5:00 PM Wednesday 29th August 2012 Nunhead Heights.
I’m still waiting for that “disability campaigner” to write her blog and skewer me as prejudiced against disabled people.
I introduced myself at the Story Tellers show at the Pleasance in Edinburgh two weeks ago with “Wow, paralyzed people! It’s good to see paralyzed people here. Edinburgh isn’t a paralyzed friendly place.”
There were two people in wheelchairs in the first row.
I didn’t know you couldn’t use the word “paralyzed” or even notice they were there, right in the front row. A tumult erupted. The two of them walked out – or rolled out – on me. The man returned and the woman stayed away.
You can read my view on the gig at “The worst gig of the fringe”.
I’m probably now banned from the Pleasance. I’m also a persona non grata at the Underbelly, the Assembly, and the Gilded Balloon – the ‘Big Four’ Edinburgh fringe venues.
And I can’t work the Counting House anymore, either. That was my venue at last year’s fringe – which is good, in retrospect. I enjoyed the Hive and the Three Sisters, my two new venues this year, even though someone at the Hive went through my suitcase and stole maybe £600, or more. Maybe £800. A fool and his money are soon parted. It is said that a fool doesn’t deserve to have money. I don’t have money.
After the Story Tellers show I almost drowned in horrendous self-blame. I sent a letter of apology to the ‘disability campaigner’ and to the Pleasance. I reimbursed the promoter for the tickets the Pleasance had to refund.
And waited for the storm to erupt. And waited. And waited.
Nothing. No blog. No stink in the press calling for the walking and the non-walking to boycott my shows. I haven’t been tarred and feathered. Nothing on the internet. I haven’t heard a word about it.
But I’ve reconsidered.
If that lady doesn’t write that blog damning me I’m going to sue her for destroying my show, for making it impossible for me to work at the Pleasance, for making me worry unnecessarily. I’m going to demand the money back from the Pleasance.
Maybe she was having a bad day. Maybe she was fighting with their boyfriend or didn’t want to go some dreadful Story Telling Show. Story Telling is like poetry, an excuse not to be funny. That said, comic Grainne Maguire was on the bill and she can’t help but be funny.
Or the ‘disability campaigner’ could have been just another punter who decides to try to destroy a show for the sole reason they are jealous that someone else is getting attention. That happens.
Just because someone is in a wheelchair doesn’t mean they have a right to throw a spanner into a night out and mess up Lewis Schaffer’s attempt to be loved. It doesn’t mean they can be a jerk.
I now flinch when I see a wheelchair. Is that user going to mess me up, too? I wasn’t scared of people in wheelchairs before. I am now.
That is how prejudice starts: One bad incident with one bad person.
My fear of wheelchair users will end when a wheelchair user tells me they know that my motives were good. And that they’ll reimburse me the £30 I gave to the promoter. Maybe even apologize on behalf of the entire wheelchair using community, and tell me how much they love me.
And maybe they can start to come to my shows and give me even more money, except I am in a basement venue in Soho without a lift. Britain isn’t a very wheelchair friendly place. That was the point I was trying to make in the first place when I was so rudely interrupted by that woman.
Until then I’m boycotting the Paralympics.
Wheelchair users please write your apologies below.
@lewisschaffer on twitter
“Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous” Live in Soho
Every Tuesday & Wednesday 8pm Free Admission
Reserve at www.sourcebelow.com