Archive for March 2012
One of the most popular posts on this here blog is about the Dr Marten boots I own and have owned in my life, with hundreds of page views every week. I do love them dearly. One pair I’m unlikely ever to get my hands on is the Swarovski 3 boot, alas. Patent leather, studded with crystals, and yet tough-but-spangly instead of glitzy-but-grim.
Ooh, shiny. Sadly for me, also spendy, and I am skint.
COSTINESS: £420 from Dr Martens
On Tuesday, I went to London. I am an Ambassador for the National Autistic Society, and their latest campaign, the Undiscovered Workforce, is about adults with autism and employment. I have Asperger Syndrome and do not have a job. Neither am I on benefits. I was invited to a reception at Parliament to launch the campaign.
The reception was held in Dining Room A at the House of Commons. I got there early, and was treated to a short tour by Anthony of the NAS, who used to work for an MP. I also got to see the Queen’s new Diamond Jubilee stained glass window, for which all the members of the Commons and Lords chipped in. Just like a birthday club at work. Apparently Her Maj did not bring buns in for everyone, but we spotted where the red carpet had been and chairs from her morning speech (school assembly, come on) were being cleared away.
When we got into the room, information packs, canapes and drinks were available, but I was more interested in the comfortable green leather chairs with House of Commons logo. Sadly, it would have proved impossible to stuff one in my handbag to take home. Soon, peers and MPs began to arrive, along with other people with autism, employers and more NAS staff. I met a lot of very interesting people and spoke about my experiences.
I met with my MP, Rachel Reeves, recently – details here – to discuss this very campaign, and she came to the reception. We had a little chat about furthering the campaign in Leeds and had some pictures taken, both officially and by her team.
With Rachel Reeves (photo courtesy of Rachel’s Twitter):
I was introduced to a Guardian journalist, and was interviewed briefly – apparently she will be back in touch – before being asked if I minded being filmed for BBC Breakfast. No guarantees that it would be used, etc. Four of us spent quite a long time outside the Commons, as nobody could film in Parliament, first being interviewed and then doing what I call a “Phil and Kirstie”. This is fake but purposeful walking down the street, to use as a kind of framing device.
Of course, having spent ages doing the Phil and Kirstie, that bit wasn’t used and nor was most of what we said. But despite the pressures of time on Budget Day, we still made it onto telly on Wednesday morning. I was asked if I wanted to do the live on the sofa bit, but I hadn’t got any more nice clothes with me or my hair stuff for the next day, so to be honest (and shallow) I turned it down for that reason. Fellow person with Asperger Syndrome and London dweller Katherine did a great job.
While we were out of the room, I missed being able to natter with plenty more MPs attending the reception, such as Louise Mensch. Damn. I also missed the speeches – the text of Lord Freud‘s speech can be found here.
On our return, I did get to meet NAS President Jane Asher, and thank her for the role that her book Quick Party Cakes played in my childhood, and for her performance in The Sarah Jane Adventures. We talked briefly about Lis Sladen, and a family anecdote surrounding a mix up between Janes Asher and Austen, and she was absolutely lovely.
Yesterday I went to the Hayward for the Joy In People exhibition by my favourite artist, Jeremy Deller. I had a whale of a time, and bumped into Jeremy as he was scurrying around checking everything was OK. We have met before, and it was great to chat again. Photography was forbidden in most areas, so I didn’t take many. The exhibition lives up to its joyous, humanist title. I did see the David Shrigley exhibition that was on at the same time, but that mostly left me cold. I’m not keen on his sculptures and the whole layout of the exhibition left me with unpleasant sensory triggers. Liked some of the pictures, though.
I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist. I’ve been an Ambassador for the National Autistic Society since late last year. I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in May 2011.
Next stop, a reception at Parliament. In my head, it’s going to be just like the ambassador’s receptions, which are of course noted in society. Monsieur! Wizh zhese Rocher you are really spoiling uszh! Lord Freud is in charge, and if he doesn’t get one of his minions to bring in a giant platter of outmoded chocolates I will be most disappointed.