A repurposed Facebook post about work, disability and the General Election

Hello! This is a “reason to vote Labour on December 12th” post. Please read it, especially if you feel like skipping it.

So last year, through no fault of my own, I and 2/3rds of my department were threatened with redundancy. I managed to score a redeployment to a different department, but it was incredibly stressful and ended up being the root cause of a really bad dive into depression and anxiety, and I’m in a position now where I’m firmly on the lookout for other options.

The thing is, I am disabled. I have a framework of reasonable adjustments in my current job to make it as manageable for me as possible, but the simple fact is that our world is structured to present me with situations I find incredibly difficult, often with the secondary effect of burning off the energy I have for doing the stuff I’m good at, let alone the stuff outside work I actually like doing. It’s been a real battle to keep spoken word and poetry going, and at times my refereeing hasn’t really been as good as I’d like it to be, with mistakes and confusion creeping back in where I’d previously been pretty confident and assured.

Now imagine how much I’d suffer *without* those reasonable adjustments if I moved jobs. They’re my legal right, but because I’m autistic, I can find them incredibly difficult to articulate in a way that’s useful for an employer. It’s been a grind to get them to the relatively well-defined point that they are now. If I have to move jobs now, I’ll have to go through the process of building them all over again, and you KNOW my mental health isn’t strong enough for me to get through that without more damage. And that’s if any new manager was as receptive to them as my last two have been (which, from my experience in the past and awareness of other people’s managers, is hugely unlikely). If I end up with a manager who’s set in their ways, or lacks empathy, or, honestly, reflect the general levels of understanding of disability I see throughout society… I’m in a bad spot. A worse spot than the one that’s made me question if it’s worth carrying on.

Unless we have a Labour government.

Cos in their manifesto, there’s a pledge to roll out “a government-backed Reasonable Adjustments Passport scheme to help people move between jobs more easily”. This means I’d have an official, government-endorsed document saying “this is what Charles needs, and it’s your legal obligation to make sure he has it”. It’d be normalised, enshrined in law, and easy. It’d make something devastatingly stressful so much easier.

“Life and death” always seems like a dramatic way to phrase these things, but look at suicide rates for men in their 30s, look at the life expectancy for autistic people (it’s 36. Thirty six. One schoolchild older than I am now), and it doesn’t seem so dramatic. I need a living to survive. I need to work. But I need to be *able* to work, or survival becomes a very complicated concept. This one policy will make it a million times easier. It might let me have a career instead of just a job.

This has been a “reason to vote Labour on December 12th” post. Please do that thing.

NEWSBLOG 19/10/2019 – did I mention I really love pro wrestling

Let’s talk about last Saturday.

Last Saturday I was the only white person to step into the Wrestling Resurgence ring for an entire show. We searched high and low for a referee of colour to join the incredible lineup of wrestlers of colour who made up our Black History Month spectacular,  Roy Johnson’s Everything Patterned, but to no avail. So I did what I set out to do when I got back into refereeing 6 odd years ago: I facilitated. I don’t want praise or a cookie, because I got everything I needed from being part of a magical showcase of some of the best talent on these shores or any other. The night is best summed up by two quotes from the incomparable Sugar Dunkerton:

“It’s all love tonight, man.”

and

[when asked why he’s so excited] “Because! This motherfucker’s sold out, and we ain’t even have to book MVP!”

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Excellence. #EverythingPatterned #britwres #britishwrestling #prowrestling #blackhistorymonth

A post shared by Charles Writes Things (@charleswrites88) on

The VOD will be out soon. Keep an eye on Resurgence’s Facebook page and make sure to check out Omari vs Warren Banks which was a bloody belter.

Now, let’s talk about the next couple of months!

We’ve got another Resurgence show coming up in December and I get to be part of facilitating more of the best wrestling in the country. Sandwiched around that neatly are two shows for FTGU where I get to do my bit raising the next generation to inherit the incredible scene we’re all building. And I get to do it all in Leicester, fulfilling my lifelong belief that you can build culture where you live and make places outside London mean something big and lasting. Lovely, innit?

Wrestling is giving me life at the moment, folks. Can you tell?

Charles x

EDIT: I have shamed myself by neglecting to mention my sister-in-stripes Deviki, who has worked incredibly hard to learn and forge ahead as both a referee and wrestler, and is now getting deserved bookings the length of the country. It’s rad. Wrestling rules. Friends rule. Thanks

NEWSBLOG 08/10/2019 – Live Upstairs out now on Bandcamp!

Hello! I’m:

  • still depressed! Med dosage is up and I’m cloudy as heck and convinced everyone at work hates me, yeehaw
  • still behind on wrestling! I caught up briefly, then executive dysfunction took me on a walk around nowhere for a month and now I have like seven shows to watch, yeehaw
  • here to plug something a week late, like usual! Great job turning this into an even partially viable partial career! Yeehaw!

My very good friend Jack David recorded my show from June at Upstairs at the Western, and through the miracle of Bandcamp, it is now transformed into Live Upstairs, my very first audio release! Check it outtttttt:

Physical copies exist, currently individually-numbered with hand-written covers. Proper covers coming soon! Along with other merch! Because selling my labour seems less likely to sustain me with every passing day! Yeehaw!!!

(I’m fine)

Charles x

Newsblog 11/06/19 – Small Talk for Hands is out now!

Despite the whims of The Neurotypicals™, I continue to exist as a person! Take that! Here is further detail:

Small Talk for Hands out now!

My NaPoWriMo x Autism Awareness Month zine, Small Talk for Hands, is available for purchase right now on itch.io! 30 poems, lots of feelings, £5. Those who’ve grabbed copies already have loved it, and I’m so grateful for that. These were very raw emotions from a very difficult month, but to hear that people have found something in them, be it art they enjoyed or solidarity with the sad times, is unbelievably heartening. I’d love more of that. Working on ways to distribute physical copies, but for now you can get the shiny PDF at the link above (or a physical copy if you see me in person, because I will be carrying them everywhere, caring for them like a newborn child, obviously).

The gig went well, thanks!

My show with Rosa Fernandez at Upstairs at the Western was tons of fun with a lovely audience. It was also recorded! Watch this space to see if I get around to doing anything with that. It was lovely to have such a long set to work with, and I desperately want to do more gigs like it. As well as more gigs generally. Book me for your poetry night thx <3

More news soon!

Charles

Newsblog 23/05/2019 – Activity!!!!!!!!!!!

Hi! I’m here! Things are happening! Here is what those are:

I completed NaPoWriMo and made a zine!

April was all of: NaPoWriMo, Autism Awareness Month, and the month I finally got a formal mental health diagnosis and treatment. All of this is documented in Small Talk for Hands, a zine of all 30 poems I wrote in April. It will be available in PDF form VERY SOON on my itch.io page (I’ll post again when it’s up), and I’ll also shortly have physical copies to sell at poetry events. INCLUDING…

I have a gig coming up!

I’m co-headlining a show with the wonderful Rosa Fernzndez, on 5th June at Upstairs at the Western. I have a 40-minute(!) set, which will be a lot of new stuff, a bit of old stuff, and potentially a tiny bit of making my parents cry. We’ll see. Tickets start from just £6, and the venue does a door split for the artists’ fee, so if you want to contribute to me making this something approaching a livelihood, this is a very good way to do that! As is buying the zine! Which you should also do!

I’m going on holiday!

And I get to see one of my best friends in the whole world while I’m there. I wasn’t even going to mention this, but I’m just so goddamn happy about it.

More things will be happening soon, and I might actually keep you posted for a change.

Charles x

Newsblog 14/11 – I remembered I have a website edition

Turns out having a bunch of stuff to plug reminds you of that. Wacky.

Hi! I’m doing a bunch of things and I am only terrified of several of them. They are:

14/48

I’m writing for the next Leicester edition of “the world’s quickest theatre festival”, meaning that from the seed of two prompts and two numbers of actors, I have to write the first two plays of my life in 48 hours. They will then be performed on Friday and Saturday evening as I cry and/or sleep at the back of the room. Venue is the Y Theatre, performances are at 8pm and 10:30pm each night, Facebook event is here. Aaaaaa. AAAAAAAAAAAA.

 

Legacy Wrestling poster

Legacy Wrestling

I’ll be back in the stripes for Legacy’s next show on Sunday at Benn Hall in Rugby, where they’re kicking off their women’s championship tournament with some of the best talent in Europe, including Viper off the telly! Family friendly, good graps. Get on it.

 

Speed Poet @ Find the Right Words

Apparently I can’t get enough of high-pressure speed writing from prompts, because I’ll be doing it again at this month’s Find the Right Words! The monthly Speed Poet takes 3 prompts from the audience, and goes away for an hour to write a poem from them, then comes back to perform it at the start of the second half. I’m doing it for the second time because I don’t know why. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.

 

Wrestling Resurgence

And then I will hopefully stretch my shoulders for a change, because I’ll be back in action on Friday for Wrestling Resurgence’s equally killer next show. It’s sold out so you can’t come, but we’re still friends and I respect and support you.

 

I think that’s everything! It’s been a while. Autosave is going great thanks. We’ve made some rad stuff. I’m kind of tired and worried about what 14/48 is gonna do to my sleep pattern. The things we do for art! Like have a bunch of fun doing it!

Newsblog 06/01 – Autosave is here!

It’s a good day! It’s too humid and I forgot to bring lunch to work but it’s a good day! Why’s it a good day? Because it’s Autosave launch day!

Autosave is a new gaming website made by me and some pals, which will shortly be filled with tons of articles and videos, fun and serious, the first of which should be live right now if I’ve scheduled this post correctly. We’re syndicating my Pickymon saga, the challenge where I, among others, attempted a Pokemon Red run with only six Pokemon, and for which I ended up churning out an absurd number of words. It’s still one of my favourite things I’ve ever written.

We’ve also got some excellent serious pieces about gaming and racism, gaming and anxiety, gaming and nostalgia and loads else. Funny bits about the spiritually awful ET game. Videos where me and Jack try to play as many simulator games as possible. Videos where people play games they’ve never played before and goof about it. Content. LOTS OF CONTENT.

It’s been a long time coming for us – six months’ plus of work and planning, all told – but it’s finally here and we’re super proud of it.

Elsewhere in my unreasonably busy life, I’m refereeing a couple of cracking shows this month, including sharing a ring with Doug Williams, the elder statesman of British wrestling currently on an extended farewell tour. I will be Having Emotions about it. Check the sidebar for dates etc. ->

I hope you’re well! Are you well? Let’s catch up in the comments unless you’re spamming websites I can’t adequately describe without attracting more spam.

Charles x

Newsblog 29/04 – I did charity stuff and now I’m supporting Elvis

Hi! Here’s stuff:

On Wednesday I’ll be supporting the wonderful Elvis McGonnagal at Upstairs at the Western’s superb monthly spoken word evening, the long-form cousin of my usual open mic haunt Find the Right Words. It’ll be the longest set I’ve ever done and I look forward to massively misjudging my poem:stage banter ratio. There’s a Facebook event here and you can grab tickets here. Elvis is brilliant and you’ll get a full hour of him, and the night is well worthy of your support.

I was delighted to be part of the #kashforkate benefit gig at the Shed on Thursday, which raised money for a friend of a friend of mine who needs money for live-extending treatment of her terminal illness so she can have some time to raise her 4-month-old daughter. It was the best performance I’ve ever given on the Shed stage, beating the time I played drums for a friend’s terrible band when I was 15. I had not played drums before, and I am glad I was able to do something much more worthwhile on that same stage. All the best to Kate and her family.

Outside of spoken word stuff, I’ve covered 2 days of the NFL Draft til the wee hours of the morning, been to the launch meeting of the hugely exciting Save Our NHS Leicestershire campaign, and continued to be terrible at Fortnite. I am tired. This good music has helped. Life is busy and that’s good.

Newsblog 27/03 – CALM benefit gig, NFL Draft, and lots of wrestling

Hi! I’m doing enough things to necessitate a proper update, so here is that!

 

Spoken word

I’m performing on a mixed bill charity gig in aid of the Campaign Against Living Miserably this Thursday at the Exchange in Leicester. I have no idea about the majority of the night, but I do know it will also feature Douglas Deans and a raffle. What more could you want?!

 

NFL Draft on ByTheMin

With the NFL Draft (“America’s one concession to communism” – Charles Wheeler, 2017) fast approaching, myself and Jody Jamieson are kicking into high gear with our coverage for ByTheMinute. We have plans for audio and written pieces previewing it, taking the piss out of it, and covering it live. Keep an eye on my Twitter for updates, including actual things that you can read or listen to rather than just unproven promises.

 

I am refereeing a bunch of wrestling soon please come

The wonderful Legacy Wrestling is back! Kick off your Wrestlemania Sunday good and proper by checking out one of British wrestling’s best-kept secrets at the Benn Hall in Rugby. It’s an afternoon show, so you’ll have plenty of time for warm-up beers before Mania itself.

My beloved regular gig AMP Wrestling has their next show on 21st April at the Alan Higgs Centre in Coventry, featuring Jack Starz finally getting his title shot against Grimm to cap off a rivalry that’s built to boiling point for about a year now. It’ll be good. Jack hits people so hard I’m scared to be near it. See me cower against the ropes while that goes down. That alone worth the price of a ticket.

Lastly, see the graps collide with the world of arts and academia with a FREE SHOW by Wrestling Resurgence on 11th May! It’s my first hometown ref gig for ages, and it’s ideal if you want to check out a wrestling show for the first time to see if it’s your bag. Elite-level talent from around the country including Flash Morgan Webster, Roy “Bodyguy” Johnson, Millie McKenzie and loads more. They also have an exhibition on the history of British wrestling from 13th April to 27th May, and a talk with the leading wrestling academics (they exist! And they’re good, with interesting things to say!) on 26th April.

 

NEXT TIME: links to actual things I’ve made and hopefully a super exciting update about videogame stuff!

Newsblog 24/11 – the haven’t-updated-since-June-oops edition

Hahaha yes I am one of those people now

fantastic

Hi, anyway. I have been up to things, and am about to be up to things, and here are those things:

 

GLENFIELD CHILDRENS’ HEART UNIT DECISION DAY PROTEST/PARTY

On 30th November, NHS England are gonna announce their decision on whether or not to close Glenfield Childrens’ Heart Unit, an incredibly highly-performing and geographically vital centre, under threat for extremely spurious reasons that are an utterly transparent front for easy financial savings. Myself, Leicester Socialist Party and the other tireless Glenfield campaigners are going to be holding an event of some kind – if it’s the right decision, we’re gonna have a very public and very noisy celebration. If it’s the wrong one, the fightback starts immediately, cos it ain’t over as long as we have people and voices. Get down and back us up if you can. *raised fist emoji*

 

YOUTUBE GAMING STUFF

Myself and my friend, McElroy obsession enabler and webmaster Dan Wallbank have for a little while now been putting together a Youtube gaming channel! The main series, where we make each other play classics or personal favourites that one of us loves but the other hasn’t played (fun!), is currently called Dan and Charles What is Wrong With You, but is soon to be renamed because people were put off by the idea of two dudes gatekeeping videogames. I didn’t expect or intend the name to suggest that at all, and the show features precisely zero of it, so fuck that, we’ll change it to something better. A sincere thanks to the kind and good people who provided that feedback.

Anyway, IT’S NOT GATEKEEPING TRASH so please check it out! We think it’s actually quite fun and nice! Here’s part 1 of Dan’s first ever go at Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3, where we made an excellent tiny skate boy called Ffanci Wyyyyyyde. He’s beautiful and we love him like proud parents.

 

POETRY STUFF

I have written some and will probably be doing another House of Verse in the new year???? Lol professionalism

See ya