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4 Dec 2011

Post 319:December: Pish or Piss-Ups?

Another week, another existential quandary – or in Laymans terms – what is the f*cking point? Well, as a representative of the male of the species I wish I was as easily pleased by gadgets as I used to be, but sadly most modern gadgets
are prohibitively expensive and designed for people with perfect eyesight and the co-ordination of a kung fu expert. Actually that's not true, any coordination except that of a stroke survivor. Everyone else can enjoy the benefits of a smartphone but Even texting is a bit beyond me now so I set my sights a bit lower. However they clearly don't make many sales at the company that make my wheelchair and they make up for this by ripping the eyes out of their customers. I'll give you an example. With Christmas approaching I thought I might be in the market for a new attachment (or something) to my wheelchair and they had mentioned a coffee tray at one stage – although it sounds bland something like this might significantly improve the quality of my life so I asked them for a picture and to send me a quote – Now I suspected it might be expensive because of a time I'd once been to their workshop and their engineers had actually had a joke about how much modifications cost and came out with the immortal words 'you would have thought the chair was made out of solid gold' which in fewer words is 'we're a rip off'. The quote for the tray, this thing,
was over £300. By a happy coincidence a few weeks ago in the 'challenge and support group' I go to run by my counsellor Cathy,
a group I go to every month to discuss stuff with some other brain-injury survivors, one of the other members told me about a charity called Remap
that specialises in making bespoke things for people with disabilities. It took the nice chap (Brian, a retired engineer) a matter of days to knock this up for the princely sum of £20.
A charity that I really want to shout about (other than that done by or for the trust of course, especially the kind people who take pity on me and come and see me, by a process of deduction people who know about what has happened to me but can't be arsed should either just be ashamed of themselves or come clean that they can no longer be bothered to be my friend anymore). How brilliant Remap have been doesn't end there though: Being able to take good photos at events is a big part of my life. Sadly, I don't have the steadiest of hands these days
so Brian knocked up this,
I think it's fairly self explanatory, there's also a younger chap Sam, who is more of a technical guru, who is doing some research for me on a couple of everyday problems – this sort of help is gold, and just this second, a new local friend Isabel,
just sent me a message offering to put herself through the London Triathlon in the summer to raise money for the trust. To sponsor her get in touch with me and I'll put you in touch. Isa also cooked dinner for me on Saturday night and invited me to a houseparty she was having. Meeting new local friends is a key part of settling into this substandard invalid life – I try and stay philosophical, this is probably preferable to pushing up daisies. This comes at a good time, it's been a while since someone did a sponsored event for the trust (not since my mate, the beautiful Carly
ran the insane tough guy anyone who has put themselves in harms way to raise money for the Trust, it always moves me that people offer to do this, I find it so touching. Every Penny pays for physical therapy that although torture-like helps me maintain what independence I have. Without the Trust it's quite simple, I'd end up in a care home where I'd have to be under 24 hour suicide watch, and worse than that Carly's moved to Australia
to wrestle Crocodiles (or something) because being a parole officer in south London wasn't enough of a challenge(probably) -she's well 'ard. But thanks to Isabel who started this train of thought. If anyone is contacted by a nice Portuguese lady, please sponsor her. I hope I didn't spoil her party by making her have to worry. I think she's coming to the Trust Christmas drinks – people can meet her there. As well as lovely Mel
who just took me out for lunch at the Bear. Having people nearby really helps. Luckily Mel is a 'recovering Vegetarian' ;-)so was able to have a proper meal plus I was able to relay my displeasure to the Manager about not being able to go there for a couple of weeks because when I've tried to book it's been full. I now have a batphone ( or more accurately his private e-mail address). One of the other scant things that has cheered me up no end is despite my often sunny disposition I'm nowhere near as bad as Frankie Boyle who still makes me laugh even though listening to his latest book 'Work,Consume,Die'
made me realise how evil and messed up he really is, and he has no obvious excuse. I genuinely think his wordplay is clever but there are only so many times you can admire the wordplay among the many times he tries to make light of such joyous topics as death, rape, pain and poverty, it's like saying you admire the Nazi's for their 'organisation' . It's more of that Schadenfreunde psychology I'm so proud of. Ie you feel better because you're not as badly off as somebody else. He does come out with some funny and quite clever sh*t, his name for 'the big society' is 'work for free until you die', in general the way his mind seems to work is: Think of a subject; any subject; think of the least appropriate thing to say, and then verbalise it. That's fine, if like Frankie you're past caring about anyone's feelings. I'm never going to get there, I won't stand on ceremony but I rely on other people for too much. Boyle has publicly said that every penny he earns, he'll spend on drugs and prostitutes hopefully so he says until he dies of a drug-fuelled sex heart-attack! that's pretty ambitious for a Glaswegian! What disturbs me is he somehow has a partner and kids. I'm no social worker but there are a lot of questions, if not alarm bells. The story that sticks in my head is the one my ex-girlfriend told me in hospital. She used to occasionally do some work in Edinburgh and apparently one week she was up there and her parents came to have a weeks holiday and towards the end of the week as the Edinburgh Festival happened to be on she took them to go and see Frankie Boyle, now I personally can't think of anything more heinous -I don't know what possessed her?, perhaps Tim Minchin's 'Pope Song' with my parents or anything by Jim Jeffries might be worse. My parents are quite old fashioned. She just told me that everytime Frankie used the 'c' word (which I imagine was a lot) her mum looked like she had been 'shot between the eyes'. I would have wanted the ground to open up and swallow me! Once have I been in a worse position but you'll have to ask me – this post is already too long. From fairly challenging comedy to lighter stuff. My mate Jo (as she has often done) saved the day on Tuesday when my plans to see rising star Jason Manford at the Dome
unravelled. You would have hoped I'd have learned by now. Trust me when I say organising transport is bloody hard(especially on weekdays), which may explain why I get so stressed about it – I try and organise to go to good things but the majority of people just want to do nothing or perhaps that is preferable to an evening with me? Luckily that doesn't appear to be true but it's hard not to think that when you get left here with some non-refundable tickets. Anyway, I'd worked out this was the 5th time I've been to see him since my first time (in November 2008) Some of the jokes haven't changed but neither has the young Mancunian. His tour may now be ending at the Dome instead of the Bloomsbury theatre but it's still the same Fat Michael Owen
delivering funny stories and great observational jokes. He is so normal but also comfortable and affable -he is quietly confident and effortlessly banters with the front rows even in a venue as big as the Dome (which understandably had it's top tier closed off but the rest was full=~8000 people.
I know some people find it boring the way I write about stand up comedy but I'm not persuaded that writing about anything other than the stuff I go to see will be any better. Next time it'll be details/pictures from one of the events which reminds me I might still have a reason to live: The Trust Christmas Drinks. On a totally unrelated note and in my capacity as a true public spirited guy. I am in the process of giving up cows milk
as I've heard enough stories about it containing all sorts of things that aren't good for you or just don't sound very nice and I'm substituting it with rice-milk and Oat-milk which are better for you, less fattening and taste better, another tip I was also given is if you're going to fry anything, instead of oil,use unsalted butter – apparently, the butter is more stable and doesn't break down into toxic byproducts. I can't get over how useful I've been today.

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