For the Love of Music. P1
Ok, so here we are in the first week of the new lockdown. I hope everyone is managing.
I don’t really want to write about the current situation we are in, so the above is all I’m going to mention on the subject in this blog. So let’s talk about concerts, wheelchair skills & trains.
Music can help
Let’s talk about music. I found listening to various genres of music a great help throughout my journey in life. I’ve been to many live concerts over the years. Like I said in a previous blog, I’ve seen Paul Weller quite a few times. My first experience of seeing Weller was the Heliocentric album tour in 2000. I was lucky enough to get tickets for the Royal Albert Hall. Not sure if you have been there, but it is quite a swanky venue. A fellow work colleague and I hit the busy town via a train ride into Marylebone to get to said venue.
Into London for concerts, skills & trains
After arriving in chaotic London, we took a steady walk down through Hyde Park into Knightsbridge, then head to the venue. On entering the grand hall, we were greeted by a long corridor hugging the intermittent entrances to the viewing areas. Finding the door to our viewing area, we went in. If I recall correctly, I found we were sitting looking directly down on the stage at the band. Five musicians to start, then the back tiered area filled up with a full Orchestra…. WOW!
I can’t list all the Weller gigs individually, but they have all been awesome! Using the wheelchair skills that I teach helps me get in and out and to and from the venues with confidence. I particularly remember Brixton Academy. The portable access ramp is so steep; it requires the door steward to shove me up for me to gain access.
Time to exit
When it’s time to exit the venue, the same ramp is put back – it’s a temporary ramp, or used to be? – and if I descended on four wheels, I would crash and get hurt. So I zip down in a controlled motion using a back wheel balance – this is similar at Shepherds Bush Empire. But the door safety stewards aren’t keen for me to do this in case it goes wrong, I suppose, and they get in trouble. So I need to be quick, using my wheelchair skills swiftly. I need to be assertive and verbally independent, explaining in a raised voice that I don’t need help!
Do not touch my wheelchair!
I need to be quite loud due to all the other gig-goers leaving the venue at the same time. Telling people that I don’t need any help, get out the way and DO NOT touch my wheelchair. From experience, when people try to help, they sometimes think they know best and don’t listen to my instructions. This adds a risk of me getting hurt. So I need to be 1) Loud, 2) Assertive, 3) Confident using my wheelchair skills, and 4) Good at my wheelchair skills.
The journey home
Usually, exiting the venue and dealing with door stewards and crowds is only part of the challenge to get home. London is not too far for me, but it’s getting to and from train stations that’s more of a challenge. I need to get to Marylebone to get the train out of London to my hometown. Then from the final destination station to home and bed. Worryingly there is not always an official to help me disembark from the train carriage. Concerts, wheelchair skills and trains, put together make an interesting combination!