Keeping the flow going with my blog writing I’m not even going to mention what is going on outside my window and on the news….
Heading Down to the Coast.
If you have read my previous blog you will be aware I have experienced big gig venues but I prefer smaller ones like Reading Rivermead or Brixton. The Brighton Centre is also a good, smallish venue – in comparison to Wembley or the O2. It also means a stayover. As travelling to Brighton involves using the dreaded M25, it takes longer to get to than a zip up to Birmingham, but it is a shorter distance. So when I have tickets for gigs here on the ‘sunny’ South Coast, I usually stay down for the night. I have driven there and back before in a day but it makes a long, arduous day. If you’ve never been to Brighton, it’s Wicked!. It’s bohemian, cool, stylish and by the sea, a tad hilly depending on where you want to go but the seafront is OK.
Using Confident Wheelchair Skills.
Finding a hotel is the easy part, parking the car is a bit of a challenge and it can frustratingly take some time to find a space. After finding the hotel, it would be wrong not to take a look around before the gig, enjoy the sea air, grad a bit to eat, check out what’s new on the seafront and just relax. The paths on the northside of Kings Road – this is the road that runs parallel to the sea – are rubbish, lots of uneven paving slabs, quite severe camber and dropped kerbs. Confident wheelchair skills are an advantage. Dodging the crowds on skinny paths can be interesting and verbal independence really helps. Paths on the opposite side of the road and below the promenade, along the edge of the beach, are a lot smoother and wider but camber is the big challenge here.
After a meal and the decision to go and find our seats at the gig, wheeling towards the venue is fairly pleasurable as all the traffic, or devotees, are heading in a similar direction. Only the usual environmental challenges I need to take on in order to arrive safely and not look like an idiot by failing to negotiate a raised up paving slab correctly resulting in a crash and falling out of my wheelchair.
Arriving safely and looking at the far-reaching queue to get through security, the door steward sees me and waves me and my party forward, in this case me and the wife. After a compulsory security check, we head in and check out the merchandise on offer then straight to the bar for a pre gig beverage before the que is 20, or 30 or maybe more people deep…..
After finding our seats and when it is my round I’ve often been let through the crowd to the bar and allowed to que jump, but these days more venue bars have a lowered counter at the edge of the bar. I just head towards this. It is used by others but being as it’s designed for individuals with disabilities (I hate to use that word!), I feel sort of privileged that people are organizing their mates out of my way allowing me to access it. “Two pints please Gov’’ I shout to the bar person. I receive my drinks and head back to where I left the wife. I can carry one item and propel my wheelchair, admittedly it is harder on carpet than lino or wooden flooring, but how do I carry two drinks?….
Thanks Health and Safety.
It seems as part of health and safety plastic drink holders, not plastic glasses because I don’t think there is such a thing as a plastic glass – something for you to ponder after reading this edit? This is handy as I’m able to hold one in my mouth after taking a couple of sips first to prevent any spillages. I meander through the crowd to my wife. Remember, I can’t see over people’s heads so I only catch quick glimpses of her through gaps in the masses now filling up the auditorium. In what seems like the eleventh hour in the long battle to propel myself towards her, she finally snatches a glimpse of me and starts to head over to grab the drinks……