31 August 2005

"This platform's nicer than the other one. The other one looks like a bomb's gone off," said my friend as our Northern Line train pulled into Kennington.

This was followed by a sharp gasp "Oh my god, it hasn't, has it?" He's not from round these parts, bless him. Not yet, anyway. He'd come down to London a week earlier to sort out paperwork for the degree he's shortly going to be starting down here, and then just failed to go back to Manchester again.

"No, but as we went through Stockwell I had an overwhleming urge to sing "Let's get shot," to the tune of Def Leppard's Let's Get Rocked. But, I didn't. As you know. You're sitting right there opposite me."

We talked about how horrifc that shooting appears to have been, that he seems to have been shot simply for the colour of his skin. My friend, being a male of middle Eastern descent has more reason to be concerned than most. He was telling me how he's been pulled out of queue's and searched, as have other people he knows, simply for not being white. Big Brother is watching him and all that - which is kind of ironic given how keen he used to be in wanting to appear on that show.

On my way down to Balham this evening, I wasn't in his company, so couldn't access the tube because I wasn't with someone tough enough to assist me (we met up down there). So, I had to make my way down south by bus.

You know those tour buses with a guide that points out interesting sights "And on your left you'll see the Houses of Parliament," etc, etc? Well, from what I could make of the situation it seemed that there was an Irish woman (I can spot accents, aren't I clever?) with her parents. It appeared to me that she now lived here, and her parents were visiting her.

As the bus moved southwards, she was giving her parents a running commentary:

"See that bus? That's a number 30. The same route as the bus that blew up on July 7th. And see that church? People were leaving floral tributes outside there. And here, this is where the bus actually blew up. And look, over there, there's still some flowers."

Either the Big Bus Company or The Original Tour want to snap her up sharpish. A bus tour for the post 7/7 London.

29 August 2005

I have a confession to make.

I'm sure that most of you will be so ashamed that you'll never read my blog again. I apologise, but I need to get this sin off my chest.

Please don't judge me too harshly. Remember that I'm still the same funny Lisy underneath.

What have I done that's so shameful?

Well, yesterday I had a ticket for Fox FM's Party in the Park in Oxford. Texas were playing.

I couldn't be bothered to go.

Please, don't look away now! Hear me out!

What impeded me? A common cold and a dodgy shoulder.

I know, I know! I shouldn't have let that stop me. But, I did. I know, I've let my readers down, I've let Texas down, but most importantly I've let myself down. I'm well aware.

As punishment for my sins, I'm now waiting for my Texas CD collection to spontaneously combust.

It seems that somehow though, you all psychically knew all that. I appear to have suddenly become even more unpopular than ever - only one person has so far responded to my request for questions.

I'll go and sit in the naughty corner then.

27 August 2005

Ask Lisy

Well, it's the last night of my holiday. Unlike last year I'm not stuck in my youth hostel due to a broken fucking wheelchair, but I'm trying to be sensible and get an early night because I'm panicing about missing my train at 10:30am. Except, I'm actually procrastinating online. Cos, that makes a change for me, and they say a change is as good as a holiday...

Anyway, almost a year ago I wrote a short post inviting readers to Email me asking me questions. Any questions. Though, I did stipulate that any maths questions would not be gratefully received.

It was quite fun, and I got some interesting questions. And I got some writing work out of it which is a bonus.

So... I'm doing it again. If you've got any questions... if you want to know something about me, if you want to ask my opinions on something, or if you just want to ask me something entirely random... please Email me. I anticipate that I won't be flooded with such an overwhelming sea of questions that I won't be able to answer them all... but, I'd better say that I can't promise to answer them all. Though, I'll try. Unless you ask me something mathmatical, in which case I'll just post your Email address here and hope all the spambots find it.

I'll try and post all the answers in about a weeks time, so, you have one week to complete your task. Also, in the questiony Email let me know if you want me to use your name/an alias or if you want to remain anonymous, and also if you have your own website/blog you'd like me to link to.

21 August 2005

"Give my Grandad's teeth back"...

... was by far the most random flag of the day I saw being waved over the crowds by people hoping to get on the telly yesterday at V2005.

I understand people waving flags in an attempt to be the centre of attention, and the thowing about of inflatables over the crowds... even if the crowd surfing dinosaur during the Kaiser Chiefs seemed to find the experience deflating. But there's two things I cannot understand why people feel the need to throw - beer and toilet paper. The throwing beer pisses off the people who wind up wearing it... OK, if you're a cunt, I can see your motivation for wanting to throw it. But aren't you a weensy bit annoyed that you're wasting alcohol? And alcohol at festival prices to boot?

The second thing I don't understand the throwing of is toilet paper. If you've had the foresight to take your own bogroll, you don't want to throw it away on your first afternoon, do you? When you wake up on Sunday morning and have to go for a crap (which you certainly will do after eating festival food the day before) you're gonna have to drag your arse across the grass like a dog! And that's just not dignified, even at a festival.

The worst thing about festivals though is the mud. Yesterday the rain held off all day, until I was snuggly in my car and heading back to London. I felt disproportionately smug about this, after the last time I went to V 4 years ago and got soaked through to my pants. But, despite the absence of rain, the ground was still soft, moist and muddy. I'm currently on a train up to Scotland (and hooray for having my computer as a distraction from staring at the guy sitting opposite me who keeps going off to vomit) and am taking plenty of Essex mud with me where it's firmly caked on my wheels. Today I feel like I have the upper body strength of The Incredible Hulk after yesterday's wading through swamps.

The bands I managed to view during the day were:

* KT Tunstall - Why did no-one tell me she had such a sexy accent?
* Good Charlotte - Boring - apart from the couple of songs I recognised off the radio, which were worth bouncing along too. Took their set as an opportunity to go get some lunch if I'm honest.
* The Bravery - You'd think that with a name like that that they'd be a band solely made up of wheelchair users, wouldn't you? But, their name misleads. I'd never actually heard their name before, but I recognised a couple of their songs, presumably from Popstarz.
* Kaiser Chiefs - Fab. Lots of energy, enthusiasm, and who could go wrong with a mystical ability to forsee riots? Even if they were slightly weary seeing as they'd never been that far away from home before (Go, groan, I know you want to)
* Robert Plant - So boring I'm amazed my arse is still attached. I expect to be lynched by lots of middle-aged folk for typing that.
* Texas - They're Texas... is any more of a review needed?

Exiting I managed to blag my way backstage! This was because I'd parked in the car park near the production gate, and backstage was not only a much shorter route to my car, but they'd also laid down temporary roadways, whereas us ticket holders, who'd paid to be there were expected to wade our way back to our vehicles. In my begging to be allowed to take the easier route I kept using words like "reasonable" in conjunction with words like "access" until I think I confused the toothless security guard (hey - I wonder if it was his grandson in the crowd with the flag?) and he let me through, with a warning that I'd probably get sent back the way I'd just gone as I didn't have a backstage pass. About 200 yards on, I came to another security checkpoint where the path passed right behind the Channel 4 Stage. I was just about to open my mouth and explain the access inadequacies to the man trying to look fearsome, when two women came up behind me, with their backstage passes and said "she's with us!" La. No explanations needed. Hooray for that good old festival spirit.

On the subject of festival spirit. When I was on my way over to the JJB Arena to see Texas, I passed a man, sitting on the grass wearing a T-shirt that I thought was somewhat entertaining. I went up to him and told him I liked it, and asked where he got it. So, he took it off and gave it to me.

What do we think:

The logo on the T-shirt has a picture of the universal symbol for 'cripple,' with the word 'LAZY' written underneath.

I have to say, I think it looks better on me than on a non-disabled bloke. On him, he looked like a bit of a cunt. Me - I can pull it off as a kind of statement. I don't mean pull it off as a statement in the Lady Godiva sense, I mean, oh, you know what I mean...

Going back to the me being allowed to roam backstage. That was fair enough, it was a reasonable access adjustment if you ask me. I'd have had no objection to being escorted by security while I went through... just to make sure I didn't go harrassing Texas. But, they didn't care. Not that I would've gone hunting for people off the telly. That'd involve going off the laid down track and would be like far too much hard work if nothing else.

But, I would like to award the security staff at the event in general my "nutsack of the week award." Particularly to the ssecurity they put to protect the cripple viewing platform by the Channel 4 stage. They didn't care about the fact that, as far as I could make out, on the festival site itself (not including the campsite) there were only 4 disabled loos. Their job in patrolling the viewing platform also included protecting 2 of the toilets from non-crips. Did they? No. They just made sure the queue remained orderly. By 7pm the toilets were full. I'm so glad I only had a day ticket and don't have to face the prospect of having to use them today. Though, I am currently on a train, and the "space for a wheelchair user" is of course next to the toilet, so I've still got that festival aroma with me.

Ooo, here comes Edinburgh. No time for a humourous punchline. Instead, to commemorate my return to Edinburgh, here's one my friend made earlier:

picture of the stick man from the universal cipple symbol having fallen out of his chair with the caption 'Fucking cobblestones'

18 August 2005

Summer of Love

Well, it would appear it's the summer of love.

Two weekends ago, I went to an engagement party. I'm obviously not averse to an opportunity for free champagne. And it was an interesting learning experience... did you know that if you go round the Oxford ring road, that Abingdon is signposted in a clockwise direction, but not anti-clockwise? That's logic that is. Naturally, my friend and I discovered this after we'd orbited Oxford in an anti-clockwise direction.

More geographical challenges followed me this weekend just past... I went to an actual wedding. Gulp. The bride informed me that the Traveloge in which she'd reserved a room for me was on the A5 towards Oswestry. But, did you know that if you leave Shrewsbury town centre following signs for "Oswestry A5" that it brings you out on the A5 further west than the Travelodge? Boys and girls, don't fall for that. I wound up in Oswestry before I learned this. My father upon reading this will beam that I went to Oswestry. When he was in his youth he attended the "special" college there for disabled young men. I love the fact that their entry criteria was that you must be disabled, but not a wheelchair user. Inclusive education ladies and gentlemen. Yes. His school photo's all consist of a bunch of crips being propped up on an assortment of sticks and crutches, looking like they may fall flat any second.

But, yes, wedding. It was pissing down when I arrived in Shrewsbury. I've never been so happy to see a church in all my life. As I entered the door the minister handed me a towel, because I looked like a rat that had just swum up a drainpipe. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate weather? Oh, yes... repeatedly.

The bride looked stunning in her silver dress. The poor woman spent Thursday night in hospital, but on Saturday she looked radiant. The groom also looked fabulous in his black and red dress. It's so not fair that all men who cross-dress look better in dresses than I do. On Saturday, I even made the effort and wore a skirt! Nicely showing off all the bruises on my shins. On Friday a friend (on her way up to the wedding a day early) got tipped out of her wheelchair when the ramp from the train snapped. Her chair alone weighs 18 stone without someone's body weight in it. Her and her chair all landed on her arm. She wound up with a bruise the same size as the one I got on my arm from being hit with a smegging door handle.

Which leads me off down a tangent - I've mentioned before some of the Google terms people have used to find my blog. Well, the other day someone typed in "Fucking door knobs," and got Google sent them to this post. Fair enough. But what where they hoping to find? Door knob porn? Kinda makes those people that search for Dolphin porn look almost sane, doesn't it?

Anyway, back to the summer of love. Last week, not one but two of my friends moved in with their respective partners. Two more of my friends who've been single for ages have in the last couple of weeks gotten themselves girlfriends.

I think there must be something in the air and living in Central London the air is too polluted for me to get any of that love dust into my lungs, instead I just inhale car exhaust emissions. Oh, no, wait, most of my friends live in Central London. Maybe I'm just too low down to inhale it?

I wonder if that pile of dust collecting behind my stereo speakers has romantic properties? Maybe I should do a line of it to find out...

17 August 2005

After the ritual humiliation that was being the on board entertainment for most passengers on the way up there, I knew I was in Edinburgh when the train doors opened and in wafted the smell of brown bread toast. I've never known a city to have such a distinct smell. Though later on that day I ran into some friends in the Pleasance Courtyard. While one of them is keeping daily tabs on the extent of the toast smell in her Fringe Blog, the other maintained that just occasionaly she gets a whiff of Weetabix with warm milk.

Liverpool is "City of Culture 2008," London is "2012 Olympic [and Paralympic] City," maybe Edinburgh should become subtitled "Edinburgh: City of Breakfast Foods."

Another telling sign of Edinburgh is all the hills and the cobbles. What fun! I stayed in a youth hostel I've never stayed in before (I'm gradually working my way round all the SYHA Edinburgh hostels I think), and, guess what? It's on a hill! A cobbled hill.

Cobbles on hills ruin all the fun of hills of just being able to let go of your wheels and frighten people as if you were using a scooter. Because you can't freewheel down. Your front wheels would get caught and you'd be on your chin in a puddle of blood quicker than I can down a Smirnoff Ice.

And Edinburgh cobbles are all so violent that they rob you of any cheap sexual thrill you can usually get on cobbles as a wheelchair user. It's really not possible to roll over them at a normal pace and enjoy the slight vibrating sensation. No. You have to go so slowly and carefully over the wretched things the only sensation you're going to experience is frustration. And annoyance at the people that ask if you need a hand every 5 seconds, which is not an offer you can accept because, as I wrote last year, their pushing would be less attentive than mine, and they'd have me out of my chair and on my chin in that puddle of blood within seconds. Do you reckon it's possible to take Edinburgh City Council to court under the DDA - because disabled people are treated less favourably when it comes to moving around the city simply because the council have ignored the fact that nice, shiny tarmac has been invented?

Bringing together themes of cobbles, the DDA, the Pleasance Courtyard and drinking (OK, it only got a fleeting mention in the post, but, still), something that happened on Monday night got me wondering...

After seeing Richard Herring's show on Monday, and before going over to the Gilded Balloon for my So You Think You're Funny Semi-Final (out of the 8 of us competitors, I was not the lucky one to go through to the final. I shall be cursing the lovely yet too talented Stuart Goldsmith for the rest of my days), the aforementioned two friends and I had a drink in the Courtyard.

I bought my drink from the bar out the back by the toilets. This bar only sells bottles and cans. So, I bought my can of Blackthorn and asked "can you not open it please? It'll be easier for me to carry."

"I'm afraid I have to open it. Licensing laws..." said the bartender.

In the Courtyard I'm at a seriously disadvantaged drinking position... because of the cobbles. I can either down my drink at the bar, or, wind up wearing it as I try to carry it back to a table. The taste of cider mixed with fabric softener where you've had to suck most of your pint out of your trousers really isn't as refreshing as it is straight out of the can.

Which is where my brain ticked. "If the DDA and licensing laws got into a fight, which one would win?" I posed this question to my friends once I'd returned to the table, with surprisingly minimal Blackthorn on my trousers.

"I think they'd battle it out for a while on equal footing until eventually they caused so much trauma that the earth imploded and sucked them in," said my friend. I wonder what she might have thought up if she had a propensity towards melodrama?

My other friend gave me a ginger nut biscuit.

15 August 2005

The things we wish we could say, if only we had the balls.

"Attention train crew! Disabled passenger alarm activated!" Said the announcement. What it might as well have said was:

"Attention all passengers in coaches G and E: All turn and gawp at the lady in the wheelchair who is trying to mind her own business, and has clearly not pulled any handles or pushed any buttons."

As hundreds of eyes burned into me because they were waiting for me to spontaneously combust, or at the very least, fall on the floor, I couldn't help but become transfixed by my fingernails.

After the announcement had repeated itself 4 times. it ceased. And most passengers resumed facing in the same direction as their seat. Except for one woman.

"Oi! Woman three rows down in the white T-shirt! Yes, I'm well aware that I'm pretty. But please stop staring because I'm not the on board entertainment."

I wish.

10 August 2005

And, the 'fuckmuppet of the day' award goes to:

The man who felt the need to sprint down the road to stop a van from reversing around a corner.

Why did he do this? Well, it would appear that he made a value judgement about me, and assumed that because I can't walk proper, I can't know the Green Cross Code, and therefore presumed that I was going to wheel off the pavement and into the path of the reversing van. I'd love to take him out for a ride in my car and watch him break into a panic at every road junction "but, you can't walk! How do you know what that red light means?" Because my brains are in my knees, clearly.

I suspect though, he'd fall into the camp of people who believe that crips can't drive. They're an interesting breed. I used to know someone through the Brittle Bone Society who worked in the field of motoring. Sadly, he passed away a few years ago, but I remember him telling me and my parents the story of a man who'd reached the age where he now had to get a medical certificate from his doctor to certify that he was still fit to drive (is it 70? I'm living on the assumption that the DVLA will send me a "you're old now" reminder notice). Suddenly, his driving licence was revoked. Apparently this was because his doctor had informed the DVLA that he wasn't fit to drive. The reason for his unfitness being "he's got no legs, he can't reach the pedals," despite having been driving as a lower limb amputee for decades.

In my stand up set I usually mention driving a couple of times. Mainly because I'm too lazy to actually sit and write material, and usually wind up thinking about what I'm going to say in the car on my way to a gig. After a gig a few months ago, a comic I gave a lift to the gig and back said "I really liked that, but, you might wanna mention something about being able to drive. Tonight the audience saw you have to get out of your chair to bump it up on the stage and sit back down, so they knew you could use your legs a bit. But, comedy is funniest when it's believeable, and if you're playing somewhere that the audience don't see that you can stand, they won't believe you can drive, so that bit won't be as funny for them."

Because... driving is done in a standing position?!?!?

Going back to today's Mister Sprinty Man - maybe from behind I just look suicidal? Interesting concept to garner from someone's hairdo. Like I wasn't paranoid enough about my fuzzy locks.

Anyway, I like the word 'fuckmuppet'. I first encountered it recently when a friend used it to describe the occupational therapist who wouldn't let me have a non-slip floor in my bathroom. I should update you that he has, under the duress of all the other managers in his department, reconsidered. I'm now waiting for a rep to come from the flooring company with shiny samples to let me pick my colour. And it's going to be glittery too! Seeing as my day started by watching the BBC's Breakfast News while I chowed down on my breakfast, and they were talking about new and popular insults, today seems like an excellent day for 'fuckmuppet' awards.

Today's 'instiutional fuckmuppets of the day award' goes to:

Halifax, Camden Town branch.

Why? For their comedic flouting of the DDA.

Today was the first time I'd tried to go in that branch since I only had a savings account with a small amount of money in with them, that I never put money in nor took money out of. But, today, I wanted that money, so I ventured inside.

Just inside the door, they have two steps. So, I got out of my wheelchair and bumped it up them, with an audience comprising of the employee standing in the doorway trying to sell mortgages. She never offered me any assistance, but, fortunately, she didn't grab my wheelchair out from underneath me either.

Once inside I couldn't help but giggle at all the "writing point only"'s at a suitable height for a wheelchair user, complete with the universal symbol for 'cripple' printed on them. I especially loved the "portable writing point" with the wheelchair logo on. It was basically just a tea tray fastened to the wall, and presumably there so they could whisk it outside for their customers that they force to bank in the street. What a safe location Camden High Street is to make people have to bank outside. The drug dealers and dodgy DVD sellers must love it.

It reminded me of the irony of the Chinese/Thai restaurant in Golders Green with the step at the door, the step down to the toilets... but then a spacious and handrailed toilet at the bottom of the step with a cripple sticker on the door. That's truly a disabled toilet if ever I saw one.

Today's final award is for "random thing of randomness," and that goes to Quorn fake chicken slices.


For making my wee smell like Quorn fake chicken.

05 August 2005

"But, I paid for straight!"

"But, I paid for straight!"

Was my cry of Monday (yes, I know, delayed posting reaction. Kinda like on Monday night when my friend kept playing with my knees trying to get a reflex reaction, and so I kicked her about a minute later).

"But, I paid for straight!"

Probably what my parents think every time they look at me.

I should actually point out at this juncture that my parents didn't buy me off some internet site - there was no net in 1979. But, raising me wasn't cheap. My collection of Care Bears alone must've cost them a pretty penny.

I haven't seen a pretty penny for ages. When I was a kid I used to get all excited by the shiny bronze ones, but, now they all seem so drab and brown. Have they stopped making them? Or do the Royal Mint just drop them in muddy puddles as soon as they come off the press?

"But, I paid for straight!"

Yes, on Monday, I got my hair cut.

Those of you that know me in real life will know that 99% of the time my hair is firmly restrained in a pony tail. Usually with clips for extra hair holding down efficiency.

I hate my hair. My hair's natural texture is the same as that of Troll Dolls. Remember them? Popular in the late 80's/early 90's?

At school the people that called me names observed my hair. Oh yes. They moved beyond the bog standard "Lisa the pizza" (oh what joy it was to be called a name that vaguely rhymed with 'pizza' and have teenage acne that kicked in at age 7). Most people even got beyond the fact that my Essex upbringing meant that I never pronounced my "h"'s or my "t"'s. It was my hair that warranted the nickname that stuck with me throughout secondary school - 'Troll'. Because of my erectile hair.

You think they were exaggerating with their claim? I wish. Despite having sported the ponytail for most of my life, because I was kinda shy and insecure, I used to have a "fringe" (it actually came down to my chin) to hide behind. Whenever I brushed it back off of my face, it used to stand straight up, supported by it's own fuzziness.

Thanks god for products! I've now learned to keep the frizz under control, so I no longer resemble a small piece of plastic with pink hair. But, my hair still likes to do mad things when unrestrained.

5 years ago I decided to have all my hair cut off. This was literally the first time since I was a baby that my hair had been unponytailable. When I was about 11 and going through my phase of being obsessed with Bobby from Home & Away (me, baby dyke, much?) I had my hair cut into a bob just like hers. Though I never did actually tie my hair back back then (Bobby never did!) it was still technically ponytailable.

But, five years ago I decided to look the lezzer part and have short hair. It only lasted about a year until I got a job during my first summer at uni - in Oxford. Commuting out from Uxbridge every day meant that I never got home until about 9pm, and, because I was earning I had the money to spend my weekends in exotic locations like Brussels, Dublin or a festival campsite up to my wheel spindles in mud... in short, I never had the time to get my hair cut, and by the end of the summer it was back in a ponytail, and I decided I preferred it that way.

See, when my hair was short, it went a bit wild. Fortunately university students are (a bit) nicer than kids so I never got called "Troll" again, but, then, I used to put so much mousse in my hair to hold it down I'm surprised that no Friends fan decided to start calling me "Wet head." Instead, students just used to steal my cheese out of the communal fridge. Bastards.

Not long after my hair grew back, I bought my first digital camera. From then on, New Hair Days were a cause for much celebration, and many self taken photos. Friends have tried to blow dry my hair straight, and all have failed. It seems to take years of hairdressing training to know how to make my hair behave. So, those 4(ish) days a year when I get my hair lopped off are worth photoing to prove that I can look (vaguely) pretty sometimes.

I used to always try and arrange a night out on New Hair Days to celebrate and show of the shinyness of my locks. But, I've concluded that that involves too much effort in cajoling people to hang out with me. So I've now resorted to only getting my hair cut on days when I know in advance that I'm doing something in the evening. I mentioned in my last post that a friend and I went out to see Stryngs on Monday night, and I had a meeting on Monday afternoon, so Monday morning seemed a perfect opportunity to get my hair cut and show off my hairs shiny newness to the maximum number of people.

I left the hairdressers at 1pm. By 3pm my hair had gone all flicky at the ends. I was Not Happy.

"But I paid for straight!" was how I greeted my friend on Monday night.

"Aw, it looks gorgeous," she tactfully responded.

"But, I paid for straight! Look, it's all flicky at the ends." I untucked the curliest bit from behind my ears to highlight how bad my hair day was.

"But, that's where it's been behind your ears..."

"No, this is why I tucked it behind my ears!"

"Oh. It still looks good. Don't worry."

"I am worried. I paid for straight!"

"Well, your hair is just like the rest of you, isn't it."

"That's not funny. I paid for straight, and I can't even ponytail it now until I've washed it because it's too volumey from being blow-dried."

"My hair's got flicky bits at the end too..." my friend was still trying.

"Yes, but you didn't pay £46 for straight this morning!"

So, my excitement over my new hair day quashed by the fact that my hair had curled in an assortment of random directions at the ends, I did the only thing one can do in such a dire situation - get very drunk. Strongbow can take away all the pain.

04 August 2005

Oh the pretty noises

Me: Do you remember back in the days when Mel & Sue were presenting RI:SE, there used to be a random giant black foot in the studio?

Friend: Yes, vaguely...

Me: Well, I always wanted to steal that foot, so I could give it to Athlete, so it could be theirs.

Friend: Why?

Me: Think on it for a moment.

My friend paused to think while looking at me like I was a freak of nature.

Friend: Nope, don't get it.

Me: Athlete's foot?

To which my friend groaned. Quite rightly so. But, still.

Me: Maybe I should give up writing observational comedy, and work on crap puns instead?

It's been a very musical week. First there was Texas on Saturday, and despite having been through the wash, there's still dirt on the knees of my jeans from being squished against the stage (being a wheelchair user, your eyeline is roughly arse height. You have to make the effort to get to the front, or you can only see a bunch of buttocks. Which is fine in certain circumstances, but Texas being on stage isn't one such circumstance).

Then, on Monday there was Stryngs and some other bands/singers who were fairly good. But not a patch on Stryngs. I first saw them back in April when they were supporting James Marsters at Islington Academy, and they might have blown my socks off, had it not been for my trainers providing containment. See, some good has come of my random obsession with Spike. In fact, when I saw them in June, when my friend and I moved to the front to be able to see as they were preparing to go on stage, we explained my aforementioned buttock problem in crowds at gigs to the lead singer. So, whilst on stage she graciously turned round to provide us with a "buttock moment". Indeed.

Last night was rather spontaneous. I found myself seeing Athlete at Somerset House. This all came about because my friends sister married into the support band, Morning Runner, and had a spare spot on the guest list. A free gig is always worth attending, especially when it's less than a 20 minute bus ride from your flat. And you get to hang out in the backstage/guest bar and spot people Off The Telly. An hour and a half before the gig I had no plans to go see such sportily named bands, and was in fact looking forward to an evening of watching DVD's, eating crap and moping over my bruises and life in general.

Between Morning Runner and Athlete, my friend and I went questing for some toilets. Right behind a sign saying "Disabled toilet this way" there was a tape, sealing off the direction the sign was pointing towards. Always helpful. The tape was at the bottom of a slight slope, so I just rolled down and ducked under the tape. This amused my friend.

"When they issue you with a disability you have to promise you'll learn to limbo. It's one of the conditions for entry into the club."

"You obviously passed the entrance exam with flying colours," she complimented.

We concluded that we were on the right path towards the disabled toilets. At least, none of the security guards tried to stop us in our tracks. But, then, we were wearing the purple wristbands of freedom. It's amazing how quickly the power will go to your head when you're given a pass to roam at such an event. All we had to do was flash our wrists and security guards stepped aside and allowed us through.

Then my friend said "Once we've found the disabled toilet, then I'm going to have to go and find a ladies..."

"Well, they might be together. Or if there's not any crips waiting in a queue, just use mine," said I.

"But I feel like a hypocrite campaigning for disability rights and then using a disabled toilet when I'm not physically disabled."

"So? If any security guards come along, just tell them that your bladder was full, and it was doing your head in..."

"Oh, that's good." She agreed.

Aren't I evil, giving people tips on how to abuse disabled facilities? Not that security needed any such excuse. Both times I went to use that toilet during the evening it was engaged, being used by someone non disabled. One of them even managed to pull the emergency alarm cord, presumably having mistaken it for the flush.

"It's nothing to do with me, it's not my job," said the security guard when I pointed out the shrieking noise to him. Nice to know that if I was to fall and break one of my bones that there was someone there, so eager to scrape my broken body off the floor and call an ambulance for me.

So, as soon as the perpetrator exited the toilet, I went in and hit the "reset" button for the alarm. I was still slightly concerned that a member of venue staff that actually gave a shit might come along and kick the door in expecting to find me splayed on the floor. That was not a pleasant wee for that worry. After all, it wouldn't be the first time a member of venue staff has burst in on me on the toilet at a gig. I need not have worried. When I exited, Mr I Couldn't Give A Shit was still there on his own.

After the gig, my friend and I decided to have one drink in the guest bar to hide while all the crowds were exiting - because we could, we had the purple wristbands of power. We were sitting there when all the members of Morning Runner who hadn't gone home came and joined us. It felt slightly odd to be that popular. Though, they are my friends, brother-in-laws band, so that scuffers my feelings of popularity. We were sitting right next to the Thames, and the wall separating us from water had a sign on it saying in smallish letters:

"Do not sit or place anything on this wall!"

And then below in much larger type:


"I'm now just worried about tights," I said to my friend which made her emit a suppressed laugh out of her nose.

"Yes, you really should write terrible puns instead," she informed me.

03 August 2005

Fucking knobs

Most Londoners are currently afraid of The Terrorist Threat. So much so that Even six months ago, when the retiring commissioner of the Metropolitan police, Sir John Stevens, said an attack on London was "inevitable", a fire on a bus would not have caused such a heightened reaction from passengers or the authorities.

But, me? I've found my own thing to fear - Doors.

It's official. I hate doors.

I don't mean The Doors. I mean, doors. Those things you go through.

Today I have managed to bruise my right arm not once, but twice on door knobs.

Firstly, as I arrived at work this morning and was unlocking, I got into a fight carrying my bag, some bottles of water and the mail and trying to open a door simultaneously. Needless to say, the door won. I got savagely attacked by the handle and am now sporting a nice patch of blue on my arm just above my elbow.

Last week when my friend came over to help with the still ongoing redecoration of my bathroom, she painted over some pink painted pipes with blue paint, looked up at me from under the sink and said "It's got that smothered baby look about it, both flesh coloured and blue..." I suspect if I were to put my arm against the pipe now, they'd match. Except for the hairs and the freckles of course. Though, I have just painted over the layer of dust 10 years thick (yes, my flat was really that icky when I got it. I don't wanna know about the thick layer of black gunk on the underside of my toilet cistern), so it might get the hirsute look from fluff showing through. And perhaps slightly speckled in a freckley way too.

I managed to get through the rest of the work day avoiding further attacks, despite a rather close call with the automatic door of Boots in Kings Cross station.

I arrived outside my block of flats thinking "Ahhh, home sweet home" after a stressful day including a weeks worth of answerphone messages following me not going into work at all last week after the arse-injuring, and my colleague being on leave. Then there was the internet connection packing up. Ooo. I don't like days that start without me being able to send Emails. Especially with PMT.

Anyway, I went to enter my building when once again I was brutally attacked by the door knob. This time it was just below the shoulder. Though, that bruise isn't the same impressive blue, and looks more like I have a teensy patch of jaundice.

The one good thing about having an impairment that makes me bruise easily is that I have always got bruises to show for any bumps I may get. Though it's often weird trying to explain away those spontaneous bruises. Especially when they're somewhere really random, like my boob. Not that anyone ever sees them, so I don't have to explain that often.

Today isn't the first time I've been brutally attacked by a door. A couple of years ago I was volunteering on a FOCUS project. I was chatting to the Project Manager, and leaning on the frame of the main door. As you might be able to tell from the picture of the site we were using on this page, the door was quite heavy and hefty. While I was chatting away, I didn't realise that the door was swinging shut behind me. A split second before the pain of a fractured knuckle struck, I saw the person I was talking to flinch, but it wasn't enough time for me to see what he was flinching at and retract my hand. Oh no. Doors are mean and evil and have it in for me.

Maybe it's revenge for the fact that I once kicked a hole in the bathroom door at home when I was a moody teenager? I'd have thought that the broken knuckle was sufficient punishment for that. So why must doors continue to attack?

I previously wrote about a vague notion of re-subtitling my blog. Maybe I should opt for "How to injure oneself..." or maybe I should go for a quote from lifts everywhere: "Please stand clear of the doors."