John Smith: Why Deaf clubs matter (and what they give you that Deaf Pub events can’t) (BSL)

Posted on November 16, 2014

Every weekend, we are publishing one popular articles from our archive, which you might have missed the first time round! Tell us which articles you think should be reposted by emailing Here is a video blog from Deaf comedian and actor John Smith, in BSL, with a  transcript in English below, originally published in January 2014.


Years ago, lots of Deaf people went to the Deaf club.

There, they did sports, football, darts, different activities.

Then ‘Deaf Pub’ meet-ups started. That was fine. It was lovely for people to meet and chat.

But Deaf club attendances went down, and the number of people meeting at Deaf Pub meet-ups went up.

Some of the Deaf clubs closed down.

It’s interesting – hearing pubs have been closing down, but they’re full when they have Deaf Pub meet-ups!

The owners of the pubs must be saying “thank you” to the Deaf customers!

Plus, some Deaf Pub meet-ups charge a pound to get in. A pound?

A bouncer said the money was for Deaf children. I disagree with that. Why? It’s a public place. Most people don’t pay a pound to go in a pub!

Why do Deaf people have to pay a pound?

Some Deaf Pub events are free and that’s fine. But there’s one where you have to pay. Hmmm.

Would black people have to pay a pound to meet up? Wheelchair users? I don’t think so!

Anyway, I’m concerned that the number of people going to Deaf Pub events means that the Deaf community is disappearing.

I’ve been to Deaf Pubs, I’ve had a chat with people. But what about the Deaf community? Older people?

Young people or those who are under age? They can’t go to Deaf Pubs.

So I’m worried about the future of the community.

Deaf clubs have value.

People of any age can go. Children, adults.

In 2004, 2005, things changed.

Here’s one example of why Deaf clubs are good.

Before, I said I was going to do a talk on DLA, how it was changing to PIP. Everyone came. The Deaf club was full.

Everyone was worried about their DLA, they wanted to know what was happening.

The Deaf club gave them the information, not the Deaf Pub.

When Deaf clubs close, where will Deaf people get the information, and how?

John Smith is a Deaf comedian and actor, who is also a campaigner (and co-founder) for the Spit the Dummy campaign for a BSL Act.

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