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.

Let’s talk music. I found listening to various genres of music a great help through my journey of 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. Me and a fellow work colleague hit the town with a train ride into Marylebone then a steady walk down Hyde Park into Knightsbridge to the venue. On entering the hall we were greeted by a long corridor hugging the intermittent entrances to the viewing areas. Finding our door we went in and, if I recall correctly, found we were sitting looking directly down on the stage looking at the band – five musicians to start then the back tiered area field up with a Orchestra…. WOW!

I can’t list all the Weller gigs but they have all been awesome. Using the wheelchair skills that I teach helps me get to and front the venues with confidence. I particularly remember at Brixton Academy the access ramp is so steep it requires the door steward to shove me up in order for me to gain access. When it’s time to exit the venue the same ramp is put back – it’s a temporary ramp, or was – and if I descended on four wheels I would crash, no question about it, and I would get hurt. So I zip down, in a controlled motion using a back wheel balance – this was the same at Shepherds Bush Empire. But the door safety stewards aren’t keen for me to do this, in case it goes wrong I suppose. So I not only have to be quick and use my wheelchair skills swiftly but be assertive and verbally independent explaining in a raised voice, sometimes quite loud due to all the other gig goers leaving at the same time, that I don’t need any help, get out the way and DO NOT touch my wheelchair or try and help. From past experience, when people try to help they sometimes think they know best and don’t listen to instructions which 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.

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 station in town to home and bed. Worryingly there is not always an official to help me disembark from the train carriage. 

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