Monthly Archives: May, 2013

Here comes the summer

Oh, I wish lol! its been another, cool, wet day here today, but in theory at least, from Friday onwards…no, I wont be holding my breath on it though!

At present I’m just hoping that in 2 weeks time that the weather is a lot better than today. Yes, thats when I’m heading for Belfast, hopefully to watch some cricket, while soaking up the sun. More likely, shivering in the cold and damp, but sometime I’ve got to get really good weather for a cricket trip over there.

The interesting thing this time around is that I’m actually staying in Central Belfast, as opposed to my previous place, which is out in the outskirts, on the right side for Stormont. So I’m in for a different experience this time around, but hopefully a peaceful one. I also have to find out what bus I need to get out to the ground, and from where, but I’m sure I’ll get help on that info from Cricket Ireland folk, and forumites.

Hopefully I can find an eating place or two a bit more easily downtown as well, not that I have any idea on the where, to be honest. So if anyone knows any reasonably priced places in downtown Belfast, within walking distance of the Days Inn, feel free to shout. Basically, if you work on the basis that I eat most things (other than spicy), it gives you plenty of scope. Italian, or Chinese would be nice, but suggest away… No, not McDonalds lol! 😛 Dinner date, purely optional, especially given I’m trans, and if you do, I pay my share, unless you really insist! Dont worry, I would wear trousers, flat shoes and a top, unless you really are brave/crazy enough to want me to wear a dress, and heels, I shouldnt think so lol!

Beyond a short period Sunday morning, I (hopefully) wont have time for sightseeing, so no need to suggest anything there. its funny, the first time I saw central Belfast was from a safe distance, for the obvious reason, it was during the Troubles, thankfully now pretty much passed.

Oh, and surrounding that, its the Derby on Saturday, Royal Ascot the week after I get back. Who me, in the Royal Enclosure in finery, I dont think so somehow!

The video, well they’re Irish, and hopefully the song title will come true too. And for those not terribly into punk, its very short too!

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Virginia Plain

Fine, lets not talk about ireland conjuring up defeat from the jaws of victory yesterday in the cricket. Mind, when they were 4-2 early on, my main concern was that we didnt get routed. But then Ed Joyce scored a century, and Pakistan were 17-4, then 133-7 chasing 230 to win, the dreams of an irish victory grew, only to be dashed again. I know, I know, Pakistan should win, but in all honesty, you end up feel down because we didnt. But such is cricket, and all that, but as I said, thats not what I’m talking about tonight.

Regular readers should know by now that my holiday plans tend to end up being flexible, unlike several joints in my body! And guess what, they’re changing again. Whats that you say, Kansas in September? Err, maybe not! Next year probably, though as usual, please dont quote me on that! No, actually, September holiday, you must have been seeing things if you thought that, I’m going to Richmond, Virginia.

No, you werent really seeing things, its a change of plan, thats all. My friend Kate is far cleverer than me, at least in the work field sense, and probably others too, but anyway…Basically she’s involved in a work project in, or around that city, and given the current timings for it, she wasnt going to be able to get away in September. And most definitely not later for a month or so, either. So I got an email asking me if I fancied a week in the Richmond area instead, with the comment of ‘no, I knew you wouldnt’ tacked on to it. So I fooled her, and said yes. I was actually there about 13 years ago, and though I dont remember much about it, I do remember it was quite a nice area. Hadnt really thought about going back until now, but then…

Cutting a long story short, thats now the holiday destination for September. Kansas, as I said, next year. Given the ‘flattering’ things Louise Brooks said about Wichita, she’d probably tell me I was doing the right thing anyway, but I will get there soon, just to discover it for myself.

No, I dont expect to get the chance to dress up like, or behave like Scarlett O’Hara, but if someone is offering the chance…I might give it a try lol!

Today has actually been quite a change for me, with my job, you dont get bank holidays off, well not other than Christmas Day (no racing), and the Boxing Day/New Years Day option offered to everyone. But when I saw my shifts for this week, I had Monday off! Actually a treat, given its a Sunday bus service, which makes getting to and from a work a bit of a pain on these days. Just a shame that today the weather has been lovely, and tomorrow when I can get around, is supposed to be wet most of the day. We will see, and if the forecast is wrong (which would hardly be a first), I will probably get out for a while. If it is wet, I might still get out, though I would have to rethink things a bit.

In fact, if the weather is reasonable, its only £5 to see the end of the test match at Leeds, not that its got long to go, but never having been to a test match, well, I might look out the window early tomorrow, just in case. Maybe one day I will get to see Ireland play a test match, who knows?

But for now, the video. Yes, holiday related, and yes, as so often, the blog title is the giveaway

The last time Ireland tied an ODI…

…They went on to beat Pakistan in the next game! Will history repeat itself on Sunday, all we can do is wait and see!

Alright, the last time that happened, it was Zimbabwe they tied with, back in 2007, and then on St Patricks Day, they went out and beat Pakistan. Things have changed a bit since then mind, back then, all (but one I think?) were part time players, nowadays the team that played yesterday had one part time player! Indeed 8 of the 11 play in the English county championship, and Kevin O’Brien has represented a couple of counties in the 20 over game in his time. Might again, after yesterday too.

The game had everything yesterday, including the seemingly inevitable short bursts of rain that seem to feature so often with cricket in Ireland. Thats why Ireland scored 9 more runs than Pakistan, but only got a tie unfortunately. Try putting Duckworth Lewis method into Google if you dont know why already.

No, I wasnt there, sadly. I was following it on the internet, care of an excellent online commentary thanks to Ian Callender and friends. It was shown on You Tube, care of Cricket Ireland, and Quipu, but as I was working, I settled for the written word. Waiting for the refresh on the last ball, absolutely unbearable! But then it came up, a four, Ireland had tied the match, tremendous stuff. I didnt punch the air or anything, I was still at work, but inwardly I did, what a result!

Me, I will get to see Ireland play this year live, and I dont just mean via Sky, for the England game. Three weeks from now, if you’re lucky, I’ll be blogging from Belfast, going over for the first couple of days of the game against Australia A. Sadly I wont get to see many, if any of the county players, I doubt they will be released. But I will get to see 11 proud Irishmen playing against the Aussies, and hoping we put up a good show.

Proud of you, hopefully I’ll be even prouder after the 2nd game on Sunday. Oh, and for those who care, here’s the last over. Yes, it takes nearly 8 minutes, due to various events. And yes, the commentators get the result wrong, Ireland didnt lose the game!

Tornado Alley

Sorry, if you only come here for the video selection, you might as well leave now, there wont be one. Why, because what I’m writing about doesnt really fit in with a music video for me somehow.

Yes, I’m sure that by now, you’ve heard the news about Oklahoma? And though in a sense I’m delighted to hear that the death toll has gone down from 91, to 24, its still not great news all the same. I’ve seen a tornado on TV, thankfully never seen, or experienced one in real life, and I hope it stays that way. The frightening thing, this was only an EF-4 tornado, which means there is one level of tornado more dangerous than that! Makes you think, doesnt it?

Yes, the Mid West is known as tornado alley for a good reason, they happen there on a regular basis, though mostly not as strong as this. And many just blast a 500 yard whole in a corn field, and vanish again, unfortunately this one didnt. Unlike lightning, they do seem to strike twice in the same place, Moore, OK suffering another very bad one just 13 years ago.

As I say, I wouldnt want to get caught up in one. Apart from a few crazy people in a TV show, I’m not sure who would?

Anyway, just to say that at present, my heart goes out to all those in Oklahoma, and the surrounding states at present. So, if you can spare some local currency, of whatever variety, feel free to do so. It doesnt have to be as large as Kevin Durant’s million dollar pledge, because lets face it, our salaries arent in his league in the first place. But just something, join with me.

Link is http://www.redcross.org/charitable-donations

Alright, pledging over, I promise the next blog will be more lighthearted…hopefully.

Forever and ever

Its funny how these things happen, if you are patient enough, something comes along that really makes your day. No, I didnt win the Powerball lottery, or even the UK lottery lol. As I dont do either, it would be pretty tricky to do so anyway.

But in a sense, something that arrived in my email box this morning is far more precious to me than that. What you may be asking yourselves? 2 photos of someone I never met, and never will now, in this world at least. Yes, I finally know what the late ‘Sara Castle’ looked like, as I was sent 2 pictures today by a mutual friend, thanks go to Kim for that. At the same time, its a bit of a funny feeling seeing her now, only after she’s gone from this world. And no, I’m not posting a picture of her here either, for the most obvious reason.

I may never have actually met her, but we chatted by email for years, about good things, bad things, and plenty else beside, some of which you’re better off not knowing about lol! And to save you asking, it was the big C that got her, even though she managed to hide the worst details of it from her friends until quite literally, she was gone from us. If I’d known, I could have gone and visited, she was in the UK, if at the opposite end of England to me, but for her it would have been a trip I would happily have made. But no, given we only found out just how serious it had been after she was gone, it wasnt to be.

Funny thing is, I still have the very last email I sent her, though she never saw it., Thats right, it was sent after I knew she was dead, to her email box, just so I could say the right words before tying up those ends, and starting again. Sadly I dont have the last email I sent her that she had read, I accidentally deleted that a long time ago, nor do I have the last one she sent me either unfortunately.

But at least now, I have 2 pictures of her, to keep for as long as I’m around, and thats something special for me.

The video, a very young Midge Ure, in his first group, with lyrics and a title that seem quite apt

York Races

Well yes, we’ve come to that point in time of the year, the first big race meeting at York. To be honest, its about 20-25 years since I last went there, so have no idea what its like now, I only know it was a lovely place to go racing back then. The funny thing is, despite my job, my main concern about it over the next three days will be all the extra people on the trains, heading to and from York. Lets face it, they are crowded enough at the best of times, and it will be even worse then! Fortunately tomorrow, I’ll miss it all, as I’m on an early shift, so the only crowding I will face either way is of the commuting type, because I finish at 5, the same time as the last race, so will be gone by the time they come through. Friday will be the same, only less so, as I’m finishing at 4. Thursday might be ‘more fun’, not going into Leeds, they will all be through by then, but I will catch up with the stragglers at 9.00 in Leeds, thats for sure, far worse for drink by then, I’m sure.

No, no tips, havent a clue.

The thing that amuses me though, is all the dressing up that will be done, by the ‘fine folk’, and ‘less fine folk’ heading for the races. Yes, all the lasses wear dresses, and heels, and probably a hat too, and put on a fine show. Well, most of them do, at least until the alcohol kicks in, and then for some at least, all bets are off!

But yes, you’ve guessed it, what really tickles me, is the thought of what would happen if I turned up dressed suitably for the races. Yes, I could put on a dress, you’ve seen the evidence in pictures before, and I could certainly wear heels too, if I had to, though more likely wedge than high, especially as my knee is a bit tender at present, having given way for a few moments last night. No, its fine now, just a few scrapes really, thats all, but…

Would they let a transgendered woman into York, in a dress, with not a word? I guess it would depend on the ‘test’, and the persons attitude, wouldnt it? In a way, I suspect the greater challenge would be the other folk in the stand, especially when they’ve had a bit too much to drink, or lost a bit too much money? I have no idea whether any trans folk have gone to Royal Ascot or not, and what the reaction was. I suspect not in the Royal Enclosure somehow, but I suppose it might have happened, someone young, and very convincing…?

No, I have no plans to find out anyway, as you’ve already gathered, I’m working the next 3 days, so not going to get there anyway. I havent actually been racing in this country in about 12 years, and its not likely to change soon, unless I get invited by someone. Might actually be fun, getting dressed up and going to the races I guess, but for now I’ll settle for watching it at work.

The video, absolutely no relevance to the blog at all, just simply a video you must watch if you havent seen it already

The Concert Review

Well, seriously, were you expecting anything else tonight?

Lets cut to the chase, you arent interested in where I went for dinner, or the journey home afterwards, so no more about that.

No, I hadnt been to the Academy at Leeds before, for any reason, so had no idea what to expect. Given that I was there for 7.00 door opening, I managed to get pretty close to the stage, about 4th or 5th row back, as it was all standing. Yes, by the end of the evening, my legs, knees and feet were complaining loudly about standing in pretty much the same spot for 4 hours, allowing for dancing on the same spot, there wasnt room to do more. Lets just say the walk to the station was slightly painful lol.

Right, the concert. First up was the support act, John Foxx and The Maths. Thing is, I’m old enough to remember that John sang with Ultravox before Midge Ure, but not many others do. No, I only saw Ultravox when Ure was the frontman, so hadnt seen him before. He did a good show, but for all but 1 person, it was just the warm up for the big event. Yes, there was one guy, just in front of me who was only there for the support act, went after he finished. Ah well…He missed a treat.

After that we saw the crew rapidly, and efficiently clear the stage, and do the little bit of preparation needed for OMD. Then, just about 9.00, the first notes of ‘Please Remain Seated’ were heard, the crowd erupted, and the show began.

No, I cant do a songlist for you, lets just say it included stuff both from the last 2 albums (especially the new, very excellent one, English Electric) and a lot of the older stuff too. Sadly for me, the list didnt include Pandoras Box, but thats the only fault I could find in all honesty. Given that I was only introduced to Louise Brooks by Andy, it would have been nice, but there are time limits and things, so…

The interesting thing is, the changes in style in 31 years, since I last saw them. Yes, we are all older, but Andy is still so fit, its frightening! Oh, his dancing style is still as, err, interesting as it ever was. The best comment I can make is, back then it was a concert, they played the songs (well alright, the music was pretty much all taped back then), and that was it, just a few words. The 2013 version is much more of a show though, Andy and Paul definitely talk far more with the crowd, all helps in making you feel part of the show. Hey, Malcolm even waves at us from the back while sat at his drums. Martin still wins the coolness stakes though, pretty much just sitting at his keyboards, apart from his sax solo moments. He was seen to be tapping along to the music though lol!

Ah, the music comment. Thats the difference, far more is live now. To be honest, the only thing that seemed pre taped were necessary things (the female vocals on Tesla Girls, Kissing The Machine, and the trumpets on Forever Live And Die as examples), and what I would call the ‘bottom line’ of the synth stuff on songs. But thats because 2 guys cant do that many layers live! Its fair to say that all they could do live, they did!

So yes, I might do another concert sometime, though not a standing only one, the old body isnt up to that!

Finally, thanks to Andy, Paul, Martin and Malcolm for a marvellous night, that brought back a lot of memories. One thing is for sure, if I see you all again live, its unlikely to take 31 years!

And the video, yes, I’ve found one from last nights show! Therefore as its from a mobile device, its not the greatest quality, but I was there!

I’ll have to see if I can remember what its like

No, dont worry, nothing unexciting like sex, this is about going to a pop concert.

Yes, this Thursday, for the first time in about 12 years, I’m going to one, OMD, in Leeds. I have no idea what its going to be like, its been a long time, as I mentioned, and as the last one was The Seekers, I think the atmosphere might be a bit different. Beyond finally getting the chance to see a group I had grown up with as a child, live, I dont remember much, beyond knowing I enjoyed every minute of it. It was in Bournemouth, bit of a distance from where I am now, or as Andy would say, Its a long, long way!

Technically, the first concert I went to was at the age of about 6, at Chessington Zoo, the Hollies were playing there back then. No, I certainly dont remember if it was a trip to the zoo, and we discovered they were playing, or we went there because they were playing, not a clue now.

The first concert I went to in my own right, was the New Seekers, in 1974 in Chatham. During the 70’s and early 80’s I saw a good few bands play, including OMD, in London, in 1982. Funny how things come full circle now, and we are all a lot older than then. I did go to some when I moved to Somerset in 1983, but Yeovil wasnt quite the same hot bed for touring bands, but I saw the Wurzels, and the Barron Knights that I remember at least. After I left there in 1999, it pretty much stopped, this one concert in Bournemouth, then nothing until now.

I’ll be honest, the only thing concerning me about Thursday night is that this concert is one of these ‘standing only’ things, and with my age (I know, an awful lot of fans will be my age, but…), and the state of my knees, I hope I can survive standing all that time, its not something I’m really used to nowadays.

I have been tempted before, Smokie came to Huddersfield a while back, The Proclaimers came to Holmfirth, but in the end, I didnt get to either. But now, ever since December, I’ve been looking forward to this with eagerness. if you’re good, or even if you’re not, you’ll probably get a review of the show on Friday anyway.

Oh, and Andy, if you read this, dont forget to play Pandoras Box lol!

But no, thats not the video, its a live track from the latest LP, which you could say has a special meaning for me! 😉

Glad to be gay

Yes, lets get sport, and LGBT issues in one posting, just for once.

I’m sure my North American readers have seen this in the last few days, but it may come as news to some of my other readers, so lets roll with it here, just in case.

Lesbian sports people, yes, lets say there has been a good number over the years, either during their career, or post career, so its not terribly exciting news for most people nowadays. Not necessarily the case in the past, I remember in the past, on a few occasions with female tennis players that the commentator would mention their, err, good friend in the crowd watching, because she was female. Yes, it didnt take much to put 2 and 2 together to work out what kind of friend they were, even if the commentator didnt want to say so, in case ‘easily offended’ of ‘somewhere’ would write and complain if they did. Eventually it started to change, but not until more recently.

But a gay male sports star, oh heaven forbid the thought! And lets face it, given the machismo of most sports, its fair to assume that most male sports would have a lower percentage of gay participants than within the general population. Only one football (soccer) player ever came out as gay, in less enlightened times, and got immense flak for doing so. But this was nearly 20 years ago, when things were less enlightened, but anyway…

Beyond that…silence. Until a couple of years ago, when a Cricket player came out as gay. Earlier this week, Jason Collins, an NBA player finally became the first sportsman in one of the ‘big 4’ sports over there to come out as gay. Most reaction has been good, though as would be expected, there are 1 or 2 idiots around all the same. But lets face it, he isnt the only one!

The interesting thing to see with Collins, is that he became a free agent at the end of the season. Not that free agency officially starts until the play offs are over (a few weeks yet), but it will be interesting to see how many clubs offer him a position, I feel? Hopefully it wont affect issues, but…?

Equally hopefully, in a few years time, this coming out will either be met with a ‘so what?’ comment, or not even noticed at all, but I suspect that may be sometime off yet.

The video, yes, the obvious one