Transcript of #8

 

Abnormally Funny People January 2015 Podcast Final-2

 

Presented by Simon Minty and Steve Best

 

 

intro

Welcome to the Abnormally Funny People Show, sponsored by Barclays. For further information please visit abnormallyfunnypeople.com. We hope you enjoy the show.

[playing music]

steve

Hello, and welcome to show eight of Abnormally Funny People podcast, the first of 2015. Happy New Year to you. I’m Steve Best.

simon

Hello, and I’m Simon Minty and a Happy New Year to you, Mr Best. On this month’s show we have two lovely guests, Charlie Swinbourne who’s a journalist.

charlie

Hello.

simon

And Eshaan Akbar who is a stand up comedian.

eshaan

Hello.

steve

And at the end of the show we’ll have the competition entries and some listener emails.

simon

So let’s get started. I hope you enjoy the show.

 

[Jingle: You can contact us by email, podcast@abnormallyfunnypeople.com]

steve

Welcome to our guests on this month’s Abnormally Funny People show. First up, Eshaan Akbar. Eshaan is a writer, presenter, comedian and organiser of a comedy club, The Big Nose in Kilburn.

eshaan

Yeah, Big Nose Comedy in Kilburn.

steve

Big Nose lies, I like that. We actually met for the first time at RADA of all places.

eshaan

Yes I know.

steve

RADA if you don’t know, is the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and it was a stand up show there wasn’t it?

eshaan

Yeah, it was a stand up. It was their opening night of stand up that night.

steve

It was. You were very funny.

eshaan

Thank you.

steve

That’s why you’re on the show.

eshaan

That’s why I’m on the show, thank you so much.

steve

It’s lovely, lovely to have you.

simon

And Charlie Swinbourne. Charlie’s a freelance journalist, writer and editor of the world’s most popular blog on deaf culture, The Limping Chicken. Welcome to the show and I think I’ve read this already, but for those who haven’t why is it called The Limping Chicken, Charlie?

charlie

Ah yeah, it’s all from there is a TV show involving deaf teenagers and one of them is going to university and on her first day the note taker said, “I can’t carry on taking notes for you, I’ve got to go home and look after my ill chicken, a limping chicken,” and within 24 hours, 48 hours there were tribute videos, all kinds of images on Facebook. Deaf people went crazy about this limping chicken, because also it summed up a bit of deaf life, being let down in some way.

steve

It’s great to have you both on the show. Let’s kick off with the Moment of the Month. We’re going to start with you, Eshaan, your moment of the month.

eshaan

My moment of the month, well I’ve got a younger brother who is ten years younger than me and we look very, very similar to each other to the point where people think we’re twins. And he often goes to a lot of my gigs and after a gig another fellow comedian went up to my brother and said, “Why aren’t you deaf?” Which is such an odd question because do you have to go through the whole of the genetic makeup, how can you answer that question with any kind of…? And then she came up to me and said “I find it really surprising that you and your brother look the same but one’s deaf and not the other.” And I said, “Well, why should that be a thing?” She said, “Well, I because I thought you were twins.” And then I said… Well, you’re lost for words aren’t you?

steve

Yeah.

Eshaan

Yes, so that’s probably my moment of the month, it was absolutely…

simon

Well I think that’s the general unknowing public who just have no idea, they’re assuming that if one is then the other must be.

eshaan

Must be, yes.

simon

We should explain that it’s sheer coincidence that both Steve and I individually found guests this month so it’s not a deaf special as it were, although I am curious because I’ve said on previous podcasts I’ve now been tested and I’ve got to start wearing hearing aids, there’s certain bits that I’m not getting, whenever I’m doing public speaking I can’t tell whoever’s speaking to me from the audience. And I went through Boots but now I’m going through NHS because they’re so blooming expensive, they were like £1,500, £2,000.

eshaan

Yes, they’re very expensive, hearing aids.

simon

But the thing I think, the leap for me, it’s a bit like using a scooter for the first time when you realise you’ve got to change something because it’s not working, and that idea of hearing my voice slightly differently, I presume… Well, it’s slightly different for you, Charlie, because has this been…? Well I don’t know.

charlie

Yes, I’ve always been this deaf, since I was born. I’ve worn hearing aids since I was two and when I’ve actually changed hearing aids one of the hardest things to get used to is how your voice suddenly sounds really tinny or high or low and it’s really bizarre for the first sort of month or two and then you sort of sell in and get used to your own voice again, you accept your own voice.

steve

You’re saying it’s a deaf special is a bit of a strange one isn’t it really?

simon

By chance, yes.

steve

Absolutely by chance, but we were talking about this before and I was putting myself in a bit of a situation by saying hearing impaired and I was talking to you about this before the show actually and you firstly said to me that’s not the right way or saying it and when I spoke to Charlie you kind of said the same thing as well.

charlie

Yes, it’s a tricky one because the term’s used so frequently that really growing up that was just a term they used and people described me that way, but I remember one time maybe four or five years ago I wrote an article and in the beginning of it some text was added saying hearing impaired journalist, Charlie Swinbourne. So when I added this article to Twitter all of a sudden I got this really angry response from people saying you know, you can’t use that term, hearing impaired, from other deaf Twitter users, and I realised there is a strong feeling against it in the community.

steve

So the word, impaired, because it implies it’s a disability?

charlie

It implies there’s something perhaps wrong with you I guess.

steve

So you would say instead deaf?

charlie

Hard of hearing or… I describe myself as being partially deaf now.

steve

Right, so it’s the word, partially.

Eshaan

Is that the same with visually impaired?

charlie

I’ve heard that some visually impaired or partially sighted people have started moving against the term impairment as well.

simon

That’s got into its own VIP now, visually impaired person.

steve

Oh, nice.

simon

Which I have found out from customer services people, they get very excited because they think a VIP’s come in. Eshaan, where are you on this, or it’s not a big thing to you?

eshaan

Well semantics matter because I don’t know, Charlie, if you’ve ever found this, but people who come across us as being deaf people are slightly surprised that we, quote, unquote, talk normal, right? Because people’s definition of what deaf is is completely, you can’t hear a thing, they don’t understand that having been partially deaf means we’re wearing hearing aids. Have you ever found the situation where you’ve had to prove your own deafness to anyone?

charlie

Yeah, I’ve had that and people just saying, “Oh, you know, I didn’t realise you were deaf at all,” and then it’s almost like you’ve got to then say, “Well I did miss what you’re saying,” and try and reassure them.

Eshaan

And I’ve had a situation before where I’ve said to people “Look, I’m deaf, I’m partially deaf,” and they say, “Well you don’t sound partially deaf.” And I say, “Well how do I prove it to you?” Literally they’ll go, “Well take your hearing aid out.” But if I took my hearing aid out and they said something I could be anyone and say I can’t hear it. So as a test it’s not particularly convenient, but yeah I mean I would prefer people to say that I was deaf or partially deaf rather than hearing impaired, because the beauty of having a hearing aid is my hearing is kind of repaired, I can actually hear stuff because I have a hearing aid. So I’d rather be deaf than hearing impaired.

steve

But there does seem to be a lot of politics, I mean as in Steve Day used to do stuff about being small D or big D and getting into trouble with everybody about certain things.

simon

Big D and small D being? Our token non-disabled person, Steve, go ahead.

steve

Well, what it is, small D… go on, Charlie.

charlie

Within the deaf community if you use the word deaf with a big D then it denotes that you’re culturally deaf, i.e. that you look at deafness positively, you almost certainly use sign language and you see it as a cultural thing, and the small D is more referring to people who for being deaf is perhaps a medical issue, that they feel like they would want to change, roughly. I mean I’m speaking roughly, but there is so much discussion around the terms that we use, and as Eshaan said people assume that a deaf person should be very deaf or sometimes they’ll go up to people I know who are sign language users, profoundly deaf, and assume they should hear something and the assumptions work both ways and with such a spectrum it’s quite hard to actually say one term that people will understand straight away as to how deaf you are.

simon

Charlie, a moment of the month for you?

charlie

Well that has brought back a moment from a few days ago and it was my daughter’s sixth birthday party and as one parent was dropping off her child, she was the last one, we had about six children over who are friends of my daughter’s, as she was dropping her off she said, “Oh, it’ll be all right for you because you won’t hear the chaos of the children, you’ll be fine for the next hour or two.” And I though okay, you know, and I don’t think she quite realised that maybe a very loud chaotic environment is actually much harder if you’re wearing hearing aids than if you can hear and actually tune out some of those sounds.

eshaan

Yes, absolutely.

charlie

So yeah, that sort of…

simon

So your natural hearing will select it. That was one of my other bits about the hearing aid, it’s going to amplify a lot, although it seemed that some of them now are pretty clever, you can set them to 15 different settings.

charlie

Yes, that’s right.

simon

But it’s not as good as that I guess is what I’m saying.

charlie

I think even the best ones now, it’s probably not close to normal, or what you’d say is normal hearing.

simon

Whatever it is, yes.

charlie

Because I think people that don’t wear hearing aids, they seem to be able to tune into certain conversations, I’ve never been able to do that. Plus to be fair this birthday party actually was quite calm and I probably did turn my hearing aid at one point during the dancing and musical statues game but that was fine. But I think that moment, yeah it just brings back a bit of people… I think she meant really well, but people not quite understanding what deafness really means, what wearing hearing aids means.

simon

Yes, and there’s also that little awkward attempt at humour that doesn’t always work, and we’ve heard it a thousand times and like, oh.

charlie

Absolutely.

simon

You said in a little clip which I looked at which was some young schoolchildren doing was it, a sign song? Oh, Frozen.

steve

Oh, my kids love that.

charlie

Oh, Let It Be. No, not Let It Be.

simon

That’s the Beatles.

charlie

That’s the Beatles!

steve

It’s just as popular though.

simon

What was it?

steve

Let It Go.

simon

Which I’ve not seen the film but I know it now, but watching them doing it and then they talked about how calming it was, they do it first thing before they start their lessons, it looked like, I hope I’m not going to get in trouble here, it looked like people doing Tai Chi in the park, and this really relaxing movement of just kind of getting themselves ready for the day. It was great.

charlie

Absolutely. This is the St Mary’s School for Deaf Girls over in Ireland and they do, yeah, they just look so calm. And I imagine doing an hour of that before they start school must just make it much easier for their teachers because they just seem so in the rhythm of the music and absolutely tranquil.

steve

We should put a link up on the website.

eshaan

I went to a wedding very recently where the bride is a sign language interpreter and their best man was completely deaf and he did his whole speech in sign and it was so brilliantly done, he did the whole speech in sign and they had someone interpreting for us all and what was brilliant was he was signing and trying his best to get the timing of his jokes absolutely spot on. So he’d pause and then he’d do the sign and it just worked brilliantly. You talking about those kids doing that just reminded me of that, it was brilliant.

steve

But in reverse that’s quite funny because we sometimes have an interpreter at some of the shows and so people in the audience who are not deaf would hear the punchline first and so you might get a delay in laughter.

eshaan

Yes, you get two sets of laughter, yes.

steve

That’s the other way around I suppose.

charlie

I think he’s probably aware of that, he’s probably thinking, you know, I want to make sure everyone laughs at just the same time and that’s the most comedy value so I think he’s already thinking ahead.

eshaan

It was very, very good.

simon

Thank you, Charlie. Mr Best, Steve Best, our token non-disabled person, any disability stuff?

steve

Well the thing is that I tend to find it quite hard because we were talking about this before, my moment of the month I’ve got to find something that’s disability related as well and coming from a different perspective I suppose.

simon

Is it because you don’t care?

steve

I don’t care really, not that much. Well I do. But I actually had a, it’s slightly related I suppose, is that I’m a terrible snorer and I’ve already gone through all the kind of procedures and then I had an operation to cut the uvula. I think it’s called the uvula.

eshaan

Right, I’m not sure what it’s called.

charlie

Good pronunciation.

steve

Was it that? Yeah. It’s not an anagram of something else, and then I went again this morning and they said they might need to do it again because it hasn’t really helped, because it’s my missus, my wife, that sounds very old fashioned, my missus…

simon

It’s ’70s, yeah.

eshaan

The old ball and chain.

steve

She’s having more problems than I am because it doesn’t affect me. But I asked the doctor about how far you have to go before it becomes a disability, because severe sleep apnoea is classed I think now as a disability because you go into a deep sleep and you just wake up straight away with your snoring or you can’t breathe.

eshaan

Oh.

simon

Do you feel you’re being discriminated against by your wife?

steve

Well definitely, I’m on the settee every night at the moment. But she’s wearing ear plugs so she’s blocking out the sound, so I’m giving her a disability in the sense that she can’t hear, for her own good in a way. We’re trying to find ear plugs that will really block out the sound.

charlie

Yeah, it’s very difficult.

simon

Yeah, but she may need to play something through an iPod and it sort of overrides, like the noise cancelling, they play something that gets rid of all the other noise.

steve

Yes, the doctor said as well, there’s a white noise app and you can play that or there’s relaxation stuff, and you can get sleep headphones where you can have music playing or something playing throughout so you don’t hear my snoring.

eshaan

Or Let It Go all night long.

steve

That would be great wouldn’t it, and sign as well, white noise.

eshaan

White noise of Let It Go.

simon

Are you going to still be able to do the role that you’re currently in though if you’re in the gang, the disability club?

steve

Well, I think I’m making her in the gang rather than me.

simon

No, but the sleep apnoea?

steve

You see I haven’t got sleep apnoea, I had a test about sleep apnoea, no I haven’t got sleep apnoea.

simon

Denial, denial. He’s in denial about his disability already.

steve

Yeah. But if they cut more of my tongue out then I might not be able to speak.

eshaan

I love the idea of Steve trying to work his way up to a disability.

steve

It’s the only way.

charlie

It’s a process isn’t it, you’ve got to keep working at it.

eshaan

Keep working, you’ll get there one day.

steve

Thank you for that.

simon

Any others, Mr Best?

steve

Well the other one’s you and me went to see Edward Scissorhands.

simon

Yes, we did.

steve

And he has a disability because he’s got scissors.

eshaan

Scissors for hands.

simon

This was sort of the ballet version as Sadler’s Wells that was on over Christmas.

steve

Which was wonderful, it was fantastic, it really was very good, but I was just thinking about Tim Burton and you said there was a co-writer as well.

simon

Yes, for the film, the screenplay.

steve

And I wondered how and where he came up with that disability of putting scissors on hands.

Simon

Now I know a bit more, because I watched the film and did a bit of research and so there’s, well I am going to get it wrong, but in essence there’s a sort of scientist type guy who brings this boy back to life with various bits and bobs but then he dies before he finished the hands so he shows him these hands in the film and they’re kind of attached but unfortunately what he left on was a lot of scissors which is kind of a weird substitute in the first place.

eshaan

Yes, absolutely.

simon

But my theory was that sometimes they’ll deliberately do a non-disability, although it’s a disability related story about being isolated and not accepted, but they did something that was so far removed from anything recognisable. Do you know Edward Scissorhands?

charlie

Yeah, I love the film.

simon

Did you think there was a disability thing going on there?

charlie

Well I think as you say there’s probably a few films where you see characters who are just a bit different, I guess a bit like the ugly duckling kind of story where someone doesn’t quite fit in. But I think as people with disabilities I think we can often relate to that feeling of being a bit of an outsider, being a bit different, and for me, I do relate to Edward Scissorhands in that way, albeit I don’t have those kind of issues. Signing would be quite tricky, you’d be just clanging the fingers together all the time.

steve

So, Simon Minty.

simon

A quick sort of serious one which was just a little nod to Stella Young who died on 6th December, she was an Australian disability advocate, we dedicated the last show to her, so it was all a bit of a surprise, she was only 32. She’d been part of Abnormally Funny People, our Paralympic show. We talked about getting her on the podcast here, we were going to do a sort of international call, and she won Melbourne new act or newcomer at their comedy festival last year, which meant she was coming over to the UK and we would have got her up to Edinburgh, and it was just really sad. I mean it sometimes happens with disability, these amazing people and they just suddenly disappear and it was grim and horrible. But there’s an amazing kind of tribute to her online if you want to see it, maybe we should put a link up to that.

steve

I think we should.

simon

Part of the wake and there’s another comedian who just does a ten or 15 minute talk about her which is just, it’s one of those you cry but you laugh and you just think, oh wow. But she was awesome, so yeah, sadly missed, Stella Young. My slightly more silly one is, when we finished the last show, Steve Best, I drove home but you were walking home with Liam O’Carroll who was one of the guests, now my walking’s getting more and more limited and I’m talking about having hip surgery and so on, but I was driving past and you two were walking and I just couldn’t believe how fast you were walking. Now were you walking more quickly than normal? Is Liam a fast walker or was that a normal pace?

steve

So just go back a second, so you didn’t stop and say, “Do you want a lift?” You just saw us walking and carried on driving anyway?

eshaan

All right boys!

simon

There were two things, I thought about tooting and stuff but then I thought Liam might get a bit confused and there was another bit that you were like 200 yards from the tube station and I couldn’t turn right, it was all very complicated.

steve

It is.

simon

And I’d only seen you 20 seconds before, but I just couldn’t believe how fast it was. Am I just so slow now that I’ve forgotten?

steve

It might be a bit of both there. But it’s a London pace for me and whenever I start walking I walk London pace, and I don’t think there’s any, once Liam just holds your arm or your shoulder there’s no feeling of him holding you back as such, he’s just walking at the same pace.

eshaan

Same pace, yeah.

simon

But then we had your birthday meal and now I’ve realised if I go to a restaurant and the person who’s showing you to the table, I’m in this dilemma, I don’t know, if I try and go first so I can control the pace, if there’s six people behind me are they thinking, man this is slow, we’re taking ages to get to this table, but if I drop back and be the last one then I’m like if they go too fast I’ll never find out where the table is.

steve

I’ll get lost, big restaurant.

simon

But I suddenly realised how slow I am and I think if you’re walking with someone slow you just slow down, it was only when I do go to places with you, Steve Best and I realise, wow you walk fast.

steve

But I think I walk exceptionally fast, because when you go on holiday or something like that you realise that no one’s walking, it’s just a London pace, I think people in London generally walk too fast.

eshaan

How did Liam cope with it?

steve

No, I was going to say, I think Liam…

simon

He didn’t even think about it, yeah.

steve

Well he’s from Kingston so maybe he’s a little bit slow. No, but as I said, if he holds on, it didn’t feel uncomfortable, he wasn’t holding me back or I was guiding him but he wasn’t saying slow down or anything like that.

eshaan

So it’s some kind of beautiful synchronicity of movement between the two of you.

steve

There was. With his stick he was like a horse, he was smacking me to go faster.

simon

I’m going to watch all three of you leave at the end of the show. Can I squeeze two quickies in?

steve

Yeah.

simon

Oh right. I went to the Royal Albert Hall for King’s College Choir carols just before Christmas which is the best thing if you want to get Christmassy, although some of the carols are a bit heavy and you don’t kind of know what they’re singing, but there were a few popular ones.

steve

Like heavy metal-y?

simon

Well no, that would be a new twist. But we were trying to get in and I couldn’t play the disability card by jumping the queue on my scooter, I was with a friend, so we had to walk all the way round to the end of this queue, and this queue took us two minutes, well even at your pace a minute to get to the end of it. And I was nearly there and there was this guy blocking the middle of the pavement and I couldn’t get off because it was a dropped curb, I’m on my scooter, so I said three times, “Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me, excuse…” that’s four, “excuse me!” really loud and he didn’t move. So I sort of hit him with my scooter and he went “ahh, ahh, ahh” and did this massive over reaction sort of thing. And anyway I said, “I’m ever so sorry, really sorry,” and we got to the end of the queue and my friend looked at me and went, “You did that deliberately didn’t you?” and I went, “Yeah, I had to.” And I kind of thought oh well actually nobody else uses mobility scooters but there was a point, I don’t know with deafness, is there a point where you just go I’m going to have to push them or I’m going to have to do something?

steve

But hang on, go back. What if he was deaf?

charlie

Yeah.

simon

Oh. You see that’s the whole disability dilemma again isn’t it, the hierarchy. Oh! He’s got a slight limp now I noticed but...

eshaan

So now he’s limping and deaf.

steve

He’s a limping chicken.

charlie

He’s a limping chicken, you’ve given him an extra disability.

simon

Well okay then, we just had a clash, but then should you constantly look around you, that’s what I want people to do.

eshaan

Is that your expectation? Do you expect us to look around and be more aware of our surroundings?

simon

If you’re a deaf person can you constantly scan for wheelchair users, scooters?

steve

Your buzzer on your scooter, it’s like a buzzer isn’t it because it’s not very loud, so you haven’t got that horn.

charlie

You need like a Taser effect thing on it.

eshaan

That’s very extreme.

charlie

Yeah, but non painful like a minor electric shock.

simon

Just a sort of jump or something.

charlie

It doesn’t matter if you’re deaf or blind or anything, you could just…

ESHAAN

Or maybe something like a comedy arm that comes out and pokes them on the shoulder.

simon

That would be good.

ESHAAN

I think we should go to Dragon’s Den with that.

steve

But did he acknowledge that you had been there?

simon

If I’m honest he was kind of overplaying the pain bit which I knew it wasn’t that painful, I only nudged him. Mm-mm.

eshaan

I wonder how many times that’s been said in court.

simon

This is very quick. Gogglebox, do you watch Gogglebox?

eshaan

I’ve never watched it, but yeah.

simon

This is a show where members of the public are watching television programmes and we watch them watching television programmes and making comments and it’s kind of funny, they have some really nice sort of outspoken things. But there was one where they were watching a property show and this property in London was six foot two wide. Oh you saw this, Charlie, you’re nodding?

Charlie

Yeah, I saw this one.

simon

So what’s that? A couple of metres wide. And they’re basically calling it the Alley House, it’s just a long thin house. Six foot two wide, that’s nothing. And they showed it and then one of the families, the mum looked and went, “Cor blimey, even dwarves would have a problem in that house.” And then the family, there was just this pause and I was waiting for some sort of dodgy joke or some comment and then one of the sons looked at mum and went, “I think you’ll find dwarves have a problem with height, not width.” And I just loved it, I just thought that’s so cool, there was nothing unnecessary, it was just a nice little put down, but smart and I like that.

eshaan

That’s great, that’s good.

 

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steve

We have a new section in our show, Abnormally Funny People podcast, questions, weird and wonderful. Eshaan, what’s your funniest disability joke? I know you do stand up yourself so do you do a joke?

eshaan

I do a joke about wearing a hearing aid and going to job interviews, so I am British Asian and I am from a Muslim family and I do a joke where I say I go into job interviews and I can see the HR manager in the corner going tick, tick, tick and then whispering please be gay, please be gay, please be gay, and then top it off by saying that I get every job I apply for, it’s so easy, it’s as simple as that.

steve

Very nice.

simon

I have heard there’s a theory, the sort of the two by two theory, so they want two of everybody so if you can bring your brother and he could ham it up a bit they’d be loving you.

eshaan

Absolutely. That’s the thing, wherever I’ve worked people have always said, “You do realise you’re only here because you’ve ticked every single box we could possibly hope for?”

steve

That’s harsh.

eshaan

It’s charming, a sad indictment of my working abilities I think.

simon

We were going to ask you about a disability card and whether you’ve ever played a deaf or disability card for something to your advantage. Take it even more broadly, have there been times, do you think seriously you get little advantages if you tick all those boxes?

eshaan

For ticking all those boxes? Okay, so I wouldn’t say advantages necessarily, it’s perceived advantages so when I first started working I started working for a bank, I was working for a major bank, and I had a couple of quite good years and I said to my boss, “Look I want a bit more responsibility because I feel like I’m doing quite well.” So he said, “Okay let me think about this and I’ll come back to you.” And I worked in a bank in a building where there were 300 members of staff and I was one of two Asian people, okay so it was broadly white, Etonian, that kind of environment.

simon

And they did have the two you see.

steve

They did have the two, him and his brother.

eshaan

Yes, me and my brother. And this was brilliant, we came down for a meeting and he said, “Fine, I’ve found a job for you that gives you more responsibility.” I said, “Oh what’s that then?” He said, “I want you to be the UK private bank diversity officer.”

simon

Oh, brilliant.

eshaan

I said, “Diversity for what exactly?” And he goes, “Well you can talk to other ethnic minorities and any other disabled people about whatever issues they have.” And I said, “Well, I’m the only disabled person here and there’s two other people, what do you want us to talk about?” And he said, “That’s the job, find out and tell us.”

steve

That’s extraordinary.

eshaan

So that’s happened.

simon

Charlie, do you have a joke, anecdote, something amusing?

charlie

When you asked me about this I was thinking what can I come up with, because I don’t know very many jokes unfortunately apart from ones that my daughters enjoy and they’re six and four so it’s probably not suitable for this podcast, but I do have an old deaf joke that I remember growing up which to be honest I’m not sure how much I like this joke, but it does perhaps say something about deaf humour, I certainly did laugh at the time so I thought I’d pass it on. Okay, here’s the joke. It’s a wheelchair user, a blind person and a deaf person go to the top of a mountain to be cured in a magic well. The wheelchair user is splashed with water and is cured and he stands and pushes away his wheelchair watching it career off the hill and crash at the bottom before running all the way down. The blind man is blessed with magic water and he’s cured, he throws away his cane and it smashes into pieces on its way down the rocky mountain and then he walks down. The deaf man then gets up and he dunks his head in the water, he lifts his head up and he says, “I can hear, I can hear,” and he then pushes his interpreter off the cliff. So that’s the joke and it hopefully doesn’t say too much about deaf people devaluing interpreters, but there is always a bit of a love hate relationship between deaf people and interpreters and I think that’s kind of what’s kind of revealed by that joke.

simon

Eshaan, you would throw your hearing aid off the side of a cliff.

eshaan

I would, yeah straight off the side of a cliff.

simon

Although it’s not so funny though is it?

eshaan

Although the hearing aid for me has been a brilliant weapon almost, not a weapon, weapon’s the wrong word, so let’s say if I’m having… The best way to end an argument with my now ex-girlfriend is to just take my hearing aid out. It annoys them no end and I have so much fun doing it so now whenever I find myself in an argument I’m just… So even if I was cured of deafness I’d keep my hearing aid and pretend to be deaf, just so I could do that one thing. Let’s play the disability card.

charlie

I think I’d be really sad. I think if I became suddenly hearing for some reason I think I’d kind of hold my hearing aids up, probably do this movie thing of looking at them really sadly because they have been my constant companions and the last thing I do every night is put them by my bed and in the morning the first thing I reach out for and just feel is my hearing aids and I can feel them, I know which one it is, I know it’s the right ear or the left ear just by feeling them, because it’s been 31 years of wearing them. So in a very strange way I wouldn’t throw them off the cliff, I’d probably put them in some kind of glass box or frame them or something and I’d feel very sad about probably not wearing them anymore. Having windy cold ears instead of warm, moist ones with an ear infection.

 

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simon

We’re not reviewing products this month but we are going to ask you, do you have a favourite disability, deafness related gadget that you love, and not your  hearing aids by the way because they’re a sort of given as it were. So is there something that you think this is fabulous, this is such a great gadget?

eshaan

I don’t know if it’s a great gadget but I was given a hilarious gadget at work, so when I started my job where I work now we had normal phones and I need a phone which amplifies the sound so I can hear what’s going on. And the HR person brought along a phone which I can only describe as a catch all disability briefcase, it was a massive, massive thing and they had huge numbers on it, a huge screen, and my iPhone was next to this particular phone, and she kind of looked at me and I said to her, “Well I understand but it’s a really big phone.” And she goes, “Yeah, but you’re deaf.” And I said, “The size of the phone has no bearing on you being able to hear.”

simon

With a huge speaker.

eshaan

Yes, it’s got a huge speaker. “All I need is a normal phone with amplification. Look, I’m using an iPhone.” And then she goes, “Well how do you use the iPhone?” And I said, “Why are you asking me so many questions, just give me a normal phone.” But that gadget, I took a picture of it, it took up almost a third of my table, it was massive, because it was an all access kind of phone, so there were big numbers, there was braille on it, it was just trying to make sure that every possible disability was covered.

steve

But is there something out there? Have you researched it, is there something that you can get which is proper sized?

eshaan

Yes, there are normal sizes, there are smaller gadgets you can get which you can plug into some phones and just amplify the sound.

steve

Yeah, like a little speaker kind of thing.

eshaan

Yeah. And I use normal smartphones and I can hear the sound as long as it’s up to maximum, the only problem is is that because I have to turn the volume all the way to the top the rest of the world can hear what I’m talking about on the phone because they’re quite loud.

simon

You remind me, I saw my mum coming down the stairs before Christmas and she was not doing it very smoothly and I said, “Mum, why don’t you get another handrail? Put a handrail on the other side and that’ll really help you.” And there was a pause and she said, “I don’t like those white sort of grab rail things, I don’t think they’re very nice.” I said, “I’m talking about a wooden handle from B&Q or something, like the one you’ve got on the other side.” “Oh okay, I’ll do that,” as if it had to be a different handle. It can be the same as everything. Charlie, a gadget you can’t do without?

charlie

Yes, this is one that over Christmas me and my wife really enjoyed. We were driving around and visiting family as you do and we started to put on some old ’80s sort of CDs so we had Dirty Dancing playing in the car, my girls really, really love that music, but the great thing is that my wife has an app on her iPhone that listens to the song and then automatically starts playing the lyrics in the same order as the lyrics that are being heard in the song so you know where you are in the song, almost like you do in a karaoke.

steve

Oh right, that’s cool.

charlie

And so my wife was able to, she’s a bit more deaf than I am but she was able to watch all these lyrics coming up and follow the song and know the lyrics for the first time in some cases for these songs she’d been listening to all her life. Obviously I was driving so I wasn’t really looking at that but I saw how much enjoyment she got out of that and that’s something, yes that’s fantastic.

steve

Yes, that’s awesome.

simon

That’s just a mainstream gadget that happens to have overlap. My only one, I’ve had many a time where I’ve sung a lyric for years and years and then someone suddenly points out that I had got it wrong and that always disappoints me, so sometimes I want my own little weird words that I sing along that makes sense.

simon

Well there’s so many examples of the wrong words.

charlie

I grew up on those, the Beatles song, Eleanor Rigby, one day at school I was singing, “it’s about right girl” and I thought that was the lyric, I’m sorry for singing out of tune, but I was about ten and I was just singing and my friend went, “What’s this song?” “You know, Eleanor Rigby.” And he was like, “That’s not the words,” but I just thought that was the lyric, that was all I could make out.

simon

What’s the right lyric on that?

charlie

Oh hang on, I’ve got to start this whole anecdote again. Sorry, I got that completely wrong.

steve

You just wanted to sing didn’t you?

charlie

No, no it’s Paperback Writer, sorry.

simon

You sang Paperback Writer.

steve

And what’s the lyric?

charlie

It should have been, paperback writer and I thought it was, I just couldn’t work it out, it’s about right girl.

simon

It’s about right girl sounds like a sort of One Direction type song, a boy band type title, rather than the Beatles, although they were a boy band.

eshaan

Yes it does.

charlie

Yes, I think I just assumed since maybe with all their other songs that that was the right phrasing of it.

steve

That’s great, thank you very much guys. Thank you again to our guests, Charlie Swinbourne and Eshaan Akbar. Thank you for coming. Before you go what are you up to right now? Not right now, right now, but as in right now.

eshaan

I am comedy-ing so I have a number of gigs coming up over the next couple of months.

steve

Are you back to RADA at all?

eshaan

No I’m not. Hopefully I will be but yeah, I’ve just got loads of gigs coming up and I’m excited, I’ve written loads of new material so I’m looking forward to 2015.

steve

Lovely, lovely. And Charlie?

charlie

Well I’m making a documentary at the moment so I’m doing a lot on that and it’s about deaf identity and that’s for the BSL Zone, which shows all kinds of deaf TV programmes. I’m also editing Limping Chicken and keeping busy with journalism and things like that, so yeah.

simon

Did you see the documentary that Grayson Perry did just before Christmas where he met a deaf family?

charlie

Yes, absolutely.

simon

And I was kind of excited, I thought Grayson Perry kind of got disability, deafness, difference quite well, but I only remember afterwards, I read a few comments that some deaf people weren’t so impressed. I can’t remember enough about it but did it go down well or was it…?

charlie

I think it did go down well because he seemed to really get what the deaf people in the documentary feel about their deafness, about it being like a cultural part of their lives, and since then I’ve met quite a few hearing people who have known me for a long time and have known the kind of work I do and then have said, “Oh that programme really brought it home to me, it really made sense.”

simon

Brilliant.

charlie

I think Grayson Perry found a way of communicating it to a wider audience really well.

simon

When’s your documentary out?

charlie

It should be out probably around April, May, towards the beginning of the summer if it goes well, if it’s a disaster you’ll never hear anything about it again.

simon

Brilliant, well thank you to you both.

charlie

Thank you.

eshaan

Thank you, thank you for having us.

 

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simon

So just the one entry for last month’s competition, and I think listeners you missed a trick there as there were some very good products. Thank you to Tanyalee Davis who entered the competition to win the USB charger, which we can’t let her win this because she was actually on the show reviewing that particular product.

steve

So congratulations to Kate from London who wins the talking alarm clock which she says she will give to her friend, Tim. As mentioned we also have the USB charger for your scooter and the hydrant water bottle, you can check those out and other great products on reallyusefulstuff.co.

simon

We have heard from a few of you and we love you to email or drop us a line whenever you can. I got an email from Angela who said listening to our show is often very reassuring, which I thought was really nice and a little bit worrying. But thank you for telling us. And a new listener, Phil, who loved our live show last month, that’s still available so go back and check out the big jamboree we did at the 02.

steve

And we heard from Dave again, do you remember Dave?

simon

I do remember Dave.

steve

He won the bug buster that catches spiders without killing them and we keep hearing from him.

simon

Liking his bug buster.

steve

Very nice.

simon

All the information and the links we’ve been talking about will be on our website, abnormallyfunnypeople.com and do send us things, if you want us to review something, a film, a book, a play or something, just let us know. You can leave us a voicemail too or send a text on 07756190561.

steve

And as always the transcript of this podcast will be on our website too.

simon

So thank you again to our guests and to our producer, Anne and guest producer today, Matt.

steve

And thank you all for listening.

 

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