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Richard Downes - disability arts online
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I once wrote for life now I write in life. I'm looking forward to developing a blog presence with personality for DAO whilst delivering comment, reviews, photos and views on disability and how it's represented.

Picture from a Not Dead Yet Movement 2

22 July 2014

Blog

Activist from Disabled People's Direct Action Network holds placard outside House Of Lords reading 'Lords of Death'

Thanks to Dennis Queen for telling me where I could the picture I was looking for in Picture from a Not Dead Yet Movement Again this comes from the action against Lord Joffe's bill not Lord Falconer's. I suppose if you replace a spade with a spade it still goes by the same name - 'Lord Of Death'. Great title sir. Back in the day, we all knew the Lords of Death would be back. Flocking rook like in a parliamentree, espousing blinkered wisdom like owls caught in daylight. Birds of...

Comments: 0

Picture from A Not Dead Yet Movement - A Penultimate Shot

29 July 2014

Blog

A wheelchair user sits by a poster reading ‘Dignity Not Death’ Beneath the headline there is a list. Only a part of it can be seen. It reads: ‘My home is inaccessible I do not get the support I need I have no form of transport I have no aid to communication I have no aids to daily living’ What does the rest of the poster say? Add what you lack. Complete the poster by saying where your dignity is put at risk. Tell me what you want. Charlie Farley Falconer thought you...

Comments: 2

Picture from a Not Dead Yet Movement 3 / 28 July 2014

28 July 2014

Blog

Posting this picture reminds me of a story someone once told me. I do not swear to its exactness. It's an old tale. Relates to a working man, a stong, silent, family type. Leaving home one morning he just collapsed on the doorstep of his home. HIs wife heard him fall and rushed to him. He was struggling that much was clear and things looked bleak so she left him at once, went inside and dialled 999, before returning to his side. The paramedics turned up first by bike and then an ambulance...

Comments: 3

Picture From A Not Dead Yet Movement - To That Which We Do Not Have

30 July 2014

Blog

I hadn't planned to put this picture up as a part of the series but something nagged away at me and I couldn't think what it was. Then I saw him and something else nagged at me. I couldn't remember his name. I slept badly last night. How could I not remember his name. There are people in these photos whose name I don't know and it worries me not a jot but something bugged me out here. I woke up. I've got it. He shares my name. He died. We went to his funeral to see off a DAN...

Comments: 0

Memories Surface Very Slowly

31 July 2014

Blog

Advocacy awareness class. Something is missing from everyone's learning. I could save them. Tell them how the circle of oppression goes on and what it does to you but its not my call so I spend time with memories of special school surfacing.... Mrs Mack She’s on smack She is very nasty Childhood peeps by in rhyme attacking teachers. I am alone here. Undefeated. Thank U Very Much for Mrs Cheetham Thank U Very Much Thank U very very much One more day to go One more day in sorrow Skool...

Comments: 2

Brother Malcolm Eats His Beans

4 September 2014

Blog

black and white photo of Malcolm X

Remember how you hear a political song that has ideas that stay with you forever. No Sell Out does that for me. Credited to Keith Le Blanc of Tackhead and probably featuring all group members No Sell Out is a collage of recordings featuring Malcolm X, I use a quote in the first line. I love that line and have played with it often. Changing it, paraphrasing it, extending it, turning it into something else entirely. Its something I sometimes call on. So, its there, ready for use. And so it...

Comments: 0

Mother and Wheelchair User Reunion

8 December 2014

Blog

photo of a wheelchair-user getting on a bus

 Following on from today’s ruling (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-30376446 ) I was moved to do something arty, but nothing would come and then I remembered Paul Simon’s 'Mother and Child Reunion' and wondered what it said. Seemed to me if I changed very few words I could come up with something portentous. No I would not give you false hope On this strange and mournful day But the mother and wheelchair user reunion Is only a bus stop away Oh, little crippie...

Comments: 2

New Project - Would Love Some Opinions

12 December 2014

Blog

I met Neale a good 30 years ago, I was runing a community darkroom. He came in and said he wanted to be the best photographer in the world and he wanted me to teach him all I knew. That took about 6 weeks and he was soon better than me. I continued to give him space and time. He became stylised and constantly went in search of beauty. Our ideas on that were very different. A tory recession hit the country and the darkroom closed. We went our separate ways but we stayed in touch and...

Comments: 9

A Heavy Load. Participatory Review

18 February 2015

Blog

Photograph of a Flo Brooks Painting showing a woman working, shaping an object.

Warning this is not a review. This started as a review. There was an event. Time. Place. Art the dominant subject. I was there to review. Then something happened. I was captured by an idea. I ran amok with it. I got some of it right. I got some of it wrong. I'm still adventuring. Here is the start of the story. ON 10th February i attended a Private View. Flo Brooks exhibition Heaving The Lead Cecil Sharp House Flo Brooks describes liminality as ‘an unstable,...

Comments: 0

A Heavy Load / Participatory Review 2

22 February 2015

Blog

The Muddy Lane String Band. We Are Waiting

I like that. Participtory Review 2. It the rhyme. A happy accident. Unplanned. Adventures in liminality continue. Where was I. Oh yes. The review continued like this. A photograph. The same one that appears here. A flash. I am now in the scene. Participatory. The words that followed came like this. "The band waits to play. Some are attentive of each other. The banjo player knows he is being shot. A set list lies on the floor. This is the Muddy Lane String Band, contributors to the Private...

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Flo Brooks - A Heavy Load; Participatory Review 3

23 February 2015

Blog

Tribute to Colin Hambrook. Who said this review looks more like a series of blogs rather than a review. he knows so much that man. The original review with this photo was short, succinct and so very, very, wrong and it contained this nugget: "I am fascinated by the look of the Muddy Lane String Band. Folk is white, folk is old, folk is cashmere jumpers and a finger in the ear. I wear my prejudices well. Black and white for this colour snap". And I know What i know And what I know Is...

Comments: 0

To interupt the series on Liminality.....

25 February 2015

Blog

...... I went out last night with Suzanne Bull and Peter Hope and as i've already said on facebook Its a simple comment but it blew me away. We talk about isolation and loneliness and here are two people who i wouldn't normally thinks that applies to but Pete was talking to me about making friends with us all through our activism and finished by saying "and here we are twenty years on". Blimey is it so long since we changed the world. Another 20 and maybe we'll be gone but...

Comments: 0

Signs: Dystopia

4 June 2016

Blog

Roll up Roll Up Change your disabled babies here Fucked it up the first time. Have another go. But can I say Can I ask What happens to the old one? Recalibrate We have the means We have the method You mean Intervention Experimentation? Call it as you will The less names We say the better But surely not Abortion Termination Death Camps Dignitas? No. Not those Not no longer We can fix them Put them right Make them some how useful But how Hasn't all these things been tried before And left them...

Comments: 0

And don't forget to eat from the plate

1 September 2015

Blog

I've not been to the Isle of Wight for a long time. First time I went I stayed with Islanders. I was defined by being a mainlander. We were different. I am different. They are different. Our language, our culture, hopes and aspirations are not the same. This time I was a black country man staying in a hotel owned by brummies. My regionalism stood on high alert. Warning! Warning!! Holte Ender ahoy!!! Separated by a borderline and the trammels of history. Yet Brummies are in my bloodline....

Comments: 0

Speak Up Sooty - That's Representation

2 October 2015

Blog

Two charidee boxes on a coffee counter asking for support on the Isle Of WIght for Scope and in Sooty's case support for RNIB

Posted this on my work facebook page the other day: "I'm really looking forward to having some little monkeys visit at the end of next month. But something has got my goat today and its a pig of an advert in the Times for Debra in support of Butterfly Children, kids 'living with Epidermolysis Bullosa - a painful genetic skin blistering condition which makes... skin as fragile as a butterfly's wing. To find out more about butterfly children.....' Should be used to it by...

Comments: 0

Another Begging Letter in the Post Today

16 October 2015

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I got another begging letter from the Alzheimer's Society today. I can't remember how many that is now. But they clearly won't take no reply for a no. I was going to say indifference for a no there because when these things arrive I am usually indifferent to the causes they say they support, and having had once scanned them for negative imagery it's normally into the bin for them. This time though I didn't even bother reading the letter except for the new post script that...

Comments: 0

News from a Die-In for the dying

4 December 2015

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Blast! Just when I committed to life Parliament decides to take a vote on air strikes. Blast! Just when I’m gettting on with living I’ve got to go off to a die in. Blast! Parliament  Square. December 2nd. A pathetic tranche of resistors move to a penned-off part of the road, at no one’s inconvenience, to lie down, act dead and yet somehow find the breath to chant ‘Don’t Bomb Syria’. I’ve got my legs bent and pointing towards Bean...

Comments: 5

A proper right winger

8 December 2015

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Today, in history, John Lennon was murdered. I'm wondering now we're bombing Syria if Give Peace A Chance has been removed from the Beeb's playlist as it was when we went into Iraq along with any other peace song. Last night in my history for the first time I watched Gerard Deulofeu play for Everton for 90 minutes. A proper right winger. Everton, the toffee men. Almost got themselves into a sticky mess. In spite of having a proper right winger. Like a proper right winger he...

Comments: 2

Trudell's Gone To Mama

12 December 2015

Blog

Trudell's gone to mama He'll meet her in the sky Trudell's gone to mama He knows the reason why   Trudell's gone to Mama I never heard him cry Trudell's gone to Mama His ideas won't die   Sorry about the words. I just wanted to say something. I knew John Trudell in sound. He only lived in sound. For me that is. For others John Trudell breathed love. John Trudell breathed fire. I'd heard the name John Trudell. Not in sound. I never heard the name in sound. I...

Comments: 0

Berghaus. Karrimor. North Face.

18 January 2016

Blog

Berghaus. Karrimor. North Face. A rambling Forecast Lumiere will leave you cold Poor. Variable. There is something special about London's new Lumiere Festival, imported from County Durham. But it’s not in the art work, the reason to be walking. Its elsewhere. London doesn't need Lumiere. It’s always alight anyhow. Road signs, street lights, late revellers and the tat on the local trattoria. But it does need that which is special and this is best seen at Kings Cross. Wide...

Comments: 2

Signs: Evolution

1 February 2016

Blog

Disabled Person, Baby, Lady
Gentlemen Excluded
A sign of evolution
Growth
Disabled person in reverse
Back to front
Skidding into the future
Facing up to the past
All those signs we missed

Comments: 3

A Dort S'lection of Shreams

18 February 2016

Blog

She said when she slept she slept in a shack surrounded by the outdoors. All she knew for sure was that the wind blew and then the wind blew some more, harder and harder still, until such time as the foundations shook and the walls buckled and the nails came loose and the timbers bent, came off one by one and flew away. And as the house, the shack, was shaking she'd become ever more, acutely, aware that she was on the toilet with her knickers around her ankles and that she just couldn't...

Comments: 0

A Special Residential School Experience

25 February 2016

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Illustration by Paolo Veronese of Jesus healing a woman with a flow of blood

Independence is an attitude If Jesus don't want ya Fuck im And your parents too You don't want no one That don't want you Well, that's what I think anyway. it all came back to me today. Independence ain't got nothing to do with life skills. Life skills they can teach you in schools and centres. It's how they tie you up. Life lessons happen outside the classroom. They come to you in the dark, day or night, like blinding flashes of light. You don't need to go to school...

Comments: 5

Signs: Unhinged

17 March 2016

Blog

Many thanks to the good burghers of Brent who tickle my fancy every time I pass this sign. Yes even today when the clouds amass stormliness and I have to use the flash..... well, i don't have to but its digital and i don't know how to turn it off yet. And so onward........ Before we go through the keyhole to this far from salubrious one storey affair, we trepass along a down trodden path past a hole in the ground which may or may not have once been a fish pool full of koi carp but now...

Comments: 0