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The Way We Roll

Arts & Culture Podcasts

A seriously funny take on life from the disability driven duo... Simon Minty and Phil Friend.


United Kingdom


A seriously funny take on life from the disability driven duo... Simon Minty and Phil Friend.






Motorbikes, Memoirs, and Making Waves: Sophie Morgan Unplugged

In an exceptional show, our guest is the remarkable human that is Sophie Morgan. Sophie often finds liberation on a motorbike. She pops up frequently on TV, presenting Crufts or the Paralympics as a guest on Loose Women or breakfast TV. This past year she’s been promoting her autobiography Driving Forwards: A Journey of Resilience and Empowerment After Life-Changing Injury. She’s a powerful campaigner for disability and, specifically, better rights on flights for wheelchair users. As can happen when you throw three thoughtful and pragmatic disabled people together, Sophie allowed us to have a far-reaching conversation. What drives her, what does she do when the going gets tough and who supports her? She explains that writing her autobiography allowed her to pause and reflect on her identity and how her passions have formed and re-formed over the year. It turns out that having a ‘chip on your shoulder’ can be a helpful motivator. As we approach the 20th anniversary of her becoming a disabled person, she talks through her immediate and future plans. We know this will include being an artist, something she’s returning to as painting allows her to find a calming place. Links Wiki Sophie Morgan Instagram Sophie on Twitter Driving Forwards: A Journey of Resilience and Empowerment After Life-Changing Injury Can-Am trikes Sophie’s page on Can-Am Rights on Flights Howdens accessible kitchen


‘Failing upwards’ and ‘Able-anxiety’ with FlawBored Theatre Company

Can you fail upwards? Aarian Mehrabani from FlawBored Theatre says that is what they have done. With his theatre company co-founders Samuel Brewer and Chloe Palmer, they have created a play that pushes the boundaries of disability arts and arts more broadly. How has the audience reacted? Do those with a disability react differently to those who aren’t disabled (the answer is sometimes yes)? After creating a show with disability themes, is there a subtle pressure for the next piece of work to move away from the topic? Is that natural, an enhancement or devaluing the subject? And might the term ‘able-anxiety’ be a throw-away joke turning into an accepted word and concept? Sam and Aarian join us to discuss this and more. FlawBored is performing ‘It’s a Mother F**king Pleasure’ in Edinburgh this August (link below). Our show has a few spoilers but also might add to your enjoyment. Listeners discretion! Links FlawBored Theatre Company Tickets to Edinburgh Fringe performances of It’s a Mother F**king Pleasure.


When is the word ‘vulnerable’ the right word? Plus celebrating Lenny Rush

A bumper show this month. There’s an underlying theme around the erosion or optionality of including disabled people. What do you do when you’re hotel room isn’t ready…especially when you return to the hotel after a night out at midnight and find out? Move to another room? Not so simple if you’re a wheelchair user. Kat Watkins had this happen to her, and we explore what coulda shoulda happened. Did you know there are new consumer duties which may assist differently disabled people (beyond Phil’s favourite group being learning disabled people who fill in forms). Simon and Phil have noticed the word ‘vulnerable’ is creeping back into the language to describe disabled people. Used without context or explanation, as in, ‘financially vulnerable’ or ‘vulnerable to exclusion’, the use of the word feels patronising and retrograde. Is it linked to Covid when lots of people were vulnerable? Is it broader, a moral driver of ‘being kind’? The issue is the word is disempowering, and inclusion isn’t optional nor a favour. There are legal duties underpinning this, as well as a moral imperative. More happily, we enjoy the success Lenny Rush is experiencing. A British actor with dwarfism, only 14 years old, he is absolutely storming it. We ask, was Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones a watershed moment? Links Disabled woman forced to sleep in hotel dining area ‘after the booked room was unavailable’ Disability and Vulnerability paper New Consumer Duty. Speech introducing a new duty Best Bits of Am I Being Unreasonable with Daisy Cooper and Lenny Rush Lenny Rush BAFTA acceptance speech


If disability is so good, why don’t we all become disabled?

Disability talk and debate: what might be the consequences of how we talked about being disabled, reducing benefit fraud, the impact of the digital divide and street harassment, all discussed by Phil and Simon? What are your thoughts on benefit fraud? How should it be tackled? Are the Tories being absurd or frightening? Simon recently saw a play, ‘It’s a Mother f**king Pleasure’ at the Soho Theatre by FlawBored Theatre. The main thrust was irreverent fun ridiculing short-term ‘ableist’ attitudes and disability in society, including introducing ‘able anxiety’ as a term, But it went deeper: If some disabled people say how great life is, does that potentially encourage people to become disabled? How would you get on if you didn’t have a smartphone, email, or Google? Many worry about wifi dropping or the impact of social media, and we talk about those who don’t even go online. We explore the digital divide, explaining how some people are left behind as the world moves online. This can impact your wealth, health and mental well-being. Most people would agree that harassment of anyone on the street is a bad thing and should be stopped such harassment, particularly experienced by women, also impacts disabled people too. We might agree it should be against the law, but how do you police someone ‘staring intently’? Listeners Corner returns about jogging pants and your ‘favourite’ grandchildren. LINKS Minister of Disabled people swanning around in a flack jacket, helping to "hunt" down benefit cheats! FlawBored Theatre Company The Challenges of tech for disabled people in rural communities. digital divide Disability street harassment a crime


From Croissants to Controversies: Phil & Simon's Tasty Take on Disability Classics

Three disability classics in this months show. It’s Phil and Simon debating and exploring. Firstly an independent American short film highlights how to ask for help as a disabled person and how best other people can offer it. Called ‘Act of God’, the film explores different strategies and responses in a witty and thoughtful way. It gets us talking and Simon gets moody whilst Phil stays calm and polite. Language is next: Prof. Amanda Kirby, who is neurodivergent herself wonders how language changes and it’s impact. Her example, ‘awe’ is both good and bad when it becomes the words awkward, awful and awesome, which are three words often attached to neurodiversity. Lastly, a survey of 3000 disabled people found 75% had never heard of the social model. This somehow doesn’t surprise us. Does it matter? That said, we wonder if something is lost by not knowing about it. Sophie Morgan gets mentioned about five times by Phil for some reason. Links Act of God article and film Prof. Amanda Kirby’s blog Neurodiversity is awesome Evenbreak survey showing 75% of disabled peeps haven’t heard of the social model. Article by Liam O’Dell about the survey Sophie Morgan on Instagram


Are we looking at disability through the wrong lens?

Peter Torres Fremlin joins us this month. He’s a prolific writer and journalist, specifically the Disability Debrief which is a newsletter reporting on disability news from around the world and the people that are making change happen. He has lived and worked in many countries, including Bangladesh and Egypt and worked for several large international organisations such as the International Labour Organisation and Humanity and Inclusion (formerly Handicappe International). In a personal and professional conversation, Peter asks if we’ve focused too narrowly on the barrier removal, the societal-based definition of disability. He challenges this approach, suggesting it’s not ‘messy’ enough to encapsulate the diversity of human beings, being those with disabilities and long-term health conditions. He goes further, illustrating what independence means to different people, explaining that once he realised how helpful people were in the countries he lived in, he knew he would be ok. Thoughtful, serious, erudite and quotable, Peter shares his (re)thinking and experiences so far. We hope you enjoy the show and check out the Disability Debrief which he writes. Links The Disability Debrief Peter's own website Desability Peter LinkedIn page Peter’s Twitter handle WHO report on inequalities in health for disabled people disability and health, respond to the crises exposed by the covid pandemic a landmark study on health inequity from the World Health Organization, The Missing Billion


Give me a child until she is seven and I will show you the adult. Our guest is Ruth Owen

Dr Ruth Owen OBE started in the tech industry, then became CEO of Whizz-Kidz, a national children’s disability charity. Two years ago, Ruth accepted a demanding and, some consider, contentious role, becoming CEO of one of the big disability charities in the UK, Leonard Cheshire. Ruth is our guest this month. As we spoke with Ruth, we moved away from her career and considerable achievements to find out more about the person behind the titles. What drives Ruth, what influence did her parents, her education, and the institutions she grew up in have on who she is today? As a disabled child, what are her memories, the challenges, and dreams? Is there a connection to why she dresses immaculately and has a need to smell jet fuel? In a fascinating conversation, we discover how much who she was then, determines who she is now. We explore how Ruth can achieve her ambitions to ensure Leonard Cheshire remains relevant and purposeful for those disabled people they engage with and those they don’t. Links Ruth’s Twitter handle @Ruth_owenOBE Ruth Owen biography Leonard Cheshire Annual accounts 2020/21 Whizz-Kidz


Gym Gains and Grandchildren: Navigating Life's Highs and Lows

Welcome to the first show of 2023, where Phil and Simon are ready to serve up the year's hot topics! In this episode, we'll discuss everything from the highs and lows of 2022 to the exciting things on the horizon for 2023. First up, we'll be talking about the joys of hitting the gym as a visibly disabled person. It's not always easy, but the gains are worth it (pun intended). We'll also discuss the excitement of welcoming a new grandchild into the world and pondering the meaning of "equal love." We'll also be delving into the struggles of dealing with a decline in physical abilities. You know, like when picking up a cup of tea becomes a weightlifting competition and pulling up your trousers becomes a marathon. But we're all in this together and will discuss ways to confront these challenges. And last but not least, Simon will be chatting about the thrill of being involved in a BAFTA-winning TV show (and six other awards!) in 2022. We approach serious topics with thoughtfulness and humour, promoting positivity while acknowledging the need to confront reality and find the best way to navigate it.


Networkologist with a splash of Purple Obstinacity

Creating change in the world of disability takes many skills. One perhaps less recognised is finding the right word for the right moment. Our guest this month is adept at this and would give Gyles Brandreth a run for his money. Kate Nash is the founder and chief executive of Purple Space, a professional development membership hub for disability employee resource groups. Her recently published first book, Positively Purple, discusses the importance of this work. It also "shares" (another Kate word) some of her personal disability history; Kate readily admits it isn’t something she finds easy. Through her work and her book she encourages other people with disabilities to find their voice, tell their story and ultimately achieve what they want to and who they wish to be. Whether she is being a networkologist (working with Employee Resource Groups aka staff networks) or utilising the obstinacity (obstinate and tenacity) that many of us have and often unfortunately need, Kate is a formidable presence in the world of disability advocacy. Links Kogan Page Positively Purple Kate Nash book Amazon Positively Purple various formats Purple Space Kate Nash LinkedIn Purple Light Up Twitter


Strictly Right or Wrong / Not All Disabilities Are INvisible

Phil and Simon are ripping it up, pushing the conversation, and exploring the boundaries of where we are today when it comes to disability. There’s fun, seriousness, thoughtfulness, respectful disagreement, celebration and controversy We ask why does the ‘life stops after becoming disabled’ idea remain so strong? Phil explores his concerns about Ellie Simmonds going on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, and Simon vehemently disagrees. We highlight the worrying crisis for disabled people in being able to recruit PAs and support workers. If that wasn’t enough, Phil has an idea for some merch. Right at the end, we have a packed inbox of brilliant and interesting comments from you. Links Going blind and travel Guardian article on the Canadian family travelling the world Travel Eyes for blind travellers Strictly Come Dancing Strictly Come Dancing John Whaite brilliant Instagram video about difference on Strictly Ellie Simmonds Instagram Nikita Kuzmin (Ellie’s dance partner) Crisis in care workers Guardian article Staffing crisis in care homes Personal tweet Baroness Jane Campbell on recruiting a PA Video of House of Lords Care Crisis Q&A 7 Sept 2022


A history of disability activism and disabled people in politics

Professor David Turner is a social and cultural historian with expertise in disability, medicine, gender and the body. He is our guest this month. David’s current research explores the history of disabled people’s political activism in Britain since the eighteenth century. In an accessible and illuminating conversation, he tells us of the earliest known recorded documentation of disability rights and political activism. This includes the book 'Biography of the Blind’, first published in 1821, written by the remarkable James Wilson. We learn why what was said to the British Government by disabled people way back in 1832, still resonates today. With David’s expertise and insight, we learn how 200 years of disability history can inform us today and into the future. Links Home page including publications list James Wilson’s Biography of the Blind, pub. 1821 on Google Books. On Twitter @DrDavidMT Disability History pod and video with Prof Turner Disability History: Thinking Differently About the Past resource page Blog about how Prof Turner helped put disability in the teaching curriculum with one teacher Historic England History of Disability Year 1050 to present Tom Shakespeare Collection: Disabled Lives


How can you represent 13 million diverse disabled people’s interests? Here’s how!

Our guest is Gordon McCullough, the Chief Executive Officer of the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RIDC). If you’ve not come across the RIDC, they are a well-established research organisation with a panel of more than 3500 disabled people. As Gordon has said, "No business would actively exclude a fifth of its potential customer base, yet many do by not being accessible to disabled people, and this is where the RIDC comes in". Gordon explains how they carry out their qualitative and quantitative research through the fantastic panel they have created. Carrying out valuable research for organisations is part of their role; they also carry out research they have identified from the panel. We talk with Gordon about the biggest issues for disabled people during Covid and why electric vehicles might leave disabled people behind. He also talks about being a non-disabled person in a user-led organisation - what did he have to learn, and what does it mean to the people RIDC work with? Phil is the Chair of RIDC, so he leaves some of the questions to Simon this time. We suspect by the end of the show, you’ll want to join the panel and add your voice to bring about change, you can by clicking the link below. Links RIDC website Join the panel Online or telephone 020 7427 2460 or email Selected research projects Twitter RIDC


The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Laughs

Some people fear disability and comedy. Not so our guest this month. Steven Verdile created the satirical website The Squeaky Wheel to create and publish funny stories with disability as a theme. Steven explains how the site came about, what inspired the name and how the growing team of writers write the material. An expanding and loyal readership means the site is thriving. It’s even been the answer to a US newspaper crossword clue. Making it sustainable is a wish of Steven’s. Making sure they push the boundaries of comedy but don’t step over the line of appropriateness is a frequent consideration. Making it professional and paying people is in the plan. Take a dive into some of the funniest headlines and then listen to the pod and find out what The Squeaky Wheel is all about. Website Instagram Twitter @TheSqkyWheel Facebook Steven Private Eye The Onion BBC Access All


Television and Disability Special - with Allan MacKillop and Nichola Garde

If disability and television are your thing, you will have noticed some significant improvements of late. On-screen, we know #RepresentationMatters but behind the camera is equally important. Our guests this month are two of the people who are instrumental in changing the landscape of disability and television. Nichola Garde is the Project Manager of Elevate. This is the BBC’s mid-career-boosting scheme for behind screen talent who have a disability. Allan MacKillop is Disability Team Leader covering both creative and workforce strategy at the BBC. A massive brief with high expectations. We asked Allan and Nichola why so much change now? What do they think are the best methods for the improvement of disability and television? We talk pan-industry as Channel 4, ITV, Netflix, and others push this forward. Indeed, Netflix has a genre of disability-related programmes now. We ask Allan and Nichola’s advice on getting in and getting ahead in the industry. Finally, we offer them a magic wand to see what else is on their wish list. Naturally, we ask how they got to where they are and what adjustments they need to be the best they can be. Links Twitter @NicholaGarde @AllanMacKill BBC Elevate BBC Extend ITV Disability Channel 4 Disability Netflix and BBC Netflix Disability shows


Nothing About Us Without Us!

It’s a fantastic show this month - insight, depth, nostalgia, vulnerability, power and the future. The BBC recently broadcast a docudrama telling the story of the disability rights campaigners of the early 1990s in the UK. Using the love story between two key protagonists, Then Barbara Met Allan is a landmark piece of television. Not only because of the story it told but the number of creative disabled people who made it. It allows Phil and Simon to take a joyful and triumphant walk and wheel down memory lane to talk about their memories of this time and the impact it had on the country as well as so many individuals. Slips trips and falls are a common occurrence for some with a disability. Unfortunately, Phil recently took a tumble. When you’re campaigning for social justice, you’re seemingly invincible but in reality, we can all experience moments when things don’t go as planned. What can you do, what can you change and does the fall or the shame hurt the most? We talk about what is happening to disabled people in Ukraine. We have a remarkable update from Sarah, one of our immunocompromised guests from the previous show and a lovely Listener's Corner on the impact it made. Geoff tells us all about Yellow Jackets and there’s a shout out for your help on a future show. Links Then Barbara Met Alan Wikipedia BBC iPlayer Disabled people’s Direct Action Network Disability Rights, a history as a wallchart BBC article When disabled people took to the streets to change the law Barbara Lisicki aka Wanda Barbara Johnny Crescendo aka Alan Holdsworth Disabled people in Ukraine Sophie Morgan book Yellow Jackets


Don't You, Forget About Me. Immunocompromised people and Covid restrictions

Coronavirus restrictions are easing here in the UK and around the world. We are said to be on the road to freedom; masks are dropping, hand sanitiser solidifying, and we're willing to take a chance again. For many, this is excellent news, but not for all. For those who are immunocompromised (500,000 people UK) or clinically extremely vulnerable (3.7m people UK), the road to freedom has many potholes. They have a greater risk of catching Covid, and they are more likely to go to a hospital, more likely to be admitted to ICU, and face an increased risk of dying. Life for this minority is still restricted. As the majority move on, is there a risk of people being left behind? We reached out to some affected listeners and spoke with them about the impact and their current lives. Sarah Baxter, who works for a UK bank and Gareth Berliner, is an actor and comedian. Both are immunocompromised. They tell us about asking a fellow train passenger to put on their mask, of donating work clothes to charity in March 20202, realising future office visits will be few. There's even a fortuitous career change as the new workplace adheres to strict Covid protocols. As well as Sarah and Gareth, we hear from Christina Clegg in the UK and Denise Rei and Jen Risser in the USA. All five of our guests talk of the early days of the pandemic, when for a few months, we were unified when we all faced a significant health risk. The stats might not lead the news bulletin, but Covid-19 is still here. What can society and individuals do to avoid a twin-track society? How do we consider the needs of the few whilst allowing the many to continue? Links Join Zoe Covid info, trackers and stats Guardian Jan 2022 first article "More people will die fears." Guardian Jan 2022 second article "Disabled people Plan B restrictions." Colin Angus on Twitter Sheffield University | Health inequalities | COVID-19 | Data visualisation Selected info ICNARC Statistics and research Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre. Levels of dependency prior to admission to acute care (Dec 2021) report shows 89.5% lived without assistance, 10.4% had some assistance, 0.4% had total assistance. Sarah Baxter on Twitter Gareth Berliner on Twitter


Review of 2021. What’s ahead in 2022?

We had a chat with regular guest Joanna Wootten and cultural critic Geoff Spink to ask them their disability or Deaf stand out moment from 2021 and what they’re excited about in 2022. We added our highlights in there too. The stand out moments for us is very broad and includes Strictly Come Dancing, Abnormally Funny People comedy at the Royal Festival Hall, the next Lewis Hamilton racing in Bahrain, a William Boyd book, ’ Any Human Heart’ and the film Cyrano with Peter Dinklage. In addition, the UK Government’s Disability Strategy and the second reading of the British Sign Language Bill in the House of Commons make the list. Let us know what are your favourite moments. Enjoy the show. Links Abnormally Funny People Abnormally Funny People sing ‘Stand By Me’ Lockdown version 2021 Any Human Heart print Any Human Heart audio British Sign Language Bill Cyrano film IMDB Cyrano film website National Disability Strategy Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals 2021 Kart Racing in Bahrain Albert Friend 45:33 in Strictly Come Dancing Rose and Giovanni YouTube Succession season 4 Digitial Spy


Oh Bristol, so much to answer for - Getting paid for disability advocacy & creating a safe place or exclusion?

Bristol recently advertised for a Commissioner for their Disability Equality Commission. You need skills and experience and be expected to be a spokesperson. Time commitment is up to seven working weeks a year. Salary, zero. How much do we value equalities work? What value do we give to different contributions? When should we get paid, and when is it voluntary? How do we value those who help achieve it? There has been all-party support for some new play parks for disabled adults in Bristol again, coincidentally. So good news? Well, it might be, but why has this cropped up? A mum of a disabled adult said they were 'met with verbal abuse and complaints when using play areas in Bristol's parks. They want to create a safe, fun, accessible and life-changing disabled adult play park". Phil and Simon grapple with the conflict of why can't disabled adults play where everyone else does; why are those who are the abusers not being moved or educated? Is this a pragmatic and beneficial solution? Geoff rocks up with his cultural pics: a book called Moving by Jenny Eclair and TV show Baron Noir, on Prime. A bumper Listeners Corner with your brilliant emails and messages. We finish with a heartfelt Christmas message. See you next year and thank you for listening. Links Bristol Disability Equality Commission Playing Parks in Bristol Moving by Jenny Eclair book Moving by Jenny Eclair audiobook Baron Noir IMDB


Agree to disagree? Assisted Suicide, Disability on Television

Two topics feature in this months podcast. Gardners might use the term perennials to describe them. Others might say weeds that never quite go away. Two topics we discuss and we disagree on, but we have an enjoyable and explorative discussion getting there. Assisted suicide, aka assisted dying, is back in the spotlight as Baroness Meacher’s Assisted Dying Bill passed through the House of Lords at the end of October. Whilst this won’t directly change the UK legislation (currently, assisted suicide is illegal), it shows the debate is very much alive. Phil is opposed to changing the law, and Simon asks him why. Do positive action schemes, disability training, and targets work? In his MacTaggart lecture, scriptwriter Jack Thorne suggested that to get more disabled people on TV. It’s time for quotas. Mind you, it feels like a golden period for disability appearing on television. After years of encouragement, are TV execs commissioning and casting more? Have the schemes finally paid off? Or has the murder of George Floyd and that which followed rippled across the pond and changed everything? Simon thinks yes, Phil asks him why. Geoff tells us his latest cultural recommendations, including the return of Succession and what he thinks of John le Carre’s final book, Silverview. There’s a great Listeners Corner to finish. Links Assisted Suicide Baroness Meacher bill on Assisted Dying Not Dead Yet UK Baroness Jane Campbell article Colin Low, Tom Shakespeare and Christie Arnsten article Disability and TV Jack Thorne MacTaggart Lecture Aug 2021 Royal Television Society panel discussion on disability and television Cultural corner Succession Silverview - John le Carre Here’s where to start reading John le Carre blog


Chronic illness and Disability, intersection and separation

In the UK one of the first pieces of disability rights legislation was the 1970 Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act. Over the next three decades, disability rights campaigners made a distinction between illness and impairment, for understandable reasons but perhaps with hindsight, this has had unintended consequences. Language is returning to including both, so disabled people and people with long term health conditions is a common phrase. So if you created a Venn diagram of disability and of illness, how big would the intersection be? To explore this we invited three people who have fine minds and long term health conditions. We speak with UK based Catherine Hale, Founder and Director: Chronic Illness Inclusion, to US-based Katie Elizabeth who is editor and author and a director of Stigma Fighters and David Ager, a Location Analytics Specialist who comes with his personal take. We had a fantastic, personal and insightful conversation. We highlight why some people with non-visible conditions feel like imposters, or they are not always believed. Why identifying as disabled when you’re long term ill is positive. Where traditional models of disability like the social and medical models help and hinder. There’s some compare and contrasts with US and UK viewpoints and we finish by asking our guests, what would help most in the future? LINKS Twitter accounts for guests and their connected organisations Catherine Hale Katie Elizabeth David Ager Links to further reading Chronic Illness and Inclusion Project (CIIP) – Mobilising a Collective Voice for Social Change What are energy impairments? Images from Rea, thank you, Rea. University of Leeds Here's a link to Rea's blog