I’ve been thinking a lot about this phenomenon of feeling behind in life, feeling as though you simply just don’t know what direction you’re heading in and whether or not it is leading you anywhere significant. This is mainly because I’ve come up against this on more than one occasion during my life thus far. Even my friends, can often relate too.. I guess it must be a young peoples thing. Although, there are many people out there, some even younger than me who already know exactly what they want and are well on the way to achieving it. For those few special people, all I have is admiration and envy, for I’ve longed many a day wanting to have that mind set, that drive and desire.
Anyways, the conversations with my piers made me realise that this issue is something that we all find hard to articulate and share with each other. We tell ourselves; “my time will come”, “everything happens for a reason” etc etc. But you know what the sad thing is, that feeling still exists in the back of our minds. The feeling of not measuring up, never being able to catch up and simply not knowing if your life at present is the best version of it, are you capable of better? All these thoughts have made me reflect on myself. One example is how competitive I can be, always feeling the need to compare my situation to someone else’s and wanting to better them to feel happy. I felt that it was a good quality that I was motivated, determined and forward thinking. The sad reality of it all is that, I was never really happy. In fact, wanting to meet the standards that other set for themselves reduced me to having no standards at all.
I felt robbed of a lot of Joy and true happiness; always having to work, more forward and the constant need to satisfy those around; drowning in the appreciation they give me while not really appreciating myself. It is a really ugly thing to admit, but there you go. But in a world where there’s growing pressure to be social through platforms and pictures, its easy to loose yourself and very difficult and find who you are again. It’s only when life gives you a slap in the face, you stop and think. It’s only then the reality really hits you, and I mean life. Not a reality where you wake up and check your phone to feel happy again, but one in which no matter what you seem to do, life seems to be heading towards a dreaded dead end. The screen you’re staring at, it hides the harsh reality but only temporarily; when you grow too old to care about people other than yourself and your loved ones, that dead end which was so far away is now inches away, too late for you to plan a getaway.
It’s not all doom and gloom though, the trick is to keep your minds eye open. Even when the world is changing rapidly around you, it’s important to go at your own pace and trust your instinct. It’s often when you rush decision making or become influenced by the opinions of others, that the seed of doubt gets planted in your mind the moment a decision is made. And if something is to go wrong, it’s easy to blame those who influenced you; “I wouldn’t have done this if it weren’t for you”, “How could you let me do this and not say anything?”etc. However, to grow from within and make better decisions, acceptance of your own failings is crucial. There wont always be someone else to blame, believe it or not. Admitting that it was actually you who fucked up all by yourself, living in regret and drowning in the guilt that haunts you, is one of the most humbling feelings one can experience. It won’t be over in a day or a week, a whole month might not even be long enough. It’s important not to rush this process, because its easy to fall back into the same cycle of seeking assistance with decision making.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad to ask for a second opinion but always bare in mind that it will only be you who’s likely to feel the direct impact of whatever choice is made. After all, we all want to be unique and fulfill our own specific vocations. I believe that all individuals harness a unique set of skills along with a burning desire to trigger a meaningful impact on the world. Until we take the time to intimately connect with and cultivate these skills, we will never find our true calling.
Where do you lead me?
I need something more,
You’ve given me too much to feel,
Something more real,
Something worth the pain,
Where it can all heal.
I’m real, you’ve convinced me I am.
Yet I do not know where I stand,
To realise reality is no wonderland,
Here I have no one beside, no grip of another hand,
Only pain time gives me:
Sleepless till dawn,
Tireless through the storm,
Most of all, accepting this to be the norm
You are all I need,
To feel the weight of my heart,
To Keep it safe in your hands,
It feels to heavy for me to hold,
Before it drops and becomes cold.
What is the answer I seek?
To ask and listen to others speak?
Only can I find if I hold myself,
Above the voices of everyone else.
To truly find if happiness is a feeling,
Or another human being.
Let me be honest, I don’t know what I’m about to write about entirely, it’s purely an expression of how I feel on a page. When you’re younger, in your twenties, the road ahead in your life is not that clear. I struggle every day to make simple decision, its ironic really, how such a simple decisions prove to be so difficult. My theory behind it is that I am constantly trying to please others around me, from a young age that’s just what I’ve been conditioned to do. “How are you doing, what would you like to eat?” and the replies are often, yeah I’m good in which case, so am I. Or, my companion wants orange juice, so guess what, I’ll have the same. Every decision for me has to be critically analysed, examined and then cross-examined by someone else. By that point, its no longer my decision, its the opinion of my college/friend/parents/random person at the super market etc.
If you familiarise yourself with the book “The Bell Jar” by Silvia path, you’ll see where I get a lot of my current ideas from. Let me put it into context…
I saw a life branching out before me, like the green fig tree in the story. So this branch has every possibility to take me higher right? From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a typical one, a husband in a family home with my beautiful wife, and a happy home and children. A second fig showed me my life as a famous poet, and another fig was a brilliant actor (LOL!) in both Bollywood and Hollywood, and another fig a traveller around the world: Europe, Africa, South America, Asia, Australasia and everywhere else on the map. And another fig was Alice, Margaret, Shiela, Seema, and a pack of other lovers with wierd names and even wierder professions.
But beyond these figs, and a million others, I saw myself sitting in the shade of this old Fig tree, hungry as f**k, just because I couldn’t make up my mind about which fig to choose. I wanted every single one of them, but I knew choosing one would mean loosing all the rest, as I sat there unable to decide… I remembered my reality, where I am right NOW!. I remembered all those little things that I actually didn’t want to change.
The problem, in simple terms, is that we cannot choose everything simultaneously ,as I mentioned using those figs. So we live in danger of becoming paralysed by indecision, terrified that every choice might be the wrong choice. It’s okay to be lost, the journey of self discovery is one that spans our whole lifetime, so don’t rush, take it slow, we’re all going to hell anyways.
Here’s what I think of decisions; whatever the various outcomes may be, there will always be positives and negatives, no matter how many precautions you take to prevent a fuck up, it will eventually happen. In all honesty, sometimes its those minor mishaps that make life exciting. The majority of funny stories I recall, all involve something bad happening to me. Of course, at the time the last thing you’d want to do is laugh at yourself. It takes time, sometimes a very long time but eventually you WILL get over it, what other choice do you really have? There’s no real secret to decision making, there’s no universal technique that guarantees the ‘right’ decision every time. The trick is to be selfish, it’s your decision, one that impacts your life. Fair enough, it might affect those close to you too, but ultimately you’re the one directly in the firing line. So trust that decision that you’ve made, there’s not always a huge margin for error, time travel is not yet legal don’t forget.
P.S. Some of the most beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.
Movies are a big part of my life; I enjoy laughing, crying, cheering and hating depending on the movie I watch. There is no doubt that Bollywood is the most colourful industry in the world. The songs, the costumes and of course actors like Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan etc make it one of the most exciting movements. However, Hollywood is arguably the biggest in the movie industry, being the clear leader in cost of production with movies averaging £55 million whereas the average cost of a Bollywood movie is £10 million.
The Bollywood film industry is churning out movies costing more than £8 million apiece much more frequently than ever before. However, even the highest grossing Bollywood movies earn only a small fraction of what the biggest Hollywood movies make. The upside? As the Bollywood industry is becoming increasingly global, its future is very bright.
Hollywood produces 500 films per year on average and has a worldwide audience of 2.6 billion whereas Bollywood produces more than 1000 (not consistently) films every year and has a worldwide audience of 3 Billion.
This is astonishing because the Hollywood audience is based all around the world whereas Bollywood audiences are predominantly based in India. In terms of viewership, Bollywood overtook Hollywood in 2004 and has been leading ever since, more and more people around the world are becoming aware of the colourful industry.
TOP GROSSING HOLLYWOOD MOVIES
TOP GROSSING BOLLYWOOD MOVIES
Baahubali: The Beginning
Harry Potter and the deathly Hallows II
Transformers: The Rise Of The Moon
This table shows how there is a significant difference between the gross earnings between the two industries. The average gross earnings from the top five Hollywood movies comes to almost £1.75billion while the Bollywood industry averages £103.6million which is almost 17 times more.
The highest grossing movie, Avatar has earning of more than two and a half billion dollars compared to PK which tops the Bollywood list.
Hollywood has an overwhelming domination among the top grossers worldwide – almost all of the top 50 movies are made in Hollywood. It has virtually eclipsed all other film industries except Bollywood.
One reason for this difference is that the ticket prices in India are significantly lower than anywhere in the west.
However, as Bollywood is becoming global, a larger number of Indian films are being shown to a different variety of audiences meaning that the profits from ticket prices will also improve.
From my experience, one things for sure: Bollywood fans are certainly much vocal and passionate about their idols. Movie starts are treated like Gods in India and many new releases are treated religiously.
The following videos were shot from both inside and outside the cinema on the premier of the movie Thupaki (Gun). The footage speaks volumes about the passion and excitement of the fans.
You can’t help but wish red carpet premiers would be a lot more fun if they were to transform into fans and actors jumping and dancing together.
The average cost of producing, marketing and distributing a Hollywood film is more than £60 million though a Star Wars or Harry Potter costs around £100 million. At the same time Shekhar Kapur’s ‘Paani’ which is tipped to be the costliest film ever to be made in Bollywood will cost £20 million and the average cost of a big movie is around £5 Million.
50% of the movies produced in Bollywood are never released and on an average more than 95% of those released results in losses.
The graph below shows how the Bollywood industry is leading the ticket sales chart. This comes as no surprise as Bollywood releases almost twice as many movies in comparison to any other industry in the world with 2641 million sales in the last year alone.
This figure is surprising bearing in mind that on average, Bollywood audiences have 200mins of screen time per movie while in Hollywood it is only 130 mins per movie. This indicates that the movies can captivate its audiences consistently.
In 2016, Hollywood sold 1.36 billion tickets compared to Bollywood’s whopping 2.6 billion. Indian films can’t match Hollywood in box office revenue, however. U.S. films grossed nearly £10.8 billion in 2012 compared to India’s meager £1.6 billion.
Revenue-wise Hollywood movies do not depend on ticket sales alone. It follows the time-tested ‘franchise-formula’ where a major part of the revenue comes from other segments like TV networks, magazines, home-videos etc. Of course, Bollywood is starting to adopt the same formula and there is no doubt that, with time, it will also master the ‘franchise formula’.
While Hollywood’s market inside the US has almost saturated, India’s 500 million population under the age of 20 will ensure that the market inside India will grow exponentially in the coming years.
Although Hollywood produces only a fraction of the number of films made all over the world, it garners a staggering 75% of total revenues. Also, 50% of its earnings (expected to grow to 80% in the next 20 years) comes from the foreign market whereas for Bollywood it is only 20%.
Both industries are flourishing due to the talent in the film industry; therefore, there is not a definite winner to the question, “which industry is better?” The more these industries expand, the more beneficial it will be for the audiences across the world.
No Fur Fashion protest along side London Fashion Week.
London Fashion Week is back for 2017 with the Autumn Winter collections, meaning that fur is going to be deemed more ‘essential’ than ever by pro-fur designers. Despite many big labels like Armani, Stella McCartney, Calvin Klein and Vivienne Westwood denouncing animal products in fashion, London Fashion Week continues to provide the largest platform for fur in the UK.
To raise awareness about the obscene nature of the fur industry, a variety of different events have been set by various organisations campaigning against animal rights in the fashion industry. Groups such as Surge aim to reveal the reality of what happens to animals in fur farms.
Surge is an activism organisation using non-violent direct action to hold corporations and businesses to account for their mistreatment and negligence towards animals. Their aim is to spread awareness about the use of fur in fashion, educate people about the reality of fur obsession in the fashion industry and to encourage more members of the public to stand up against animal exploitation.
Protesters gathered outside the main entrance of London Fashion Week with banners, costumes and megaphones to make their voices heard. If cows could talk, we bet they’d ask you to “wear your own skin”, said a protester who was passionately chanting. The activists had previously been at London Fashion week in September campaigning against the use of fur, so for them this was the second opportunity to gain more support.
Many campaigners were impassioned by the fact that they were situated outside the entrance, watching fashion fanatics walking in, unaware of maltreatment to millions of animals for the sake of what a niche percentage of them consider “fashionable”. Chants such as “shame on London Fashion week” and “Fur isn’t fashion, where is your compassion” were shouted repeatedly by campaigners throughout the day.
One protester, Josh Spencer spoke out about the use of leather in the fashion industry, explaining, “First of all, leather is the skin of an animal who suffered. Before animals are turned into belts and shoes, they are forced to live in crowded, filthy conditions on factory farms.
“They endure painful procedures like castration and dehorning – without so much as an aspirin for the pain.
After being crammed into trucks and carted off to the slaughterhouse, many animals are still unconscious when they’re hung upside down and their throats are slit”.
Sounds of animals being tortured was played on repeat to emphasise the pain animals have to endure for the fashion industry to thrive. Animals killed for their skin and fur endure miserable lives and nightmarish deaths, but they don’t have to. With so many luxurious non-animal alternatives available, animals don’t have to be a fashion statement; instead we must bring out these injustices to make a difference.
Protesters claimed that designers who use fur are exploiting customers, models, and spectators at London Fashion Week by importing very cheap fur and selling them to retailers and customers at expensive rates. Anti-fur activists blame the IFF for promoting the increased use of fur in the fashion industry and have promised to step up their campaign. Elisa Allen, PETA’s associate director, said: “There is nothing stylish or creative about fur. A TNS poll showed that 95 per cent of British women wouldn’t touch it, and 80 per cent of designers at London Fashion Week AW15 did not use fur in their collections.”
The group of campaigners managed to influence many onlookers on the high street as they passed the demonstration. Many stopped to read the different plaques and signboards held by the protesters, which read “fur is worn by beautiful animals and ugly people” and “whose skin are you in?”. The campaigners wanted those running London Fashion Week to see the reality of what they are promoting obliviously.
As high fashion drips down into high street fashion, the relentless promotion of fur by high brow designers is culpable in the normalisation of cheap high street fur items that have been brought back into shops and market stalls. No doubt imitations of the fur items featured in London Fashion Week this year will soon be seen donned by members of the public.
A petition was set up two weeks before the protest on Facebook to gain support from all over the world. They made a short video to highlight the brutality in fur farms and juxtaposed them with images from London Fashion week. The video got more than 300,000 views and there were over 90,000 signatures on the petition.
Animals killed for their fur and skin are slaughtered in gruesome, cheap and cruel ways. Many of the most common methods used to kill animals for their fur- such as gassing and electrocution via the anus or vagina- aren’t always lethal, and some animals regain consciousness while they are being skinned. Much of the world’s fur comes from China, where animals are routinely skinned while they are conscious, struggling desperately to escape. One investigator recorded video footage in which a skinned raccoon dog on a heap or carcases has the strength to stare into the camera.
As there are only a handful of companies in the fashion industry which are ethically aware of their use of fur, it makes you wonder why the remainder of them are still oblivious to the presence of fur farms and their harsh treatment of animals. It also makes us wonder why more companies are not raising awareness of the immoral trends.
But despite its controversial status, consumers appear to be embracing fur with renewed enthusiasm. Retail analysts reported that there has been an increase by 117 per cent in real fur products released into the fashion market in the past three months, compared to this time last year. The real issue is that many people do not realise that they are buying real animal fur. The fur farms in Eastern Europe export fur at very low prices and these get sold in bulk to market stalls in high streets, making it very cheap and easily accessible to customers.
Sponsors that fund LFW are next to be targeted by the group in order to stop the use of fur in fashion. By stopping funding of such events, it means that companies will not be able to promote fur to their customers. More measures need to be taken to make the fashion industry more morally legitimate as there are other aspects of it that are also unethical, such as size zero models putting their life on the line to “look good” for the designers.
In a land where Cricket is a religion and cricketers are seen as Gods, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has won over millions since its introduction in 2008, with the initial funding from Zee Entertainment Enterprises. Word of the IPL spread like a storm and players and fans worldwide wanted to be part of the action. The twenty20 format of the game makes it as exciting, and as fast paced as a cricket game could get. The addition of beautiful cheerleaders, pop songs for every team, world renowned players hitting massive sixes into the crowd and the huge sums of money involved; it means there’s no cricket tournament like it anywhere else on the planet.
The opening ceremony for IPL 2018 was a star-studded affair. Actors Hrthik Roshan, Varun Dhawan, Jacqueline Fernandez and more from Bollywood welcomed viewers to the new season with stunning performances at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
HISTORY OF THE TOURNAMENT
The IPL has come a long way since its first innings back in 2007. Businessman and cricket executive, Lalit Modi, was tasked by the Board of Control for cricket in India (BCCI) to start a new Twenty20 league that would rival the Indian Cricket League. In early 2008, the BCCI announced the launch of the Indian Premier League, a new franchise based T20 league, which is among the first of its kind in the cricketing world. The league was based on the Premier League of England and the NBA in the United States. The IPL is the most attended cricket league in the world and in 2014, it was ranked sixth by average attendance among all sports leagues. The tournament also became the first sporting event in the world to broadcast live on YouTube in 2010.
In order to decide the owners for the new league, an auction was held on 24 January 2008 with the total base prices of the franchises costing around £300.5 million. At the end of the auction, the winning bidders were announced, as well as the cities the teams would be based in: Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Mohali, and Mumbai. In the end, the franchises were all sold for a total of £543.46 million. The Indian Cricket League soon folded in 2008.
As it stands there is a record of over 50 international players taking part in this year’s VIVO IPL 2018, the powerhouse domestic tournament in which India’s hulking great cricket grounds morph into thorax-thumping subwoofers and the world’s best Twenty20 players (bar those from the Pakistan team, it must be noted) duke it out for their adopted franchises over seven weeks. It literally is like a storm, all the excitement comes and once and before you know it, it’s all gone until another year.
The 2018 IPL auction has seen the franchises build their squads with fresh players. Many players laughed their way to the bank this time round
at the auctions. Ben Stokes, English all-rounder emerged as the costliest player (£1.4million) second year in a row, and Jayadev Unadkat was the costliest Indian player (£1.2 million). Both of them were roped by Rajastan Royals. Here is a list of players of all eight IPL teams and their salaries. (IPL auction 2018 highlights)
However, I don’t think it’s just the money that attracts players to come to the subcontinent; “I don’t think it will ever be straightforward. It’s down to you as a player to be very honest with yourself and if you want to be a part of it, accept the fact that some people won’t have the same opinion. Everyone is different but that is why the world is so good and why life is so interesting.”
The “it” in question, if you haven’t guessed already, is the Indian Premier League and the words are spoken by a philosophical Jos Buttler, England’s one-day wicketkeeper, during an interview with The Guardian in Bengaluru over the weekend.
In its 11th season, the IPL tractor beam us now stronger than ever, with a record £1.8bn broadcast deal over the next five editions seeing each team’s squad budget swell by 20% to more than £8.5million. IPL was first broadcast in the UK and across the world on YouTube, after which ITV 4 had the rights for broadcast IPL games until 2015. Sky Sports then took the rights to the tournament in 2015m replacing free-to-air broadcaster ITV 4.
Sky sports announced a multi-year extension of its broadcast rights deal for the IPL in January 2018. The new agreement, which also includes digital rights, mean that the pay-tv giant will continue to be the exclusive home of the Twenty20 tournament in the UK and Ireland.
Indian broadcaster Star India has completely changed the game in terms of how viewers watch the IPL. Star India now show the IPL in virtual reality (VR) for the first time. Using VR headsets, viewers are able to select their preferred camera angles, pause live matches at any given time and tilt their digital device to get a 360-degree view if the stadium. This new initiative was launched as a part of the network’s ambition to reach more than 700 million viewers across TV and digital.
The IPL hasn’t been all plain sailing for the players or franchises. Back in 2011, two new teams; Rising Pune Supergiants and Kochi Tuskers Kerela joined the IPL. Sahara Adventure Sports Group bought Pune franchise for £300 million while Rendezvous Sports World bought the Kochi franchise for £250.74 million. However, one year later, it was announced that the Kochi Tuskers Kerela side would be terminated following the side breaching the BCCI’s terms and conditions.
In addition, in 2012 defending champions Deccan Chargers were also terminated after not being able to find new owners. Later on that year, an auction was held to see who would be the owner of the replacement franchise, with Sun TV Network winning the bid for the Hyderabad franchise. The team was rebranded with the new name of The Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The Rising Pune Supergiants then withdrew from the IPL in 2013 over financial differences with the BCCI. The franchise was officially terminated by the BCCI in October 2013, because of the franchise failing to provide the necessary bank guarantee.
On June 14th 2015, it was announced that two-time champions, Chennai Super Kings, and the inaugural season champions, Rajastan Royals, were suspended for two seasons following their role in a match-fixing and betting scandal. Then, on 8th December 2015, following the auction, it was revealed that Pune and Gujarat would replace Chennai and Rajastan for two seasons. The two teams were the Rising named Rising Pune Supergiants and The Gujarat Lions.
IPL AND THE ECONOMY
The estimated revenue of the IPL each year is around $3 billion, and it increases each year. The IPL has its revenue streaming from various sources including:
Ground advertisements and various other advertising techniques
Cellular service providers
There is a lot of branding which happens during the IPL, companies choose the IPL to advertise their brand due to the exposure. The revenues earned by broadcasting channels from advertisement can be diverted into encouraging other form of arts. The ticket sales for the IPL are outsources to many organisations such as Bookmyshow, Reliance etc.. giving an alternative avenue for these organisations to grow, indirectly helping out the economy.
Tourism in India is still in its nascent stages; with the arrival of the IPL it had led to many international fans of the contest travelling across the world to watch their beloved franchise. The IPL is helping the cause by showcasing the touristic aspects of the cities and it’s nearby areas. The IPL also provides a wide range of job opportunities; the immediate gains are for the various low profile artists (such as cheerleaders) who perform in between the matches and travel across the country with each team.
CLIMAX OF THE VIVO IPL 2018
This time round, Australian powerhouse Shane Watson stole the show, his fenomenal century ensured Chennai Super Kings their deserved victory after two years away from the IPL. And what a return it was, having beaten Sunrisers in the first qualifier, they did the double to get their hands on the VIVO IPL 2018 trophy.
The Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) were the table toppers at the end of the league stage of the tournament. The SRH bowling line up with the likes of Rashid Kahn (AFG), Bhuvneshwarhvar Kumar (IND), Sidarth Kaul (IND) and Shakib Al Hasan (BNG) proved to be on a great run throughout the tournaments. The Sunrisers bowlers tried their best, but it was one of those days where they had no answers to Watson’s onslaught. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Rashid Khan were outstanding, returning combined figures of 8-2-41-0. Crucially for SRH, the wickets column remained empty for both bowlers.
Stats of the Match:
Chennai Super Kings scored 111 runs in the middle 9 overs – the most any team has scored in that period of play in VIVO IPL 2018.
Shane Watson’s score – 117 – would be the highest score by a batsman in an IPL Final.
Sunrisers Hyderabad 178-6(Shikhar Dhawan 25, Kane Williamson 47, Yusuf Pathan 45*) lost to.
Chennai Super Kings181-2 in 18.3 overs (Shane Watson 117*, Suresh Raina 32) by 8 wickets.
With viewership growing year on year, the IPL is now the best 20Twenty cricket tournament in the world. Players worldwide come to play and experience the IPL, to be a star in the epic Bollywood extravaganza. The wait has now begun, until next year when the IPL can once more add a little spice to the early months of the summer.
Last month, Paralympian Jonnie Peacock appeared as a guest on Channel 4’s The Last Leg. Adam Hills, the host questioned the fairness of Jonnie being judged on the same criteria as the rest of the contestants on Strictly Come Dancing. In keeping with the show’s aims of challenging the representation of disability on television, Hills asked #isitokay? that in week three of the competition, Peacock was criticised for sticking his bottom out when such a posture is a common result of wearing a prosthetic leg?
In the interview Peacock agreed that it was difficult for him to dance in the desired posture. He suggested that his incorrect posture was potentially due to the way he has to distribute his weight when using his prosthetic leg. Although Peacock downplays any sense of being at a disadvantage, Hills raises an important question. If reality shows want to increase the visibility of disabilities to their audience, there are some factors they must consider. It is worth discussing whether disabled competitors should be judged on the same criteria as their able-bodied competitors. The type of disability and/or prosthetic could also be taken into consideration when scoring these contestants. And perhaps most importantly, does marking disabled and able-bodied competitors on the same criteria lead to equality or exclusion?
Who is Jonnie Peacock?
For those of you who do not know who Jonnie Peacock is, here’s a little insight. Jonnie peacock is a two-time gold medal winning Paralympic sprinter, finishing top in London 2012 and again at the Rio 2016 games. Jonnie Contracted meningitis at the age of five and lost his right leg because of the disease- undergoing an amputation below the knee.
Reality Talent Shows and Disability: Is it fair?
Although Jonnie Peacock is the first Paralympian to appear on Strictly Come Dancing, he is not the first disabled person to compete on a reality talent dancing show. The US version of the show, Dancing With The Stars has featured an Iraq War veteran amputee, Sergeant Noah Galloway in 2015. Royal Marine veteran Lance Corporal Cassidy Little, who lost his leg in the Afghanistan War, appeared on The People’s Strictly in 2015. Each of these competitors have had a very different narrative constructed for them by the shows. Galloway and Cassidy were both presented as “wounded heroes”, with the shows’ narratives highlighting their veteran identities. In many instances their prosthetics were deliberately foregrounded in the routines. Their video introductions each week focused on the practical and emotional difficulties of training for each dance. Most importantly, the judges’ comments acknowledged the difficulties they faced in performing the dances and took this into account when scoring.
In contrast, although Jonnie Peacock has talked about his disability, he has generally downplayed any sense that it should hinder his performance. The only dance so far in which Peacock’s prosthetic has been visible is the jive, after which he was hailed as a “hero” by the media.
In his Huffpost blog, Peacock says:
“I love reading that my prosthetic has got households across the UK talking about disability. I’m on this programme to show everyone that there is ability in disability and that if you put your mind to it, and work hard, then anything is possible.”
The double Paralympic champion is an inspiration for many, his never give up attitude backed up with the charismatic flair makes his a very popular public figure. Despite being the first Paralympic to part take in Strictly Come Dancing, Jonnie showed no signs of nervousness or discomfort. He took to the stage with great confidence, backed up by the beautiful Oti Mabuse who complimented Jonnies performance. Jonnies dancing is unique, exciting and definitely the crowds favourite.
Equality or exclusion?
Despite Peacock clearly setting up a narrative in the blog quote suggesting disabled people can achieve anything if they work hard enough, this has not been strongly woven into the Strictly story of his journey. Most weeks Peacock’s prosthetic has been hidden and unlike Galloway and Little, and especially in the early stages of the competition, Peacock has generally been able to pass as able-bodied.
Peacock’s ability to compensate for his disability has meant that the narrative set up by Strictly rarely refers to his disability and the judges don’t appear to take it into account in their scoring of his performances. After he was voted out of the competition in Sunday night’s show, Peacock thanked the judges for treating him the same as everybody else. But having repeatedly drawn attention to an issue caused by his disability without acknowledging the reasons, can the judges really claim to have treated Peacock equally?
Ignoring Peacock’s disability potentially puts him at a disadvantage in relation to his fellow competitors. Thus making it less likely that he will fulfil his hopes of demonstrating that if we work hard enough ‘anything is possible’.
Peacock’s inability to achieve the correct posture is a result of his disability, awarding him lower scores on this basis would inevitably result in him being unable to progress beyond a certain point in the competition. Indeed, his performance on Saturday night was greeted positively by the audience in Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom as they gave him a standing ovation. However, the judges’ comments repeatedly focused on Peacock’s inability to achieve the correct posture and his bottom sticking out. Consequently, he found himself voted off the programme.
If more participants with disabilities are to part take in the show, the programme will need to consider how this will work. Peacock hopes that his appearance paves the way for more contestants with disabilities to come forward and take part. As sporting organisations and academics begin to scrutinise the categorisation systems used in the Paralympics, perhaps it’s time for reality talent shows to consider how people with disabilities should be represented in order to ensure fairness and inclusivity.