Friday, 27 May 2011

Painting the town...

Painting the Town... 2

The day had gone well. Despite leaving late, assertive use of the accelerator and a relatively clear run meant that I was at the dentist in good time. The anaesthetic was administered with such care that not the slightest pain was felt. It may not have reached the depth of the tooth, meaning that I was very aware of the second pin-hole being drilled, my high pain tolerance meant this was not an issue. The job was a neat one and fixed a tooth that's been broken for nearly a month now.

But later that day, I crashed. I had been asleep, feeling as if the drugs had filtered deep into my brain. I dimly cursed myself, wishing I'd requested he not use an anaesthetic at all. And then the pain began to creep.

I knew something was wrong when I was no longer concerned with my face and head. The burning, stabbing, tearing sensation just below my rib cage started slowly...a tidal flood. And soon I was under water and drowning.

I vaguely remember vomiting, not from any need to remove something from my stomach - I'd not eaten for ten hours - but in reaction to the fire. I believe I lost consciousness for a few seconds only, curled up on the bathroom floor. The ambulance arrived in what felt like either seconds or hours.

All I remember after that was the journey and cursing whoever thought to invent speed bumps. If ever I am judged harshly, Hell will be that journey...forever.

And then we were there. "Mind your elbows, or else we'll have to take you to orthopaedics...and by this time of the day they'll all be drunk" he said as he wheeled the trolley through the narrow ambulance doors.

And we were there. The familiar brick and blue plastic structure. I went to school less than 200m away from the automatic doors they wheeled me through.

A nurse with a familiar face took my blood pressure. In the ambulance it had been way over normal. Lying still and focusing on my breathing, placing my mind away from the pain (which had began to ease) I managed to get it down below my normal rate. Power of positive thinking.

A black doctor with exquisite bone structure went to wheel me through and then remembered the wrist band. It had apparently been a long shift and he had a new child at home. I smiled at the richness of life around me as the clip snapped shut.

Painting the Town... 1

"Would you take off your shirt please? We need to do an ECG" she said. One look at me, and she left to retrieve a blue safety razor.

Patterns were shaved out of my chest hair. She apologised for the harsh blade which I did not feel. The cold sticky tabs were placed over my body.

It was 11am the following day that I remembered to take the remaining ones off my legs.

Painting the Town... 3

The pain faded slowly. By 9pm I was desperate to be home. It had been three hours, my blood tests had returned back normal. My sugar levels were "...better than mine!" said the black doctor, checking the luminous green watch on his tunic.

It took an hour for the other doctor to discharge me. A cannula was still in place in my arm. A nurse approached, saying she'd just 'whip that off'. I feebly offered the suggestion that 'whip it off' wasn't a phrase to inspire confidence. She smiled back and said she'd remove it lovingly and with great tenderness.

To be fair, she did, and there is minimal bruising from the needle. And you can see this clearly thanks to the complete lack of arm hair.

Painting the Town... 4

It was an interesting evening, but not one I plan to repeat any time soon.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Vlog - Classics - a summary in seven books

I've not been around much on my blog and on flickr of late, and as the reasons for this have been quite important, I wanted to let you all in on what I've been up to.  So here we are - my first Vlog.  Scary, no?

P.S. I know.  As thumbnails go...well, I wish I could say it's not typical.  But most of the time I look that stunned, shocked and bewildered.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Podcast - Catfish Review

Cross posted at Diary of a Goldfish

Link to the MP3 for download

Full Transcript:

D: Hello. We've decided to do an audio-review
of the film, Catfish, in order to test out Stephen's new microphone.
The film Catfish is one where there's no way to review it without
major spoilers, so if you want to watch the film and enjoy it in its
completeness, you need to stop listening now.

S: Quite right. And thank you very much for the microphone. It's very
beautiful, thank you.

D: You're welcome. Would you like to tell the listeners – I was about
to say “viewers” - would you like to tell the listeners what the film
is about?

S: I don't think the microphone is that good.

D: No.

S: The film is about – it's a documentary following a photographer,
who has an office in New York, who strikes up an on-line friendship
with “Abby” who is a seven year old girl from an American state
beginning with M.

D: Michigan.

S: Michigan. I keep on forgetting this. We've had a trial run and I
came up with Massachusetts and

D: Demure

S: Des Moines. Even I know that there isn't an American state called “Demure”

D: There isn't an American state called “Des Moines”.

S: Is there not? Is that a city?

D: I don't know but I know there aren't any

S: I so want to Google it and I can't really do an “Excuse me a minute
while I get out my phone”

Right so, Michigan.

D: It was Michigan.

S: Michigan. And he was in New York and apparently there is quite a
large space between those two places.

D: Cause it's in America.

S: Cause it's in America and America is big.

D: It's all spaced out.

S: Is it? News to me. Okay. So they strike up a friendship via
Facebook. She paints his photos that are published in various

D: Makes paintings from his photos.

S: Yep, paintings of his photos. And he then becomes friendly with
her mother Angela and her sister Megan and in fact the relationship
with Megan becomes very romantically-inclined.

D: Yes, I think he thinks he's in love with her.

S: Yeah. And the thing is filmed by his two friends who both use his
office space. But the documentary starts out as really looking at his
relationship with this family. They call it the Facebook family
because he “friends” them all on Facebook. And we see all of these
lives meshed together. A brother who worries about how he's treating
Megan. And it's quite in depth and detailed. But the action takes a
bit of a tumble when he realises that a song that Megan claims to have
produced within about twenty minutes or something - he requests a song

D: Yeah, he requests a cover of a song and suddenly

S: Tennessee Stud, I believe it was.

D: Yes it was.

S: Yeah, see I can remember that. And Tennessee is somewhere in America.

D: And uh, yeah. No it wasn't, it's the name of a playright, Tennessee Williams.

S: Oh I see.

D: I think perhaps they named a place after Tennessee Williams.

S: It makes sense.

D: It's a bit like Denver and John Denver.

S: And Denzel Washington.

D: Yeah, I don't know, I think perhaps Washington was there before
Denzel Washington.

S: Okay. So, this song. He receives this song as an MP3 or whatever.
And I can't remember why but they go looking for other versions and
they actually find the song on Youtube.

D: I think it was a different song. They were getting lots of songs
and it was a different song that they searched for but they realised
that the recording sounded exactly the same as a cover on Youtube.

S: So they'd recorded the audio stream from Youtube and then sent it
on to him. So initially he thinks, “Oh no, this love of my life is a
plagiarist.” But the story unravels more and he ends up with his
friends – because they're relatively near to where these people live –
going and dropping in on them and so the secret unravels.

Now we were, prior to this point, or certainly you were convinced that
this was a “Mockumentary”.

D: Not a Mockumentary! I thought it was a “Blair Witch” style fake

S: A spooky unsettling horror type thing.

D: Or “Spinal Tap”. I thought it was a drama pretending to be a
documentary. And it is beautifully done.

S: Yes it is beautifully done. The filming, some of the scenes

D: The use of technology, the use of Google Earth when they're moving about

S: And Street View to kind of focus in on these places

D: Really nice use of tech, which is still quite rare in films, to use
on-line technology that looks like the on-line technology that we all
use. But it just, it is real. It really was real. I think we
realise this, without a doubt, when we finally meet the character of

S: Or the person who is really Angela.

D: The person is really Angela, who doesn't look anything like the
photographs we've seen. And turns out to be responsible for all these

S: Twelve separate accounts on Facebook.

D: Which include the daughter. She does have a daughter, but the
daughter doesn't resemble – well she physically resembles but she
isn't a painter, she isn't this bright spark that has been having this
e-mail correspondence with the photographer. And the older daughter,
who the photographer believes himself in love with, as well as a
brother, some cousins, some friends. And she's fabricated the whole
thing. And we were talking about the way that that's changed. You
know, having been on-line since the late 90s, I think we feel a lot
safer with the people we meet on-line now because we are so

S: Yeah, the evolution of social media has created a smaller degree of
separation. Just the other day on Twitter, someone I follow who is
involved in electric vehicles ended up retweeting from someone I am
aware of through disability activism so the reality of both people
becomes more solid as they're both linked together.

D: And the people, certainly the people I know. I mean, I don't use
Facebook but the people I know through blogging and Twitter and all of
that, there are sort of strange connections between people. But you're
not having to appraise one person who could be fooling you, if they're
fooling you, they're fooling a lot of people. Because they're
interconnected. But of course this woman had created an entire
network of people, all of which were backing up this narrative. I
mean, she was a frustrated novelist really, she didn't know that
that's what she should have been doing with her time. But she was
managing twelve Facebook accounts and presumably Twitter accounts and
things, as well as having two mobile phones so she could pick up the
phone as herself and she could pick up the phone as her imaginary
daughter. And the whole thing, all these characters and interactions
and everything they were doing amongst themselves were an entire

S: And she had been the person producing these paintings. Really out
of a love for this

D: She was very much in love with the photographer.

S: He was – I think with his interest in dance, which she shared and

D: They did have a lot in common.

S: They did have a lot in common and they seemed to get on very well.

D: Except for the fact that she had obviously deceived him in a
terrific way. She'd made him fall in love with someone who didn't
exist. And she was terrifically in love with him.

S: Whilst being a married housewife. But we begin to understand her
situation as we begin to her house in – what I would say was a very
isolated community?

D: It's difficult to judge.

S: It's difficult to judge, but. And looking after, it would appear
looking after full time, two young men who were both physically and
mentally disabled. And she seemed to have a very empty life? Is that

D: I think she had a very frustrated life. She obviously had a lot of
time on her hands. And I think, compared to the life of a photographer
working in New York, going to all kinds of Arts things, I think she
felt very frustrated. She didn't have the access to that kind of art.
She had a very frustrating life.

S: And this had driven her to trying to create something better,
something richer. Which I think is a symptom of society that reduces a
degree of social care which is necessary. People need the connections
she was creating. People need rich lives.

D: She was one of these characters that you do know – I think, when
she appeared, you knew straight away that there was no doubt that this
was a genuine documentary because she was not a character you normally
get in films. She was a compulsive liar really, but she wasn't a
crafty criminal mastermind type. She sort of – she was a very
sympathetic character, you felt quite sorry for her even though you
could tell that she was

S: And even the break down of her life on film was heart-breaking.

D: It was.

S: Because she's confronted very gently. They did do very well. They
weren't angry with her.

D: I think they were a bit angry but they were keeping it under control.

S: They weren't vindictive, sorry.

D: No, they weren't malicious or... They could have humiliated her or
just bamboozled her with what she'd done.

S: Yeah. But the truth is relatively gently brought to light. And
she's given the opportunity to almost come clean. She doesn't quite
get there, she does produce quite a few more lies.

D: One of the things that really shoke – was very familiar was um...
She had very long hair which she was very proud of. And she'd sent
them a photograph that was supposed to be her and the only similarity
between that and her was that the woman in the photograph had very
long hair. She was complimented on this and she said, “Well, I won't
have it for long because I'm on chemotherapy.” Which really kind of
struck a chord because, of all the sort of stories that you hear of
romances that turn out to be other than they are, on-line, cancer does
seem to be a recurring theme.

S: And it also does stop any further conversation because it is the
topic to end all topics.

D: Yeah. In the late 90s, the very first one I came across was a
friend, a sort-of friend who had this girlfriend who was supposedly in
hospital dying of cancer, although she had internet access, which
seems unlikely given the time. And she had a PO Box address which
seemed a bit suspect. And it seemed unbelievable then to everybody.
Most of us hadn't been on-line very long and we just couldn't see how
someone could get sucked in like that. But the guy felt himself in

And then a couple of years later there was another friend who was
exactly the same – well not exactly the same thing happened. But again
there was this guy who had seemed to have had a very tragic life and
then he had cancer and there wasn't much time and so the whole
relationship was very intense. And of course people do have cancer
and people do have very intense relationships at the end of their
lives but it does sort of, it is a bit too familiar, isn't it?

S: So this was the film. It was quite shocking. We were both – we
chose it because it would be – we had a choice between this and Titus
Andronicus and I think we went with the lighter option.

D: I still think it was probably the lighter option than Titus Andronicus.

S: Well you say that. Yeah perhaps okay. But we were both quite shocked.

D: Could we do like a Facebook version of Titus Andronicus?

S: Um, well Livinia does have her hands cut off which would limit her
options for, anyway. So we were both quite shocked by the end of the
film and as well as wanting to test the microphone, we wanted to talk
a bit about it because it moved us.

D: Yes, it was very moving. And we talked about, I mean we've both
been on-line since our... I don't know, how old were you?

S: I was a teenager still.

D: Well, I was a teenager still. I was going to say late teens and I
thought perhaps it was your mid teens.

S: It may have well been mid-teens.

D: When you were young and naïve.

S: And I was called “The Very Cowardly Lion”.

D: That's really – the very cowardly lion?

S: The very cowardly lion. I know, it's really sad isn't it? But anyway.

D: [pause] Yes. Um.

S: That's a bit of a stopper, isn't it? Sorry.

D: That's a bit of a stopper.

S: I wasn't. I was just called Stephen. That was what my username was,
it wasn't the Very Cowardly Lion. And I didn't go onto very early
chatrooms and not say much apart from “Hello, I'm the Very Cowardly

D: Yeah. I can't remember an awful lot of my old usernames and things.

S: That's probably for the best, I now feel very embarrassed. In fact
I may cut this bit.

D: I don't think you should. Because people will want to Google it to
see if there's any evidence of you.

S: I bet there isn't. That was in the days of Netscape.

D: Wow. So were you ever tempted to be someone you weren't?

S: Well I almost signed up for Second Life, after a friend of mine
joined. But I think there's a desire often with, especially people
who are ill and could be – aren't very satisfied with there lives, to
try and create a new, more fulfilling existence. And the internet's a
wonderful tool for this, because you don't have to show you're
physical form. You can build a physical form that works with your
idea of what you want to be.

D: Amanda Baggs, who blogs at Ballastexistenz. She is non-verbal
autistic and she is a wheelchair-user and she's talked about using
(bless you) using Second Life and that experience being completely
different, because she is non-verbal, to be able to talk and interact
and not be a wheelchair-user and her whole experience of life is
completely different.

S: And it allows an extra dimension to life.

D: I don't think that is on any level pretending to be other than you
are. I mean, Second Life, it is to do with a version of yourself, I
don't think it's even an idealised version of yourself.

S: It depends on the person.

D: Yeah. It's a bit like in the Matrix when he incorrectly says, I
think he says, “It's a mental picture of your digital self” when he
really means – it's one of those many points in the Matrix when he
gets his words wrong.

S: I did have a Yahoo chat account with several different identities.
And I used them for times when I didn't want to be contacted.

D: I think organised crime is another issue altogether.

S: Yeah, back in the days of the Yahoo Mob, yeah. No, that was when I
wanted to. When I was unable to socialise and yet wanted to be around
some form of people.

D: Like in a petri dish.

S: Yeah, when I used to experiment on these poor tormented internet
souls. I used to a put on a disguise to just sit quietly. But I
didn't use that to become someone else. I just had one that was a
Latin term and one that was actually a couple of words from a
Portishead lyric, both of whom allowed me to sit quietly in a room and
not be bothered.

D: Was that “Machine Gun”?
S: Um, no. It was “slave to sensation”. Which, if you've ever been to
Yahoo chat, makes you sound like, um...

D: I think we know what that makes you sound like.

S: And so you never ever get bothered, which is wonderful.

D: I'm quite surprised you don't get bothered. I'm quite surprised
people weren't interested in what particular sensations you were slave

S: Anyway, that was a long time ago. And uh, sorry, I have forgotten
where I was.

D: I've pretended to be a man on-line.

S: Have you?

D: Yes, I put on a deep voice like this. [convincing masculine voice]
Hello. Hello darling. [resumes feminine voice] That's my

S: It's very convincing! I can almost hear the chest hair.

D: But I've not actually

S: Just a warning to anyone who hasn't watched the film and yet is
still listening to this, in which case shame on you. You do see an
awful lot of chest hair. He has, he has got an awful lot and you
know, in this society where chest hair is banished from the front of
magazines, it is quite shocking.

D: Okay. I have pretended to be a man on-line but not actually, to be
honest I didn't really try hard. I just let people refer to me in the
masculine and call me mister and so on, and not challenge them.
Especially when I was younger, I think I very much felt that people –
especially on political matters – I felt people took me more seriously
if they thought I was a man. I wouldn't do that now.

S: I'm glad.

D: Because I think the sort – I mean it's an implicit bias, so it's
not actually people who are horrendously sexist, but at the same time
I think it's better that I might be taken a little less seriously but
that people see that my point of view is that of a woman.

S: Yes.

D: A lady. I think it's particularly interesting for people who

S: have some sort of internet existence.

D: Yeah and also know people who are – I have know people who are – I
mean we've obviously both been isolated at different times. But
people who are isolated who turn to online communities to resolve
isolation and there's nothing unhealthy about that in itself. But I
think it sort of demonstrates where it can go.

S: The power of honesty. The importance of honesty. And the
inevitability of lies.

D: Because you meet people and you don't believe who they are. I mean
you meet people in real life and you don't buy, you know, there are
lots of people who are full of...

S: Yeah.

D: We need a word that isn't a swearword to describe...

S: I do have that Bleep App on my phone. But I'd have to go and get my phone.

D: Yeah. Okay, how about you go “Beep” and I say it? There are people
who are full of b....

S: [silence]

D: You've got to beep! There are people who are full of b...

S: I think you're all very glad I didn't beep, aren't you? Because
that was far more funny as it was. I think they get the point.

D: There are people who are full of [beep]. Can we beep that afterwards?

S: There are indeed. There are people who lie, and we do have to be
careful. But we also have to be caring because often people lie for a
reason, a reason that is... well no, often don't, some of them are
just idiots.

D: But lots of people do tell lies for a reason. Unfortunately
though, they do tend to carry on lying, in experience. I think this is
the thing. I think they get found out and, because it's a defence
mechanism and as such it is very difficult to help people who tell
lots of fibs.

S: So I think that's just about it.

D: Yes, I think it is.

S: So thank you for listening.

D: Yes, thank you. I hope we haven't wasted too much of your day.

S: And if we have, tough luck.

D: Yeah, you should have spent it on Facebook. [phone noise] Oops! Sorry.

S: And with that beep of modern technology, we bid you Adieu.

D: Goodbye.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Oh Boris, where art thou?

AKA Why I deserve a free Tesla Roadster

BADD 2011

I must warn you all, I am going to get a little car geeky during this post. Sadly there is no Blogging Against Boring Nerds day, so I will accept your yawns as best I can...but I have a point. And it starts with Mayor Boris Johnson.

Earlier in the year (13th of February to be exact), Mayor Johnson wrote a post entitled 'The blue badge of the disabled fails those who need it most'. Not the most catchy of titles, true. I must admit here and now that I am more than just a Boris fan. He is my secret love child. It happened on a quiet day in 1996 - a brief tryst between myself and a peroxide over-dosed Gena Davis. I've done my best to leave behind those heady, hormone addled days (I was only 14 after all), but through a series of events so simple and straightforward I cannot even begin to explain them, Boris overtook his father's age and became Mayor of London. I was very proud.

Proof, you ask? Well just look at this

[Image showing the rather lovely Gena Davis sporting blonde locks and a semi-automatic, myself with wayward locks and a look of extreme fatigue, and the Great Boris in all his glory]

Pretty conclusive, I think you'll agree. But more than the physical similarity, we both share a love of the classics. In almost every article he writes, he manages to bring in the wisdom of the Greeks. But not on the 13th February 2011. This was his first mistake.

Sadly the dear old fruit of my teenage loins made other, more serious errors. The piece is riddled with poorly constructed thought process. At one point he says;

There is talk of new independent medical tests, after auditors revealed a few years ago that about 16,000 blue-badge holders were shamelessly using the entitlements of dead relatives.

Independent medical tests? To do what? Confirm that the people using the badges aren't dead? The criminal act of abusing the system by using the badges of the deceased is transformed into an act of fraud by the claimant themselves (you know, the dead ones. Workshy corpses...when the zombie plague comes they won't have things so cushie...).

The ability to park on a single or double yellow line with the badge will, we are told, cause London to seize to a standstill. I think it's important here to note that it's only legal to do this if parking does not cause an obstruction. It says so in the rules. Honestly. I read them and everything. So how will London seize to a halt if people are parking on double yellow lines whilst not causing an obstruction?

What's more - why should there be a need to park on a double yellow line? Does this mean that there's a lack of legal parking? Well, it would seem so. I have travelled to London once whilst being ill, and because I wouldn't have coped with the act of trying to find roadside parking and then the journey through the crowded streets, we parked in a privately managed carpark. And it cost a flipping fortune. Blue badge didn't lower the cost at all. But what it did make sure that there was plenty of space around the car so that a wheelchair could be removed easily.

Then we get to the idea that there are only a very small number of 'genuinely severely disabled people who drive cars'. Oh where to start?

Genuinely severely disabled? What an horrific phrase. I say some stupid things some times, but if I were Frank Gardner, whom Boris is quoting, I'd be looking for a distant ski-lodge in which to hide my shame.

OK so ignoring the horrible phrasing and the horrible idea behind it - the blue badge can be used by a 'genuinely severely disabled person' WHO DOESN'T DRIVE! They could get a taxi to take them somewhere and get the driver to pop it in the window while they went to, say, visit the doctor. Or they could be driven by a partner. Or a friend. Or a family member. Just because no one wants to share a ride with Mr Gardner* does not mean that the only people who deserve the ability to park in an appropriate parking space are those who are driving themselves.

I think they're probably right, though. Not about severely disabled drivers, but a new system would help that catagorises disabled badge holders in such a way that appropriate parking is available for all, whether they are able to move on two legs for a limited distance or on wheels. This way all people are valued and looked after. And there are no loopholes in my thought or writing that can be exploited by ignorant, hateful monsters as has happened on the telegraph website. Just look at the comments. Honestly, I felt I had to report one that went on about Muslim doctors getting people onto benefits without any real health issues. There's still plenty to get angry about, including some that, if it were followed through, might see me assaulted or murdered, but I'll leave that for you to read.

That's why days like today are so important. Why we all need to be aware of disablist attitudes and guard against them and be careful in the things we say. Clearly Boris was having an off day and will make up for it by encouraging the building of plenty of well laid out and cheap to access carparks in London, as well as setting out a new and clear blue badge system giving the right help to all. He will decry the criminal acts of people using blue badges illegally, and make people see that when someone with a heart condition or MS or some other invisible disability uses a space, it should make the world proud that we're looking after our citizens, rather that inciting violence.

So where does the Tesla come in? Well, it occurred to me that as well as reforming the blue badge system, the government could make another change.

For those of you who actually have a life, the Tesla Roadster is an electric sportscar based on the Lotus Elise and converted in California to run on battery power. It can be charged on a normal power supply and will do 0-60 in 3.7 seconds. It maxes out at 125mph and has a range on a single charge of 245 miles.

It also costs £100k+ but don't worry about that, because the government should buy each and every member of the crippled masses one. And here's why;

1 - It's green. Heaven knows we consume a lot of resources being disabled. I mean, we've all been told recently that disability benefit fraud is why we can't afford, well, pretty much anything any more, right? So do we really want such a wasteful lot consuming any more of the precious go-juice that's left hidden in the crevices of this planet we call earth? No we don't! I say leave the petroleum products to the deserving abled. We'll make do with electric motors.

2 - We need the speed. Until Boris gets the parking situation sorted, we'll be left trawling the carparks and streets looking for spaces. And Boris even admits, in this world where fraud is everywhere;

At last, you see a haven, a blue-badge zone, and you start to make towards it; and just as you are about to indicate to begin the parking manoeuvre, a car shoots past you — blue badge in the window — and then, with all the insolent grace of a Las Vegas valet parker, the driver reverses into your spot and bounds out, whistling, remote-locking with a backwards squirt of electrons, and leaving you to get on with your search.

Aha! But this is where the Tesla comes into its own. 0-60mph in 3.7 seconds? Do you think anyone will ever pinch a parking space from us ever again?? No chance!

3 - It's only a two seater. As we've seen, it's hard enough for dear old Frank to get anyone to sit in the car with him. And we know that even the merest mention of disabled sex is enough to make even the most hard-working normal go all sickly and wan. So if you give us a two seater car, you need never worry about disabled procreation ever again! We simply won't be able to fit a baby in the car with us! Plus, with a car this beautiful, what need is there for the physical act of love?

4 - It's tech we're used to. I already own an American EV. It was produced by Pride. It is taxed and insured. And at the flip of a switch it goes from road speed down to a maximum limited 4mph. This makes it legal to use on the pavement and even in shops.

Now I must admit that the Tesla is a little lacking in boot space. If you've ever tried to get a wheelchair into the boot of a Lotus Elise (and who hasn't?) you'll know it's not a straight forward matter, and this applies still to the Tesla upon which it's based. But never fear! If Tesla will just put a little button on the dash (you know the kind of thing - turtle on one side, cheetah on the other), we'll be able to limit it to 4mph and go around M&S without ever getting out!

5 - We need to boost our street cred. It's been a tough year for the Disability PR people. In the popularity rankings we are somewhere between Bubonic Plague and Nick Clegg. We are the workshy. The fraudsters. We waste the money of the deserving and even dare to have a feeling of entitlement (fancy feeling entitled to a national insurance which covers every British citizen? We're just a bit inadequate like that). And I for one am fed up of it. I was never particularly popular, but this is silly! The disabled are a diverse bunch of people full of interest and spark and wonder, just like any bunch of people. But we've been painted in a way that makes us pathetic jobs to be pitied, or schemers who should be beaten and discarded.

The only way I can see to improve my street cred after all that rubbish is if David Cameron puts his hand in his pocket and buys me a Tesla Roadster Sport. I'll take mine in green.

*I have never met Frank Gardner. As a war hero and extreme sportie type, I am sure there are all manner of people queueing up to drive him places just to share in the glow of his amazingness. I'm simply being silly for comedic effect. Which is better for everyone than getting genuinely angry at a divisive and damaging statement. Possibly.