Well I'm back living in Perth!! My wife an I decided that we need to pack up the dream house and move back to the big smoke. Now that it is done, it feels kinda normal, I mean it is just the same as I left it. Everything and everyone is here doing what the do and we have nestled back in like we had never left. How strange it is to just step back in. When I moved to Australind, it was exciting, a new house I built, a new landscape, a new group of friends and in many ways, a new audience. A place I could play and sing and nobody knew who I was. I blind guy with a guitar and a guide dog named Zola. 

The funny thing is, my old band Cartwheels in the Dark has taken a shot in the arm and things are happening. A new album released in 2017 called 'Letters to Sandy' was finally complete and we had a cracking launch party. Airplay, gigs and a bit of a following has started to brew. People around town are really starting to dig our stuff. And her I am, packed up and moved to the city.

Weird!!!

Salv and I have been without a band for so long, life takes over, we worry whether potential band members will fit in and love what we do, or simply annoy the shit out of us. The completion of the album really forced us to open our minds to a new drummer and bass player, And with that came Victor the Mexican on drums and Matt on bass. Victor was an unbelievable fit, a bloke who you could have a drink with a chew the fat and then play some tunes. Matt and his supporting beard was the same, a drinking buddy first, a simple transition to the bass in the after hours after a few. I am surprised we get any work done, but when we jam the brotherhood is back and that rocking feeling that only comes from being in a band.

There has been a rather big change within us as we have aged and had some sort of grip on life. We now understand how the band fits in our lives. It is so much like a baby, you leave it alone and it cries for attention, you nurse it and it dreams again, you feed it and it grows and wants more. We can happily say that the beast of Cartwheels in the dark is still on the march and amongst all the weeds, noise and waste, something new is born. 

 

 

 

 

At what point does a person with a disability become entitled? It is a huge question, as the majority of people with disabilities fight for opportunities, there are always times when it appears a sense of entitlement is broadcast. For many years I tried to fit in and not alienate myself from normal activities, until I was given a travel pass which allowed me free access to public transport in Perth. This was great because I didn't have to ask people to help me use the ticket machines at the train station. When the ticketing system wasn't so advanced technologically things were simple. Flip a few coins in the driver's hand and off we went. Now its a complex button pushing exercise and understanding of zones and so on to go anywhere.

Since the introduction of the travel pass I have enjoy the simplistic manner of showing a card on off I went. It took some time before I used the additional concept of allowing a guide travel for free with me. I never felt comfortable getting someone on as my guide because I never quite needed that support at the time or rather I had so much pride to allow my self to be different. As time progress so did my loss of sight and the need for a guide and more support became normal. The process of showing my card and saying this one is my guide took some getting used to, but, became common practice. I still get the cain out so I look like I need more help than I actually do. In any case, the guide has prevented me from sitting on someones lap many of times lol so it definitely has made things easier.

When the companion card was introduced, it allowed people with disabilities to allow helpers into venues free of charge. This is is a great initiative as it allows those to participate in events and not have to worry about basic things such a toilets, locating seats and other areas needing support. 

But, have these initiatives created a sense of entitlement?

The reason I ask, is that I was refused the use of my companion card for the reason I had a guide dog. I booked a trip using my travel pass which allows me free travel and presented my companion card for my wife to travel with me as my helper. When I said I will have my guide dog with me, the coach service refused to accept my companion card and asked that my wife pay full fare. I argued that my guide dog is no more than a mobility aide much like a cane, a wheel chair or walking frame. And would a person in this these cases have the same issue. The answer was NO. The person in a wheel chair is fine to take a companion on the trip at no charge. This means a blind person with a dog is considered helped or already has a companion.

As you may think 'How weird'.

I then asked 'so who will help me use the on board toilet? locate my allocated seat or simply buy a bottle of water from the driver?

The simple answer was 'Silence'

To conclude, my guide dog is expected to learn how to operate a toilet, read numbers to locate allocated seats and paw of 2 bucks to the driver while picking out a bottle of water from the cooler box. Wow, what a dog.

Now this brings up further questions within the disability community and whether discrimination occurs with certain disability groups. The mere fact that I feel the need to express my dissatisfaction for the view of people who are blind or vision impaired and argue that we/I need more help than you think says a few things.

1. I am entitled to the same support & opportunity as others

2. I am entitled to the service that is meant to be offered through signing up to the companion scheme

3. I am entitled to bitch and moan if I am  treated unfairly. hehe

 

I asked that the company in question review their policies to consider the reason why someone requires the use of a companion and adopt a common sense approach to disability. The response to this very feedback email was MUTE!

Maybe I am feeling entitled!

Benny

Shine a new light all over me

become a new life and spawn me into

a beautiful mind that keeps me walking

to a place I want to be

I put on my new face, 

there’s so much to cover

you keep reminding me

 

Am I shining

am i gleaming with hope

Am I shining 

am I gleaming with hope for something

am I shining, am I

 

I tried to write all before

the plan was just to fall right into it

I will work it out, no doubt

so here I come

 

Am I shining, am I gleaming with hope

Am I shining, am I gleaming with hope for something

for my new life, for my new life, its important to discover

for my new life, for my new life, its important to discover

 

Am I shining, am I gleaming with hope….

Should we start again, can we start again…

well its my new life, we’re in my new life ….

With the Paralympics in full swing the abilities of people with disabilities are being showcased around the world. The sport that I play is called Goalball and is one of the dedicated team sports specifically for blind and vision impaired people. This sport is awesome to play and at the highest level, awesome to watch.

The disappointment for me is that there has been a choice by the international Paralympic Committee (IPC) not to stream any games of Goalball at this years Paralympics in Rio. So many people in the Goalball community are outraged by this and they did the sport no favours in terms of building the profile of the sport. Each day I see the same old pool events and athletics which in the minds of many hasn't been as interesting as years past. 

i think the Goalball community need to voice their frustrations and ask the IpC why they elected to go down this road, it would have been the easiest sport to televise as it is all situated in one arena and there are a lot of professionals who know the sport to commentate through it. It is a shame the blind and vision impaired community are forgotten again. 

I hope that Tokyo will fly the flag for Goalball in 2020.

With that said, I will be appearing in Sydney, New South Wales at this years Australian Goalball Championships as part of Western Australia's team that won gold in 2015. This year will be a tough tournament with the inclusions of USA and South Korea to make it a 6 team competition. 

This tournament will be televised on Disability Sports Network which is leading the way promoting the abilities of people with disability. The action commences on Thursday, September 29th 2016 and will be a big event.

Tune in at www.dsn.net.au

cheers

Benny

On the weekend I made it into the studio to work on a couple new songs with producer peter oats from Kitchen Cooked Records. We managed to lay the majority of the instruments for a track called 'Set me free' which is a little soul number, giving the listener a big audio hug.

The song tells the story of a man who needs love to be the best he can be. This story is many told but deserves to be retold. 

'Set me free' will be released as a single shortly as a digital download only. The track will likely be available on the next full length album which is yet to be finalised.

Stay tuned for the release of 'Set me free' soon.

When I feel in doubt

I’m gonna run back to my room

When I scream and shout out

my voice bends like a spoon

When I dream I know that it all points to it

 

When I look around I see the scars of me and you

when I figure it out ah my heart beats in a groove

When I dream I know it all aims to it

 

When I see the writing on the wall is to remind me of

all thats good, all thats sweat, and that someone cares

and puts the world at my feet

when I fall into my seat, 

when I drop down to my knees,

When I’m sprawled out on the ground

 

When I get back up I will lasso back my anchor

when I get out ah I dig my heals in for a cure

When I dream I know that it’ll all pull through it

 

When I see the moment to provide in me

all the means, that all is true, 

and that someone cares to put the world at my feet

when I fall into my seat, when I drop down to my knees

when I’m sprawled out on the ground

 

On Friday night Benny Rowe was a guest on the Showcase program Disability Sports Network. The show is hosted by Troy King and interviewer Tony Telfer

Sometimes it is good to step back and reflect on what it is that makes us operate. What I have learned is that there are two focal points that influence our ability to proceed when achieving goals. The concepts are 'Relationship Orientated' and 'Task Orientated' personality traits. If a person is "Relationship Orientated' this means the person needs to ensure all relationships are taken care of before he or she can move on to tasks. For example, if there is  disharmony in the band or someone is upset, then the 'Relationship Orientated' person needs to sort this out before moving on to the task of performing or recording. The 'Task Orientated' person on the other hand prefers to focus on the tasks at hand and get them out of the way before moving on to the relationship focus. An example of this would be a person would want to just get on with the process of recording the album and deal with the inner feud when this phase is done.

 Have a think about this concept and how it may impact on your life, whether in a band or at work. Keep it in you hip pocket for when the next challenge arises. Understanding where one another sits in the Relationship vs Task paradigm may help the process and keep the group work toward the dream goal as one.

:)

 

 

 

 

Have you ever fallen in the trap of not knowing what it is you want or what it is you would like to do with your life. For most of us, this is a common question we all have and dwell over time and time again. Now, throw a disability in to the mix and sometimes your ability to choose has somewhat escaped your grasp and now we rely on someone or the community to help us get what we want or what we need. So here I ask is it truly what we want? I would have to say NO, it’s merely what we can get.

 

As a person with a disability I am faced with this battle and I have decided it cannot go on this way any longer. It may seem like I am not appreciative of the help I get but what I want is a totally different thing. I learned in my life that if you don’t decide what it is in life that you want, then someone else will. What I mean is that the system will force you to participate in the world that doesn’t meet your needs. The definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result. Now it’s time to identify the result we want and do something different to get there.

 

For a person with a disability this may seem difficult and unobtainable but that is not the case. The government has spent too long telling you what you need and funding organisations who do the same. If at all you would hope that they would ask, but their service is restrained by the parameters of which they gain the funding. So you will get what you are given and learn to like it.

 

Enter the room ‘The National Disability Insurance Scheme.’

 

This concept is a great start and modelled off the My Way programme established in our great South West Busselton Western Australia. The goal of this programme is to give people with disabilities more say in what help they need and want. This seems great, now we are getting somewhere. .

 

So what is it that you want? The merry go round continues and it is time for you to decide what it is you want in your life. Design it and make it happen rather than waiting for it to happen or something to happen to you.

 

Where do I start?

 

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