I can’t just park this like you can park a buggy, made any difference. An off duty policeman on the bus had to get involved to a pretty large extent before the bus would move. A little understanding and humanity would definitely help me. My battery slowly trickled away but we made it back eventually. If i didn’t know the city routes fairly well, or didn’t have a mobile phone with power and data, I’d be buggered.

None of it was at all funny. Well… other than when the off duty cop interjected politely, and Wendy told him in a very firm tone ‘ EXCUSE ME! THIS IS ABSOLUTELY NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS’ I think that’s possibly the first time she’s talked to anyone that firmly. Amusing then that it was the police officer, who said firmly back ‘ well as a police officer I’m making it my business…’

I didn’t laugh at the time, but I am laughing now!

The week.

Well it’s been a full on week. Sunday my oldest mate ( no, not in age ) Mike J came to visit, with his son Olly. Jeez his son is now 22, and plays the sax for a living now, well as well as being in Music college. Mike’s a great guy – we were best mates at 5 years old! I still see us as kids, not adults. His son is in a band – Year of The Dog. Look em up on YouTube or Spotify and have a listen. Really good sound!

Monday Wendy and I went to a gig in Hammersmith. Marina is Welsh/ Greek. She would seem to have a MASSIVE LGBT following. I think I was the only person in the venue not dressed in women’s clothes, despite half those their having been born with male features. The disabled area seemed yet again to be full of people with no obvious mobility issues. I wrote to the venue to point this out, but I doubt I’ll get anywhere. The wheelchair bit accommodates only 8 people, and isn’t for ‘ the ambulant disabled’ apparently ie those who could actually just sit in regular seats, but time and time again their own rules aren’t adhered to, and all tickets are sold to people who really are abusing the system, rather than need the facility.
Anyway, Marina was a bit mediocre tbh. I saw her about 7 years ago, Pre injury, and she was really good. She’s gone all bubblegum – and commercial, and a bit crap. She had a variety of mismatched dancers on with her some of whom were a bit amateur. She’s not school hall type stuff – she was playing in front of 2000 people. 4/10 from me.

Then on Tuesday I went in my iBot to theatre land, to see Shakespears Sister. They were dead cool til they suddenly split up after a bitch fight disagreement. Lily came with me and we had fun. It was old skool for Lily. She was born 8 years after they last performed!
I went in the iBot as in the Palladium the wheelchair spaces are just on the ends of rows of seats. Everyone stands up and that’s the end of the show as you can’t see anything at all! However the iBot makes me taller than most so I just rise up onto 2 wheels and Hey Presto! The band 7/10 from me, but definitely worth seeing.

As the iBot has a dicky battery etc it’s always a gamble going out in it. I had hardly any power left and had to travel 10 miles to home. The bloody tubes just stopped and we were a bit stuck for half an hour on a platform, my power trickling away. If the thing stops then it takes 2 blokes to push it up a slope, leaving me effectively stranded tbh. Eventually we got to Hammersmith where the lifts to the bus station had broken. I have become an expert on ramp locations tho, and so got to the bus ramp and drove up that. It was dark and double decker london buses were out in force, so not exactly safe for me to use it. Hey, I don’t have much choice though, do I ?

A bus ride for the last 3 miles and then home at 12. No such thing as an uneventful evening for me, it seems.
Tonight it’s back to town to see The Lightning Seeds. They were brilliant back in the day, and have reformed. Their album Jollification is dead good, and they are playing it all tonight. They actually did the Three Lions World Cup anthem as well. Perhaps that’s their most famous work??

Tomorrow it’s the Bombay Bicycle Club in Brixton, and then the theatre on Saturday night to see Death of a Salesman. That’s at the theatre where a part of the theatre ceiling fell down into the audience last night! Apparently a chap who had a job selling things was killed… let’s hope it’s back up by Saturday, and the wheelchair space is under the bit of ceiling that has already fallen down.


I don’t deliberately book 6 things in one week, but somehow I have. I book stuff well in advance- often a year in advance – and then suddenly I get to a week where I’m never home.

Keeps me sane, and stops me doing a Bonny.
Because trust me, I often still think about it. My head just goes chillingly cold in terms of emotion and anything is then possible.

But too much on this week!