I first wrote a column about the Stay Up Late campaign for the NZRA back in 2007 (when our newsletter was just a word doc sent out by email). Recently I've been writing a review of the literature on working aged adults with neurological impairments who end up in geriatric residential facilities for one reason or another, and the challenges that emerge from this around creating individualised, flexible, person-centred care for people who need 24 hour support. All this made me think of the Stay Up Late movement once again. In a nutshell, Stay Up Late is a grassroots UK charity originally initiated by Heavy Load – a UK punk band consisting of musicians with intellectual disability or mental health issues and their support staff. The movement boils down to putting a halt to people with support care needs having to leave clubs and music gigs early because their staff finish their shifts at 10pm.
I have to say, I love everything about this movement. I love the punk aesthetics. I love the music. I love the challenging of the status quo; the drive to have fun and maybe be a little bit badly behaved sometimes. I love the enthusiasm and momentum of the people behind it all. Since I last looked at this group in 2007, they have just grown in strength and numbers. The website is intensely active, there is such clear pride in the work, and the charity has pushed into other areas of independent living that need a bit of cage rattling. This is what we need more of in rehabilitation and disability sector.
Check out the website, or if you just want to enjoy the wall of sound that is Heavy Load, checkout the video from back in 2007 below. Rock on, dudes.
William Levack is an Associate Professor of Rehabilitation at the Rehabilitation Teaching & Research Unit, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand. Twitter: @DrLevack