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Damon Rose

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Ouch editor Damon Rose has been submersed in disability culture since 1996, working as Assistant Producer on BBC2's From The Edge, Radio 4's In Touch, alt performance poetry and freelance writing. He is also co-founder of the cult website blindkiss.com

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From the Editor: Damon seeks an award for his snow-bound bravery

2nd February 2003

Had you noticed it's been snowing? At the risk of sounding like a cliche or an LBC talk show host ... why why why does everything come to a halt when it snows?
In great BBC tradition, I am about to be extremely South-East centric this week because it's snowing on us here and now in London and Wales, although the Midlands and North-West haven't been affected. Not sure about Scotland or Northern Ireland, as they've not popped up in my personal radar as yet. Be assured though, it's coming your way apparently ... so there ya go, the BBC not being so London-oriented after all.

What I want to know is ... how many disabled people took the day off work today? I toyed with the idea of calling up and explaining how insurmountably difficult it would be for me (sob), a poor blind person, to make it in. But I didn't. I consider myself really quite courageous for this obviously, and am trying to work out what kind of achievement award I could apply for. 'Children of Courage' is a little off my landscape now that I've hit 30, but is there maybe an 'Adult of Courage' award? Are you reading this, Esther? I've not been to a good swanky party since those disabled awards things back in December.

When I was about 15, I attended a boarding school for blind students. Christmas holidays were made all the lighter that year by the fact that I tuned in and saw a classmate - and fellow dormitory dweller - on the BBC's Six O'Clock News. As I watched, it became clear that he was one of ten children who had won 'Child of Achievement' awards that year. At first I was surprised he hadn't mentioned it to any of us but, in hindsight, maybe I'm not. I remember thinking, "Well, why the hell has he won that? What has he ever done?" But of course, he got it just for being blind and being in the 'right' place at the right time. He got to meet Princess Diana and everyfink!

How embarrassing though! I wonder who nominated him? I wonder if he still keeps the achievement prize on his mantelpiece? I wonder if he looks back on it and cringes? Of course, in a lot of ways he deserved it for going through 'special boarding school', living that strict regime and fending off the paedophiles.

I'd be interested to hear from any now grown-up disabled people who received the award back then and are mortified ... or who would like to come to the Ouch office and sacrifice it with help from a few matches and lighter fuel. We could bring Pudsey Bear along too if ya like ... but we'd have to be everso everso careful not to let the flames spread to the cuddly bear, wouldn't we?

OK, time for me to go back out into the snow. They call it blind man's fog for good reason: dampened sounds, roads and pavements merging into one etc. Whatever.

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