LB, the unlikely ethnographer

I’ve mentioned Garfinkel before on this blog, in relation to old Chicken Bone Man and the extreme porn.  (And for the geeky among you, here is a lovely conference paper about Garfinkel, space and the achievement of the ordinary.)  I used to think having a dude like LB was like having a permanent little rule breacher.  Now I’m beginning to think a bit differently.

I’m starting to think of learning disabled/autistic peeps more as unlikely ethnographers than rule breachers. Unlikely ethnographers of normality.

Here’s an example.

LB said he’d wait in the car when I needed to get some milk the other day. I rushed into the shop, bought the milk and walked  back across the car park towards the car. I could see LB in the back of the car looking my way. I waved to him. Nothing. I did an even bigger wave. Nothing.  I waved like I was in the audience greeting the return of Nelson Mandela from Robben Island. Not a movement. He just watched me.

“LB, next time I wave at you, can you wave back at me?” I asked, exasperated, when I opened the car door.
“Why Mum?” he asked.

Talking about a revolution

June 11, 1988. The Nelson Mandela Wembley concert was live on TV.  Tracy Chapman was haunting. The following week an ad in the back of Time Out, advertising a trip from England to Kenya. A couple had bought an old Bedford truck and were looking for passengers.

September 21st, 1988. About twenty of us set off from their gaff at Chalfont St Peter.


Fucksie me.

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The nutter on the bus

Several years ago I travelled by coach to see Rosie sing with her school (and hundreds of other schools) at the Royal Festival Hall in London.  We were dropped off a couple of hours before the concert started so I went for a walk round Covent Garden. Bizarrely, I bumped into someone who I’d gone on a random truck trip with across Africa ten years before (long story, inspired by watching Tracy Chapman, on the TV, singing at the Nelson Mandela birthday concert). Continue reading