Yes, let me say I was saddened greatly by the news that came out of Finsbury Park in the last couple of days, in a similar way to how I felt after the London Bridge incident, before anyone points out that I didnt comment on that. Sadly, when I only have time to do 2 blogs a week, and other things do happen in my life, some things get thought about, but not mentioned here, and that was one of them. Add in the Tower block fire last week, and London isnt having a good time of late, lets face it.
Equally, can I say that I wasnt entirely surprised when that horrific incident in Finsbury Park happened, because I wasnt. Such is political, and religious extremism at the far end of the spectrum of late, that no, I wasnt surprised when a white supremacist type decided to take a stand for himself over the matter. Thankfully, both sets of incident are few, and far between (very much so, in fact), but the press, and TV tend to over focus when they do. When parades of thousands of Muslims, protesting against terrorism happen, they have a tendency to ignore, as it just doesnt suit the underlying tendencies of too many in power, trying to scare people nowadays, lets face it.
I only hope that this can be it, that people can see sense, and we have no more retaliation, from either side. I know, as John Lennon said, ‘You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one’, at least I hope I’m not. Unfortunately, the people I’m appealing to with this piece are probably the ones least likely to read this, but I can hope that in some way, the message can get out. Yes, I know, I’m a very liberal type, but I think that most people, with a cool head would be able to see that just continuing the violence isnt a great idea, from either side.
So all I am saying, to quote another Lennon song, is to ‘Give peace a chance’, please. And yes, let me add that if there was a way I could wear a burqa/burka (I’ve seen it spelt both ways) in support of my Muslim friends, without it being religiously offensive, I’d happily do so. I dont deny it, I’ve seen women wearing it in Bradford a number of times, and wondered what it was like. But no, I dont want to offend anyone, all the same. But if the chance arose…?
Right, the video. No John Lennon, no Dusty Springfield, which a few might have thought of, from the blog title. Instead, a live Police classic from 2008!
Some watchful people may have noticed I didnt actually comment on the election in the build up to it, and there was a good reason for that. Nowadays, as a civil servant, I have to be strictly neutral on all matters during that period, but thankfully, now its over…
In truth, I’m still not going to comment on my views of the political parties, simply because I feel its only a matter of time before we ‘party’ like 1974, and have a second attempt. Yes, I’m old enough to remember the last time it happened, even if I wasnt old enough to vote at that point. It was May 1979, and the first Thatcher win, before I could cast my vote in one.
I’m sure when Theresa May decided to call this snap election, she thought that winning it was going to be a case of just turning up, taking the plaudits, and that would be it. I bet she thinks differently now lol! Ironically, that may have been her main problem, she assumed she was just going to win it regardless, and really didnt make much effort to inspire the voters, because she didnt think she needed to! Meanwhile, Corbyn decided to make a bit more effort, and some appreciated that, and yes, fine, the rest is history by now!
There is actually a case for saying that despite an awful campaign, she still won the vote, got the most seats, but fine, its not what she, or the Conservatives were expecting, shall we say? In truth, my main issue with events since then, is her desperate attempt to cling to power, by coming to an agreement with the DUP of Northern Ireland, who are, shall we diplomatically put it, not fans of LGBT folk, like me! I doubt they will have enough power to influence the UK situation as a whole, but yes, its not going to help LGBT people in Northern Ireland in the slightest, not good.
So its all a mess, and I’m sure its only a matter of time before it all falls apart, and Election 2 is called, but…Polls are now showing Labour ahead! I suspect part of this is the LGBT issue, and the DUP, and another part is the arrogant way that May has continued to behave since Thursday night. Not that I’m a fan of either major party, but…Also, there is the matter of the Liberal Democrats leader showing definite homophobic tendencies (on a claimed religious basis), and where do we go?
But yes, I suspect now, if you offered Theresa May the choice of an election, or not, knowing what we know now, she might decide otherwise!
Fine, before we party like 1974…the video. What the Conservatives might be thinking, right now…
No, not a real blog, just something I wanted to post for obvious reasons, and cant do justice on the day, as I will be working.
Today marks the 80th anniversary of the date in 1937 when Jean Harlow last lived on this planet, and obviously I want to remember it.
Despite all the stories, and there are plenty, she died of kidney failure, and back then in 1937, there wasnt a thing that could be done. 10 years later, early dialysis, and transplants might have saved her, but that at that point, was not possible.
Oh, the other story that needs quashing, her mother did arrange medical staff to look after her, there was just nothing they could do.
Rest in peace, Baby, as you’ve done for 80 years now
One thing about working in an office, where there are 5 teams in a department, is the knowledge that you might not always be in the same team, forever. its certainly happened in both my previous jobs up here, and now, seemingly its going to happen again. Same role, same hours, just a different team leader.
In a way, it makes perfect sense, I’m now going to be in the team of the team leader who works every Saturday, like me, so there wont be weeks when I’m sat all on my own any more, though to be fair, said team leader was sat right behind me, and besides, it never really bothered me anyway. I know, I dont let much bother me, but anyway…Its equally fair to say that my current team leader is sorry to lose me, though I suspect thats as much down to my ‘entertaining’ calls, as anything else. Who, me? Flirt with customers? No, not really, though fine, I do maybe use my feminine wiles to get round them at times lol!
As to the swap, no, I get on fine with both of them, so no issue to me, either way. But fine, I could live without all the fuss of changing desks, and everything, as you then have to do all the ‘health and safety’ stuff again when you change desks, but never mind… Other than that, I’ll just carry on, as before, and…
Oh fine, I might enjoy it more if it was a literal transfer of affection, but more of that when I get to the video, but fine, I’m probably the only one changing teams that would enjoy that sort of thing. Still, if they want to arrange for it to be done like that, just for me… 😉 In fact, in some ways, the video is a little tame for what I’d fancy, but besides all that…
I just wonder how many more transfers of affection I might have before probable retirement, in just about 7 years time, lol? Who knows, I might even be one of the team leaders by then? Not that I’m very ambitious, but all the same…? Still, if someone wants to ‘make me’ more ambitious, I might not say no!
Right, video time. Oh fine, you can tell this is from the 80’s, from the outfits the group are wearing, not even allowing for those rather cute space suits! Who, me, fancy wearing any of those, you bet! I have no idea why this wasnt a bigger hit over here in the UK, but besides all that…Yes, I’d love to know what was actually being done to her mind! 😀
Or in a non derogatory sense, its back on the chain gang. Which gives away the video at least. No, its not that bad really, but its still going to be a culture shock after all this time. The longest period of time that I can actually remember having off previously, and then gone back to the same job, would be an extended fortnight, back in 1987, which was my first ever trip to the US. Extended only in the sense that we flew out on the Saturday, so it would have been 2 weeks, plus 1 working day. This time around, its going to be 2 days short of 3 weeks! Wow!
The main difference though is going to be the situation when I get back to work. Back in 1987, working in a betting shop, there were no emails to return to, let alone the several hundred that will be waiting for me when I get back tomorrow. Mainly because back then, there were no such thing as work emails, of course! Now, 30 years on, we live by our work emails lol! Oh, and back then, the only ‘computer’ I had to help me with my work might have been a very primitive settling machine, though I’m not convinced we had them that far back, but as I cant remember the exact date we did, lets roll with that, certainly nothing more, if we even had that.
Oh, and back then, you needed to get an actual visa to go to the US, unlike today. I know, you still have to get approval to go there, but you do it all online, not sending off passports in the post, and hoping you got it back, care of the Post Office!
So yes, despite the fact that I will be doing exactly the same job tomorrow, as I was doing before I went on holiday, its going to take a bit of time to get back in the groove. Even more so, given that we started using a new call system on my last day at work, before my holiday. But yes, get there I must!
So yes, it will be interesting to get ‘back on the chain gang’ tomorrow, though there are certainly a few faces I’m looking forward to seeing again, I must say. But yes, I will be out of practice, and I just hope it all sticks in my head. Mind, if they needed to ‘download’ all that information into my mind again, it might be fun! Fine, you might hear at the weekend, if I have nothing better to write on Sunday, at least.
Fine, I’ve given enough clues to the video, so lets just get it posted up!
So this is it, the last blog from LA for a considerable period of time at least, if ever again. I know, I could come back again, and may even need to come back again sooner than that, but being practical, I have many other places to see, some for the first time, some for repeat visits, so its going to be a while, if ever again. And yes, at my age, with the distance involved, and I’m sure the deterioration of my physical health, which is far from perfect even now, I’m sure I wont be able to do as much then, as I can now, anyway. I’m already suspecting that delights like walking up the long hill at Forest Lawn might be beyond me by then at least, but we will see.
To be fair, if you’d told me back in October ’15, that my next holiday would be back here, I would have laughed at you, but its happened. I guess I just wanted to show this city that I’d battled through everything that life had thrown at me, and got here again. But now thats done…?
In some ways today has been a light day, I havent actually left Hollywood. However, I spent a lot of the day on my feet, walking, so maybe not as light as all that? It was actually interesting going on a guided walking tour of Hollywood, where I knew the guide! I know, end of holiday, but in truth, it didnt matter, as I got to visit lots of old buildings that I’d never have got into myself. Oh fine, the one that amused me the most, has to be Musso and Frank’s! Yes, I finally got to go in there, if only for coffee, but at least I now know what it actually looks like from the inside. Of course, for works of fiction, thats a mere technicality, but at least I’ve made it there now. Yes, its every bit as impressive as I’d been led to believe. So if I ever want to use it in a story again lol…?
The other thing I’d already decided was where my last big meal in town would be, and though its not bargain basement, its cheaper than that legendary place. So I settled for the 50’s feel of Mels Diner, for one last time. After that, a couple of final, final goodbyes, at the star, and prints of Jean Harlow, before heading back to base. I do wish there was a star to the uncredited chorus girls/bit part actresses of the world, but no, there isnt, so I just said goodbye to Clara Johnson generally, as I turned off the Boulevard for the last time, on foot at least.
What can I say? You can take a woman out of Yorkshire, but you cant take Yorkshire out of a woman? Yes, I stopped off at a gorgeous, quirky, vintage clothing store on the way back, and saw the most gorgeous, silver flapper dress, really looked the part. Had my size too, but I didnt get it. Why? Because I cant justify spending $65 (plus tax, I’m sure) on a dress I have no idea when, or where I would ever wear it. So yes, I know I’ll regret it, but it stayed in the shop. I could get it in the morning (shop opens at 11, I have to be ready to go at 12.30, and its about 5 minutes walk), but I know I wont.
The only walk I’m planning at present to do in the morning, is a short trip around the block, so that I can walk a little way up Beachwood Drive, looking at the Hollywood sign, one more time. No, I’m not going as far as Verbena though, thats far too far for the short period of time I have left ‘in the sun’ of LA.
Yes, thats it for here. Pretty sure you’ll have to wait until Monday for the next blog, I’ll have too much catching up to do on Sunday for that.
The video. I’m surprised I havent used this Elaine Paige classic before, but seemingly I havent (well, on 1 blog at least), so lets use it now
So yes, its official now, I’m on an extended break, that just happens to include 10 days in an apartment in Hollywood. So yes, planning, and plotting is very much under way. I now at least have 1 definite booking, a walking tour of Hollywood, on my last full day in town. Yes, I know, not the best timing, but its only happening once a month, and yes, its got to be done, as I know the lady acting as the guide, not only through Twitter, which is where I first met her, but also in real life, given we toured the Hollywood Museum together, on my first trip across, just over 2 years ago. Since then she’s got married, become a mother, and yes, I’m proud of her for that.
The Brooks movies mentioned earlier in the week are almost settled, but technically not definite, due to my regular issue with US websites, of that unless you, and more importantly, your credit card have a zip code, they’re impossible to use on their site. So now I cant do anything until after I’ve got there, so just having to hope its not a sell out, as I will be annoyed if it is. Fingers crossed, it is the Egyptian Theater, it is quite large, but… Of course I have no idea if UK websites are equally bad for users outside of the UK, so forgive my grumbles if they are.
I’ve also been trying to work out when Clayton Kershaw will be pitching for the Dodgers while there, based on the 5 pitcher rota teams use. Having pitched last night (a win), and counting forward, it looks like I’m going on the 23rd. But yes, I’ll wait nearer the time, and will probably be an ‘on the day’ purchase at the stadium, though at what I can afford to pay, I’ll be so far from Kershaw that I would see him better on TV lol! Oh, and if anyone could arrange a meet with Vin Scully, I would be thrilled, schoolgirl like!
Talking of which… On my 2 previous trips to LA, I’ve tried both times to get tickets to see Jimmy Kimmel recording his show, with no success. It might be that the people controlling the tickets see a UK address, and dont let me have them accordingly, or I might just have been unlucky? Well, this time, I’ve changed my profile to fit the zip code of my apartment, and applied several times over for both him, and James Corden, so fingers crossed I get to see one of them at least.
Of course, in an ideal world, I’d be the one being interviewed about transgender diversity issues, and trying to get an acting break, but fine, I’ll settle for being part of the audience, I guess? Yes, you never know, but I suspect pigs flying are more likely!
Oh, and finally, I’ve got a lot of the packing done. Probably more dresses than I will possibly need unless something amazing happens, but better safe than sorry. Still got room in the case for more, but mustnt go too mad, as I really shouldnt need more, for 10 days, and I’m sure I will bring more stuff back with me anyway. Green Card, or working visa would be handy lol, but cant see it!
Right, video. This time of year, its pretty fair to say the sun shines most days in LA. Thankfully, the winter was very wet, solved a lot of drought issues, if not all of them. Oh, and I might shine in a TV audience at least. Oh, and how does this guy still look so good?
Now, just for once I’m going to get serious here. I know, I’ll soon get over that, but for better, or worse, thats what some people think will happen with this issue, and to some degree, they’re wrong. In fact to a large degree, but anyway… Oh, in case you were wondering, and I suspect that all readers outside the UK, and some inside the UK wouldnt know, this week is Mental Health Awareness Week.
I’d love to say that my first contact with a Mental Health unit was when I began transitioning, because back in 2004, when that happened, the only way you could start to transition was with a visit to such, and for want of a better term, be declared mentally ill, because you felt you had the body of the wrong gender. Yes, seriously, just 13 years ago! In truth, I have no idea if that rule still stands, and if not, when it was stopped, so please dont ask! Try Google, lol!
I think in hindsight, its not hard to see now, that the serious depression issues I had in the 90’s did relate to the whole transgender issue. No, I didnt know that was it back then, but after that, it hasnt been hard to put two and two together, and actually make four about it! And yes, its far to say that I was still battling depression all the way up until 2010, when I finally took the first real steps to transition, and lived life as I should have done for more than 50 years! I wouldnt say things are perfect, even now, though its pretty much so, all the same. A lot of stress doesnt help, so yes, the 15 months or so without a job didnt help, but I’ve fought back now, hopefully to a good point.
The thing is, for some people, when you talk about mental health issues, they think back to the asylums, and the ‘crazies’ that used to live in those places. For better, for worse, and I generally believe for worse, those places are pretty much gone now. Medications, and treatments are a lot better, but the opportunity for some to just get away from the cruel world, for a short time, or longer, well its fair to say some still need it.
But most issues nowadays come down to depression, stress, and other related illnesses brought on by modern life. Hopefully minor, but sadly some more serious, but yes, they definitely exist. For me, the worst is hopefully in the past, but for others, not so. And yes, I guess I’ve looked into it more than most, mainly since 2004, but I saw some of the other side of it before then. Anyway, one of the related things happening at work, is the instigation of more mental health first aiders at work, and yes, I will be applying for such a role. Its not as a medical position, more of being someone there to aid, and support those who need it, like I needed it in the past, when this sort of role didnt exist.
But let me just say, that trained or otherwise, if you see someone feeling really down, and its safe to do so, talk to them, try to help them if you can, or set them in the right direction to get help, just saying…
I have in the past, tried to bring videos of groups to peoples attention that you might have missed, and tonight is one of them. Not their greatest hit, by any stretch of the imagination, but its apt, in a sense, for tonight.
And yes, if you want an ugly wife, I am available lol! 😛
In the last week or so, I’ve actually got around to starting to look for options, beyond the ones I already knew about, for my trip to LA. Sadly the only thing that the Rooftop Cinema was playing, that was old enough for me to be interested (in other words, early 50’s at the most modern) was already a sell out, so no go. I would say the one modern film I’d love to see, and havent yet, is La La Land, for obvious reasons, and ironically, thats playing there the weekend that I come back to the UK. But fine, it was sold out already, anyway!
So, play Plan B, which I probably would have looked at anyway, which is the Egyptian Theater. Bit further away from where I’m staying, but still only about a 20 minute walk, and…oh joy! My only Saturday evening in town, not only is there 1 movie there that I would love to see, but 2! And all for 1 price!
These wont be the first Brooks films I’ve seen on a big screen, Pandoras Box, in Leeds, was the first. And now I get the chance to see 2 of the 3 next most famous Brooks movies (Prix De Beaute would be the other for me) in Hollywood, in a historical setting! Fine, I’ll advertise it too much, and it will be a sell out, and …No, sadly I’ve failed to find any Harlow movie being shown on a big screen in town, while there. If anyone knows differently, second half of May?
I did think about taking a flapper style dress with me, and trying to find a black bob wig, but in truth, these 2 movies are pretty removed from Brooks, and the flapper look. One is a pretty dark movie, the other has Brooks trying to look like a boy, so…Besides, I’m not sure my knees should be seen in public!
But yes, I have now got 1 definite date on my holiday calendar lol! There are numerous things I will do at some point, but no planned date yet, including Dodgers baseball!
No, I havent gone for the obvious OMD, Louise Brooks video here, which might surprise some. And in truth, this is more 30’s, than 20’s, but fine, its catchy, and when I might get to use it, if not now…?
I must admit that when one of the big bosses called me into an office on Friday, my mind tried to work out what I could possibly have done wrong? Even more confusing when she invited one of the guys in at the same time, especially as he was acting as a team leader at the time. Oh fine, before anyone worries, I’d done nothing wrong!
I had noticed a couple of people from our department spending some time in another department on our floor, which deals with certain cases when they come in. Yes, they are called initial action, for the obvious reason, and why the video link for this was so easy to choose!
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I was asked if I fancied some training/shadowing time over in that department, and I couldnt say yes quickly enough. It will be interesting to see another department in action, especially one that deals with figures a lot of the time. Yes, mathematics, and figures have always been a love of mine, and I dont mean the hourglass figure I’d love to have lol! The latter, well if I could miraculously develop one in the next 3 weeks, might be handy! Or even by September, as I know a couple of ladies over in the US who would love to see me happily married, and living over there. But anyway…
So I’ve got a day on the phones tomorrow, as per normal, then the rest of the week, seeing how another department does its thing. Yes, starting Tuesday, so dont expect another blog before Saturday, though you might be lucky, as I will be working 10-6, instead of 11-7, but dont hold your breath! No idea, if its 1 week, or 2 at present, so watch this space for info on that. Why not the start of the week, because the lady I will be sitting with does a special task on a Monday, and because last Monday was a Bank holiday…you get my drift, she wont need me around that day!
Funnily enough, over here, next Monday is a Bank holiday too! So now I’ve ended up with a long weekend there, though I’m assuming that if I’m still on this secondment, I might be in on the Tuesday again, which will be weird! If it does, it means yesterday was my last Saturday working until June!
So yes, looking forward to learning something new, and the chance to discover if a department that I think would appeal to me to work in, really is that! Wish me luck!
Right, video time. Not one of Bucks Fizz’s bigger hits, but I liked it all the same!