UK Tour 2002
Monday 25th March 2002
We'd planned to go to Blackpool today. Blackpool is a large holiday resort on the coast line on the North West of England. We thought we'd probably be staying there in to the evening so we didn't set off until mid afternoon. (Which translates as "we're lazy").
We didn't realise though just how late we would be staying! Blackpool has a reputation for lively night life as we found out for ourselves (we didn't get home until 4am). But more about that later.
When we got to Blackpool we drove along the promedade. I haven't been here for a long time and had forgotten just how long the it is. It goes on for a few miles and is packed with typical sea side frontages. This time of year it's cold so there weren't too many people around, but in the Summer it's packed here. With it's bright light frontages it looks a bit like a street scene from Las Vegas, only smaller, wetter and colder. OK nothing like Las Vegas then.
After the once over we decided that, before eating, it would be a good idea to get the dare we'd dared ourselves over with. This was to ride one of the highest roller coasters in the world.(I doubt that.)
As we queued for it we all went a whiter shade of pale and very quiet except the occasional nervous glance and laughter. I have to say that the initial plunge was possibly the worst I have ever felt and even I whimpered, but only for a few nano seconds of course. OK I screamed and thought I was going to die.
After the ride it took a while to let the adrenaline fade away.
While we were looking at the photographs of people on the rides (see above picture) that appear on a bank of TV monitors I said to one of our group who has partial sight that she should look at one of the pictures because she was in it, and it was a good shot. She got angry about my lack of sensitivity and I got angry back because of her expectation that I should be thinking about her needs. I wouldn't normally bring up an argument on here however I thought that this is a very interesting subject and has parallels in many other walks of life. My point about it is that it's very difficult to live in a world where we can always understand the needs of those around us. Like wise if we are not understood it is our responsibility to communicate those needs without taking out our emotions on those who don't understand us. I once wrote a song in which I mentioned watching a woman with no arms at a political type demonstration held by disabled people against a charity telethon. The woman ran up to and screamed abuse at a group of people dressed up as Court Jesters on roller skates who were raising money for charity. For her it may have been a release of tension caused by the oppressive effect of charity events, however in her own way she didn't apply an effective strategy that brought about an understanding of her needs. In the process she possibly furthered those people from wanting to have any future interaction with disabled people ever again.
Funnily enough it was my need to find a place we could park near to Blackpool Tower, a miniature version of the Eiffel Tower, (kind of), that meant we arrived at it just 1 minute too late to go up it. OOPS!
After a traditional seaside meal of affordable Fish and Chips we went in search of a fun night. First a bar, then we tried to find a Karaoke club and while driving around on our quest we stumbled upon a gay bar called the Flying Hand Bag. This looked like it was going to be a good place to stop as there was going to be a Boy George impressionist on and a night club afterwards.
Lately I've felt a lot more easy going about dancing in public, and enjoy dancing just for the sake of it. Being at a gay club does mean being careful about eye contact if you're not gay, so most of the time I danced in my own world with my eyes shut.
I've often seen disabled people in night clubs being treated in quite a different way to non disabled people, and while I understand some of the difficult emotions that non disable people face when they come across a disabled person in such a "physicality orientated" environment, I did not want to be treated like that. Around the top of the dance floor was a gallery from which people overlooked. I remembered a South Park episode in which the message was: better to have disabled people in your face even with them being hurt by cruelty than to have them hidden away. So I danced on regardless.
One woman I spoke to, Karen, was a teacher from near London, and it made me think how funny it is that as kids we see our teachers in a way that's probably so inaccurate.
I'm now older than most of my teachers were when they taught me, like most people I still feel quite young though. Karen said she had kept diaries since being a child and she didn't know whether she should burn them in case she ever had kids and they read them. I told her that eventually it would probably do her kids good to read them as it would make her human in their eyes. Mind you I haven't read her diaries so I could be wrong.