Access Denied - Radio One Documentary.
Well, as I expected, I didn't make it to the final cut of this documentary, broadcast last night on Radio One, about disabled music fans access to live music, both as a punter and a musician. From listening to the programme I don't think my experiences or views were extreme enough. Fair enough. That is what programme making is all about.
But how did the programme shape up? Well I was a little disappointed to be honest. As I feared it was all a little bit tabloid. Radio One did actually commissioned a programme about our access to music, which is good to see. It shows interest. But I'm afraid at times opportunities were missed.
It is all very well interviewing someone about their experiences as a wheelchair user who goes into the mosh pit. Fair play to the guy, but that isn't the experience of the vast majority of disabled music fans. Most of us stand at the back or watch music from the viewing platforms (if there are any). The producers stance on this issue did clarify why I was asked on several ocassions, both by the researcher on the phone and by the producer at interview, if I found that being at the back spoiled my enjoyment of the gig and if I felt disconnected. They were, it seems, angling for something. They wanted someone who needed to be down the front with the 'normal people'. Well it isn't like that. Disabled people I have witnessed have enjoyed the gig and got into it just as well as anybody else in the venue, from the viewing platform.
They also asked me a question about attitudes of venue staff that I have come across too. Now I have been very lucky as generally I have been treated well. However the story about the disabled guy who ended up getting arrested for kicking off at bouncers because they wouldn't let him in a venue did nothing to raise awareness at all. It was just tabloid journalism. My immediate reaction to the guy was that he was a bit of an idiot for getting himself nicked.
And when Feargal Sharkey, now a industry bigwig, denied that there was any agenda behind disabled artists getting signed to major labels it wasn't really challenged. An opportunity missed? I think so.
However, there were some really good bits. The interview with disabled DJ, Emma and the segment about deaf raves were excellent. It showed just how much it meant to be a disabled music fan. Suzanne Bull from Attitude Is Everything was great too. She explained just how unacceptable it was that venues are inaccessible and how many venues and promoters are working to remove the barriers.
I'm glad the programme was made, because it did raise some issues, and, after all it is better than being ignored. I am however, a little sad that it was an opportunity missed. 6 out of 10 I'd give it.