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The Way We Roll

Author: Simon Minty and Phil Friend

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A seriously funny take on life from the disability driven duo... Simon Minty and Phil Friend.
87 Episodes
A considered show this month with Phil and Simon. We review the deeply unsettling BBC documentary ‘Targeted - the truth about disability hate crime’. You can watch it on iPlayer. On YouTube, we've posted a video of us discussing the documentary. (links to both below)Simon recently attended some equality training called Beyond Bias, delivered by Guilaine Kinouani from Race Reflections. Two elements struck him as relevant to disability equality, so we try and see if they apply. First was the concept of intergenerational trauma, and the second, a quote from Audre Lorde (pictured below) ‘There’s no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we don’t live single-issue lives".Listeners Corner is a bumper one this month, and we finish with Cultural Corner, a new addition to the Show, where we recommend a couple of items you might be interested in. It could be another podcast, a book, a tv show, film, blog or article. Geoff Adams-Spink provides the suggestions.LinksTargeted - the truth about disability hate crime  BBC iPlayerThe Way We Roll YouTube channelBeyond Bias training from Race ReflectionsIntergenerational traumaAudre Lorde No such thing as a single-issue struggle because we don't live single-issue livesGuilane Kinouani on TwitterAdam Buxton podcast with Stewart LeeFall - The Mystery of Robert Maxwell by John Preston Hardback linkFall - The Mystery of Robert Maxwell by John Preston  Audible audiobook linkOur thanks to Geoff Adams-Spink - Twitter @GAdams_SpinkYou can find us in Apple Podcasts or Spotify  If you have any comments, feedback or suggestions, please email us at  We hope you enjoy it.
Two jabs Phil has had both vaccinations to protect him from Covid-19. How has it changed him? Is he wild and free at last or staying in with the windows closed? Never one to miss a debate about one of the models of disability, Simon asks Phil what does he think of the ‘affirmative model’. Is this the answer to the charity/tragedy model of disability? If it’s valid, how can it become useful? Stick with this one as it gets a little silly at the end. You can also watch us discuss this, with extra material edited from the podcast, via our YouTube channel, link below. Phil is parroting on about those pesky parakeets again but feels vindicated now BBC Radio 4 have started talking about them too. There’s also another look at what life might be like post-pandemic and what will we relish returning to our lives. LinksAffirmative Model - Disability Arts Colin Hambrook interviews Colin Cameron 2009  Disability and Society - Towards an Affirmation Model of Disability -John Swain & Sally French 2010YouTube video of Phil and Simon discussing the Affirmative model of disability. Simon’s ‘should have gone viral dwarf Giraffe’ tweet Minister Liz Truss hinting at the ‘only disability is a bad attitude’ trope. BBC ‘Broadcasting House’ show on parakeets 17.1.2021
With skill, talent, and application Nikki Fox has become a regular face on British television. She might be presenting a piece on the nightly news bulletins as BBC News’ Disability Correspondent. Or she’s reporting on a consumer issue on BBC's Watchdog and increasingly, she randomly appears on The One Show.  Last year she was named as the most powerful disabled person in the UK. How did she do this? Unsurprisingly she’s had to work very hard to get to the place she’s is now. Be it early starts at 2 AM for Cambridge Radio, wandering down Oxford St interviewing the public for a fashion show, and learning how not to be overly self-deprecating.Nikki says she’s always had a relaxed attitude to being disabled, it’s just the way it is. However, she doesn’t have a full diagnosis, a name for her type of condition and she is interested in the impact this can have on people.We managed to spend an hour with Nikki talking about her childhood, her sister, University, and the early days of her career. Nikki is a fantastic guest. Open, honest, a natural talker not surprisingly, and good company. We hope you enjoy listening to her as much as we did.LinksNikki Fox BBC Disability Correspondent Twitter Nikki Fox Wikipedia page The Disability Discrimination Act and Me - BBC Ouch podcast 
Welcome to our final show of 2020. Never missing a controversy, we start the show asking if Covid 19 and the move to home working, gave disabled employees an unfair advantage if employers prioritise and pay for their adjustments and not those of non-disabled colleagues.Ex-BBC TV maker, Emma West wrote an article asking “Where are we now in terms of representation of disability in popular culture?” We discuss her article and the topic, wondering if this year it has got better. We explore whether quoting the 13+m disabled people in the UK is a useful tool here? We round off by considering three positives from this year: something we enjoyed, something we don’t miss, something we’ve done and how we have felt. Yep, we do feelings on The Way We Roll. Links Getting adjustments at home isn’t that easyRepresentation of disability in popular culture in 2020 – where are we now?Emma WestThe Disability Paradox BBC4 TelevisionMoodflow appMy Fitness Pal for calorie counting Did you know… we have a YouTube channel? There’s clips edited from the podcast but worthy of keeping. Plus funny moments with guests. And a review of Netflix Crip Camp. Do take a look.The Way We Roll YouTube Channel Have Zoom calls meant we’ve finally stopped using the landline phone? Crip Camp review with Phil & SimonOne last thing, Simon and the comedians from Abnormally Funny People will be performing on Sunday 17th January 2021 Zoom so Covid safe and to everywhere you are. It's an amazing line up and will be a fun, celebratory show. Tickets £10 & £5. Click to Southbank Centre to find out more. 
Alex Brooker:Defined

Alex Brooker:Defined


TV presenter, Alex Brooker started his career as a sports journalist at the Liverpool Echo. In 2012 he became part of a brand new comedy show, The Last Leg on Channel 4, now in its 20th series. He recently made a documentary for the BBC entitled ‘Disability & Me’ which we reviewed, Alex heard that show and now he’s our guest.  We cover disability and identity, what the phrase ‘disability doesn’t define me’ might actually mean. About his family; his mum’s influence, his father’s suggestion that he use his brain not brawn, and being the eldest of many brothers. Alex tells us he pushes himself to exceed those low expectations some people have about disability. He talks about comedy and disability, that he might do more stand up and how some jokes are a risk.Alex believes the disability aspect of his life is a work in progress. He went from not really talking about it to being named the No.1 most powerful disabled person in the UK in 2019.He discusses society’s attitude towards disability and the difficulty of being a representative face, whilst also being an individual. He talks naturally, openly and our conversation is peppered with humour and insightful reflection.Links:Alex Brooker TwitterThe Last Leg Disability & Me documentary The Way We Roll show when we reviewed Alex’s documentary ‘Disability & Me’Wikipedia Alex Brooker 
A tech journalist, by day, a musician by night Steve O'Hear is a quietly confident disabled person, all the time. Earlier this year, Steve released an album entitled, ‘Between Floors’. After a few listens, Simon and Phil decided that they needed to have a chat with the man in the hat.Steve has a large presence in the niche field of tech finance journalism. He's been working from home (effectively shielding) way before it became commonplace. It means he's adept at networking and good at developing leads from afar, but he does wonder if he's missed opportunities by not actually being in the room.What is striking is Steve's approach to disability, how he presents, and thinks, about himself. He cites a conundrum - those who get entirely involved in disability rights, well, that's a loss of their skills and talents in other areas, right? However, if you don't get involved, you don't step up, are you really making a difference? Is what you’re doing instead, truly worthwhile? Steve, Simon and Phil explore the pros and cons of being a ‘normal' and a ‘professional’ disabled person.Steve explains music is his best friend. He was in a band at University and played the clubs. Years later, he got the band back together and they’ve made the album they didn't have the time, money or equipment to make whilst at University. Steve talks us through the process, his influences and the stories behind the songs from the reformed band, now called Otis Max Load and the Thirteen People.Twitter Tech Crunch Twitter Personal Steve’s Website   Spotify In Between Floors Apple Music In Between Floors  YouTube Trailer 
It’s the 1 to 1 show where Phil and Simon chat over the latest topics. If you’d like to hear two liberally minded, disabled men get themselves in an academic mess, this is the show for you. Simon mentions an academic article from the New Discourses website, that asks if radical disability studies support ‘transableism’. This is when someone who is not disabled feels that they are. They may seek surgery to get the impairment they feel they (should) have. This raises complex questions on the ethics of medicine, of identity and disability identity, of trans subjects more broadly. It gets tricky asking if impairment or disability is desirable and where does it fit if disability is a social construct? If you’re still listening, Phil steers us to safer activist ground by asking is the telethon making a comeback? It follows the return of the Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon in the US, that used to be Jerry Lewis’ project and now Kevin Hart is the lead. Finally, we ask why some people can help us and we don’t mind, even welcome it? They help us with things that we can probably do perfectly well. Where’s our pride and independence? Do some have an aura? Is it based on our relationship with them that means it’s welcome and not intrusive?A thank you to Susan Scott-Parker for sending us articles that helped with the topics of this show. Links:-New Discourses Disability Studies Need to register but free Telethon returns You can find us in Apple Podcasts or Spotify The Show is also available from BuzzSprout If you have any comments, feedback or suggestions, please email us at  We hope you enjoy it.
No messing, this month our show dives headfirst into seeing whether Simon’s stresses have lifted. As a result, we drift into how Phil is and why he hasn’t been out for a while. As if that weren’t enough, Simon expresses his very biased concerns about a drug under trial called Vosoritide. Why? In essence, it will make some people with dwarfism taller. Incidentally, in case you didn't know October was Dwarfism awareness month. Phil raises questions about the new pop up cycle lanes and pedestrian-only areas. In many respects, this is a positive but have differently disabled people’s needs been taken into consideration? What might be the impact, indeed, does anyone carry out the legal duty of Impact Assessments? Simon decides Whitstable high street could be remodelled, he is, after all, an out of towner who visited for a couple of daysLanguage - Is BAME (Black, Asian and minority Ethnic people) done? What’s the new phrasing? Is it best practice to use the phrase ‘Best Practice’? When was it last updated? Do the criteria need updating every few years so it becomes aspirational and not a reflection of what already happens today?There are your emails in Listeners Corner. You can be in this section next time, just email us at Links: -Guardian article on Vosoritide Little People UK and Royal College of Midwives Wikipedia on Best Practice UK Music Industry ‘Drop BAME’ Civil Service blog ‘Don’t call me BAME’Varsity Opinion ‘BAME is outdated and doesn’t represent experiences’You can find us in Apple Podcasts or Spotify The Show is also available from BuzzSprout If you have any comments, feedback or suggestions, please email us at  We hope you enjoy it.
Being thrust into the limelight aged thirteen could mess with your head a little. Then staying at the top of your game for more than ten years, that’s a lot of pressure. Being seen as a figurehead for the Paralympic movement, a role model for youth, for young women, for people with dwarfism and with disabilities, the weight is immense. Somehow Ellie Simmonds remains the most likeable and unaffected person you would be lucky to meet. There have been bumps along the way, periods when she took some time out from swimming. However, the desire to compete and succeed remains strong. In a personal, thoughtful and fun conversation Phil and Simon talk about Ellie’s career, her thoughts on mental health, about having dwarfism. the support she has and her involvement with the Dwarf Sports Association. We also discuss the Tokyo Paralympics in 2021 and what life after she stops competitively swimming might look like.Simon gets a little overwhelmed and frankly sometimes silly, Boccia and his medals get a mention!. Luckily Phil is on hand to steer us back to calmer waters.Links British Swimming profile of EllieTwitter Paralympics London 2012 Ellie winning Gold Women’s 400m freestyle S6Dwarf Sports Association UKEllie’s cookery books
This month the one to one show has depth, sadness, reflection and frivolity.The World Health Organisation has eradicated polio in Africa. Phil got polio as a toddler. Simon asks him how does he feel about there being no more polio people? Phil talks about the impact, good and bad that it has had on the direction his life has taken.Phil has had trouble in his own backyard: parakeets, rabbits and herons are playing havoc with his Hertfordshire estate and fish pond. Simon in his 4th floor London flat without outside space does his best to empathise with Phil’s struggles. Simon posits a theory - if you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed or anxious, hang on, it will pass and it will get better. The enormous debilitating issue right now needs time and it will be gone. Does that work?We start the show with a tribute to our dear friend and colleague Dr James Partridge OBE who died recently. We also have your emails and messages. BBC Africa free of polio Guardian James Partridge obituaryDining with a DifferenceFace Equality International The Way We Roll show with guest, James Partridge
It’s the format you tell us you love. When Phil and Simon shoot the breeze and take potshots at one another with the occasional wisecrack. This month, disability ninjas, changing places, Zoom fatigue and social care: crisis and funding. Changing Places toilets are the larger loos in public places for those who might need more assistance, a hoist or changing station. After a consultation, the regulations have changed and we shall see more and see them more quickly. Phil has been reading how much Zoom (our word for all online / video) calls can exhaust us. Six months ago we stopped after three meetings with different clients in one day and we had to pause as we travelled between sites. Now, six meetings a day, short breaks. We discuss the pros and cons of virtual working, and there are benefits. Phil reminds us we should book appointments with ourselves to help.  Simon’s posits a theory - are some people disability ninjas? You are chatting with them and then, from nowhere, they make your disability the focus! Is it limited to religious evangelists and OT’s? Does it vary on your condition? The UK has a social care system that by general agreement isn’t working. So what’s the solution? Phil reminds us when it was within the NHS and the failings, both in practical terms and how we viewed disability as a result. Links BBC Changing places loos Changing Places Org websiteThe outcome of Govt consultation on Changing Places toiletsBBC Zoom fatigueForbes Zoom fatigue Article from 2017, explaining Social Care and the National Health Service NHS social care and support guide Neil Crowther blog - Neil writes extensively on NHS and Social CareNinja images from Karstenakawheels 
From Jazz Trumpet to Inclusive Design - John Corcoran shares his journey on The Way We Roll.John Corcoran is a man of many parts whos life and experiences have included being in a pop band, playing jazz trumpet and working as a jazz club impresario. (He once booked Ronnie Scott and Maya Angelou). He has over thirty years of experience and expertise in design, technology, brand, communication, marketing and business management. He has a passion for people and an obsession for simplifying complexity. During our conversation, John explains how he went about redesigning and repositioning the Phil & Simon Show. (Morecombe and Wise and Cannon and Ball get a mention). He is passionate about social inclusion and discusses the importance of designing for everyone. The needs of older and disabled people are often overlooked by many; John examines why this is a mistake given the needs and commercial opportunities offered by these groups of consumers. John is a real enthusiast, an expert in his field, warm, funny and entertaining, take a listen.You can read more about him and his work at
“…swimming pools were shut. Cinemas, too, and bars and bowling alleys. Church services were suspended. Cities doused their streets with DDT insecticide…they had to be seen to be doing something. Nothing seemed to work. As the summer wore on, the numbers of polio cases grew”Did you think we were talking about Covid-19? Phil talks of the ‘last man who used the Iron Lung’, an early medical method to keep people who got polio alive. The Guardian ran an article on Paul Alexander and his life. Cancel Culture, is it real? Is it necessary? Do you think twice before you send a Tweet? Do you know the latest terminology for different identity groups? After well known people wrote an open letter in Harpers Magazine, Phil and Simon try and make their own sense of it. Concentrate as Simon has so many thoughts, they sometimes get muddled. What’s most important for disabled people to develop as a group? Is it pride or is it community? We reflect on a story about Stacey Park Milbern, a US disability rights activist who recently died. She said we need the support of community before we can take pride. Finally, Phil and Simon review the recent television documentary with Alex Brooker from The Last Leg. He explores how he feels about his impairment. Phil and Simon discuss the programme, Alex's relationship with his condition and specifically what do people mean when they say they don't want their disability to define them?LinksAlex Brooker: Disability and Me BBCBBC iPlayer - expires early August 2020 Harpers Magazine Open Letter on Justice and Open Debate Stacey Park New York Times   PaywallStacey Park Legacy obituary     Free Joseph Stramondo on Twitter The Last Iron Lung - The Guardian, Free but can donate
Now in his mid-30s, Martyn Sibley suggests he prefers slippers and hot chocolate to hot air ballooning. However, he admits there are still a few adventures he would like to undertake. Martyn says he’s ‘a regular guy who happens to have a disability called 'Spinal Muscular Atrophy’ (SMA). He is driven by his mission. When he wakes up, he knows he’s going to be working on one of his several projects and businesses. His degree in economics, his Masters in Marketing and his love of entrepreneurship combined with his wish to help create a more inclusive world drives him.We speak with Martyn about growing up and his travel exploits. Soon we move on to his projects such as Disability Horizons and the new Purple Goat agency. This is a vehicle to help organisations market to consumers as well as enable disabled people to earn a living. Martyn takes Phil and Simon deep into the world of social media and marketing and we just about keep up. We also ask Martyn what’s next for him and what are his hopes for wider society. http://martynsibley.comhttp://purplegoatagency.com
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson is a national figure, a person who has moved from a highly successful athletics career to being a prominent political figure in Westminster, as if this was always the plan. How did she manage that? Born in Cardiff, she picked up the ‘Tanni’ name from her sister’s mispronunciation. She also picked up a strong work ethic from her parents, especially her dad. This meant she would be out training on Christmas Day or now, asks her team of helpers to brief her as thoroughly as is humanly possible so she can win her arguments. Professionally how do we see her now, and how does she see herself? Is it about her genre-defining career on the track, or wearing the robes of the establishment, or is she now the ‘woman who Tweets’ about rail journeys?We got to spend time with Tanni over a Zoom call to ask her this and lots of other questions including, does she still speak to Alan Shearer after that moment? Who has helped her the most? What exactly is ‘Snog Marry or Kill’? The biggest issue she’s dealing with related to disability right now? Do Paralympians get short thrift compared to Olympians? Are disabled women included in new current women’s political movements? What’s the significance of her necklace when she’s in the House of Lords?Links:-Twitter:   @Tanni_GTWebsite:
Geoff Adams-Spink is a Thalidomide survivor, one of the children born in the late 1950s early 60s, with physical and sensory differences after their mother unwittingly took a drug during pregnancy that caused the impairments. Speaking to your mum about why this happened can’t be easy, but Geoff did have that conversation. His parents had great expectations of him, his mother had a mantra to support him but make sure he developed resilience. Learning how to be independent was a fiercely protected element for much of his professional life and then one day he realised he could be even more effective with appropriate help.It’s his work and life that makes him particularly interesting. After university and a Journalism course, he went to the BBC as a producer and correspondent and stayed for more than twenty years. Different roles took Geoff Adams-Spink to different countries exposing him to different cultures and sadly, in Rwanda, atrocities. Geoff has a love of languages, particularly the romantic languages and recently studied Latin. He shares his passion for technology, both the regular kind and the assistive kit that makes his life easier. He is the current Chair of the Board of Trustees for The Thalidomide Society, a Trustee with the Research Institue for Disabled Consumers and he helped us with our weekly news round-up during our COVID 19 Lockdown shows this Spring.Links:Geoff’’s website Geoff on Twitter Thalidomide history Thalidomide society Just Mowing app storeJust Mowing play storeYou can find us in Apple Podcasts or Spotify The Show is also available from BuzzSprout If you have any comments, feedback or suggestions, please email us at  We hope you enjoy it.
For the next few weeks, our show will be weekly, shorter and have guests. At last, we hear you cry! We decided we wanted to hear the voice of disabled people during the Covid-19 crisis, hear news and policy as it affects us, and some humour to spread some light. Former BBC journalist Geoff Adams-Spink gives us the latest news, about the new legislation and where disabled people fit. He talks about the concerns for those who use PAs/carers. There are some top tips about maintaining good mental health too. Broadcaster, disability campaigner and all-round glam person, Sam Renke tells us about her first two weeks in self-isolation. She talks about keeping busy, being creative, eating and maintaining some sort of routine. Top stand up and occasional Abnormally Funny person, Steve Day, finishes the show with his topical humour and funny observations. Let us know what you think. Any ideas you’d like to hear? Contact us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Or email ( you’d like a transcript for access, drop us a line.Links from Geoff’s news pieceCommunity Care article by Frances Ryan Twitter     @GAdams_Spink      @samrenke      @TheRealSteveDay 
Creating change in the world of disability takes many skills. One perhaps less recognised is finding the right word for the right moment. Our guest this month is adept at this and would give Gyles Brandreth a run for his money. Kate Nash is the founder and chief executive of Purple Space, a professional development membership hub for disability employee resource groups. Her recently published first book, Positively Purple, discusses the importance of this work. It also "shares" (another Kate word) some of her personal disability history; Kate readily admits it isn’t something she finds easy. Through her work and her book she encourages other people with disabilities to find their voice, tell their story and ultimately achieve what they want to and who they wish to be. Whether she is being a networkologist (working with Employee Resource Groups aka staff networks) or utilising the obstinacity (obstinate and tenacity) that many of us have and often unfortunately need, Kate is a formidable presence in the world of disability advocacy. LinksKogan Page  Positively Purple Kate Nash bookAmazon Positively Purple various formatsPurple SpaceKate Nash LinkedInPurple Light Up Twitter
Phil and Simon are ripping it up, pushing the conversation, and exploring the boundaries of where we are today when it comes to disability. There’s fun, seriousness, thoughtfulness, respectful disagreement, celebration and controversyWe ask why does the ‘life stops after becoming disabled’ idea remain so strong? Phil explores his concerns about Ellie Simmonds going on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, and Simon vehemently disagrees. We highlight the worrying crisis for disabled people in being able to recruit PAs and support workers. If that wasn’t enough, Phil has an idea for some merch. Right at the end, we have a packed inbox of brilliant and interesting comments from you. LinksGoing blind and travelGuardian article on the Canadian family travelling the worldTravel Eyes for blind travellers Strictly Come DancingStrictly Come DancingJohn Whaite brilliant Instagram video about difference on StrictlyEllie Simmonds Instagram Nikita Kuzmin (Ellie’s dance partner)Crisis in care workersGuardian article Staffing crisis in care homesPersonal tweet Baroness Jane Campbell on recruiting a PAVideo of House of Lords Care Crisis Q&A 7 Sept 2022
Professor David Turner is a social and cultural historian with expertise in disability, medicine, gender and the body. He is our guest this month. David’s current research explores the history of disabled people’s political activism in Britain since the eighteenth century. In an accessible and illuminating conversation, he tells us of the earliest known recorded documentation of disability rights and political activism. This includes the book 'Biography of the Blind’, first published in 1821, written by the remarkable James Wilson. We learn why what was said to the British Government by disabled people way back in 1832, still resonates today. With David’s expertise and insight, we learn how 200 years of disability history can inform us today and into the future.LinksHome page including publications list James Wilson’s Biography of the Blind, pub. 1821 on Google Books. On Twitter @DrDavidMTDisability History pod and video with Prof Turner Disability History: Thinking Differently About the Past resource pageBlog about how Prof Turner helped put disability in the teaching curriculum with one teacher Historic England History of Disability Year 1050 to presentTom Shakespeare Collection: Disabled Lives
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