At the start of this pandemic, at the height, everyone had the opportunity, including you, to understand what disabled and chronically ill people live with every day. Stuck indoors, not enough money, no social contact, worried about bills, and worried about your mind going to pieces because routines can become relentless and boredom can be soul destroying.
You knew what it was like to be isolated.
And that was the reality for many of us already.
You suddenly understood what it was like not to be able to perform, maybe to even access a recording studio. There’s plenty of disabled talent out there that are literally only blocked because of physical access. You understood what it felt like only hearing people on the phone. You experienced not seeing anyone in person for days, weeks and months on end. You were suddenly experiencing being stuck, in one place, within the same four walls, for weeks on end, just like we dsabled people have for years.
You wanted audiences, you wanted to share your talent with everyone stuck at home. You wanted a sense of community and you wanted solidarity, and you wanted someone to say “We hear you, please keep going” and, also, you needed a way to make money.
And some of you figured out how to do streams and did free performances, some of you did ticketed events from your own home, living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens or basements, or even sheds.
But now the world has opened back up again, and you’re going back to venues. Venues which aren’t wheelchair accessible, venues which are in tick box excercises alone, and it’s like everything you learnt, everything that you had compassion and passion for during lockdown, during the height of the pandemic has vanished.
You can now perform on stage.
There’s still plenty of us who are sheilding because there’s still a pandemic out there than could kill us.
There’s still plenty of us who can’t go to in person gigs just because we’re bored at home. We can’t afford to, we don’t have the care hours, we don’t have the health.
And you have just shrugged your shoulders and gone on with your gigs.
We had universal access last year that everyone could use and appreciate, and now it’s gone. You have the power to keep that access in place.
We have people on the moon, we have watched rocket launches from our living rooms even; It can not be harder than rocket science to stream a concert online for those of us still stuck at home, for whatever reason, to watch.
In the last month alone, I have missed 3 concerts I’d have loved to have gone to, but couldn’t. Because now it’s just the likes of me stuck at home, we don’t matter.
And that actually hurts. It’s unfair, legally and morally, but also it just plain old hurts.