The architects responsible for the fairly disastrous Diana Memorial Fountain have another problem on their hands, and this time it's disability-related. They recently designed a £10,000 sculpture for Camden Council, featuring a quote from William Shakespeare's As You Like it written in Braille. Except that any Braille user who examines the text will be able to tell you that the quote has instead been attributed to "Willim Shakespeare". Oops. [Story via The Observer]
Archives for April 2005
Right, keep the following piece of information very very quiet, as we don't want everyone getting in on the act, do we?
So, despite the fact that Glastonbury tickets sold out long ago, there could be a few available for the last day of the festival! Yippee!
According to this BBC News report, an extra 3,000 tickets for the Sunday performances are to be made available - and 250 of those will be exclusively allocated to disabled festival-goers.
And guess who's headlining the closing night of the festival? That's right - it's KYLIE!
There are no more details at the moment, but Crippled Monkey suggests you keep your eyes peeled and pay regular visits to the Glasto website for more info. Tell 'em that the Crippled Monkey sent you.
Ouch link: Glastonbury Diary
Oh dear, Scope ain't having a great time of it at the moment.
First an article appeared in the Mail on Sunday, revealing the salaries of four new executives at the charity, at a time when it is already being criticised for closing down certain residential homes and special schools. Then, last weekend, former Stars Organisation for Spastics founder Dame Vera Lynn complained that Scope's plans to focus on campaigning instead of service provision are a "tragedy in the making". Dame Vera also appeared on LBC's breakfast show with Nick Ferrari, calling for the charity to go back to the way it was in the 1950s, a time when, she believes, people did charity work for love, not money.
So, is Scope chief executive Tony Manwaring about to take a U-turn - or a paycut? According to a statement from the charity, it has "no plans whatsoever to stop providing care", just to provide it in a more enlightened way than it did in the '50s. "It is unfortunate that the Mail on Sunday and others are unable to understand this concept," the statement reads, adding that Scope salaries are no more than those paid by other charities. "These people do not come cheaply," it rebuffs.
What's that they say about all publicity?!
Two new blogs to tell you about, from people who chose to email us at email@example.com with details of their site (that's a subtle hint to the rest of you). First up is Fellowship of the Deaf - probably the most far-flung Ouch reader we've ever heard from, as the writer, Kim, is in New Zealand. He describes his blog as "a look into the life of a Deaf Human Rights Activist in New Zealand".
Our next blog is from outside the UK - Ashqelon in Israel, to be precise, where Gill Berg is updating her Bergadian site. She promises that if you carry on reading her blog you'll "find more than you'll ever want to know but might find interesting". Ah, but that's the great thing about blogs - finding out more than you could ever want to know about a person, including what they had for breakfast and the names of all the pets they've ever owned.
Almost since the moment Ouch began back in 2002, we've been closely following the story of '80x pop star Adam Ant - our very own Liz Main wrote a great Behind the News article about him back in October of that year. Thanks to his fame, his mental health problems have been well publicised in the press - often splashed across the tabloids in their typically unsubtle style (anyone remember "Adam and the ANTidepressants"?)
So for '80s kids (like some of us in the Ouch office) who still haven't quite recovered from first seeing the amazing video for Stand and Deliver on Top of the Pops some twenty or so years ago, it's good to discover this new interview with Adam, recently published in The Daily Telegraph. He discusses his life and his whirlwind career, and gets the chance to talk in his own words about some of the episodes he's been through as a result of his depression. But the best news of all is that Adam Ant is working on an album of "very personal" new songs, which will hopefully see the light of day soon. [link via mad musings of me]
About three weeks back, I ventured into the world of daytime soaps with news that Australian soap Neighbours had only gone and got itself a disabled character, as Stuart struggled with sight loss. But there have been exciting developments in the storyline (well, they're exciting if you're a Neighbours viewer, anyway), which haven't yet reached British TV.
But first, here's an important warning: possible spoilers ahead! Please don't read any further if you're a dedicated Neighbours fan.
Right, now that they're all gone, we can get on with the rest of the entry. Stella Young, an Australian Ouch reader from South Melbourne, Victoria, sent us the following email:
"You obviously already know that Stuart has gone blind in the act of rescuing Sindi from the burning pub. Determined to overcome the odds and remain a productive member of society, his duties in the police force become entirely administrative and his fellow cops are inspired by his courage. Blah, blah, blah. After much scrimping and saving by Sindi, who has to secretly return to her career as an exotic dancer, the pair are finally able to afford an operation to 'cure' poor Stuart. Actually, I think the fundraising may have been a community effort, but I'm a bit fuzzy on the details. Occasionally I get a life and don't have time to watch telly.
"However, I did catch last night's episode, in which Stuart had his bandages removed after the surgery, looked at Sindi and said "Have I ever told you that you look great in red?" Yeah, I know, double yawn! (Not just double yawn. I'm in danger of throwing up - Monkey)
"But just when you thought they were all a happy little able-bod street once more, tragedy strikes again! Throwing himself into his new job at the gym, little Boyd Hoyland goes a bit hard-core with some HGH and is diagnosed with adolescent schizophrenia. It's suddenly made him a very violent and scary person (imagine that!) and he's dragged Summer off into the bush to meet their dead mother.
"I'm sure there's no need to fear, as in Soap Land they either get cured or they leave the show. God forbid we should have to see that sort of stuff on telly on an ongoing basis."
Thanks, Stella, and apologies if we've spoiled it for any Neighbours addicts. Crippled Monkey is rather torn between thinking this all sounds absolutely horrendous, whilst also being impressed that they're at least featuring disability much more than any British soap at the moment.
Something a bit different for the weblog. We don't often post techie stuff here, because although we're a bunch of web geeks, we figure such articles might not interest everyone. However, a recent piece in Digital Web Magazine is worth a few moments of everyone's time. Written by Wendy Chisholm, it's called Innovative Design Inspired by Accessibility.
As Wendy says in the article: "Designing for everyone will help you create content that is used by more people in more situations". This ain't rocket science, kids. The article goes on to suggest that taking into account all the various access needs of people using the net will help to increase the amount of innovation in the design and usability of websites. Take a read - it's fascinating stuff (and we're not just saying that because we're web geeks, honest).
At last, Quads comes to UK television.
The series, created by celebrated disabled cartoonist John Callahan, is currently airing on Channel 4 at around 1.00am. A quick glance at the TV guide seems to suggest it's on every night!
Quads is an animation telling the story of Reilly O'Reilly, a foul-mouthed drunk. He becomes a quadraplegic when run over by a millionaire. The driver, wracked with guilt and fearing a lawsuit, pays Reilly off by giving him a mansion.
He names it Maimed Mansion and fills it with "people less fortunate than himself". The disabled anti-heroes form a dysfunctional household. They include: his VW van-driving, hemp wearing girlfriend, Franny. Fontaine, who is black and blind but not at all musical. Blazer, a head on a skateboard. Lefty, a former masseur with hooks for hands. Griz, an uncouth Irish barman. And his gay Australian physiotherapist, Spalding.
Some are offended by the humour in this cartoon ... but we advise you to set your VCR, or funky digital equivalent, to record the series.
Even if you're only an occasional reader of Ouch - and surely no such person exists, do they? - you'll know how much we love those disability-related headlines that make you CRINGE. That make you embarrassed to be reading the magazine or newspaper they're printed in. In fact, Ouch's editor, Damon, wrote about a skiing-related example only last week.
Well, thanks to The Times, I've now got another one: Marathon strides in the dark. I bet you'll never be able to guess what it's about, will you? Oh, alright then, yes, it's all about a blind guy who's running the London Marathon next weekend.
But it's not just the headline. The article itself has to be read to be believed. Check out this extraordinary paragraph, for instance:
"'I was going to be a great athlete like Kip Keino,' said Mr Wanyoike, 30, who turned off his bedroom lights one night a decade ago and has been blind ever since."
So, if you're blind, Crippled Monkey recommends that you check out whether the cause of your impairment might have something to do with your bedroom lights. You know it makes sense.
Now you probably didn't have Crippled Monkey down as being a fan of the long-running Radio 4 soap The Archers - but that's where you'd be wrong. The new edition of The Archers Ambridge Voice, the quarterly magazine published by Archers Addicts official fan club, features new cast member Ed Browning, who plays Bruno Foster. (If you're not an Archers listener, then you may have seen him playing the part of Curtis in the past three series of Channel 4's Teachers.) Turns out that Ed has cystic fibrosis, and that in joining the cast he's become the second disabled actor down Ambridge way - joining Ryan Kelly. Ryan is blind, but the character he plays, Jazzer, is sighted. Confused? Are you still with me here? Hello? Hello ...?
Don't miss the next episode of Ouch Goes Ambridge, coming to a weblog near you soon.
Who woulda thought the world of American wheelchair beauty pageants could turn ugly?
Apparently Ms Wheelchair Wisconsin (no, we're not making it up) found herself stripped of her crown this week, after photographers snapped her - shock, horror - standing up!
The lovely Janeal Lee, who has muscular dystrophy, lost her title after the pictures - which revealed that she could walk short distances - were printed in her local paper. A steering committee led by the pageant state coordinator, herself a former Ms Wheelchair Wisconsin, decided the revelation might offend women who have to use their wheelchairs all the time.
"The way they see it, you're either 100 per cent disabled or 0 per cent disabled, when in reality everyone is somewhere in between," said Lee.
But Judy Hoits, from the Wheelchair America Board of Directors, which is backing the decision, insisted: "We can't have title holders out there walking when they're seen in public."
How terribly unseemly that would be.