Category Archives: 30’s Music

The Acting Capital Of The World?

I’ll be honest, when I think of the echelon of places to act, my first thoughts turn to Hollywood. No idea why, because I’ve never made a proper movie of any kind, and in terms of theater royalty, Broadway, or Leicester Square should rank higher for me? Not that I have ever got even vaguely close to acting at any of those places either, to be honest.

Me, look at small theaters, village, or school halls would have been places where I was far more likely to perform, lets face it. Then tonight, I was watching something on TV, where the actors involved said that in fact, the acting capital of the world, for them, was Stratford Upon Avon.

I suppose if you’re a classical actor of some note (they are), then I can see the logic of that, given the whole Shakespeare thing, and all. As far as I can remember, I’ve only acted in one piece by Shakespeare (that Scottish play), and amusingly, and probably aptly, with foresight, I played a witch! Let me add, it was being done by a boys Grammar school, so apart from a few main parts, for which we borrowed girls from their grammar school across the road, we were expected to play all the parts. So, with hindsight, probably my first main female role!

Now, if I told you that the first movie capital of the world wasnt Hollywood, wasnt even on the West Coast, would you believe me? Yes, the movie industry was created in, and around the New York/New Jersey area in fact! But the winters made filming tricky, and when they heard about the all year round warmth in California, then history was created! It was really late into the 1920’s before Hollywood began to dominate the scene.

So where, readers, would you say was the acting capital of the world? I still say my vote goes for Hollywood, but thats probably that 30’s chorus girl/movie actress buried within me. No, I dont really expect anyone to answer here (rare that anyone does), but just think about it, for me, OK?

OK, video time. So my vote goes for Hollywood anyway, and besides which, I couldnt think of an apt song that links to Stratford in any way. I did think of using Shakespeare’s Sister, but seriously…? Anyway, fine, this seems apt, as its what the modern day chorus girl would probably be doing nowadays, shows on cruise ships, and the like.


A Need To Dress Modestly

So fine, lets go from the sublime to the ridiculous! Last posting, I was suggesting going full flapper for an evening, probably showing some leg, and even in all likelihood, some knees too. Fine at 20, but at 60, should a lady be more modest in her style? Which leads on to this…

In truth, I couldnt afford to buy clothes at Marks And Spencer, way beyond my budget, and in truth, was even before I had to cut back to a 4 day week! So no, until I saw this article today, I didnt even know they had what they call a ‘Modest Clothing’ section nowadays. Would be great for me, if I could afford any of it, but seemingly, for others, the title seems to be an issue.

Maybe I’m too easy going, and open minded, but I dont see the issue with it, and to say that means that everything else is immodest is just plain crazy. But fine, there are some crazies about, so…? Personally, in the middle of British winter, I appreciate clothing that covers my wrists, and ankles, it helps to keep me warm! I cant vaguely imagine in this country (other than in certain religious groups, maybe?) that people who want to wear respectable, but not figure hiding clothing shouldnt be free to do so, they should be! And lets face it there is a whole difference between dressing like that, and not dressing modestly, in my opinion at least.

I know, maybe in ‘everyday’ mode, I am fairly modest in my clothing looks. Probably comes from my nature, and more so, my age, and also the desire to look neat, and pretty (well, as much as I can!) in what I wear. Oh lets make no bones about it darlings, in my time, I’ve worn short skirts, I’ve worn leather numerous times, and even latex on occasion. Thats all before you start on what I’ve worn when acting, and some of those outfits were definitely weird! No, not saying, not without a huge bribe lol!

Lets be fair, this line isnt aimed at youngsters, and twenty somethings, is it? Lets be honest, Marks and Spencers works to a more mature, generally reasonably wealthy market, and they are probably more modest in look!

So no, sorry, most of their target market wont see it as regressive and wrong, lets face it. And no, modest ladies, please dont take this as an opportunity to say that Ann Summers (and the like) clothing makes women look tarty, because then we’re just as bad as the people complaining about this. Each to their own, I say.

Me, generally I verge on modest, but I do have my moments, boop, boop a doo! Short flapper dress, anyone, for me to wear? 😉 Think I’ll pass on latex clothing nowadays lol!

OK, a video treat tonight, in more senses than one. Who used to wear less than modest clothing in Hollywood? Why the chorus line dancers, of course! And who was one of those, why, Clara Elaine Johnson. Tonight’s piece is actually from Strike Me Pink, one of her 2 credited films, this one as a Goldwyn Girl. Oh, and the girl, with Cantor, at 4:13 on this video, well…? 😉 Yes, Clara is definitely less than modestly dressed lol!

Shuffle off with Buffalo

Back when the NFL first hit the TV screens over here, in the mid 80’s, it seemed that everyone had to choose a team to support, if you cared for the game at all, and fine, I got hooked on it. However, being perverse, and awkward as I was, and indeed still am, I decided not to pick one of the popular, highly successful teams. Oh no, I decided to attach my limited fandom to a team who were pretty awful, named the Buffalo Bills. As any NFL historian will tell you, that was pretty handy timing. One season after that, the rival USFL league collapsed, the modern day irony relating to that being, that one of the men whose greed brought it down into bankruptcy, was a certain Donald Trump! Definitely not the last time the words, Trump, and bankruptcy have gone together lol!

What that meant was, that a quarterback named Jim Kelly finally signed with the NFL team that had drafted him, the Buffalo Bills. So, all of a sudden, I was supporting a successful team, who went to 4 Superbowls in rapid time, even if they didnt win any! Of course, eventually father time caught up with him, he retired, and Buffalo rapidly slipped back into anonymity again. They are in fact, currently the team who has gone longest since making the play offs. But this year…

There is 3 weeks to go in the season, and they are in a playoff position! In fact, in theory they could still win the division, but they would have to win their last 3 games, the Patriots lose their last 3 games, so not going to happen! But yes, this late in the season, and still in with a chance of making a playoff place, great stuff.

Oh fine, if you believe some of the Forum idiots, they wouldnt be happy until Buffalo had won 25 Superbowls in a row, and might even complain then…Yes, some people are just crazy. And sadly, from what I’ve read from some of them, some are very racist too, ah well…rolls eyes…I’m not!

No, they arent yet guaranteed a playoff place, but its closer than its been in a while. Well…?

Oh, and before anyone says anything about me, and underdogs, and mentions the Dodgers, they are the one exception to the rule. And thats because of the locality, nothing more! 😛

Right, video time. Big clue in the title, as is so often the case with me. This is the 30’s film version, and I do wonder if one of the ladies you briefly see the face of, could be Clara Johnson? Short of trying to stop the film on every shot, compare pictures, and…the likelihood is probably no, anyway!

Night or Day?

Well yes, we are now into December, and indeed 3 weeks today, as Slade said, and you will probably hear again this year, ‘It’s Christmas!’.

Last year, I missed out on the works Christmas Dinner for the first time in 7 years, because I wasnt working! Yes, those William Hill dinners were fun, even if someone I knew got far too drunk every year, and that was before the meal even got started. His choice of outfits were, err, interesting too! Love you Andy, really I do! No, not in that sense, heaven forbid!

What I used to do, because these were midweek, and I’d be working the next day, was stay in a (relatively cheap) hotel in Leeds overnight, and then go to work direct from there the next morning. No, I’m not a big drinker, so it never bothered me covering for those who wanted to celebrate a little more! Mind, even if it had been a Saturday night, I could well have been working the next day, anyway! The other advantage of staying at a hotel was that I could get dressed up after work, once I got there, not have to be dressed up all day.

So anyway, next Saturday is my new job’s Christmas Dinner, though this is a departmental thing, not a building one, as far as I know. Yes, a working day, but no point in booking a hotel, as Sunday is most definitely not a working day at our place. But yes, it means I’ve got a choice to make. Do I just wear a nice top, slacks, as I would do anyway, or do I get dressed up for a working day? No, definitely not wearing high heels lol! 😛

Probably going to go with the dress, though unless it warms up considerably, it wont be a thin, short one, or one that reveals any glimpse of leg! So probably the black lacy one, but we will see. Yes, this one

Me in lacy dress

Not the greatest shot of it, but the only one I’ve got, so… Yes, I’ll definitely wear a coat over the top when I go over the road to buy lunch! Mind, this time of the year, I need to, anyway!

Oh, and for those of you who might complain about government spending, we pay for ourselves!

Dont worry, I’m sure I will bore you with Christmas songs over the next few weeks, but I’ll let you off tonight. Now, if I only had a dress like Ginger’s…and a fraction of her dancing skills!

You ought to be in pictures

Yes, I did mention there were a couple of reasons why I had to do the Thanksgiving posting a day early, so without remiss, lets get to them.

Firstly, and I’ll keep this brief, because he will hate the mention, I need to briefly say thank you to someone whose 76th birthday it was today. He’ll know who he is, and a few special friends will as well, and lets leave it at that. Other than to say that without him, there’s a fair chance I wouldnt be here today writing this. So thank you so much, special friend.

Secondly, and in far more lengthy form, the tale of 24th November, 2014, the only one of his birthdays that I’ve missed in 12 years. Maybe even more, but definitely at least 12. It had always been my dream to be in the US for one of the big events, and Thanksgiving, for me at least, was always the most special one. So when, in November 2013, someone offered me the chance to be there the next year, for Thanksgiving, I wasnt going to say no! Unfortunately, if I was going to do my standard Saturday to Saturday thing, it meant being away for his birthday, which was going to be on the Monday. He told me to go, when I asked him about it, so I did! Had a wonderful time, as I mentioned last night, but in truth, this isnt about Thanksgiving Day, this is about the 24th November.

That morning, 2 years ago, I had my first experience of Greyhound buses, from Albany, to Worcester. Yes, unexciting enough coach journey, though the gentleman I was meeting there, and I had fun connecting with each other there, because apart from pictures, we had no idea what each other looked like, and neither of us knew the Worcester transit centre at all! But in good time, we tracked each other down, and headed north into New Hampshire.

After the usual niceties, I sat back in the hypnotist’s chair, and he put me into a deep trance, and regressed me. A couple of stages back in my life, then a little bit further, and…a sweet little voice said “Hi!”

(The rest is what I remember vaguely, and what he told me after I’d recovered, so…)

He asked me where, and when I was, and I apparently replied firmly, “1928, Hollywood!”. Now given the whole Jean Harlow look thing, he told me he was thinking, “Oh good grief, is she really…?”, so he asked my name,

“Clara Johnson.” ‘I’ proudly replied.

A few questions about what she did, and yes, she was an actress, though she admitted, only a small part one. One or two personal details later, including her marriage, her daughter, and her early death (smoking related), and he decided to bring me back to this world, and let me remember it all.

So, a lot of “Oh my God’s” from me later, he told me to come over, and look at his computer. Yes, we’d found her on Imdb. Only for one credit, but as was the case, only the stars in the late 20’s, and early 30’s got credited, so… but yes, we knew she was for real. I’ve since managed to find that as well as bit part acting, she did some dancing too, though it seems likely that was chorus line stuff, and no more. I now know the state she was born in, the year she was born, and the year she moved to Los Angeles. Because she married, and the surname changed, I have no way of finding out who she married to, her daughters name, and when she died, and where she was buried. Next September, I might well be back in the area, and maybe we can get Clara to give up a lot more secrets then!

The second delight that day, after I’d sort of recovered from the shock, was to try something more. Playing to my kinks, he ‘injected’ me with nanites (yes, a pen tip), and created Jean Harlow-bot! Seems I sounded like her, and I know that when I looked in the mirror, it was her reflection I saw looking back at me!

After all that, he gave me a trigger to go back to that state, which by now, sadly, I’ve long forgotten. Pretty certain he wont remember it by now, either! But yes, it was incredible to do, when I could remember that trigger!

So yes, its fair to say, in more senses than one, 24th November is always going to be a very precious day for me!

The video, well, you could say it was what Clara did! Maybe one day I will too, though given reality, I suspect that if I ever act again, its going to be a small part in a theater, not in a big Hollywood movie. But, you never know…?

Happy Belated birthday, Ann Veronica Lahiff

So fine, I felt I needed to keep the campaign up, for ‘Nancy Carroll deserves more recognition’, so I’m posting this, a few days late for here.

All totally baffled? Oh fine, apart from classic movie lovers, I’m not surprised. I’d love to think that if I said she’s better known as Nancy Carroll, that a few more might know who I’m talking about, but maybe not? Oh fine, thanks to issues with Paramount/Universal, and making her movies more available, there’s a fair chance you dont know her. Shame, you dont know what you’re missing out on. Oh, yes, technically at least, she was 113 yesterday, though sadly she died in 1965. Not that she’d be likely to be alive now anyway, but 61 was still quite young.

Nancy was a fine actress, singer, and dancer from the very end of silent movies, and the beginning of sound. She did make a few more movies after that, but mainly in small roles. Not to worry folks, because she was plenty busy enough working in theaters, when not living, and doing business around the world. Indeed, the main reason it was discovered she had died, was when she didnt turn up for a performance, and her daughter went and found her dead, in her apartment, a brain aneurism having taken her from this world.

If you believe what the studios said, Nancy didnt help her career, because of temper issues. But fine, if you believed everything put out by the studios…rolls eyes! I’m not saying she was sweet and innocent, she was Irish American, and a redhead, so… But yes, if she was that much of a diva, theaters wouldnt have been rushing to employ her, lets face it!

Me, I’ve only known Nancy myself for a couple of years, but grown to love her in that time. She’s made a fine support actress to Jean, Clara and others in my stories since then, but enough of that. For those she can mainly blame the bountiful number of pictures of her dressed as a witch, a cat, and the like! So, how did I discover her? Well, 2 years ago, having discovered the Clara Johnson past life for the first time, I went on a discovery hunt for her. As I have discovered, that was easier said, than done. Found a few pieces of info, but no definite pictures. And thats where Nancy came in! I put the name Clara Johnson in Google images, and found plenty of Clara Bow, who I instantly recognized. But then I found this one, that I didnt recognize, was clearly from that era, and no name.


So was it actually Clara, I asked? No, my hopes were quickly dashed, when I was told that it was Nancy Carroll! But yes, she was cute, and I loved the hat, so I looked into her more, and have been hooked since.

So yes, for yesterday, Happy Birthday, Nancy, or Ann, or Diane, as one reader of this will get that joke! 😉

OK, video time. So lets introduce my readers (if needed) to Nancy Carroll. I think the best way to describe this, is that when sound came creeping in, all sorts of short pieces were put together, to test out the new system. Some were good, some, err, werent! As this is the only bit I’ve seen of this session, I have no idea how good the rest of it was. But yes, the singer, and dancer, is Nancy Carroll, and fine, let me imagine that one of those chorus line dancers could just be Clara Johnson!

Trying something old, something new. Nothing borrowed, or blue

Well, today, I’d sort of had plans to go to the rugby league, over Keighley, but I never made it, thanks to the weather. Most of the morning was wet, part of the afternoon was too, and in between, it was grey, and miserable, so I never bothered. I might regret it, it probably was my best chance this year, but anyway…this early in the season, and all that. Hopefully I can get in some cricket at least, somewhere, when its a bit warmer.

So fine, its enabled me to catch up on things of a writing nature instead. I have a friend over on Twitter (well, contact at least) who runs excellent blogathons on movies of the distant past, usually silent ones, which given her handle of @movies silently is a bit of a give away! I’ve often read them, but never taken part, mainly due to work, and commitments. Well, as I havent got those at present, I volunteered to do one for her next series, which is all about short movies.

Did you know, before she became famous, Jean Harlow worked in a series of small, uncredited parts? Probably not, but she did. Some of those (including the one I’m going to mention), she quickly got added to the credits once she became famous, others she didnt.

Probably the most famous of those bit parts, was in a movie with Laurel and Hardy, called Double Whoopee. Possibly famous, because Jean (with Stan’s help) manages to lose most of her dress in this, and reveal plenty of leg! So despite my friend having reviewed it expertly recently, in a recent readers request thing (yes, it was my request), it was the one she suggested I tackle.

Her expert review can be found at

So, I couldnt compete with that, so I had to do something new with it, and have! I’ve taken a look at the movie from the eyes of Jean Harlow, and what happened during the movie, and afterwards. You can find the movie on You Tube, both the full 20 minutes, and just the section with Jean in, if thats what you prefer?

In addition to this, after far too long, I’ve started work on a new story. First 3 chapters are written, of about 10, I would guess. If you’ve ever read, or seen the movie of ‘A Christmas Carol’, you have an idea of how things play out, though not exactly the same as events in that story, all the same. I’m guessing it will be a few weeks before I release it to the public, especially given the holiday, but it will depend how the writing goes, and how busy my poor editor is.

But sometime soon…

I thought long and hard about a video, and then I thought of this. Were these 2 gentlemen involved in Jean’s big break? Who knows?

Born on the 4th of July?

Well, given what an America lover I am, what did you expect today?

Happy birthday, USA, and all that.

No, I’ve never been in the US on this day, maybe some day I will, but while I’m working, taking time off in July is a bit more challenging than many times in the year, so it might have to wait a while. Lets face it, every other year, it coincides with some soccer tournament or the other, which would limit chances even more!

But yes, Thanksgiving is a lot more precious to me, and that I’m looking forward to being the right side of the pond for, later this year.

I think its fair to say that we have no idea what that date in 1776 was like. We can do reconstructions, but mentally, we can have no idea how the US residents of those days felt about the occasion back then, apart from being delighted to be freed from Great Britain. Equally, if any of them could see the US of today, could they ever believe what they saw? Of course not, lets face it, if you’d told me back in the 70’s, or 80’s what the world would be like today, I’d have laughed at you, and I mean the 1970’s!

Hard to believe, 10 weeks tomorrow, I will be there!

Oh, the video, yes, the obvious one, Jimmy Cagney at his best, as a dancer. A touch of Rooney, and Garland too, just for good measure.

A Real 30’s night

As some might already know, if you read these blogs regularly, I’m off to a concert in Manchester next month. I know, I know, most go to these things quite often, but I’m not most, in more senses than one! Last year for OMD was certainly the first for about 12 years, but now I’m going wild, going to another the year after lol! But this time, being absolutely radical, its not a group from the past, its a group around now, though the sounds they produce make it sound like they’re from the past, Postmodern Jukebox.

Please, dont ask me how I found them, because now, being a good blonde, I cant remember. I suspect someone posted something of theirs on a forum, or Facebook, or something, and I was hooked, unsurprisingly. But even then, me actually going to a concert, I know…To be honest, I was assuming they would just be a You Tube phenomenon, but then they announced a concert tour, including the UK, including Manchester! So fine, at £10 a ticket, oh why not? Of course, by the time I’ve paid the rail fare, and everything else, it costs more, but what the hell, its not often I get in at the start of a group hitting fame, so…I went ahead, and bought a ticket. It seems I wasn’t the only one, because a few days later the show was moved from a small place down town, to a larger place, a bit further out from the centre!

Of course one thing appealed to me on the invite, the advice to

Come visit the Postmodern Jukebox universe (preferably, while wearing your best vintage clothes)!

appealed to me no end. No, unless I have struck very lucky in my charity shop buys, I dont own any actual vintage clothes, but I have a number of items that are definitely vintage in style, both blouses/tops, and dresses. So they would qualify, I guess? I doubt most would notice the difference anyway!

No, in all honesty, given that as things stand, I’m going, and returning by train, the chances of me wearing a vintage style dress are slim, to say the least, given its the night that England play Italy in the World Cup, and I’m sure there will be some idiots about, over imbibing on alcohol, and however much I pass, a Trans woman, in a dress late on Saturday, when drunk, might be seen in a bad way? I know, maybe not, but I dont think I want to take the chance, not solo at least. But I can always take the lead of my favourite 30’s lady, Jean Harlow, and go with the blouse (vintage style) and slacks look. Yes, I know she was seen in gowns, but generally, of her own choice, she preferred the casual look, so I could do the same?

However, if any of my readers are going to this concert, or know of anyone in the Huddersfield area going to the concert, with a spare car seat, then I could really doll up! My rail fare would be just over £12, so I’m more than happy to match that in petrol/parking money. Hey, maybe even a little more, as it gives me dress flexibility, and also I wont need a taxi home from town when I get back.

And before anyone wonders, yes, I’m making an effort for the big day (more expense lol) having booked up for a make up session for that day, and to get my hair styled, both in a 30’s fashion. So I might still be trans, but I should be quite glam! So if anyone wants to make my day, by allowing me to safely wear a dress, oh please do! Email at, if you want to contact me. I will be buying a rail ticket in advance (to reserve a seat going), but not for about a fortnight yet. So…

Yes, Abby will be doing my make up, though I’ve already told her that I dont need ‘those’ Harlow eyebrows that could scare anyone! The rest of the look though, yes please. I suspect she will be googling the look in the interim somehow. Sophie will be doing my hair, as is the norm, though normally when she sees me, its not just for styling, but that will be, plenty of blonde curls, I hope.

Right, the video, one of the comments claims this is Harlow singing, but I’m treating that with a massive pinch of salt, as far as I know, Jean’s voice was always dubbed for singing, lets just say it wasnt her strong point! Not sure if she played the piano either, but…

So, if anyone knows someone who can aid this damsel in distress, or can do so themselves…let me know!

Boop, boop a doo!

Well, I’ll warn you now, if you’re looking for 500 words of wisdom, wait for the next blog. A bit like a Trans Pennine Express train, it will arrive, err, sometime soon! I could jokingly say that today, and tomorrow are the only days in the year that their trains aren’t late, and thats because there arent any! On the other hand, if you want a picture of ‘the dress’ and a couple of other shots from today, you’re in the right place!

So getting started, at long last, here is a picture of that delicious pink, flapper style dress, complete with bared knees.

flapper dress 2

Next, a picture of a wonderful present, a necklace that is absolutely gorgeous, and fits in with the look

necklace close up

Yes, as you might quickly spot, this was taken before I changed, and I’m wearing a ‘most expensive’ grey/silver dress, which is lovely to look at, and equally nice to wear. I’m kidding about the cost, its one of my charity shop specials, and did not cost a fortune! A full length shot of it next

full length grey dress

My thanks to Nicole Woodhouse for taking the photos for me.

And seriously, thats it, holidays over, back to work tomorrow morning! I still havent made the final call, tempted to wear a dress to work, possibly the grey/silver one here, though I would have to wear a top underneath, to fit in with dress regulations re bare shoulders. I do have a couple of other dresses I might wear, the blue one being the favourite, as its the warmest one I’ve got. Equally, I might just go for blouse and skirt, I’ll make the final call on that later, or in the morning. Heels for definite, either way.

Handy, isnt it, having a taxi to and from work lol, I can be a little rebel, wont have far to walk outside!

What else can I say, a wonderful day, a wonderful meal at lunchtime about sums it up.

The video, well, the song is actually from the 30’s, but sums up things so wonderfully