The Way We Roll

Struggling or Floundering? When do you help a disabled person?

July 09, 2021 Phil Friend and Simon Minty
The Way We Roll
Struggling or Floundering? When do you help a disabled person?
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In her recent Guardian article, Dr Frances Ryan raised concerns that ‘Remote working has been life-changing for disabled people, don’t take it away now‘  As we come out of lockdown, we know that some companies are expecting employees to be back in the office 9 to 5, seven days a week. Ryan also flags up concerns regarding cultural events. Is there a new risk that organisers might say disabled people can watch it online rather than making the event or venue accessible?

When two of Simon’s neighbours react differently to an on the street altercation he has, what should they do? What’s the difference between supporting versus defending? Can you tell when a disabled person is struggling but ok, compared to floundering and not ok?

Cultural Corner has us singing and getting the lyrics wrong after Geoff tells us about BBC’s Soul Music. We’re laughing when we hear of Jenny Eclair’s latest radio show, Little Lifetimes.


Remote Working by Dr Frances Ryan 

Cultural Corner

Little Lifetimes by Jenny Eclair  On Audible and On BBC Sounds 

BBC Soul Music

Song Exploder 

Africa by Toto

Announcer  0:00  
Welcome to The Way We Roll with Simon Minty and Phil Friend.

Simon Minty  0:13  
Hello, and welcome to The Way We Roll with me Simon, Minty.

Phil Friend  0:17  
And me, Phil Friend.

Simon Minty  0:19  
Do you want a little update on my house moving?

Unknown Speaker  0:22  

Phil Friend  0:23  
Yeah alright. Sorry. Sorry. For our listeners. It's it's a regular topic of conversation. No, but seriously, what is going on? Simon?

Simon Minty  0:35  
I can't believe you're feigning interest. Half the audience went oh has he not moved yet. And, you know, I was looking at a place at the Elephant and Castle, which for those who don't know, it's just south of the River Thames, very central, and but has a history of being a little bit rock and roll a little bit rough around the edges. But I found this amazing place. And it had everything that I wanted, and it was the right size. But it had a little garden that was I mean, it's not a garden is a little patio, ground level. And it's a walkthrough so everyone would be walking past it. And I felt people could hop over very easily in, be in. So I went to the local police station. And  I spoke to lots of neighbours. And also I should say, whenever I came to see this flat, I'd pull into the sort of courtyard. And a big Range Rover would zoom out a million miles an hour, every time because they were doing deals and stuff. So that's the sort of place anyway, I went into the police station. There were two cubicles, they have glass sliding doors, there was a man behind one and a woman behind the other. And I went to the woman because she had the lower counter. And I said to her, I'm thinking of moving to this area. I just wondered, as a person with dwarfism who uses a mobility scooter. I'm just wondering, do you think I'm going to get extra attention? Or am I going to get some sort of grief? S he paused and reflected? Well, well, discrimination takes many forms. (laughter)  Yes, it does. And she said that's a very, very good question. And she said, I just said he may be small in stature. But who's that chap from Star Wars? Who's that man from Star Wars? I went Warwick Davis and yeah, so he's very big in personality? No. Yeah, yes, he is will he get grief going around the Elephant and Castle. I should qualify this. Both of them are brilliant, lovely people. There was no, they weren't patronizing or being horrible to me. They were giving me their best shot. And I enjoyed the conversation with them. And she said, the big issue around here is she said what I call phone zombies, people are walking around with their mobile phone, looking at it unaware of anything else. And she said we get a lot of thefts of phones. They said maybe it'll be different because you're a bit lower on your scooter. So as they whizz past, they won't be able to reach it. I went, Okay, there's a little silver lining to the cloud there. And I said, I just feel not sure about buying this because you know, could this be turned into? Could I be victimized? Could there be a hate crime? You and I have talked about that TV show and I said, I tell you what, negotiate the price down. If you're worried to get the price down on the flat, that's what you want to do. My goodness me!. She's gonna give me mortgage advice if he carries on. Finally, the chap he leant over and said, I think you'll get as much or as little grief as me. He said, it's fine. nobody really cares. You know, if you're an idiot, and you go around shouting or you start causing trouble, you'll get trouble. But most people just crack on with it and get on with it. I did speak to two or three neighbours who live there. And they all said it's a great area. It's a nice area to live. I probably won't go with this one the ground floor with the walkway right next to my little courtyard, patio thing. It just I think I would worry a bit too much. But it's a shame because it's a great, great spot.

Phil Friend  4:17  
I just love that story. I think that is just brilliant. You know that when we work together because we did do a lot of disability equality training for police forces. Yeah, I got a feeling she's been on one. She might have been in the audience. But the big problem for all of us, those of us who've listened to you is that of course you still haven't made your mind up. So this subject is going to come back

Simon Minty  4:41  
I've got a visit Battersea police station, and then I'll see what they say. I'm joking.

Phil Friend  4:49  
Let's talk about something that's perhaps Well, I don't know more important that's not fair. But certainly has been kind of grabbing my attention of late. And that's the subject of sort of remote working. I'm going to refer to an article by 

Simon Minty  5:07  
Dr Francis Ryan.

Phil Friend  5:11  
Yeah, Francis Ryan, herself a disabled person writes for The Guardian very regularly. And she recently did a piece about remote working and kind of just to put this in some sort of context. Because of the COVID, everybody was working from home, we know that. And what was discovered very quickly was that disabled people were getting the kind of flexibility and all the kind of stuff that they been long asking for under that sort of term of reasonable adjustments. And it was showing and when we spoke last time, Simon we talked about, you know, energy limiting conditions, and how they were being helped by remote working, because people could manage their hours and all that sort of stuff. So Francis has kind of written a piece where she explores that in some depth, but goes on really to start talking about life returning to normal, whatever that is. And I think a couple of points come up for me. One is that, of course, there are many positives to to, you know, remote working, for example, you got flexible working, you don't have to travel anywhere. And there are a number of advantages in that sense for some people, people that agoraphobia or the energy limiting conditions, we talked about the positives, the socializing side of things, which I thought was a very interesting dimension to what she was saying, which was that some people found, for example, that broadcasting church services meant that they were much more accessible, or local quizzes, you know, in their communities holding quizzes, they could access them because there wasn't a building issue. 

Simon Minty  6:50  
She quoted one woman who could speak to her local group for the first time in 15 years, she hadn't gone out. But because of zoom, she then reconnected with them all. But she's worried that if it goes back to face to face, you won't be able to go anymore? 

Phil Friend  7:03  
That's right. So what Francis did in the piece was to paint a picture of some serious benefits to this. She also addresses the issue which we go on about, you know, as well, which is to do with the employment gap, you know, about 50% of disabled people are still unemployed, and so on, and is remote working going to be an opportunity to do something about that figure, for example. So where I think she goes, which is, what I wanted, just to spend a minute or two with you on was the idea that actually to go back to in quotes, 'normal" may mean giving all that up, and that in many ways, we will be worse off. And so she isn't kind of saying, let's just leave it as it is. But she's sort of intimating that actually, going back to the old way of doing things, is going to limit a lot of people. She also talked a bit about the pavement cafes and how that made pavements inaccessible to people and so it's not all good news, you know, what's your take on it?

Simon Minty  8:13  
What's your beef, I thought was a great article. And I like the way she sort of wove in, in and out and sort of the pros and cons and so on and so forth. And it was only two or three months ago, I think that everyone was saying this is great. We're never gonna go back to the old normal, we all want something different now. The whole world has changed. And I saw her article going Oh, hold up what's going on here that I saw there's an article in the FT saying five days a week will be the return that's what we'll come back to my oh my goodness hasn't taken us long to kind of say well, okay, we're just gonna go back to normal and it's blooming lazy, human beings that we can we can do that. And I wanted a little bit more evidence. So what I'd say is out of the two or three organizations I've spoken to about this September is when they think people will seriously being expected to come back we're starting it now but we know that not everyone's gonna come back and jabs and so but they've also said there is going to be a new way of working which is a regardless of COVID now, the new way of working will be I don't know I'm making this up three days in two days at home or vice versa. This is the way we will operate for kingdom come. This is not related to government guidelines or a hangover. It is the new operation. So most organizations all two or three that I know are not going back to five days a week, and that reassures me and it would be ridiculous we had this last month about Nike making a shoe for disabled people then forgetting it. I mean, this is a bit similar in that not disabled people will go We do not want to go back to five days a week in the office. So don't do it. And will they almost By accident support disabled people who are saying, whoa, we've been arguing this for years. I don't, I'm less fearful, I think we will get the blended approach. I think that will be for disabled and not disabled. If we says disabled people may have to argue for this as a reasonable adjustment, almost like old times, however, do you think the door will be much more open now because we can prove that it works. If someone's Oh, we can't do that. Well we did for 18 months, and it worked.

Phil Friend  10:32  
I suppose there's a number of issues or at least two or three issues that spring to mind, one of the big worries about remote working, if you remember, before, we had all had to do it was social isolation, disabled people, working from home all the time meant they didn't have any companionship, friendships, all that kind of stuff. So that was a danger. The mantra that we're getting from the blended work idea is that you'd come into work, say, a couple of days a week, primarily for creative companionship, team building those kinds of things. So there'd be lots of sofas and coffee machines not desks with computers on them, you know, the idea plants everywhere and stuff like that. The concerns are that if you choose to come into work, say on a Tuesday, every week, but everyone else comes in on a Wednesday, you're not meeting your team, you're not doing you know. So there are some worries about this genuine worries, I think from employers about how they're going to manage this, so that people do meet each other and particularly, for new entrants, people joining the business for the, you know, not necessarily young people, but people joining a business, having to work out how things work, where things are, what the rules are all that stuff, you generally do that in the building with other people,

Simon Minty  11:53  
And also you get to know the culture, you get to know how this organization works, its flexibility, the sort of people and you're right, you do need that. I the few examples I know of is basically the boss or the head of a department is said to a team. In the ideal world, this would be the days that I come in, but I want to hear from you what are your days, and then you know, the team of 10 go, should we do Tuesdays and Thursdays or whatever? I hope that disabled people go well, I  have therapy on  Tuesday morning, or I have so and so wa Thursday afternoon, I hope that will be built into that mix. So they don't all choose the day that the disabled person can't make. That's got to be a reasonable adjustment for me. There was a link in Francis's article about sort of venues and arts and SEO,

Phil Friend  12:40  
Yes she mentioned specifically the Young Vic,  The reason that stood out for me was when I used to work in Southwark the Young Vic was a venue that I used to go and have coffee in but it was also where a lot of interesting new theater plays are being shown and stuff like very, very lively area. And the Young Vic, as I understand it from what Francis wrote was that they're going to continue live streaming performances. Now. That's tremendous if that happens, because we've got choice.

Simon Minty  13:08  
Yeah, and for me, if you remember football, and they said three o'clock Saturday afternoon, football matches can never go on television, because the fans won't turn up. They're all sitting at home and watch. We know that actually this sort of stuff isn't true. I'm thinking of The Guardian football weekly thing that I dragged you along to once it was a podcast. Now, they used to do it in a venue and two or 300 people would go, but 2000 people tune in now. So I really think we can do I don't like the word but the blended the double up you. There's people who can pay to go and see it. And there's people who can tune in wherever they are. What I don't want us to do, as you've alluded to, is to slip backwards because we could kind of say well disabled people don't need to come because they can just tune in at home or disabled people don't need to come into the office because they can work from home we need both. I want to be able to choose what I do. And I have started meeting people now for social events. I met someone yesterday who I hadn't ever spoken to, you know, for more than two minutes at an event. And I met her at her at half past six  and at 11 o'clock in the evening, I said I've got to go home. I've got to stop now. If that had been zoom, I would have been done in 40 minutes. So there is a real power about being together.

Phil Friend  14:24  
 I think one of my great worries is that weekend a while back I came around to your flat and I watched the Champions League Final with Chelsea and whoever it was.

Simon Minty  14:38  
Manchester City.

Phil Friend  14:39  
Anyway, I'm a Chelsea supporter and and you threw a very nice supper for me and Steve It was a very, very jolly occasion. The big worry Steve and I have is that you're going to start live streaming. You're going to start you know putting a camera on your Telly or we'll watch what goes on in your but there is Something being serious. There was something really convivial about that being in the room watching. We weren't at the match. It was being streamed in that sense, but we were watching it as a group, which was lovely. So, and with the Euros, of course now starting with England about to bring it all home as they do every four years. Who knows fans are back and stuff. 

Simon Minty  15:23  
So whether we're talking about work, or whether we're talking about events and social, the argument is twofold. One, can we do both? Yeah, there'll be options to do both. And I still think people will go to live things that even if they're streamed, I still think that will happen that's happening with football and other events. And the second bit is, don't start making them inaccessible, because you think watching from home is not a reasonable alternative. If you don't have the option. 

Phil Friend  15:54  
The work point of view, if I'm providing all the equipment that you're using, you're getting off cheap, aren't you because we shouldn't forget if the rules about employment work from home, health and safety, for example, the employer is still responsible, if you're using your bedroom as an office, then the employer has to do or whether that's going to change, you know whether the rules will be relaxed in some way, I don't know. But

Simon Minty  16:19  
it's one last bit going out and about as I am and the tables and chairs on the pavements being a scooter user, they are a pain in the backside. And there was one I went to the other day, and it's like, you've got a it's like a computer game. We're trying to navigate your way through these little chairs, and you just clip the end of them. And then the way it was set up, there was a bunch in the middle that I couldn't get through, so I would have to leave the pavement. Now I looked for the ramp. And I mean, it felt like someone walked past had a lump of tarmac, thrown it on the floor, and it's sprayed out, and that's my ramp. And and they didn't put bollards around the roads. So you've got to look. So in one way they've thought about it, there was a ramp to go down, you have the bollards as protection, you go round the ramp, you go up the ramp, the other side of the tables, and then you join, but it's real hodgepodge. I mean, that's not the right word. It's a mess. And my mobility scooter and I are reasonably robust. But if someone had a more delicate nature or chair, I don't know whether that would quite work.

Phil Friend  17:20  
I think there's a solution as a reasonable adjustment to that scenario, what you should do is just join that table. And they pay they buy your meal and they pay you to be there.

Simon Minty  17:30  
If there are people there weirdly enough, it's better because they move out the bloody way. These are all empty. What I started to do is just to clip a few chairs deliberately to make some noise and knock them over then the friend that I was with started to move them and I don't move them I'm making the point here. This is my thing.

Phil Friend  17:49  
Well, I think it's watch this space. We need to think about this in six months time and see what's going on, don't we?

Announcer  17:55  
This is The Way We Roll presented by Simon Minty and Phil Friend.

Simon Minty  18:00  
The same friend I went to dinner who they started to move the chairs. We had a conversation over dinner I need to backtrack a bit. This is one of my disability short person male, what's going on stories. I live in a block of flats. There is a pavement towards the gate of where you get into where I live. Yes, I live in above the Marks and Spencers food shop. Occasionally people will park their motorbikes on the pavement towards my gate of my flat. Yeah, if they're parked there, I can't get beyond it. They blocked it with my scooter. I came out Mark Spencer, the other day, there was a motorbike there. I went back into Marks and Spencers looking around for someone with a crash helmet who were could ask them to move. I couldn't see anyone. So I went back out. And I waited 7,8,9 minutes while I waited for them to return. And one of my neighbours came to me and she said Oh, hello, how you doing me a little chat. While we were having a little catch up the person whose bike it was returned. I said to the person Oh, hi there. Could I ask that in future you don't park your bike there because it blocks my way. And I can't get through that I didn't hear anything. I don't have the best hearing. But she looked away from me and she went mumble mumble. And so I didn't hear what she said. So I said I sorry I didn't hear that. I just want to make sure that you are agreeing that you won't park there in the future because it's blocking my way. And she turned round to me and said all right, you can have to go on about it. You know, he just, you know, relax a bit or something like that. And I said, I'm sorry I didnt hear and I didn't get your agreement. That's really what I'm seeking to make sure that you understand that this is really quite I mean, I've been waiting 10-12 minutes for this and you shouldn't be there. And she was brilliant. The woman whose motorbike it was she spent the next four minutes trying to find the key, trying to find where she puts the key in, you know, straightening her clothes. So she's all comfy that means you're deliberately stretching out to wind me up, I don't get that she's in the wrong, just get on with it and get out of the way. Right? she disappears. My neighbour I bumped into the next day and she said, I've been feeling terrible. I didn't get involved. I stood there and just watched you have that conversation with that woman about her bike. And I didn't say anything. And I feel terrible. And I said, You did the right thing. I said, there was no need for you to get involved. This wasn't your debate. There was no problem. I wasn't in difficulty. And if you had, you might have undermined me. It was my discussion to have and I knew how to handle it, and I was happy with that. Okay, fast forward. I'm having dinner with another neighbour. Very friendly, where I live

Phil Friend  20:42  
Yes you're always out with your neighbours. 

Simon Minty  20:44  
Exactly and I told her this story. And she said, Well, I'm sorry, I would have defended you. And I went, What do you mean? She said, Why? I'd have said something, I'd have defended you. I would have told that woman she's in the wrong, she shouldn't be doing it. I went I didn't want you to do that. She said, I know you don't. But I that's my personality type. I defend my friends. And I know if there's difficulty, that's what I do. I step in, and I get involved. She said, You're, you're thinking because it's your a man and your short, and I'm a woman, you're feeling a bit like, you know, you're not as powerful and like, Oh, it's not that and I said, this is a disability thing. It's, you've taken it away from me, I don't need your defending. Anyway, we had this really interesting conversation. She's a person of colour. We also then I said, What if someone was giving you grief would you want me to pile in? And it was really interesting that then we stumbled across something, and I said to her, but you doing what you're doing defending on whatever, that's you're not supporting me, I want you to support me. And support would have been afterwards saying, Are you okay? And then we can do. That's the support that I want. Defending. If someone's punching me in the face. Come on in defend me. I'm cool with that. But this wasn't necessarily we decided at the end of it, there's the difference was defending someone is very different from giving them support.

Phil Friend  22:03  
I remember many, many years ago, you and I go into a meeting by a lake in a cafe, there was a cafe there. And we were sat outside, it was a lovely evening, and our guest or whoever it was we were meeting hadn't arrived yet. So you and I sat outside. And on the lake was a bunch of young people, children schoolchildren having a sailing lesson, there were lots and lots of them. And I sat chatting with you. And then out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that you were attracting quite a lot of attention. And then it turned to giggling and pointing and that kind of thing. 

Simon Minty  22:37  
That was you they were pointing at you! (Laughter

Phil Friend  22:43  
 I made the complete assumption they were pointing at you. But anyway, I always remember feeling absolutely bloody furious. And I want you to go across and have a right pop at this lot. And I told you that. And you said no, no, no, no you just leave it alone? And I did. And we and nothing came of it. But when you were saying that story, I felt the similar It reminded me of that moment. I think there's something in what you're saying is it's we used to talk about when do I offer assistance? When do I help a disabled person? And I used to say, I don't know, if you did, I used to say there's a difference between struggle and flounder. If somebody is floundering, then it's may be right to step in and offer help. If they're struggling, they're okay. It's just a struggle. They're just getting on doing it. And, and in that situation, the one with the bike. It's it's monitoring, isn't it, you're just standing your neighbour was standing watching what was going on and monitoring it. And let's for the moment decide that it had got nasty, then he or she might well have then felt okay, I'm going to step in here and, and not offer my support in a physical way to stop you being attacked or something like that. I do remember the terrible Jamie Bulger story, the little boy that was kidnapped and then killed on a railway line by two other children. And the bit that's relevant to this discussion was the woman who sat on a bus as it went past the shopping arcade, where she spotted the two boys leading Jamie Bulger away he was alive at that point. And when she'd heard what happened, she felt terrible that she'd seen something going on that she knew wasn't right. But she didn't get off the bus and do anything about it, or she didn't attract any attention. Because what happened after that was horrific. So these are the sorts of tunes I guess that are playing in people's heads when something's going on in front of them. But your tune is that disability tune isn't it? You're perfectly capable of defending yourself verbally at least.

Simon Minty  24:58  
Yeah, and if that's your struggle, flounder, You're right. We used to talk about this and it would be you know, don't just go barging in and grab something from a disabled person. It's more a case of have a chat with them. And check, although if I'm about to fall over, because the thing that I'm carrying is so heavy, you're allowed to jump in, you know, you don't have to go. Would you like some assistance before you break your back? So there is the struggle, flounder? I think the point for me on this one was that my friend, the second friend who dinner said, I would get involved, I would defend you. And I said, I don't want it. But she's saying, well, that's my personality type. I jump into these things and help you. And I thought I was quite interesting she's almost saying it doesn't matter. That's the kind of girl I am and I get involved. But it was only when I spun it around to use the word support that she went, Okay, maybe?

Phil Friend  25:53  
Well, I'm not sure. Because she has a personality type like that, that makes her right. You know what I mean? I think we have to learn to adapt more to the situation we're in, don't we? And clearly, I think I think you said it if somebody if somebody starts hitting you. That's a very different ballgame to just just a debate or an argument in the street.

Simon Minty  26:18  
I suppose. There's another bit. Can you be offended on behalf of somebody else say I was with her. Someone started making racial comments. She says I'm choosing not to respond, but I'm sorry. It's my personality. I do not like racism. I'm getting involved. That would have been Am I defending or supporting her?

Phil Friend  26:36  
Oh, you're defending yourself now? Because you're the one that's offended. I think that's the harassment issue at work you know where somebody is having a laugh and a joke with you but I'm finding it offensive. I'm not part of the conversation. But I'm finding it offensive so I have a right at that point to say excuse me.

Simon Minty  26:52  
So when person motorbike says I move my bike to why make it such a big thing. Does my neighbor have the right to be offended on my behalf and say don't you say that you need to move your bike You cheeky wotsit? 

Phil Friend  27:04  
That's a good question. Because it's not quite so clear cut as the one. 

Simon Minty  27:09  
You don't think ableism is as important as racism. That's what I'm hearing. Isn't it? Your like everybody else you don't care about disableds.

Phil Friend  27:18  
No disableds. Well, good luck with the I don't know. Have you ever seen a cyclist again? They doing it deliberately. Every time you come home theres a bike across the pavement. 

Simon Minty  27:30  
Okay. listener, I am both petty and I occasionally get a little bit of activism going. So it happened again. And this time the big double gates where you take your car through we're wide open. And my neighbor said we'll just go through those gates open the gates for you. I know I've got to stay here and prove a point. So I sat there waiting for this other biker to come through. And even I felt a bit petty I was less moody I just said look, can I ask a big favor please don't put your bike there because

Phil Friend  28:02  
Was it the same person though?

Simon Minty  28:04  
No no It happens from time to time I remember getting fooled because the this bit of pavement is above a gym. There's a gym underneath that and it's got glass tiles, you know, you get the old fashioned glass tiles and once I said to a motorbike owner please don't park your bike there it  blocks my way and he went and he went no you misunderstand if you've got glass tiles, you have the right to park if you ride a motorbike and I Oh wow. I didn't And they went off and  I looked up after and thought you cheeky wotsit what a load of old nonsense.

Phil Friend  28:40  
Can I just finally finish this by saying on both the occasions that you took umbrage about the motorcycle was it sunny?

Simon Minty  28:46  
Oh, good point.

Phil Friend  28:48  
Cos if it had been chucking it down with rain would you stood out there for 10 minutes waiting to find them?

Simon Minty  28:52  
That's a good point. Am I fair weather activist 

Phil Friend  28:54  
Yeah, that's my point that's where I was taking this. You're a fair weather activist Minty

Simon Minty  28:59  
I don't think it was wet. I would also say by the way, if you are the motorcyclists there are bays outside there are spaces to park. They are just trying to sneakily get away with it a bit of a freebie.

Phil Friend  29:11  
What they'll do next time of course is park in the disabled bay because there is one right outside your Marks and Spencers isnt there so I'll know you're to blame if I can't park in that bay because there's a motorbike in it.

Simon Minty  29:22  
the motorbike will have been tipped over and I will say you now have a disabled motorbike (laughter)

Phil Friend  29:30  
brilliant. Well, I think we'll park that there shall see what i did there. Very good. Yeah.

Announcer  29:35  
This is The Way We Roll presented by Simon Minty and Phil Friend,

Simon Minty  29:39  
regular listeners. It's a treat. He's back. It is Mr. Geoff Adams Spink giving us his cultural corner where he comes with a couple of recommendations of things that are interesting to him or he's watched or seen or he's read or whatever it may be. Welcome back, Geoff.

Geoff Adams-Spink  29:56  
Hi, how you doing, guys? 

Phil Friend  29:59  
Good to see you. Good to see you. What have you got? Tell us all about it.

Geoff Adams-Spink  30:02  
Okay, well, I wanted to start with somebody that probably Simon knows from Edinburgh and other comedy stuff Jenny Eclaire, very talented woman, great actor, writer, stand up comedian. And the thing is, she's produced these little 15 minute monologues for, initially for the BBC, but you can get all six seasons on Audible. Or you can get a couple of seasons on BBC Sounds, as we now call it, not the Iplayer. And there 15 minute monologues by women, that you know, Jenny Eclair knows her sort of demographic, she presents a podcast called older and wider, which is a sort of, shall we say, 50 something women, great title. It's not a podcast I particularly like but then again, I'm not the target audience. But Jenny herself is Uber talented, I think. And she has got some extremely funny and poignant things to say about getting older and about how often women live in the shadow of men or are abused by men, or taken for granted by men, or, you know, used sexual objects by men. And how gradually, as they become a little bit older, they find often a bit passive aggressive, or sneaky ways of getting their own back on the men. You know, just to give you one example there, there's a character who's played by the actor Susie Blake, and she's a sort of 60 something woman, and she's baking a birthday cake for her husband. But she happened to you know, she's been taken for granted all these years entertaining his business client and producing fabulous meals. So she makes him this birthday cake. And she happened to see him a couple of days before kicking the dog. So she decides to bake a cake with dog food in the middle. And then and then she packs her case and leaves so that you know, you could you could imagine that when he gets home. He's going to cut himself a slice of cake and get a very nasty surprise. And all of them are a bit like this, you know that they're sort of twisting the knife gently.

Simon Minty  32:13  
I really like the sound of it, Geoff. Jenny Eclair has been around a long time as a standup and you always felt she deserved more than I mean, she did do TV and all that stuff, but never quite got mainstream as far as I can tell. I'm sure she won the Perrier a few years ago as well. But what I do agree with you and I don't know if this is her getting better or me being wiser. She seems you've got better with age she seems to be smarter and funnier or she just found a brilliant voice is amazing.

Geoff Adams-Spink  32:44  
She has and you know she the BBC and her under whoever's producing it have recruited some brilliant thespian talent. I mean, Linda Robson, Hayden, Gwynn Vicki Pepperdine. Anita Dobson from EastEnders remember her Imelda Staunton, Josie Lawrence Ann Reed and Susie Blake, the dog food cake lady, you know, that's just a few off the top of my head. I think each season is six episodes and there are six seasons so there are about 36 of these things to listen to. And they are all absolutely peachy

Phil Friend  33:16  
Has she got the woman who famously took her husband's incredibly expensive collection of wines and put them outside all of the street doors along with the milk? That is such a brilliant idea.

Geoff Adams-Spink  33:35  
It sounds it sounds like the kind of thing Jenny would write in one of her monologues i mean you know I think if you like the Alan Bennett Talking Heads type format it's they are like a sort of shrunken miniature but perfect little replica of the Alan Bennett Talking Heads they're funny they're poignant they're sad you know they make you want to laugh they make you want to cry and you empathize with the character even if the character is a bit sort of, shall we say nasty and a bit bitter in the end you kind of think well she's like that because because of this thing that's happened to her or these things that keep happening to her

Simon Minty  34:13  
So Jenny Eclair wrote all of these just had different he wrote all of them. It reminds me a little bit of the show my age Tales of the unexpected which was that series of you saw some idyllic setup and then it had a twist and someone was very dark and evil but actually you had empathy or sympathy with them because you knew where they're coming from, but it sounds like a funnier version.

Phil Friend  34:35  
It reminds me Simon the more modern version of a similar thing is Inside Number 9,  which is very funny, but also very dark. Some weird things go on inside number nine too. Yeah, sorry, Geoff cut across, you

Geoff Adams-Spink  34:49  
know, I was just gonna say I mean, I think these things are effective because they are simple. You know, it just relies on one actor or perhaps two. If there's somebody else in the in the thing a microphone, but a brilliantly written script and, and well delivered, you know, you don't need fancy production, you just need really, really good talent, the writing talent and the acting talent and it, it comes together beautifully. So as I say, you can get it on BBC Sounds for free. Or if you on all six seasons, you can get it from Audible. And I've left you a couple of links for you to notice.

Simon Minty  35:24  
And it's called Little lifetimes by Jenny Eclair. Exactly. What's next, Geoff?

Geoff Adams-Spink  35:30  
Well, the other thing, it's another sound gem, actually, and I don't know how it's taken me this long to discover it. But it's called Soul Music. And again, you know, put aside the doom scrolling put aside all the sort of pandemic doom and gloom and other bad news that's happening in the world, immerse yourself in a song that you love. And what the what they do in this program is about 27 minutes long. And again, there are 30 seasons, three zero 30 seasons of this, there is bound to be a song, or a track or a piece of classical music in that list that you think I love that song. And they pick it apart, they talk to they talk about who wrote it, what inspired it, who's done cover versions of it? And then you get, you know, the listener saying, Oh, you know, I first when I first heard this, I was in my car, and it's overwhelming. And I had to pull over because I was in tears. And, you know, so you get the whole backstory of one of your favourite songs. So and then, as I say, who covered it, and you get the artist talking about why they love the song. I mean, just to give you a little selection, you know, life on Mars, David Bowie. Wichita line, man, you know, that famous song by well covered by Glen Campbell, Lean on me, I Will Survive Sitting on the Dock of the Bay, the Boxer Streets of London Back to Black Shine on you Crazy Diamond and you know, in the classical realm, Mozart's Requiem, and a beautiful Ravel piece  I found different which is about the death of a princess, which I played or had played at the funeral of my mum. So this, you know, if you look through the back catalogue of everything that's there, there's bound to be a song that you think I absolutely adore that song. I want to know more about it.

Phil Friend  37:22  
Was this first out on radio four?

Geoff Adams-Spink  37:26  
Yeah, I think I think it was, it was originally a radio four, program. And of course, it's available as a podcast, wherever you get your podcasts. 

Phil Friend  37:35  
It's interesting because I have heard two or three over the years, two or three of those. And I agree with everything you've said, they're fascinating, the interviews that they have with individual people, all-seeing the song from a slightly different point of view, but all of it profound. I mean, yeah, it's a brilliant, that's a great one, I'm going to dig that out.

Geoff Adams-Spink  37:56  
It really, for me, brings to life, the whole advantage of Listen again, you know, back in the day, if you're lucky, you caught the program when it was going out. And if you were unlucky, you perhaps managed to find the repeat. And then after that, it's pretty much gone forever. Whereas now, we're building up these huge back catalogues, not just of the Way We Roll, but of you know, soul music, or lifetimes, or whatever it is, you know, and, and people can delve in there to their heart's content. It's like having a huge library that's all yours for free,

Simon Minty  38:33  
which I'd much prefer your take Geoff, but as a man of leisure as you are with a particular lifestyle. I'm like, Oh, no, there are 600 songs that I've got to listen to now. And I'll never catch up with all this. It's a bit like Netflix and Amazon, but there's so much stuff I I get a bit overwhelmed by it. And I don't know, how long am I gonna live for?

Phil Friend  38:54  
Simon you need to be more discerning.

Simon Minty  38:57  
Geoff did give us the option. You choose the three or four songs that you love, and you identify it and I love the idea of it. I'm sorry for keep doing it reminds me there was one called Song exploder the difference hre was they would spend half an hour with the artist who then told you how the song created and came about. And I remember they did one with REM and it was try not to breathe, which is a song I don't didn't particularly like on the album. But once I'd heard the band talk through how it was layered how they put it together where the lyrics came from. They develop I love it now because I know everything. So I imagine this is a bit like it you already love a song. And then it takes you even deeper so you have a whole story around this four-minute piece of beauty. It just takes it to another level

Geoff Adams-Spink  39:40  
And and of course now that we all subscribe to music services with millions of tracks, we can then go and say oh, well, yeah, we all know the Glen Campbell Wichita Lineman But did you know Johnny Cash did a version, which apparently is better so let me go find that.

Simon Minty  39:57  
Are you making a playlist of all the songs from BBC Soul,

Geoff Adams-Spink  40:02  
I'm when I'm gradually working my way through different cover versions of songs that I love. Absolutely.

Phil Friend  40:09  
But what I love about what you've said, Geoff, is that if I remember rightly, there's a lot of what I would call ordinary people talking about the impact of that song on their lives. So it's not all about the celebs. Yeah, it's different from that point of view. It's a really good program of glad you reminded me.

Simon Minty  40:27  
Geoffs given us a list sitting on the top Dock of the Bay? The boxer Streets? I adore all these songs Back to Black and then Totos? Africa? I mean, you've sold it to me, Geoff to find out the history of the range. (Simon sings) (Jeering and laughter) What, it's timeless.

Phil Friend  40:43  
It's timeless for Toto, but not for us

Simon Minty  40:46  
the only song that got a rhyme in with Kilimanjaro. Now that takes a lot of work. 

Phil Friend  40:52  
Let's talk about that line. It's the one line in that song I cannot stand.

Geoff Adams-Spink  40:58  
Remind me of the line. What is the line? 

Simon Minty  41:00  
(Simon sings) It's where people go and there's images of Kilimanjaro? I don't know. We can find it. 

Phil Friend  41:08  
It's really bad. 

Simon Minty  41:10  
Well, we finished on a sad note now. I think okay, please tell us listener if you like Totos Africa.

Geoff Adams-Spink  41:19  
For me, there can't be a worse rhyme than it's going to take an ocean of calamine lotion from Barry Manilow Would you believe?

Simon Minty  41:30  
Oh, maybe there was an I remember this at the time we're gonna move on to that. And they do shows about dodgy lyrics. And Duran Duran, you're about as easy as a nuclear war. That kind of goes down as a classic line. (laughter)

Phil Friend  41:49  
Fabulous. I think this is a regular slot. We got to keep doing this one.

Simon Minty  41:55  
Thank you, Geoff. So that one is called Soul Music, BBC sounds or wherever you get your podcasts, and that we are going to be spending weeks catching up on all of this bits that you've discovered some gems, that's for sure.

Geoff Adams-Spink  42:10  
Okay guys. Nice to see you again.

Phil Friend  42:12  
Thanks Geoff. Really good. I'm gonna I'm gonna I like the sound of Jenny Eclair too. I've not come across that before. So good stuff. Take it steady.

Simon Minty  42:20  
See you soon Geoff, take care.

Geoff Adams-Spink  42:22  
Take it easy. Bye.

Simon Minty  42:24  
Good old Geoff comes up with a couple of crackers. Even more time, we've got to catch up on this stuff. We have a bumpers Listeners Corner and thank you again, you really are exceeding yourselves in terms of writing to us. The problem is a couple of you have written with white non-weighty emails, which we reply to, but we can't put in the show. Melanie Cauphlin, who is our academic in Canada, who we defer to when she picks up on our ramblings and explains it much better than we do. She picked up a couple of months ago, we talked about the affirmative model. Melanie can't do justice. I'm trying to work out how we can put your thoughts up online and let people read them. But she goes through what the affirmative model picks out things that you and I were talking about, you know, is where does character fit? What are the objections, and she's a lot more research into it. We had a brilliant response. Also, when we talked about Nike's

Phil Friend  43:21  

Simon Minty  43:21  
yeah, go pro Max  One comment from Jen in the USA that you know really well was Simon one minute you said Nike, the next minute you said Nike, it's Nike. Sort the name out. She told me she's a short person. She's a very dear person to me. She said she went through, we explained inclusive design better to her than she'd ever heard it before. She went to an inclusive design event at her University, walked around and went up to them at the end and said, I can't read any of the signage. It's all too high. And they went well. Yeah, inclusive design doesn't include everyone. We can't get it right for everyone. So do your best.  That's not good. Is it? Yeah. I mean, in a sense, her height is the same as a wheelchair user. So the event on inclusive design would have been difficult for wheelchair users and people with dwarfism.

Phil Friend  44:15  
So it's the new logo is inclusive design but not for you.

Simon Minty  44:19  
Yeah, not, everyone, 

Phil Friend  44:21  
Not everyone come on. Don't be selfish.

Simon Minty  44:23  
I mean, there is a truth. I've been debating this with other people that to do everybody with every impairment every time. Yeah, okay. But you find alternatives that if they'd given a printout of that stuff, she would have been able to read it. So it wasn't anyway, girl from up north, is we're on Instagram. Now that is a tidal wave of love.

Phil Friend  44:45  
We're absolutely all over the place.

Simon Minty  44:47  
She particularly loved the Lawrence Carter Long contribution who talked about and he struck a chord about say the word disability and he's saying by saying that you are talking about culture and history and an identity and whole load of other things it isn't just about impairment or models. Finally  David Aggar who talks about getting mme. Sorry again, M E not mme. And he just said halfway through your latest pod, I just want to say thank you for the conversation about energy limited conditions. It was really interesting how it fits in the wider sociology of disability. And he talked about coming on, of course, with me being hesitant about it, because it adds disability do I fit, I'm an imposter, but then sort of getting around. So yeah, thank you, David. And you're in the US you keep writing to us. So appreciate that. We are done. Next time we meet and we will be discussing a book I'm very excited about that. We will also be celebrating England winning the Europeans 

Phil Friend  45:44  
(Singing) It's coming home.  It's coming home

Simon Minty  45:47  
I would love to explore that song

Phil Friend  45:51  
It's not Kilmanjaro that's for sure. 

Simon Minty  45:53  
And for those of you not following there's a big European football championships going on and it's all spread over Europe this time where there's issues around COVID and travel but it's a month of international football soccer very excited

Phil Friend  46:08  
and I'm hoping listener that I'm going to get several invites to the Minty apartments for slap up lunches while we watch games. 

Simon Minty  46:16  
You you've got a bit mute I can't hear you bad connection there, Mr. Friend. What do you say? Alright then.

Phil Friend  46:25  
Take it easy.

Simon Minty  46:26  
Thanks for listening this long speak to you soon. 

Phil Friend  46:29  
Take it steady. Bye, everyone.

Announcer  46:32  
This is The Way We Roll presented by Simon Minty and Phil Friend. You can email us at or just search for Minty and Friend on social media. We're on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Transcribed by

Remote Working
Defend or Support?
Simon meets the Police
Cultural Corner with Geoff Adams-Spink
Listener's Corner