The Incident of the Broken Wheelchair and Brighton Breasts

I think November has been the craziest and busiest month on record.

Having poured all of my energy and emotion into the roadtrip; I knew it was time to get back to the grind. I’ve made peace with myself, since being self employed, that a regular cash flow and chill outs are a thing of my past. Nonetheless things are going well and I can’t complain.

November saw me visiting Kent, Gloucester, Oxford, Birmingham, Southampton and Brighton. Some were meeting potential social media clients, some were to deliver one-off consultancy projects, and some were delivering talks to my biggest audiences yet. This month is looking a bit quieter too.

It’s not been all work and serious things though. During my trip to Brighton I had an eventful evening out. In fact it’s so funny, it’s the crux of this post!

After a long drive, access issues at the hotel again and cold weather; Kasia and I headed for a bite to eat. We remarked how we would either be asleep in 2 hours or go crazy. Yep, the latter happened!

After a nice glass of red and some pasta at Carluccios; we found a bar on Church street called Mash Tun. There was a cool band performing to around 10 people. We ordered double spirits and coke…

I had my chair raised up high to see the band and to talk. At some stage I checked with a random guy sat next to me if I was in the way. A Spanish accent greeted me! As you’ll remember I spent 2 months there this year and am going back in January. Needless to say I love Spain.

I asked where he was from. The north he replied. Oh wow, where abouts I reply. You won’t know it he says. Try me! I go. Asturias he announces. Well, I lived in Aviles in Asturias I tell him. He says to email him when I am back and he will help out in any way possible.

As I consider what a small world it is, I go to spin my chair. Dead! It won’t bloody move 🙁 I try going up, down, reclining, moving my backrest and they are all fine, but no movement. After having Kasia check my manual lever, wires and so on; I start panicking a little.

After a deep breath I consider two things:

1) one time a magnet accidentally swiped across my control box and disabled the chair. Maybe I need a magnet

2) I’m not letting this ruin my night. So I tell Kasia either she can push my chair or we get a cab to the hotel, after some more booze.

I then summon the Spanish guy back (bearing in mind I can’t move). I explain there’s a chance his watch has broken my chair. I’m grinning. He says he thinks I’m having a laugh but will try. He looks a little guilty and swipes the watch on the control box! Nope.

At this stage we ask the bar for a fridge magnet. No luck. So Kasia heads off to explore.

In the meantime a blonde girl has caught wind of the drama and makes a bee line for me. After I explain the problem, she proceeds to pull her left breast out of its bra and says “can I try swiping this on your control box”…?

Ordinarily this would be music to my ears and a view to savour. However, I couldn’t drive and there was something a little unusual about this offer. I kindly declined.

Kasia returns a further 10 minutes later to find me surrounded by 5 girls. One of them told me how amazing the Paralympic Games were and that she thinks disability is now very sexy. I swear to god, having a broken chair seems to do wonders!

Then a Spanish girl, who was given it only that day, had a fridge magnet! She ceremoniously holds it up, mentions how it’s a sign of fate and we swipe the chair.


By this time any hope of fixing the chair disappears. However the bar is now heaving, everyone’s chatting away and the band are belting out classics like Mr.Brightside by The Killers.

Afterwards we agree to start heading. It takes 3 people to help push me and the 150kg of chair outside and we say goodbye. Off we roll.

It was proving very difficult to push. With more light to see, Kasia assesses the situation and finds another lever on my relatively new chair. With a little push on it I was mobile again. Just the slightest of knocks to a lever I didn’t know I had, and mayhem breaks out :-/

I hope to god the guys in the bar didn’t see me roll off electrically. They would have thought we had been lying. However if you’re looking for a good night it does seem that a broken chair is a good conversation starter.

Either way, it certainly showed that the public are loving disabled people right now, they will help if necessary and you should never let an electrical fault ruin a much needed night out.