This site now acts as an archive only. For the latest news, opinion, blogs and listings on disability arts and culture visit

Disability Arts Online

About Our Special Powers / 10 February 2012

 Richard Downes has a grouse at Tempo House and wonders what your powers are.

"Winston Churchill had a speech imp-p-p-pediment
And look what he did
He razed half of London"

Currently my favourite lyric. I've caught it every time its come round on the The Fall's 'Perverted By Language' LP. I've actually got it on CD, but if i say LP you'll get more of an understanding about how ancient i remain. The small i too - that's a dead give away. Let us talk more of the small i one day. Though some day. Cos time slips by you know and then one day we are all gone. And we didn't get time to discuss the small i. So, i promise; 1 day.

Why do i favour this line at present? It speaks to me of so much. Winston was such a hero wasn't he. I'm not sure if i remember his funeral. I remember the death and i remember seeing the newsreels go round on repeat for an eternity. Was it him or Shakespeare who won the honour of Brit of the millennium? 12 years ago; already. Anyway he scored higher than my choice. So, he must have been someone, somewhere, some time. Big enough and famed enough for me not to have to google him.

"Please don't tell me any more about the war daddy"

That was my voice speaking falsehoods. Dad never told me about the war. It was too much for him. I put it on the back burner of his mind and went off to get scalded at work. He was a good man my dad. I hold nothing against him. I feel for his silence. I got mine from him 2. I am thinking that we have been led to believe that my generation was the first one not to want what our parents had. I don't know if that's true.

Winston had a speech impairment did he? Well, I never knew that. I knew the old black dog came by to bark every now and then but this man held up for oration and Horatios had a speech impairment 2. Shall i put him into my personal pantheon of heroes now we share a hesitation or 3. Nah!!!! Don't think so.

But, I will give him credit for his twisted powers. He razed half of London. Sorry but i think that's well funny. It's another lie. But an interesting and thoughtful take and this is where the redolence comes in. I 2 have a speech impairment and i have been invested in super powers courtesy thereof.

Walking through Handsworth one day..... one day, very early, just as the night was shaking off, the dew was taking hold and a big red orb was arising - a fitting advent for the power to come - when a hand alighted on my shoulder and i span round to find Sergeant Slow Heavy Walk drawling about who i was and where i came from (like i didn't know that 1). A purple haze buzzed in my head from the short time previous when i'd been practicing illegal rituals with Rizz and record sleeves. Though i knew the blue line's answers i couldn't get them out and struggled and struggled until an eventually when the Sarge said; "Only you've just walked past a murder but it couldn't have been you because my brother in law's got a stammer and he's a nice bloke". Lovely. That's good innit. Either i can't speak and that makes me a charmer or i can't speak and get away with murder.

Would love to understand and know your powers from impairment. Would like to take the time to stop and wonder about the generations of our people who have passed on, who are here now, who are yet to come and get an answer to the question how long our magic powers will wax and wane.

Keywords: depression,perverted by language,special powers,speech impediment,stammering,tempo house,the fall,winston churchill