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Just the weekend to review my Olympic legacy... / 29 July 2013

I'm painting my decking, well not at this moment as its hard work and frequent bouts of horizontal recovery are necessary. As I paint, and no not its not exactly paint, more of a wood stain, I think about what's going on under the surface. It's a fair bet that the wood is rotting from the bottom up; I compare my decking to painted sepulchres and am suddenly embarrassed by a sticky wetness around my nether regions. 
Years ago when my first child started moving himself around he did what I called the bum-shuffle. I never dreamed how useful I would find that for deck-painting. I was being mindful of splinters, but unfortunately not mindful enough as I'd shuffled myself onto the paint lid, still wet and now somewhat attached to my flimsy summer clothing.
I've never needed an adult version of a nappy and incontinence is not a topic that crops up in conversation, so forgive me any incorrectness. Actually the topic did crop up quite a bit in my voluntary job, the one I don't do any more. There the manager would cope discretly with any accidents that occurred, sometimes popping unnoticed round to the charity shop next door for a change of clothes for the grateful customer, by now waiting in the accessible loo.
The day the assistant manager told a lovely chap who happens to have a raging version of MS, and whose body had just let him down, to go outside because, 'you stink' shocked me, shocked other volunteers. We expected the woman to be fired, and waited amazed over a number of weeks as nothing happened. In spite of protests, there were, for her, no repercussions that we were aware of. Eventually I left.
We were distressed, lots of us, but we were part of a nation that was already buying in to the notion that 'with the Olympics everything will change' and we were buying in to hope in a big way. And for a month or two there were glimmers, but as you're well aware the seeds that began to germinate were quickly snuffed out by a government who thought they could take advantage of the Olympic smoke-screen to clamp down on human rights. Where have I heard that before?


Like Wittgenstein I find
my days begin in hope, but
unlike the philosophic mind
they close, bemused, the 
rolling continuity
of not technically cruel, 
but never kind,
conducive to the same old
reoccurring, same old
prejudicial pressures on 
hypothetical tomorrows
by the tactically deaf
and blind.
But still my days begin in hope,
same old hope predawning;
same old hope somewhat
worn thin and yet unable
to sink and die
with the sun.


My Olympic legacy? The resounding confirmation that the political spin and people manipulation that is freely condemned when it occurs elsewhere is just as rampantly encouraged right here under my nose. Which brings me back to my decking and painted sepulchres. Except its reversed, there is no whitewash on the outside. All the bad stuff is out there, no amount of Olympic distraction could cover it up, but underneath, from the inside, there are loads of (extra)ordinary decent people, people like Liz Crow with #beddingout, just being human and striving to build that body of opinion that will finally turn the tide.


Behind the flag and bold
paraded silenced athletes
polished to perfection,
and after all the hope
and hype march politicians
leading media, unshy,
by the nose, declaring
disability is
a burden on the honest
working citizens who've 
earned the right to look away.
The lions sleep, so now you may
draw your own conclusions.
But lions do not sleep forever.