The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #13940   Message #117290
Posted By: Rick Fielding
24-Sep-99 - 11:35 AM
Thread Name: Ethical Question - Handicapped Fans
Subject: Ethical Question - Handicapped Fans
Since there are a couple of threads currently running about "unwritten (and often ignored) rules" regarding courtesy in sessions, jams and song circles, I thought I might take a chance with this one. It's not easy, and I DON'T have the answers, but I'll relate it to you as it was told to Heather and I.

A person I know, let's call him "Davey," is an England-based singer, raconteur, and pretty emotional guy, was doing a concert in a theatre, and realised early on that a group of handicapped people (with social worker in tow) were front and centre in the audience. Some (or all, or just one) were making loud noises (involuntary whoops and squawks) on a regular basis. Davey is a pretty focused folkie, but he said that by the third song he was becoming totally unhinged, forgetting words, chords, introductions etc. At a certain point he took a very risky step and told the audience that this was intolerable and he couldn't continue unless the noisy ones left. The social worker gathered up his charges and exited with loud criticism towards Davey about being intolerant. The concert was ruined naturally, and some asked for their money back.

The next day the shit really hit the fan, with threats that other handicapped people would dog future Davey shows until the public got the message that "we are human beings too, and have the right to go out at night"!

Davey did a press conference and tried to explain that "I deal in words. They are my stock in trade, and I need quiet to be effective, and when people pay good money to...etc. etc. I don't remember how this ended, but I remember feeling almost sick to my stomach as he recalled this (years ago) incident to Heather and I. As a bleeding heart liberal commie pinko who has always tried to fight discrimination, this cut like a knife, and all I could do was pray that it would never happen to me.

I'd appreciate any feedback, negative or positive.

At Rick's request, I have changed the name of the person he's talking about, wherever the name appears in this thread.
If you have reason to ask who or why, please ask Rick about it by personal message. Thanks.
-Joe Offer-