[Why not pretend you’re blind and read this post with the Webanywhere Screenreader?]
A few months ago, I tried to go blind for a day, although I had the idea at about six in the evening. Still, going blind for a few hours is difficult if you aren’t asleep. The lowlight of my particular experience was taking a nightmarish shower during which a rat jumped on my back disguised as the feeling of a loofah that usually hangs from a hook on the wall. After the shower, I spent most of my time reflecting on what it is like to keep your eyes closed for more than a few minutes, the chief feeling I noticed being just eyelid strain. A largely fruitless experience.
I’ll go blind again for a full day when I pluck up the courage to venture around Shanghai using only my weaker senses. Or perhaps I’ll wait until I’m in a country where the attitude to pneumatic drilling isn’t so…relaxed… Still, it will be a largely masochistic endeavour – not the kind of thing that’ll make anybody feel any better, not me, nor blind people, nor you. It’s a far cry from the standard of social enterprise ideas that made this blog famous…
Perhaps wiser to spend more time on a social enterprise idea that legitimises stumbling around a field in a state of sensory confusion to the sounds of the Killers? How about the greatest social enterprise idea yet to grace these pages? How about…
Idea #18: Blind music festival
Organise a music festival in support of the blind.
Ah ha, but there’s more…
The key idea is that everyone must wear a blindfold – i.e. both those who can normally see, and those who can’t. Registered blind people get free tickets; everyone else has to pay. You could make a poster like this (but a nicer version, with genuine raised braille bits please!):
Why is this a great social enterprise idea? It would be
- a tremendous show of solidarity between the sighted and blind communities.
- a unique environment where blind people could cease to feel disabled for a while (they’d even have the upper hand, as they are used to being blind!)
- an enlightening experience for those who can normally see, raising awareness and probably giving people a better (or at least different) experience of music. This is how dark restaurants get their appeal, right?
- an easy way to raise money!
- a barrel of hearty laughs
There are loads of variations on the theme of a blind music festival, but the paper-thin attention span you sport and/or your growing irritation at the screenreader’s robot voice has forced me to reduce it all to a series of points:
Blindfold bands – Bands could also be required to wear blindfolds, giving them a chance to really show off their talent.
No peeking! – How are we going to make sure people don’t take a sly peek, thus ruining everything for everyone? Perhaps hold the festival in an indoor arena in the dark? Or just have loads of Peek Police patrolling and throwing people out? Have sirens attached to the blindfolds that blare painfully in the offender’s ear if they lift their blindfold? Or just trust people?
Security – To you and I it just sounds like a jolly good time, but enterprising scumbags see past this to an orgy of pickpocketing opportunities and rape. So let’s not make the security guards wear blindfolds, ok? I’m sure the blind people won’t object either.
Market – There are around 150,000 blind people in the UK. Get even 50,000 of them on board, plus another 50,000 of your regulars, and you’re bigger than the Reading festival. Use a lot of radio adverts.
If you’re interested in organising this, why not contact me and we’ll see if we can find some other people (Bono) to do the work.