Friday, 26 February 2016

Bionic

Am I the only person who gets a little embarrassed when disabled athletes on telly are described as being "super human?" It seems you can't turn Channel 4 on these days without someone talking about the Paralympics and using that kind of language. For me it's deeply patronising: you can imagine some sort of focus group sitting around the table saying, "how can we empower these poor little people?" "Should we call them bionic?" "No. That implies they're made of metal..."

I feel rather similarly about people who describe little children with illnesses as "brave." In the early 1980s, male game show hosts had a tendency to ask audiences to applaud women who said they were "just housewives." Ghastly.

How about we simply call them athletes? If they win gold they are the best disabled athletes in their field. I'm sure they don't require our pity. And until I see one of them flying or showing me an actual super human trait, I will refuse to call them anything other than what they are.

We were at the theatre all day today doing publicity for Beyond The Fence. We spent a large part of the day with Michelle Miller from CBS news in America, who was charming and fierce (in the true American sense of the word.) She was approachable and knew exactly how to get the very best out of her interviewees. She also described me as "├╝ber masculine" which I rather liked! The American crew were highly complimentary about Nathan and me in general and seemed astonished that we were able to finish each other's sentences. We chatted to our new friends for much of the rest of the afternoon, taking on pretty much every subject under the sun.

A Japanese crew was also in. Rather predictably they were only interested in the technology and computational side of the experiment, so we weren't required to talk to them. Is it racist of me to say that one of them looked like a Pokemon?

Tonight's show was good. It wasn't the cleanest or most energised we've had, and, I'll be honest and say that I'm not sure I didn't miss some of the material we were encouraged to take out yesterday. It's very confusing. You spend days and days writing material and then get given an hour to unstitch it all. Theatre is hard!

There was a Q and A after the show which happened on the stage. Many of the audience stayed behind to listen, which was lovely. It showed that there's genuine interest in this process.

We had lots of friends in the audience. Shannon and Cam. Brother Edward and his crew. Tash all the way from Northampton. Julie and Sam. Abbie and her family. Jordan, Alex, Perry, Laura, Tom and Jack from NYMT. It was like one of the parties we used to throw at Fortess Road in the late 1990s! Everyone seemed to enjoy what they saw. Of course, as writers, you spend your time reading between the lines and getting paranoid about what your friends say afterwards, "darling, I'm so proud of you. You created a thing..." Was perhaps the nearest we came to being damned with faint praise today!!

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