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Editor's picks 2002-2011

by Damon Rose

11th July 2011

Ouch! is moving on to a new stage in its evolution. When we first started, the world was quite a different place and we served to kick start a new 'disability debate' at the BBC with humour and daily minutiae at the top of our agenda.

Across this time we told many new stories, we started a bold and witty podcast, we tried to tell all sides of the tale by not being politically correct and just going after what fascinated us. People sometimes couldn't believe what we were writing ... but they read it all the same. Sometimes we felt like a pirate website in the middle of a big corporation - anyone remember our excellent Harvest Festival game? No? Good.
Damon Rose at a production meeting
Here I'm going to list some of the articles that stand out in our minds:

I love high heels - Back in the first weeks of Ouch, comedian Francesca Martinez wrote that she is a bit wobbly as a CP'er and can't really walk in high heels. She told us she wanted someone to invent some flat shoes which had sexy heels she could extract when sitting down. And loads of teenage disabled girls wrote in to agree ... and find out where they could get a pair.
• Where were our minds when we wrote these bizarre, if niche, disability themed valentine messages?
Pyjama Girl goes shopping - Resident mental health columnist Liz Main wrote about a hypomanic shopping spree she went on where she maxed her credit card out on tuna fish. In similar vein, yet more extreme and illegal, Electroboy Andy Behrman went on a decade long spending spree.
• Here's another, I think BBC coffee was quite a bit stronger and worth the money back when we wrote this: Ten things not to say to the able
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson
• Before she was a dame, least alone a baroness, the then paralympian Tanni Grey-Thompson had a regular column on Ouch! She wrote Fit to be a mother about the unusual reactions she has as a disabled mum. More parental insights have come from comedian Laurence Clark such as: I can crawl faster than daddy.
• I wrote over 120 columns for Ouch! The most memorable one was this: Before people started taking photos of disabled people with their mobile phones and posting them online for comment, something very unusual happened to me. I went out for a couple of beers and a meal with a group of mates with a variety of disabilities ... and the next day I discovered that someone had written about us all on the notorious Popbitch website.
Charlotte and her mum from Disabled Student Diaries 2009
Disabled Student Diaries was a big project for us that we were excited about as it touched on social issues as well as education and accessibility. It became part of various diversity studies, citizenship classes and was built into Open University and other courses.

We were very proud of it and very proud of the students who took part - we got quite parental about it all back in the office which I'm sure they'd hate to hear.

What was it? Does what it says on the tin really: we followed disabled students for their first month at university. We did it three times, the most recent being 2009 where we also created films of the students.
The Ouch! team are now part of BBC News a new and exciting place to find our work. Ouch's podcast Talk Show remains an important fixture and we'll link to it all from our blog which is the main hub now at the famous bbc.co.uk/ouch address.

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