Mark My Words · mark my words · Wrestling with Stairs

Wrestling With Stairs: Riptide Accessibility Review

I said in my XWA review that late July/early August was a busy time for me, and I had a lot of shows planned in a short time. Well, Riptide in Brighton, on the 3rd of August, was my second show in six days, which meant that we showed up, I started drinking on a morphine patch, and that pretty much set the tone for the show! I didn’t really know what to expect, having not been to the previous show, but the accessibility conversations had been good – they started with an offer from Josh to help me with the stairs at Progress’ Freedom’s Road, so I already knew we were talking good people.

The show itself was a riot, and though it ran quite seriously late, I don’t think anyone could really complain that they didn’t get a hell of a show out of it. I ended the show spattered with blood (Spike Trivet), water/saliva (BSS, some others) and beer (Martina), and although I did pause after the show to get changed in a car park, I then went on to watch Tyler Bate sing Backstreet Boys with one of my oldest friends. I can’t promise either the fluids or the karaoke happen at/after every show, but it’s all very much a part of the gin-and-morphine-fuelled blur of what I remember of the night. Possibly. I might have hallucinated the whole thing. I think Josh had to put up with me slurring at him at 2am, as well. Sorry, mate.

As for the hangover… there’s a reason I won’t be drinking at Fight Club: Pro or Progress this weekend. It was brutal, I’m not as young as I used to be, and you really shouldn’t drink on strong opiates. Just… a warning.


Discussion of Access

Twitter DMs, again, the preferred method these days – feels more like a casual chat than an email, which always feels a little more formal, so I prefer this method. Everything was clearly discussed, and I felt listened to for the entire process. Josh seemed not just duty-bound to accommodate me, but genuinely interested in what I had to say, wanting to make the situation right now just for me, but for others and for future shows as well. Tone and manner go a long way, and that made me feel very safe at Riptide. 11/10
(But they lose a point because they’re not allowed to sell spirits at the venue, so I had to catch up VERY quickly after the show. They’ve got beer though!) 10/10


Physical Access – Discussed

Josh let me know the venue was flat, disabled toilet available, and that though they had few seats, there would be no problem seating me. He asked intelligent questions about fire exit access and things like that, which are important when you’re thinking about access, and not something anyone’s asked me before. We were promised no strobe, and slightly early entrance to ensure that we had seats. 10/10


Physical Access – Actual

There were a couple of issues with getting in, to the point that we, along with others using mobility aids, ambled in when it got to five minutes before the doors opened, and got asked “what time is it?” – but we were allowed in early, got to take our seats. We sat at the front, which was perhaps not the best choice. We got a lapful of Colt Cabana, my boobs got a visit from Joey Ryan – but I’ll give BSS credit for keeping themselves well clear of me. Some awkwardness when Martina and Eddie Dennis wanted chairs from the audience, and demanded them of another mobility aid user – personally, I’d’ve gone “cripple, mate, find another” but I’m a little stubborn like that! I will absolutely be talking to Riptide about better ideas for accessible seating that mean we’re “front row” without being in the firing line.

Building was as described, flat access, disabled loo, no problems with seating or any other issues. There was no strobe. The seating choice was, well, our own fault, so the only issue was really the slightly late entry that left us standing around. However, as I feel there is room for improvement, we’re dropping some points here. 8/10


Going The Extra Mile

Riptide offered me a free carer’s ticket, meaning I was looked after for the show, and the fact that Josh talked to me at the bar later, while I was clearly sozzled, and said he wanted to talk more about accessibility – that’s just really awesome. I got the sense that he wanted to make the shows better for everyone, not just that he was pandering to me, and that, more than that, it was important to him. I was impressed by this.

While no incidents occurred, I feel confident that if they had, I would not have been made to feel like I was effort, or causing trouble, and things would have been dealt with well. 10/10


Other Shows

As far as I know, other shows planned will be in the same venue, and even if not, I’ve no doubt they’ll be to same standards as this show. I’d love to go to another – although perhaps next time, we’ll leave earlier than 3am and I’ll be lighter on the gin. 10/10


Completely bloody brilliant show, at one point I laughed so hard I had to get my inhaler out or risk dying in my seat. I didn’t mind getting bumped about a bit, and it’s made me a little less worried about my second row status for both shows this weekend. I’m giddy with just the memory of it, honestly! I took so long to write this review because I like to distance myself from the immediate high of having been at a show, but in this case, I had to come to the conclusion that it really was that awesome.

If you can, when we can, get yourself to a Riptide show, because I promise you won’t be left disappointed, and nor will you be left standing about because the accessibility isn’t what it should be. I can’t recommend these shows highly enough. A score of 9.6/10 makes Riptide the new ones to beat!

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