Stiletto and wheels Stiletto title Sole to sole Stiletto

STILETTO – a high pointed HEEL on a woman’s shoe or a small dagger.

WHEELS – a medieval instrument of torture or a vehicle for personal mobility. title
ARTS - November 2008
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Last weekend we went to the National Theatre to see a performance theatre company, DV8 in a piece titled To Be Straight with You.

Performance theatre refers to the use of dance, music, graphics, multi media technology to tell a story rather than the more conventional character driven, narrative format you might usually expect to see in a theatre performance.

The play was about the scale and extent of continuing discrimination against homosexuality around the globe. Whilst the information was not new to me, the representation of facts and the cameos performed, drawn from true testimony, served as a chilling reminder of the savage consequences of intolerance against minorities in our societies and how widespread such intolerance continues to be.

In a week where we have seen the election of the first black president, Barack Obama - so incredibly uplifting for all campaigners against racism – I remembered an interview I had seen on film some years ago with the gay, black, American writer, James Baldwin, towards the end of his life.

He was accused of being a bitter man about the lack of progress on equality in America. He responded that he was not a bitter man but an angry man. ‘Why so?’ asked the interviewer. Well, Baldwin said, how long do I have to wait for equality? I have not seen it in the lifetime of my parents, not in my iifetime, nor my children’s, nor my grandchildren’s. How long do I have to wait?

Watching this play, thinking of James Baldwin, of Barack Obama, of Hilary Clinton, of my experiences of disability, I found myself wondering how long do we all have to wait for our world to ‘walk the walk’ on equality for all rather than, ineffectively, ‘talking the talk’? I discover that I am still feeling pretty angry myself!

Access note: The National is a great place for wheelchair users. Two for one priced tickets, free parking, decent spaces for viewing. I go there a lot.

Lovin' James Baldwin
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