11 Nov 2012

Post 375: Exploring the MOR

MOR or middle of the road was something I had the piss ripped out of me for liking back when things were normal, it’s a bizarre dichotomy or even a bit of cognitive dissonance how MOR I am(cognitive dissonance is the uniquely human ability to hold two conflicting ideas as true simultaneously in your mind. Despite being staunchly logical I just buy into the human frailty of the idea and love the use of language). I can’t stand things that add to my being bored, as boredom leads to introspection and depression and that’s not in my character. Maybe it is now - disability has been what has brought it to the surface. Let me tell you , it’s pretty hard not to think everything is a waste when you feel like this, and under no circumstances am I going to turn into a ‘happy clappy’ moron, that said, I am making a concerted effort to be less cynical. It is hard not to be when the world is so f*cked! But, a recent email from a mate saying we need to both try being more positive didn’t leave me as cold as it might once have done, so here goes.
I can guarantee right now that it’ll give rise to no immediate change because immediate change perhaps used to happen, but now it’s more Barack Obama ‘2nd term change’ or as I read somewhere ‘more of the same kind of change’. Thank God he won (oh the Irony). I’m pretty confident the world would have ended if Romney had won. The world would have sprouted arms and an intergalactic revolver would have appeared from somewhere, the world would have grabbed it and turned it on itself.

Even the more positive me sees the humour in that!
The reason I embarked on this subject is what I went to see last week, on Tuesday, 90s pop icon Seal at the Hammersmith Apollo with my new (and incidentally gorgeous friend Chey)

and saying to her ‘was Seal really this middle of the road’ after noting they’d left the seats in and surveying the crowd

‘hmmm, yes he was’ she said – still, it was a surprisingly good concert. I think the Apollo is a great music venue –good sound, lighting and a rather nice atmosphere. I was impressed by Seal. I had no clue but he’s from London, is pretty massive

and has a lovely voice. He is a soul singer first and foremost which really came through in some of his newer stuff but thankfully he did most of his back catalogue from the 90s (the stuff that had made him famous) but all in all a good concert,

Chey enjoyed it and I think she didn’t mind the tedious logistics. Going to the Apollo works. What was also nice was my friend Isabel who happened to be at the gig with a friend of hers popped down from her seat upstairs to say hi. Another friend of mine (fellow Stroke Survivor and getter on with Life Charley , It is amazing how she has struck out on her own and restarted her life after her stroke, she is an amazing lady) she suggested I should make some sort of disabled access guide out of all my concert-going. This is a perfectly reasonable idea but I go (wait for it) to too many MOR mainstream venues where access is OK at worst, not enough dive shitholes where a rogue step could ruin the whole night – plus I don’t want to risk sh*t nights for my friends who already do enough by agreeing to take me. I’m not into alternative enough music or comedy to want to go to some dank pub in Camden only to find it has no access, is darker and sweatier than the black hole of Calcutta and the only time we get to talk is in the car and even then I’m too exhaustipated (a new and brilliant word my dad sent me, meaning too tired to give a shit – my life in a word) Well, I do still give a shit, which is why I do anything really! From the middle of one road to the middle of an entirely different road. You know I believe strongly in trying to make up for ruining my parents lives? Well, I pander to their love of Classical music by taking them to anything remotely appropriate at the Albert Hall or similar. So on Wednesday, I took them to ‘Glorious Handel by Candlelight’ in Guildford and it was er, Glorious. The Orchestra was all dressed up as though they were from the turn of the 19th century

and we forget how brilliant Handel was. It started with ‘the arrival of the queen of Sheba’ which everyone must know from weddings
It is a very particular and pleasing style. I love the frequent trumpet solos, it is a high and clear sound that only the best Trumpeters can manage. My parents loved it. I think taking them to concerts like this for the rest of our lives is a start to repaying the enormous guilt I have. Closer inspection of the tickets also uncovered that the venue haven’t ever bothered to give me a free carer ticket apparently because I never specifically asked for one. Apparently some people in wheelchairs don’t need a companion. Cheeky B*stards at Guildford GLive basically. Since my incarceration in a wheelchair, it’s clear as a bell that I can’t go anywhere on my own for the rest of my life – it’s not a question of me having to try harder. It’s fact – that’s that. I would love to be independent but I can’t be ever. The end. This is closely related to another thing, When I went to see Dara O’Briain (again at Hammersmith) there was a lady with a carer who was just able to walk around, when I tactfully asked her what her disability was she said ‘normally I have a scooter, I’ve got pins in me neck and me knee’ she then got up and walked off to the loo. At the John Bishop gig we went out following a lady who appeared to be walking normally, carrying a crutch! I really don’t know what to say! This is a big issue. I can only live this existence if venues provide a free carer ticket and there are obviously people taking advantage of the system. I wish they’d bring back some form of public humiliation for people who take the piss like this. It needs to be enshrined in law. I am not one for inflicting any sort of pain or corporal punishment on people because that feels like you’re broaching peoples human rights.
Tenuously, on the subject of human rights, I went to see the gold standard in sociopathic nihilism and his belief in the human right to say anything, Frankie Boyle do his stand-up ‘comedy’ at the Hammersmith Apollo last night.

Now, I think the last time I went to one of his stand up shows (4 years ago ) by the end I wasn’t finding it funny, it was just nasty. I wish I’d remembered because I would have thought twice about booking it. I did listen to his book ‘Work, Consume, Die’ last year , and I stand by what I said ‘ how evil and messed up he really is, and he has no obvious excuse’ the good bit was getting to see Ben first and foremost,

but warm up Canadian Craig Campbell was excellent

despite ratcheting his f-word count too high, I have seen him on TV a few times and his banter with the front row was sharp and funny. Ben is an old friend who should be a comedian, he put past me his initial idea’s for a speech he has to give to the stock exchange cricket club at some form of Christmas shindig in a few weeks. I am confident it’ll go well if the preliminary skirmishes are anything to go by. I’m not joking when I say I almost lost bowel integrity!
Finally, a huge thankyou to Chey and Bianca for cooking me dinner and having a few glasses of wine on Friday. Friends doing things like that for me make life worth living!
In other news, plans for this years Christmas drinks are coming along nicely. If you should have heard about them but haven’t it’s probably due to a pesky technical error by the blind, disabled one (me). Simply email me.
With Obama winning the US election it’s probably worth going back to address the subject of the middle of the Road. I have decided that Britain is a very MOR country and this is no bad thing. It doesn’t for a minute pre-dispose that the MOR is boring, rather, even if some quarters of the world regard us as ‘immoral, liberal, permissive pig-dog apostate godless pieces of meat’ (lets call them imbeciles and fucktards) at least a lot of us in this country live free from fear, pain and oppression (if we still have our health). As long as Michael Macintyre remains the #1 comedian and John Bishop is doing shows at the UK’s most popular venue (the dome apparently, who saw that coming after it’s inauspicious beginnings?)(I incidentally saw both Macintyre (twice) and Bishop there) it is impossible to deny we are a MOR country, crikey we even have a liberal-conservative coalition government, they might as well rename themselves the MOR coalition. Now, I’m probably a lone voice sticking up for this idea but a few people have got it into their heads that this sort of thing isn’t dangerous, edgy, progressive or ‘revolutionary’ enough. Bullsh*t. The reason I say this is that I have been forced even more into the MOR by being in a wheelchair and even though I could never describe myself as happy, I think it’s fair to say that ‘I like living’ and every social deviation that gets suggested by a MOR-hater seems to be a threat to my very existence, or a dislike for a feature of the way I have lived in the past (all 35 years of it) so everything I have said is nothing more than self defence. The usual sincere apologies if this is a bit long and boring. Sincere thanks for reading it all the same.



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