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Laurence Clark

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Laurence juggles stand-up comedy with family life. He’s previously toured an anti-Jim Davidson show and been called a ‘sit-down comic’ by Cherie Blair - which was nothing compared to what he calls her! You can catch up with all Laurence's activities on his website.

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12% Evil

30th July 2007

Ever woken up in the morning, looked in the mirror at your imperfect body and decided to wreak vengeance on the world because you're disabled? No? Me neither. Yet according to the movies, this is how many super villains break into their profession.
Laurence Clark as a Bond villain, complete with evil grin and a white cat on his lap
I should probably confess to being guilty of revenge on a much smaller scale. Grandiose plans for global domination are not exactly my cup of tea, but I've never been averse to deliberately running over the foot of the odd patronising git with my wheelchair, then claiming it was an accident. Sometimes I manage to persuade them that they were actually at fault for being in my way - and even get an apology out of it.

I suppose these columns are another of my methods for exacting revenge on the world for the cruel twist of fate that left me disabled. In the past couple of years, it's enabled me to get my own back on pretty much everything that's pissed me off, from inaccessible trains to those sods who dragged me off to Lourdes as a child.

Hmm, maybe there's something in the evil stereotype after all ...?

Imperfect bodies have always been associated with imperfect morals. Over the years there have been many examples of famous disabled villains featured in the media: Dr Strangelove, Davros, the creator of the Daleks in Doctor Who, Darth Vader from Star Wars, Freddie Krueger from the Nightmare on Elm Street. In the Bible, a book never afraid to point the finger, the term 'cripple' gets linked to sin over forty times, while during the Middle Ages disabled women were, incredibly, even accused of witchcraft and burnt at the stake.

In the past, one way of discrediting someone was to portray them as disabled and, by implication evil. For example, pirates were initially valued for building up the British Empire. Yet once they outlived their usefulness, they started appearing in stories with eye-patches, hooks and wooden legs. In reality, though, disabled pirates had no need to carry on pirating, since they had the very first disability benefit system. Part of their plunder would go into a common purse, out of which compensation was paid to any pirate who became disabled. So unlike Captain Hook and Long John Silver, the real disabled pirates had better things to do with their time than terrorising small children. They probably just retired to a tropical island and lived like rock stars, squandering their pirate DLA on rum and prostitutes.
Laurence Clark as an evil villain, pictured in front of the Houses of Parliament about to press the red button on a large bomb which says 'Warning: do not push this button'
But it's really in the world of James Bond where being disabled makes you one bad ass daughter or son of a bitch! Blogger Goldfish recently demonstrated that almost every Bond film has a disabled villain of some description, from Doctor No's bionic prosthetic arms through to Le Chiffre's facial scar and damaged tear duct in the latest film, Casino Royale.

I'm currently working on a stand-up show exploring this stereotype of us being evil. Bizarrely, after the first preview a few weeks ago, a very excited woman accosted me outside the theatre and told me that she had loved the show because I'd covered her two favourite subjects in the whole world - pirates and James Bond. What are the chances of that, huh? In fact, she was so impressed by my mentioning that one pirate piece-of-eight is nowadays equivalent to 0.96 US dollars that she told me that she now intends going to a pirate fancy dress party dressed as 0.96 of a dollar ...

I'm still not sure exactly how I was meant to respond to that.
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