Sleeper

Emergency on Planet Earth #8

I WILL WRITE A NUMBER OF EMERGENCY ON PLANET EARTH BLOGS THROUGHOUT THE TORY SPONSORED CORONAVIRUS CRISIS.

What follows is a random collection of thoughts from a human being trapped in 21st Century British society.

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Wednesday 8th April

I have been stuck indoors since March 5th, and boredom is really hitting home now. I suppose that disable people like myself, are used to having limitations placed on their lives, so in a funny way we are more adept to living with the restrictions of a lockdown.

I have been frittering away the time by completing the music listography that my sister bought me as a birthday gift, back in February. I may as well share parts of this listography with my readers, and encourage people to leave their lists in the comments section.

The problem, I find, with a musical listography is that such lists change depending on my mood. All I can say is that this list is fairly representative of my musical tastes. There is no particular order to this list, but it is fair to say that the Buzzcocks will always be my number 1 favourite band.

Music Listography

20 favourite bands:

  1. Buzzcocks
  2. The Rolling Stones
  3. Sex Pistols
  4. Oasis
  5. The Beatles
  6. Radiohead
  7. Stereophonics
  8. Manic Street Preachers
  9. Pulp
  10. Space
  11. Public Image Limited
  12. X-Ray Spex
  13. Stiff Little Fingers
  14. Green Day
  15. Ash
  16. The Bluetones
  17. Sleeper
  18. Travis
  19. The Zutons
  20. The Kinks

After each entry to my listography, I will include a video from a performer on my list. I will start off with a performance of ‘What Do I Get?’ from my all time favourite band, Buzzcocks.

From Wikipedia:

Buzzcocks are an English punk rock band formed in Bolton, England in 1976 by singer-songwriter-guitarist Pete Shelley and singer-songwriter Howard Devoto.[4] They are regarded as a seminal influence on the Manchester music scene, the independent record label movement, punk rockpower pop,[5] and pop punk. They achieved commercial success with singles that fused pop craftsmanship with rapid-fire punk energy. These singles were collected on Singles Going Steady, described by critic Ned Raggett as a “punk masterpiece”.[6]

Devoto and Shelley chose the name “Buzzcocks” after reading the headline, “It’s the Buzz, Cock!”, in a review of the TV series Rock Follies in Time Out magazine. The “buzz” is the excitement of playing on stage; “cock” is northern English slang meaning “friend”. They thought it captured the excitement of the nascent punk scene, as well as having humorous sexual connotations following Peter Shelley’s time working in a Bolton adult shop.[7] Per the band, there is no “the” in Buzzcocks.[8]

Devoto left the band in 1977, after which Pete Shelley became the principal singer-songwriter.[9] Shelley died on 6 December 2018,[10] but the band has remained active with Diggle assuming lead vocal duties.[11] They are currently performing with new guitarist Mani Perazzoli.[12]

***

Here are a few interesting articles, that I think might be of interest to my readers. The first two touch upon the furloughing of non-playing staff by Liverpool Football Club. These are followed by an article on how to boost your immune system, that appears on the ‘Linwood Health Foods’ website. Each article can be seen in their original format by clicking on the links below.

‘What would Shankly do?’ Not what Liverpool are doing, that’s for sure

Liverpool chief executive officer Peter Moore has issued the following letter to supporters. 

10 GREAT WAYS TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

 

What Do I Do Now?

These are very frustrating times for me as I struggle to come to terms with the fact that I have become a writer who can no longer write.

Friedreich’s Ataxia has robbed me of many functions that most of us take for granted, but the deterioration of my dexterity and inability to type freely is the most heart breaking aspect of my progressive condition. I have tried voice recognition technology and Eyegaze systems, but found annoying time consuming glitches with both of these potential solutions that deem them unworkable.

My Occupational Therapist is trying hard to find a solution to this problem, but she can’t perform miracles and keeps hitting the same brick wall that has been impossible for me to hurdle since publishing Every Silver Lining has a Cloud in 2013.

A few weeks ago she came up with a great idea when in discussion with the company Remap – who are specialists in coming up with new technologies to help disabled people live independent lives – she was advised to encourage me to be featured in the next series of The Big Life Fix with Simon Reeve. This programme brings together some of the brightest brains in Britain to try and solve problems that are affecting the lives of individuals and communities across the country.

This just shows the scale of the problem that I face – it needs a specialist team of inventors to conjure up a bespoke design to suit my individual needs. Nevertheless, I decided this was to good an opportunity to miss and with the help of my PA’s I wrote the following application:

 
I would like to register my interest in being featured in the next series of the Big Life Fix with Simon Reeve. 

I am a 40 year-old male who lives in Wrexham, north Wales with a progressive genetic disease known as Friedreich’s Ataxia.  I use a wheelchair for mobility purposes and I am an author and disability activist. 

My condition has deteriorated quickly since I published my first book in 2013.  I would like to write another book but I am having trouble with my dexterity and find it difficult to write.  it can take me up to 15 minutes to write a simple Tweet.  It is very frustrating to feel trapped in your own body. 

I have to rely on my PA support to help me type lengthy emails such as this by dictating my thoughts.  This is the best solution I can find at the moment as I have tried Voice Recognition Technology, but as my voice changes throughout the day – becoming increasingly slurred as I get tired – the programme does not recognise my voice.  I have also tried Eyegaze Technology but found problems when trying to use this software.  I found that I would be quicker trying to write by myself and also had problems with the light reflecting off my glasses. 

This is a scary time for me as I currently receive 86.5 hours of care and support per week but in these times of austerity this is likely to come under pressure following the recent announcement that the Welsh Independent Living Grant (WILG) is due to close in April 2019.  For further details about this please see the link below:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-38385381?SThisFB

Subsequently, my support is under threat at the time when my progressive condition means that I need more assistance.  At the moment I am left alone between 14:00 and 19:00 which is  extremely frustrating.  Not only am I unable to type but I am also unable to communicate on the telephone due to my poor hearing and slurred speech.  I am also unable to go out of the house during these periods as I find it impossible to use the toilet on my own or access my wallet. 

I could dictate much more, but I feel you now have a basic understanding of the problems that I face every single day as I struggle to fulfil my potential and live life as I choose.

I watched the first series of the Big Life Fix and was very impressed.  It would be a dream come true to appear on the programme and for the team of inventors to help find a life changing solution to my specific needs by tailoring technology to suit me in a world where technology seems to be hindering and not helping me – for example I can not use touch screen technology due to my dexterity. 

I look forward to hearing from you soon. 

Many thanks

Nathan Lee Davies

After composing this email I was fairly confident that I would receive a positive response and daydreamed about appearing on national TV, forgetting that I am a left wing activist with a vocal dislike of the BBC and status quo in general. Subsequently, it can be no real surprise that I received the following email yesterday afternoon:

Hi there,

Thank you so much for applying for this series of BBC Two’s Big Life Fix.

Unfortunately, we will not be progressing further with your application at this stage, but if anything changes then we will of course get back in contact with you.

We would love to keep your details on file here at Studio Lambert so we can get back in contact with you should we come back for another series, or if there are any other shows we make that we think you might be interested in.

If you would like for us to remove your details, please let us know by replying to this email.

Very best wishes,

The Big Life Fix Casting Team.

I am now disappointed and without hope for the future. I will keep plodding on and dictating my words of frustration to my support staff while remembering that there is always someone worse off than me. I will keep fighting and do what I can to rid this land of the Tories and give disadvantaged people such as myself the opportunity to progress and thrive in a more balanced and progressive society.