Allan Mayer’s Weblog

Heavy Load

Posted on: March 23, 2009

I Subscribe to a forum called the PMLD Network. In my work it is a very useful resource for ideas and issues affecting people with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities.

A post appeared on there recently which made me want to smile and cheer. It is a celebration of… well I’ll let you make your own mind up: 


“Heavy Load are also releasing their first ever single on 16th March – hoping to be the first disabled punk band to make it into the top 40!!

Released on DVD 30th March 2009

HEAVY LOAD is East Sussex’s answer to the Ramones, a punk outfit subject to the inflammatory mix of ego, fantasy, and desire that fuels any emerging band. They’re also, uniquely, made up of musicians, of whom three of the five members have learning disabilities, which makes the band’s survival a precarious negotiation between two different worlds: on the one hand the institutional timetable of day centres, work placements and social workers; on the other the chaotic slacker life of rehearsal rooms, studios and gigs.

Specialising in thrash covers of late 70’s punk – or punk versions of recent pop, Heavy Load is unlikely to have a top ten hit. ‘We like to take a classic song’ says guitarist Mick, ‘and crucify it’. Their cacophonic reinterpretation of Kylie’s Can’t Get You Out Of My Head possesses a frenzied anarchy that bears no resemblance to the disco original. Their howled version of the Troggs’ Wild Thing adds a psychotic menace that makes you forget that this was once a love song. On stage the band fizz with an energy that belies the expectations the world has of the ‘spaz’ or the ‘moron’ or the ‘idiot’. They survive through a combination of raucous energy, attitude and sheer volume.

Shot over two years, as their STAY UP LATE campaign begins to gain momentum, the film is a comedy of conflicting ambitions capturing the sweat and romance of playing in a band, as they move out of the ghetto of disability.”

To view press release please see


How far things have come (not that this is always the case) in our view of people with learning disabilities and in how the aspirations of learning disabled people have changed since the bad old days of institutionalisation.

Or maybe it’s just that us ‘normal’ folk don’t get in the way as much as we used to…

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