Monthly Archives: April, 2014

Have to say something

Right, before we get to the pertinent part of tonight’s blog, a couple of things

Fine, I now own a ticket for the Postmodern Jukebox concert in Manchester, so feel free to go out and buy your own, I’ll love you for doing so. Though to mention, this concert has proved so popular, that the venue has been moved to somewhere larger! Unfortunately for me, not so central, and standing room only, and I know how my knees complained the last time I went to one of those! Ah well…Walking back to the station could be fun!
So seriously, if you, or anyone you know from the Huddersfield area is going over for this, I would love a lift, and prepared to pay the rail fare amount (about £12?) in petrol money if you do so. I know, I know, but no harm in asking? Could even wear a dress if going by car. Modern cars are fine btw, lol!

Secondly, Keighley didn’t get Bradford in the quarter finals, despite my attempt to fix it. Away to Widnes is our fate, that will probably be it. I’ve heard all 4 matches will be on TV somewhere, so with luck I will see it at least.

OK, nice bit over, lets get to the grim realities of modern life.

Yesterday, at a school in Leeds, a teacher died at a school. Stabbed to death by a pupil, too horrible for words. She had been at that school for about 40 years, was due to retire in September, but now…aargh! No, I didnt go to school in Leeds, I went to school in Kent, of course. Even if I’d stayed in Yorkshire, I would have schooled in Haworth, then Keighley, so…

The thing is, a lot of the people I work with, did go to school in Leeds. Seemingly a good number of them went to, or knew of this school, and this teacher, so yes, it reached out to me. I know, I went to school a long time ago (and I do mean long, I left school 40 years ago!), but back then, we were taught to respect the teachers. Alright, fine, one or two of them werent worthy of the respect we had to pay to them, but anyway…At no point could I ever imagine anyone carrying a knife as destructive as this one must have been to school. From what I remember, the knives we had at school dinner couldnt have damaged a fluffy toy, let alone a flesh and blood person.

But yesterday, in a school, a 15 year old had a knife that could end the life of someone, terrifying stuff. I know, all the gang warfare and things, but seriously? This world is crazy! if you want more details, and dont know them, google it, must be dozens of reports on it by now.

All I will say is, its scary, and depressing for me. And they say life is better nowadays?

The video, yes, its PMJ for short As I said, I had to say something…

Never just assume…

Yes, I might have mentioned it recently, that wonderful group, Postmodern Jukebox are playing live this summer, and what’s more, they are coming to England, Manchester in fact. Fine, that seemed to be the good news, until I looked at the date, and things. Yes, its a Saturday, the busiest day of the week for those of us working in the betting industry. Not only that, but later that evening, England are playing their first match in the World Cup, so I assume things will be even more manic than normal?

So fine, my chances of getting an early finish, or even better a Saturday off, absolutely zero, you’d think? I know I did, but it seems I was wrong! Anyway, as they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained, so I went across and saw Julie, who arranges all our shifts yesterday morning, and did the bit about ‘I know the answer will be no, but…’, and told her, expecting a prompt answer in the negative. No, got a ‘leave it with me, and I’ll take a look’, but still I wasnt expecting anything. So, even when I logged in, just to check next weeks shifts before leaving, and saw I had a message, I was expecting the decline. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Not only have I not just got an early finish, I’ve got the day off, wow! Being a good girl, unsurprisingly I went across and thanked her, just wasnt expecting that. I’m still not planning on going in a vintage style dress, but never assume…lol!

Oh, but by the way, thats not the end of the story. I’d seen on the site selling the tickets, that you could pay by Paypal. Brilliant, as I pretty much have enough in my account (writing royalties) to pay for the ticket, and the little bit extra was more than covered by my pre paid credit card. Yes, you could pay by Paypal, but it had to be via a credit card, not from any balance you may have on Paypal, aargh! So now, I’ve had to put the ticket buying on hold, until tomorrow, when I can top up the credit card. Hopefully it wont sell out overnight, so if you’re thinking of going, let me buy first, should be done by Tuesday morning at the latest.

The other delight of the weekend, is a rugby league one. The Challenge Cup is the big knock out tournament of the year, and normally, in the first round that they can face better opposition, Keighley draw a top Super League name, and go out of the cup, being that we are a league below them. This year, we had a stroke of luck, and drew a team lower than us in our own league, Barrow, and won. So fine, with all those mighty teams in the last 16, we were bound to draw a good team, and go out. Again, never assume, we drew Swinton, admittedly away, but again lower than us in our league. Keighley beat them yesterday, 33-20!

Now might get trickier, the other 7 teams left, are Leigh (same league, but better team), and 6 Super League sides, but…one of those sides, is our near neighbour, and ‘loved’ rivals, Bradford, who surprisingly beat Catalan today. Well, we all hate the local rivals, dont we, lol? But more so with them, the Rugby League have protected them through administration, and the local council (Bradford) support them greatly, and ignore us, even though we’re in the same council area.

So what could be more fun, than playing them, at home in the quarter finals. If I say it wont happen, then just maybe…!

Anyway, the video. Something that lower league rugby teams shouldnt do, and seemingly call centre operators shouldnt either. Great song, great group, no idea why I havent used them before!

Is vintage the new thing?

One thing I’ve noticed in recent times, is the revival, in a big way of vintage. Mainly clothing, I grant you, but in other matters too. No, there arent too many 1930’s Ford’s coming back on to the road, or anything like that, but…in a practical way, the new look on the scene seems to be vintage. Unfortunately this seems to include the 70’s, when some of the clothes were shocking, and I should know, I was there! Sadly, fate means I missed out on the garish catsuits that the ladies from Abba wore, or the short mini skirts, a la Sally Carr, of Middle of the Road fame, but they might have been fun back then. As for those boots, oh yes please! No, a Bay City Roller fan, I could never have been!

But yes, you’re right, the eras that interest me more, are a lot further back than that, the 20’s and 30’s. Though finding actual clothes from that era might be a challenge too far, I suspect there might be a few around, though probably at horrendous prices! But the blessing for me, is that clothes producers seem to have caught on to this phenomenon, and produce clothing with the look of that era, but in modern materials, at practical prices. Even more practical if you can get cast off’s in charity shops lol!

Put it this way, as someone who loves living 20’s, and 30’s style, at a reasonable price, I love it. Even if at my age, true flapper dresses are way too short for me! Thankfully 30’s dresses seem to be longer, an absolute boon.

But now it seems to have gone a step further, from the occasional clothing item, it seems to have slipped into many other things, and now we seem to be getting an ever expanding number of vintage fairs. This one is on in Leeds, on Sunday, for anyone local, and interested. I might need my arm twisted to make me go, but I am tempted.

http://www.thevintagefair.com/

They seem to cover other parts of the country, so I suggest clicking on your local link as relevant. There is another, at York this weekend as well, but that must be a different company, as its not mentioned here. Yes, they sell clothing, what a surprise, but also seemingly comics, toys, and other stuff from the past as well. No, I didnt get to the previous one, I was working that day, but this Sunday I’m off, and thinking about it. I know, travelling to Leeds, on my day off, ghastly thought! But yes, its tempting, just to see what they have, as much as anything, as I suspect the clothing there will be far more expensive than my charity shop pick ups somehow!

But on top of all this, they have a hairdressing salon there too! No, as far as I know, they dont use those ‘wonderful’ old fashioned style hair dryers, but anyway…I suspect they charge a fortune for the privilege, but…

No, I dont suspect we are all going to give up on our computers, mobile phones and the like. That might even be a step too far for me now, I must say! But, the revival of some of the beauty of the past, has to be a lovely thing.

Oh, and while we are on vintage, this is an interesting vintage sound

Yes, this is the guy from Postmodern Jukebox, who I raved about recently. And seemingly they are coming on tour, and whats more, to the UK, performing in Manchester at The Ruby Lounge (wherever that may be?) on June 14th. Other dates, including some in the US, are

We’re going on tour! Come visit the Postmodern Jukebox universe (preferably, while wearing your best vintage clothes)!

Confirmed shows (with more dates on the way):
June 2 – The Great Hall; Toronto, ON
June 3 – Cabaret Mile End; Montreal, QC
June 4 – Brighton Music Hall; Boston, MA
June 5 – Toad’s Place; New Haven, CT
June 6 – The Met; Providence, RI
June 9 – Highline Ballroom; New York, NY
June 10 – The Hamilton; Washington, DC
June 13 – Whelans; Dublin, Ireland
June 14 – The Ruby Lounge; Manchester, UK
June 15 – O2 ABC; Glasgow, UK
June 16 – The Institute; Birmingham, UK
June 17 – Dingwall’s; London, UK
June 18 – De Roma; Borgerhout, Belgium
June 19 – Divan du Monde; Paris, France
June 20 – Sugar Factory; Amsterdam, Netherlands
June 21 – DR Concert Hall; Copenhagen, Denmark
June 25 – Lucerna Music Bar; Prague, Czech Republic
June 26 – Magazzini Generali; Milan, Italy
June 29 – Bikini; Barcelona, Spain

I must admit, going in vintage clothes would be wonderful, if a mite fun for me, given I’d have to get the train over there and back. But again, I’m sure, with a little persuasion… 😉 Mind, if someone wants to drive me over, in an old fashioned car, well that would be fun. Might even be rumble seat possible by June lol!

Yes, I love the whole vintage mindset, but please dont take away my internet!

A third gender?

Yes, you must have noticed it, because its on pretty much every form you have to fill in, the gender question, male, or female. In all my time since transitioning (and indeed before then), I only ever remember once seeing any option other than those two. Ironically it was on an application form for a job at a Job Centre, as in working there, I perhaps should say. I’ll be honest, its the only time since transitioning that I’ve put anything other than female, taking the option of transgendered female instead. For whatever reason, I never heard anything back on the application I made! Now, would it have been different if I’d applied as a female, hmm…? I will never know, of course.

But anyway, all my details now in this country, apart from my Passport, say I’m female. Though convincing some at work of the fact is pretty much akin to hitting your head against a brick wall! Some still use the term him, and yes, its got to the point of annoyance by now. Fine, when I first transitioned, I could understand the odd slip, but after all this time, they should be used to it by now. I’m sure some of it is only accidental, but equally there are a few, with whom I’m pretty sure its deliberate, but anyway…Lets just say, that for their sake, they should be grateful that I’m not as militant as some, though maybe I should be? There are even a few, who pretty much just ignore me, because they dont like what I am, and even if I talk to them, in passing, will just ignore me. And they probably wonder why I’m such a tough bitch at times, I need to be! Thankfully there are a lot who accept what I am, treat me as a woman, and I appreciate it.

But now, in India, comes a change, a third legal gender, that of transgendered. And seemingly, in one way of reading it at least, you dont have to have done the ‘full change’ to declare yourself as such. Though in my eye at least (and many others), once you’ve done the full change, you are (in my case at least) female, not transgendered, but anyway…But seriously, being able to declare as a transgendered female now, in terms of passports, if nothing else, would be wonderful, because nothing annoys me more than that one form that still declares me as male!

But as yet, India is the only country I know doing this. The country that actually concerns me the most, is Canada. Why, because built into their rules for passing out of the country, is a line that states you have to match the gender on your passport. It doesnt say anything about going in though, which confuses me even more. So lets see, next year I go on holiday to Toronto, say, and have a lovely week in the country. But when I want to leave, they wont let me! So does that mean they have to provide me with a home, and a means to live, as I cant leave Canada? Or is the case that they wont even let me in? Granted, apart from an obvious pair of boobs, I guess I could still pass without make up, but those 2 assets do make a pretty obvious statement lol! In a sense, I assume they’d let me out (if I was in) because they would prefer me not in the country, but dont quote me on that. And no, I have no plans to have the boobs removed, just to please them! To be honest, I suspect 99% of the time, they dont even look at the gender, just the name, and the face to check they match, and leave it at that, but…

But yes, UK government, a passport that declared me a transgendered female would solve all arguments, so how about it? I wouldnt expect India to be a country leading on this front, but…fine, this wording I could do without, but…

The court directed the government to treat transgenders as a socially and educationally backward class

Because we arent backward in any way, believe me! But someone says this may be to make discrimination illegal, and nothing more, and if so thats fine, I guess?

The video, well I was never strictly a girl, though I might be a lot saner if I had been. And I’m not quite a woman, need one thing removed to be that lol!

25 years ago today…

Yes, I know, I’m not a football fan, but its hard to overlook this awful landmark, all the same. Besides which, despite some comments here, its less controversial than the other thing I considered posting, so… Make the most of it, no idea when the next football related posting will be!

On April 15th 1989, Liverpool were playing Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup Semi Final, at Hillsborough, a football ground in Sheffield, for any readers from outside the UK. Just one thing, back in those days, stadiums were not all seater places, as they are today, back then, most people stood on what they call the terraces (I believe?). Unfortunately back then, alcoholic drinking before matches was heavier than it is today. I’m not saying the fans are sober now, but generally, if you’re too drunk now, you dont get in!

To be honest, details of exactly what happened are vague, partly because of the nature of things, partly because the South Yorkshire police forces would probably prefer not all the details to come out, as most versions of it, put them to some degree of fault as to what happened next.

Just before kick off time, the crowds rushed out of the pubs, and headed for the ground, all trying to get in before kick off. Seemingly the turnstiles couldnt cope, and the police gave instructions for the gates to be opened, and thousands flooded in. Which might have been fine, but momentum carried them into the people already standing there, and people got crushed. After 6 minutes, the game was stopped, when there were clear signs of problems, but sadly, 96 people died in the chaos that ensued. There has been previous enquiries, another is indeed going on now, but the police have always been slightly vague as to what exactly happened that day. Will we ever know the full story, somehow I doubt it, but lets hope.

All games this last weekend (closest full list of matches to the event) in the main leagues in England kicked off 7 minutes late, as a tribute to this, well justified. I just hope that nothing like this ever happens again, is all I can say.

The video, this is pre match at Liverpool, on Sunday, the best tribute I could think of

Of course for me, its not the football disaster closest to my heart. That happened just under 29 years ago, at Valley Parade, Bradford, a ground I was taken to games at a few times when younger, in the hope of making me ‘more of a man’, I guess, that boyish initiation into the rites of football. I showed some interest, and indeed went a few times on my own, but now its about 10 years since I went there. But for 2 games that I escorted Eric to, at Huddersfield, as treats, I havent been to a game in all that time, and not likely to change.
The day of the Bradford disaster was a Saturday, and I was at work in Yeovil. Someone came in with the news, knowing they were ‘my team’ (as much as any was) and someone had a radio (yes, no TV in betting shops back then!) and I was able to get details that way. 56 people died, no one I knew thankfully, but anyway…I hoped then that it was the last time I would hear news like that, sadly it wasnt.

So today, we remember those poor 96 people who died at Hillsborough, 25 years ago today.

Rest in peace.

In praise of a Tory Politician (aka The saving of a railway)

No, heaven forbid, I’m not praising the current bunch, any of the big parties to be honest, none of them inspire me at present. This gentleman was a member of a cabinet, under a Prime Minister that it seemed you either loved, or hated, Margaret Thatcher. But no, thankfully this isnt about her either! Yes, Michael Portillo, stand up, and take a well deserved bow.

Back in the 1980’s, British Rail (as it then was) was doing its very best to run down the Settle and Carlisle railway. Why? Pretty much because the famous historic landmark of the Ribblehead Viaduct was in need of major overhaul, and repair, due to old age, though as has been discovered since, they exaggerated the sum needed, just to help their cause.

So what had been a decent, regular service had been run down to just 2 trains a day in each direction, stopping at just Appleby and Settle on the famous part of the line. Of course that caused traffic numbers to drop drastically, so in went the closure order. As so often, since the times of the Beeching axe in the early 60’s, a campaign started up to keep the line open, and indeed return it to its former glories. The success rate of these campaigns in the past, pretty awful, to be honest.

But then 2 things happened, a new area manager arrived in Manchester (sorry, cant remember his name), looked at the line, and his suspicions were raised as to the real reason for closure. Incredibly his findings found their way to Mr Portillo, and 25 years ago, on the 11th April, he turned down the closure application for the line. As I say, the costs for repairing the viaduct massively dropped, though nowadays only 1 line runs across the centre, reducing all weight issues for the viaduct.

A few years later, out of train privatisation, a new company took over the line, currently known as Northern Rail. What they did was not only to keep the ‘fast’ trains running on the line, they took the step of reopening many of the little intermediate stations along the route, and running a train in each direction, every 2 hours. Combined with a bit of advertising, travel numbers along the line rocketed, both by walkers in the Dales, and people who just wanted to admire the views! Also, by saving the line, many goods trains heading to Scotland from the North now use this line too.

All because a Minister had the courage to stand up to British Rail, and say no!

Of course, in recent times, said minister has actually had a series on British TV, about various scenic rail journeys, including unsurprisingly, the Settle and Carlisle.

The funny thing…Each winter, West Yorkshire Metro, in conjunction with Northern Rail run an offer of a much reduced return fare to travel this line midweek, and very popular it is too. One year, coming back from Carlisle, our train pulled into Settle station. Nothing unusual there, you might say. Stood on that platform, along with several members of the Settle and Carlisle support group, was, yes, you’ve guessed it, Michael Portillo! Now these trains are second class only, so he wasnt going into a first class carriage. Too right he wasnt! He actually greeted many of the travellers, before just sitting down with the rest of us, and just talking to those who wanted to say a few words.

I’ll be honest, at the time, that was a pleasant surprise, truly a man of the people seemingly. So fine, I may never vote Conservative, or have been a fan of Thatcher, but Michael Portillo, her transport minister, I admire him greatly, and want to say thanks for making a wonderful decision 25 years ago.

The video, just love it, though what the people who werent in on it at the time thought, I’d love to know!

Curls and things

Yes, today was the big day, a change of image. I wouldnt say the curls were bounteous yet, but that is pretty much down to the fact that up till now, I’ve been keeping my hair reasonably short, 20’s style, and now it needs to grow, grow, grow, to fit in with the 30’s styles!

But even so, there are curls, pretty similar standard to the photo shoot ones, because, lets face it, thats about as much hair as Sophie had to work with today! If anyone knows of a quick grow formula that I can use for the next 5 weeks (that doesnt cost a ridiculous sum, and actually works) let me know! I also got tips on a good curling/waving tool to buy, and Amazon has already had the order for it, should arrive next week.

Well, alright, its only been highlighted again, but pretty comprehensively, I must say. Mainly because my roots are dark, and my hair is not in perfect condition, so she went down the safest route, for the best look, but I do like, I must say. Whats that, picture, sorry, havent got one yet, but if I do…Fine, I lack the considerable layers of mascara that Harlow used on her eyelashes, for that effect, but no way I could do that myself with the slight tremor in my hands, ah well…Well, I could, but it would probably be a mess if I did!

Other than that, well, I got a pay out on the Grand National, first time in a few years. Even then, only because someone put the bet on online for me, with a firm paying 6 places (instead of the normal 4), and my horse came 6th! A small profit, but no plans to bet again till next year, all the same.

Well, I wouldnt say summer has arrived yet, but spring is doing its best to warm things up a little, was quite pleasant out today, I must say. Me, just over 5 weeks, and I hope summer has arrived early, for my holiday in Jersey.

Right, the video, something very 30’s! Only thing is, the song was written in the 90’s. I cant say I know a lot about Postmodern Jukebox, but I love their style! Would love to see them live, thats for sure.

Blonde on blonde

Though ironically given the title, the video isnt a Bob Dylan one! Its by me (highlighted blonde, for now), about a famous platinum blonde that I’m supposed to look like, a highly flattering matter. The video is by another blonde as well lol! Who? You’ll find out shortly. Well, or you can just hop to the bottom of the blog, but…

A while back, just before the whole ‘You look like Jean Harlow’ thing took off, I was planning on a change of colour the next time I got it done, probably chocolate brown, which I’m told would be the actual colour of Louise Brooks’s hair, if they weren’t all in black and white! And keep the bob, as it is at present, even if I cant get her fringe! There is actually a woman who gets the same train at Huddersfield (if I get the 7.57 in, or the 5.26 home) who has got the style perfectly, and who, in all honesty, looks quite a lot like Louise too. Yes, I’m jealous, but…

Hey, I know, I shouldnt complain, looking like Jean Harlow is hardly a sufferance, lets face it! And yes, fine, I’m more than happy to go along with it. So, next Thursday sees a change in style (more 30’s look), and a change in blondeness, as I’m getting it coloured, not just highlighted this time around. Judging by the styles of that decade, I need to get some curling tongs, or a wave wand, or something pretty soon! At least the 30’s look doesnt need such a forward fringe, phew!

However, there are some aspects of Harlow that I wont be following up on. Firstly, the known fact that Jean espoused the wearing of both bras, and panties in her adult life. That might be fine if you’re 5′ 1″ tall, have small, perky breasts, but if you’re 5′ 11″, and your boobs are a bit more developed, nope! As for the panties thing, she claimed she liked to keep her ‘bits’ fresh, and nothing more, but some of what I’ve read makes me suspect it was more for easy access, if a man was around! There are rumours (nothing more) of at least 2, maybe 3 abortions, but nothing concrete, so I’ll offer her the benefit of the doubt on that one. Mind, there wasnt any birth control pills back then, so…

Its also fair to say that Jean drunk considerably more than me, but that isnt hard, my alcohol intake in a year wouldnt make any company rich! Not sure if coffee truly is a better addiction, but…

But none of those are the biggest no-no’s though! Do you know how she got her hair such a platinum blonde colour? Bleach, on the hair, seriously! Its why, even with her short life, her hair was falling out before she died. OK, the kidney failure may not have helped her hair either, but the bleach would have been the main culprit. Thanks for modern colouring methods I say, though I’m planning on being a softer blonde than her, anyway.

But other than those ‘little issues’, I’m more than happy to carry on ‘being Baby’, I must say. I promise, if I can get a picture of me, with my hair, 30’s style, all blonde, I’ll post it here!

Right, the video, as I say, another Blondie, quite literally

Debbie was clearly ahead of her time, talking about pocket computers, when you think what mobile phones can do nowadays!

The delights of social media

Yes, I’m old enough to remember a sweet time, when Facebook and the like wasnt even dreamt up, and the only friends you had were actually in your social circle in real life. Nowadays I’m sure we all have numerous friends on places like Facebook that we’ve never met, and in all probability, never will. Hey, I know I’ve got my fair share of them, thats for sure.

But anyway, despite eventually succumbing to the charms of Facebook at my previous workplace, I didnt get involved anywhere else. To be honest, the only reason I’ve really stuck with Facebook is for a few groups I’m a member of, mainly relating to Irish cricket. Beyond that, and nowadays, OMD related pages too, I dont post there much, beyond using it to advertise the blogs in a (seemingly vain) attempt to boost visit numbers to here.

Its OK, and I go there far too often than is good, but…its as far as I went…Until now!

To those who have been around a while, you will remember I had a photo shoot session last year, with a lovely group called Cocoture, a few pictures from which have been posted here. So fine, they are now looking for a face of Coco, and I decided to give it a go. No, under the circumstances, I dont expect to be selected, but you never know, stranger things happen! But to enter, you had to post a picture, in a specific way, and when I tried, I kept getting error messages. Now, despite being blonde, I suspected I knew why, there seemed to be a Twitter connection to the place they were holding it, and yes, I wasnt a member. So, I signed up for Twitter, heaven help me, and it worked!

Oh, if you want to vote for me, go to https://www.facebook.com/Finestportraits?sk=app_451684954848385&brandloc=DISABLE&app_data=dlt-1 and vote for the blonde doing the Jean Harlow look, I need all the votes I can get!

So far I’m showing moderate enthusiasm for the place, and have posted 4 ‘Tweets’ there since last night, but how long it all lasts, not quite sure? Ironically, at the time I finally succumb to the place, it seems the need for story advertising is dying off, but I might write more in the future, and then…?

Oh, my tag, or whatever they call it? @Harleanlook. I thought I might as well play up the whole Jean Harlow lookalike thing, without taking it too far. Besides which, Stevienicks was gone, I suspect the singer has that one, and Stevie Nicholls was gone too. So, having fun…if you want to follow, feel free to do so, make me feel good about the whole Twitter thing!

Hopefully thats it though, I’m too old for all this young, trendy stuff!

Talking of all that, the video relates to a wonderfully old fashioned method of sending messages, probably used in the good old days of the 20’s and 30’s! I selected this video, rather than the official one, for one good reason, Martin Cooper is in it. For some reason, he wasnt in the original one. I’ve heard it was because he was working on a soundtrack at the time, but dont quote me on that. And yes, Martin is my favourite in the group, so! 😛