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.

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