Remember the 1970s? Hippies, free love, communes, punks, safety pins, Saturday-Night Fever, John Travolta, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, long hair, muslin shirts?
Remember the 80s? Androgyny everywhere — Boy George, high hair dyed every colour, guys with eyeliner, Annie Lennox with orange hair, Cyndi Lauper with her chequerboard shave?
Remember the 90s? The internet boom, the Human Rights Act condemning discrimination on the grounds of disability and sexual orientation, poor fashion choices, outstanding hip hop and alt rock music?
It's been so long since I last posted. I have almost forgotten how to do it. I just read a post I wrote five months ago, almost to the day. I can't quite remember the person who wrote it.
The last five months have been incredibly difficult. I took a part-time job, realised I was probably drinking a bit much and changed my muscle relaxants to a different sort, having read a book that said they were also good for addiction.
Nothing worked out particularly well.
Unfortunately I was unable unable to attend tonight's 25th reunion of RainbowYOUTH, "a charitable organisation providing support, information, advocacy and education for queer and trans* young people (aged between 13 and 28), their friends and Whānau, and those who work with queer and trans* youth."
Having had the honour of being their patron for the last few years I asked for a few words to be read on my behalf.
Kia ora koutou. Happy 25th birthday RainbowYOUTH. My apologies for not being able to be here in person to address you this evening.
Long time no blog! I've been busy working part-time at the New Zealand AIDS Foundation; getting ready to wrap up the fourth year of Be. Leadership and recruit for the fifth programme in 2015; and developing a new way to work with organisations to help them improve what they do.
A couple of months ago the GM of an organisation I helped set up in the 90s contacted me about doing a two-hour session on customer service at an annual staff hui. I told her there would be little of value I could achieve in two hours, but that I had an idea of how to gather data beforehand to use at the session.
To ascertain how the team could work together more effectively with the people who access its services.
I've had a theory for some time now that the early decades of each century are primarily conservative and the later decades are liberal. I'm no historian and I've got no research to back it up because I couldn't be bothered researching.
But I was born in 1967 in the hippy flower power era, followed by the 80s with its androgyny and outlandish fashion; the birth of the internet; and civil right movements left, right and centre. All at the end of the century that saw two world wars, the industrialisation of society and alcohol prohibition.
Now, just 14 years into the 21st century, NZ elects a National government for third term with the highest majority since god knows when and the second lowest vote Labour's ever had. Sure we've had gay marriage, but that has just increasd the numbers trapped by a conservative institution. And I won't be surprised if we prohibit alcohol again once we've made tobacco illegal.
UPDATE 09 September 2014: I'm pleased to say I have been contacted by the Electoral Commission and the Grey Lynn Returning Officer since writing this email/post.
Email to the Electoral Commission
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
If you watched Benefits Street last night, you may have been offended by the blatant depiction of crimes like shoplifting and drug selling. You may have felt disgusted or pity for the residents' dependence on welfare and substances, or simply for the squalor they lived in.
Or you may have just worried about the future of the kids growing up in James Turner Street.
According to Wikipedia, "the show was controversial, with the police, Channel 4 and the media regulator Ofcom receiving hundreds of complaints. There were Twitter death threats made against the residents of the street."
George Takei, Star Trek's inimitable Mr Sulu, has been chastised by disability rights activists for posting a Facebook meme.
Said meme depicts, from behind, a woman standing from her wheelchair to reach a bottle of (presumably) wine, with the words, "There has been a miracle in the alcohol isle [sic]."
I get a lot of people trying to help me. The less they know me the less helpful their help is. So it's useful and interesting to make the distinction between 'helping' and 'being helpful'. They are definitely not synonymous and are, so often, completely antithetical.
The most unhelpful help I am offered is getting my wheelchair in and out of my car. It's quite a complex operation — getting it in involves neutralising the wheels, clipping the winch to the footplate, winching it up the 45° ramp and securing it on its platform in the car. And getting it out involves the reverse.