Its funny to think, in the week when I reach 60, that as little as 8 years ago, if I’d been off this week (and fine, I probably wouldnt have been, in that case), I’d be retiring from work this week, and drawing my state pension. Yes, up to April 2010, women retired at 60, wow! Since then, much to the annoyance of those affected by it, the pension age for women has risen to 65, to match men, and in the next couple of years, will actually go up to 66, the age I will get to retire at. Dont get me wrong, something had to be done, as everyone (well, most people) seem to live longer now, so this was sort of inevitable.
One of the amusing challenges I have to look forward to, or think about in that case, is one of my occupational pensions! Yes, William Hill, round 2 (there have been 3 rounds in all), between 1985 (2 years after starting there) until I left in 1999, I was paying into an occupational pension scheme with them. And actually, that was drawable, even for a man back then, at the age of 63! And I guess if I’d worked there now, for 33 years, with 3 to go, it would be quite a decent sum! But no, it was about 14 years, so not a fortune (I’m guessing about £3000 – 4000 pa, from what I can remember of last salary), but better than nothing.
The thing is, since then, I’ve changed gender, I’ve changed name twice, and though ‘theoretically’ I’ve got the deed polls to cover that, I’m not sure how easy they would be to find? National Insurance number hasnt changed though, and at least one of those names was used on William Hill, round 3, so who knows how complex that would be? Still, something to think about in the next 3 years or so, for sure. Not a fortune, but given the state of my body, a top up to wages like that might be handy? And where I’d start, 22 years after leaving, no idea? Anyway, something to consider, I guess?
Its funny to think what I’ve packed into my first 60 years, though yes, the transition stands out as my proudest moment by far. Maybe one day, I’ll even brave the surgery, and get everything done, though as I’m not one for surgery now, for the sake of it, I cant see it, unless the need really arises to get ‘my bits bobbed’ as such.
Its funny though. I’ve written, I’ve acted, but in neither case, anything I’m likely to be remembered for. Well, up to now at least, anyway! Still a few years to go, hopefully, though how much more acting I will get to do, no idea? I know, given that I will definitely play the role on Friday, you could say I’ve got one more part, but I suspect I might be the only one looking at it like that! I suspect most, if not all of the others just see it as helping out, and being dressed in an old fashioned way, but we will see?
Writing, well I keep saying I might do more when I ease off work, but doesnt seem to be happening just yet. I only wish I could gather enough information to do a biography of a certain chorus line dancer, and bit part actress, but given she died in the 50’s, and any children (she mentioned one, a daughter, seemingly) would be in her late 70’s by now, if still alive, if I could hope to trace her!
Oh, other point of amusement for you. Not surprisingly, for someone who has spent so much of her life working in the betting industry, the Cheltenham Festival has always been a bit of a special event for me. When I’ve been able to, I’ve tended to take some time off that week, ostensibly because of my birthday, but hey, its good racing, so… Well this week, I missed a couple of races today (only able to watch 5 on ITV), because of the need to go to the doctors, I’ll miss all of tomorrow, due to getting things done to me for Friday, and then I’ll miss all of Friday, because of the Blackpool thing! Funny thing is though, I didnt really mind. Is it because I’m now a woman that I worry less about it? Who knows? I’ll let you know next year lol!
Right, thats enough, dont want to keep you here forever with my waffle. So, video time. In my humble opinion, one of the greatest singers of my lifetime. Yes, I used one of his songs recently, and here’s another!
OK, so I worked the title to suit the video here, but I’ll include a mention of a certain chorus line dancer, and her various troupes, just to make it work.
As far as I know, no woman has been told to flaunt her body, albeit in the cause of entertainment, without being willing to do so. And no, the President Club hostesses werent given the full picture of what would happen, thats for sure. But any cheerleader, or walk on girl knows what they are at a sporting event for, and in the case of most, getting well paid for, and thats to add ‘an image’ to said event. I have no idea what these young ladies get paid for doing so at F1 races, boxing, US sports, and other sports get paid, but I suspect its a decent wage? Oh, and in the case of certain events, publicity too!
Yes, lets face it, if I was young, pretty, and had all the right bits, in the right places, I’d probably give it a go, and enjoy the experience. Fine, I’m elderly, and not currently owning all the right bits, but fine, if someone can arrange me a twenty something body, and some cute looks, try stopping me, if I got the chance.
Thats why I was sad to read today that the PDC Darts people have bowed to pressure from a Feminist group, and decided to drop the walk on girls, and said group has instantly turned on other sports, now they can sense blood. I am Feminist, but to a sensible degree, seeking equality, not superiority, as some seem to think it should be. Now if these girls were forced to do these roles, then fair enough, its wrong, but if you’re happy to show yourself a little, for publicity, and pay, then go for it.
Thankfully, some are trying to keep these girls in work, good for them. Cant see it, in these PC days, but I can hope.
I know it was a different era, with different attitudes, but seriously, some of the outfits (some were barely outfits, at least one movie, the outfit was a long blonde wig!) those chorus girls wore, revealed far, far more! Did they care? Probably not, they were earning decent money, at a time when many Americans were struggling with the depression. But yes, some happily stayed on the chorus line, a number became stars,and others got to marry rich men, who they got to know through their work.
But yes, there are times I’m sorry to see myself as a Feminist, and this is one of them.
Video? Pretty obvious, I hope?
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.
For those hoping for a wonderful ‘war and peace’ length blog tonight, sorry, you’re not getting it! So lets keep it a sensible length, and let those who want to go out celebrating tonight go and do so, and those of us who just want things peaceful can get to bed before ‘all hell’ breaks out at midnight! Yes, no shock, I’m one of the latter! I’ve done the wilder stuff in my time, but nowadays, the easier way to spend the last day of the year suits me just fine.
I’m long past making any significant resolutions, and have no plan to change that next year either. So no, I’m not going to make any crazy resolutions about making it as a Hollywood, or Broadway actress, because in all reality, its not going to happen now, at my age. Mind, if someone wants to prove me wrong? Equally, I’m not expecting to get the promotion from bridesmaid, to bride at any time soon! Would think the only way I would make a good bride would be if I was turned into a Stepford type robot wife lol!
So what am I resolving to do, other than hopefully last long enough to hit the big six-o, in March? I think the main thing I want to do, given the chance, is do more publicity work for LGBT issues, or at least work with other people to improve life for other LGBT people in the UK, and hopefully further afield. I doubt I will get the chance of a speaking tour, but if I do, I would definitely go for it!
The other big challenge, even this close to retirement, is to keep trying to improve myself. For example, at work I’m in the middle of doing tests for an Action Pathway at work, which could lead to promotion. I’ve passed part 1, part 2 tests are in just over a weeks time, so…? I know, at my age, chasing for promotion sounds crazy, probably is, but it counts as a challenge to hopefully push me on!
Oh, and I resolve that if a situation arises where I need to use a wheelchair, I’ll accept it, and not fret about it, OK?
So thats it, readers, for 2017. For those of you with resolutions for the New Year, I hope you succeed with them. Equally, for those who just want to survive another year, I wish you well.
So, to the video. Yes, I’ve used this song before, its a very apt one. However, despite it seemingly having been on You Tube for a few years, its a new one to me.
Happy New Year, readers, to those for whom its already started, and for those like me that its still to happen, all my best wishes.
Very strictly, the answer to that question, is wherever life takes me, I guess? But strictly, for 2018, assuming I live out the year, some things will happen, some things may happen, and some things almost certainly wont happen, but it would be fun if they did!
Anyway, lets be boringly practical first, things that will happen, assuming the life quotient of course. The biggest, and most obvious one to mention, is that I hit the big 60 next March. I know, who would ever have believed it? But yes, the body is definitely now giving me more than hints that its not as strong as it used to be, so… Hard to believe, that 25 years ago, when a woman hit 60, she retired from work! Now, with a longer life expectancy for everyone, and things, its another 6 years to go! Still, gives me chance to build up my pension, I guess, body permitting. Lets face it, I’ve already had to cut back to 4 days a week, and the back isnt likely to get better, only worse, so…?
The only other definite things at this point, are the fact that I will be heading to Seattle in May for 8 days (yes, already decided the back will be up to that, fingers crossed it stays that way once booked), though that will be the only US trip this year. Yes, thats one cutback due to the financial situation. I thought I might be able to pull it off this year, for the last time, the double trip, but no, now know its not going to happen! I have got a few thoughts for a break in September, but will only be a few days, and will only be in Europe. Well, unless the work syndicate wins the lottery lol! So yes, I’ll be using an airport wheelchair (or 5) in May again on that trip. Hopefully, all will be a little smoother than last time!
The other is, of course, working on a group on LGBT issues at work within our section of the Civil Service. First actual meeting is planned for some point in New Year, but location and date, TBA at present. Quite an honor, quite a challenge!
The maybe’s look trip related. I might try to get to Ireland, for at least some cricket this summer, though sadly it wont be that first Test match, as its literally the week before I go to Seattle. But other games are planned, so time, and finances permitting, it will be nice to meet old friends again, and maybe make a few new ones.
Hey, another maybe, I might write another story or two lol! I really ought to, I have a few ideas, but getting around to it, but yes, I’ll risk putting it on the maybe list, rather than the unlikely one! The other maybe, is my first ever ‘senior citizen’ pass. Yes, the Railway senior discount pass still is permitted from 60, so if I travel on the Railways in September, as I might, I’ll get one then!
The unlikely ones, but not impossible? Well, the first one obviously relates to performing, in an acting sense. I suspect a presentation style performance might be more likely, probably on LGBT issues, but I suspect that will be it. Lets face it, who’s going to want an actress who hasnt done anything much in years, and now has back issues, which means standing for long periods for a role, is nigh out of the question! But maybe, out there is a director/producer who wants to do something crazy, and then, well…?
Then we come to the silly stuff, that ‘could’ happen, but you can be sure wont. Winning a lottery jackpot (I know, theoretically, but me, win anything, dont think so!), getting abducted by aliens, turned into a robot, or regenerating (well, if Doctor Who can do it?) as a young(ish) Clara Johnson might all be fun, but none are going to happen, I think we can safely say!
Lets finish with a dramatic, stat based thing. Look back through early film history, and you find a lot of famous actresses who passed on at 60. Clara Bow is one that immediately comes to mind! Now its fair to say that health matters have improved nowadays, and I have never been a famous actress, so I’m probably safe, but… Still, hopefully we will be doing this in a years time!
The video tonight, isnt a proper one, but it fits the title, and yes, its the Carpenters, so just rolling with it. Just a nice song, that hopefully you can enjoy.
So, one blog to go for 2017, as its back to work tomorrow. Any ideas for something you’d love to hear about, either from this year, next year, or Clara Johnson’s era, feel free to suggest in comments
Firstly, let me go back to events yesterday. Yes, Julia went on stage at York, and from what I’ve seen, was brilliant. Yes, I’ve seen the film via Facebook, cant yet find it on You Tube, so you will just have to take my word on that. Hopefully, at some point…?
Yesterday also ranked as the weirdest day at work I’ve ever done, and given thats a 43 year period, that takes some doing. I did consider whether a very wintry day in the betting shops, where there was 1 greyhound meeting that survived, and we took 12 bets all day might top it, but I doubt it.
Basically, the system was down for the day, so there was a message on the phone system advising prospective callers of this, and advising them to ring back during the week, but we had to have a few of us in, just in case people ignored that, and came through to us, so…I got 1 call all day! Day not wasted though, did lots of my apprenticeship stuff (yes, I know, at 59, but has to be done, so…!), also applied for a pathway course to management in Civil Service as well. Yes, diversity candidates desired. I’m not sure, I’m going to be 61 by the time the course ends, and even if they dont give in on retirement age, I’ll only have 5 years to go, so…But yes, I needed to do something! Did some practice tests, seemed to go OK, but anyway…
The other thing I did, technically, was become a professional performer. Yes, I got ‘paid’ for my presentation last week. Oh fine, technically it was a reward payment for doing it, but yes, I’m an actress with a mischievous sense of humor, so I’m saying that makes me a professional performer. No, I dont expect that to create a rush of offers from Broadway, Hollywood, or even small professional companies, but you never know, lol! Professional speaker on LGBT and Transgender issues, hmm? No, I doubt that very much either!
Oh, my fee? £25, but seriously, thats the first time I’ve been paid to perform, ever! Well, that I remember, anyway…? Treated myself to an Amazon voucher (email version), but have failed to find a controlling robot suit at any price, let alone £25 lol! 😛 Question is, if I find a stylish (ideally full length) flapper, or 30’s style dress, does that count as a business expense for an actress? 😉
Lastly, lets get this mentioned on the right day of the year this time around, its Nancy Carroll’s birthday today. She would have been 114, so you wont be surprised to hear she died over 50 years ago. But…? I have a friend in Australia, named Diane, who uses a picture of Nancy on her Facebook page, which leaves me wondering if…? No, I’m sure she didnt really time travel, just before her death, move to Australia, and…? 😉 All the same, she’s a lover of movies from that era, so…hmm? Yes, she probably will kill me for this, or would if we werent on opposite sides of the world!
Lets see, video time. Well Nancy Carroll was a fine dancer, as was my past life self, Clara Johnson. Indeed, they may well have worked together, who knows? Thing is, last year, I used the best video of Diane, sorry, Nancy dancing, and its possible Miss Johnson was there too. So lets do something different tonight instead. This was a hit in the 1970’s, recorded live at the start of this year. Very good it is too, and its what both young ladies did
No, dont get excited, I havent got a movie, or theater offer just yet. But next month I’ll be doing a Diversity & Inclusion presentation for a large group of people (about 110, I’ve been told) in Leeds, about life in my Civil Service Department, ooh! No script, well, not unless I write my own, anyway. To be honest, I might do a few notes, but generally I’m pretty sure I’ll just go with the flow, so often its the easiest way with things like this. A fortnight on Wednesday, for those interested, though I’m pretty sure there will be no tickets for the general public lol. Yes, it is a piece on Transgender life, so yes, I do know the subject matter pretty well, I guess?
Seemingly the approach was made on Thursday, though I didnt pick it up until Friday, as I’ve cut back on my working week of course. A quick check for approval from bosses (its on a working day), and I replied positively. One moment of amusement was when she rang up later that day to confirm details, she mentioned the numbers involved, and asked if I would be OK with that, and then after she’d said it, remembered I’d said about being an actress, so…all fine! In truth, it will be interesting to see how I react, given its been a while, other than the wedding, where I have been ‘on show’ to this number of people, but I’m sure its just like riding a bike, anyway.
I have no great idea what the dress code is for a presentation like this, but I’m going to assume, unless told otherwise, its going to be business smart wear. So yes, I will wear a nice dress, and get my hair curled 30’s style, either on the day, or the day before, depending what time I need to be there. No, I wont wear anything as clingy as Harlow would, or as revealing as a chorus line dancer (Miss Johnson) would have to for such an event, principally because I have an obvious issue with too revealing (unless a surgeon is offering to remedy that quickly), and besides, its not fit for a moment like this. I think my ‘publicity manager'(Yes, Madi, I mean you) would love it if I went all flapper, and agreed it might be fun, but apart from the fact those dresses are quite short, they arent winter wear over here, and November might be cold lol! So I’m pretty sure that it will be 30’s look, to some degree. More classy look anyway lol. There is also the factor that I need something that I can hide the brace corset underneath, lets face it, only way I’m going to stand for about 15 minutes or so!
No, sadly I’m not expecting any Hollywood, or Broadway agent representation at the event, a girl can only wish! Nor do I expect them to be able to grab it on You Tube either, ah well…
But who knows, getting back on a stage might just get infectious, and I’ll see where it goes from there. In truth, my long term standing issues might make things complex, but…its a comeback at least!
The video, well, its one word different to the blog title lol! 😛
Well fine, as a small part actress, in modern times (and lets face it, supposedly I was an actor back then), I’ve never actually encountered that casting couch moment. I know, what a surprise, not!
However its a well known fact that back in the ‘Golden Age’ of movie making, and before then, the casting couch wasnt only something that was hinted at, it was reality! Back then, its fair to say that more than a few actresses, either trying to get that break, or to move up in the standings got there by more than acting talent alone. Though in truth, on the whole, they were given little choice in the matter, if they wanted to make it. Yes, I wouldnt be totally surprised at some point if Clara Johnson had to go through the routine herself, to get her big chance. I mean, you only have to look at the fact that prior to 1933/34, and her promotion to Goldwyn Girl status, that she’d been around as a humble chorus girl for a while, and then suddenly…hmm? Maybe it was just hard work, who knows, but the cynic in me still wonders, all the same?
Given that the book I read it in, is factually tarnished, many times over, I’m prepared to tread carefully on this, but allegedly Jean Harlow was sought (and not for her movie skills) by high ups in many studios, both male, and indeed, female for other purposes when she first broke through seriously into the movies. True or not, she married 2 ‘senior’ staff at MGM, who werent logical marriage partners for her, but hey, it does seem she had a yearn for older men, so that could be totally wrong assumption, especially as one of them was pretty much proved to be impotent!
But yes, back then, the whole casting couch thing was part of the movie industry, in those less than enlightened times. But if anyone thought it had gone away, oh my, how wrong can you be? In truth, the only question that needs to be asked about the whole Harvey Weinstein thing, is why its taken so long to come out? The answer, my dear, of course, is power. But of course, with anything like that, once one domino falls in the pack, every other domino quickly tumbles over as well. He thought, because of his position, that he could get away with it, but now, finally, thankfully, it has caught up with him.
Is he the only one? I very much doubt it. In truth, I’d be amazed if he was. I suspect a few more will follow now, but we will have to wait and see on that. I think its safe to say that a trans woman actress, fast approaching 60 is not likely to be a casting couch target for anyone lol! Especially given my back wouldnt be up to anything adventurous anyway! But yes, hopefully, now, a number of younger actresses may manage to avoid this fate. But I suspect, there’s always someone, so…
Oh fine, the video. This might sound like its from the 1920’s, but its actually from 1961. Yes, still delightfully ancient for most, but…there were 9 members of the Temperance 7, a play on the term ‘one over the eight’ which definitely wasnt a sign of temperance lol! There was a major revival of the group about 10 years later, which lineup I have featured here in the past. Sadly, the only film I can find of the original lineup singing this, is of pretty poor quality, so lets go with this, which looks like a scene that Clara Johnson, and other chorus girls of that era would be very familiar with!
One of the amusing things that happens at work, is that some people think I can be easily shocked, because I seem such a quiet old lady at times. No idea where they get that idea from, but anyway…
So when the talk arose about a new seat for myself, designed to at least aid me with my back issues, someone in the office came up with some interesting designs, shall we say? No, I’m not going to describe them, but some of the items involved were definitely, err, adult, shall we say? It fair to say he wasnt expecting my reaction to be just how much I liked the look of them! Yes, lets say that one of them would make moving your chair an arousing experience, and leave it at that.
The snag with that, of course, is that in my acting life, its fair to say that I’ve seen my share of weird things used as props, and I’ve certainly worn some outfits that you wouldnt normally walk down the street wearing. Fairies, gnomes, and all variety of fae folk, yes, been there, acted that, probably!
I’ve also worn leather in my time, though I’m not sure if that was for a role, or for a shoot, as it was a long time ago now. I’ve also worn a silver zentai suit for more personal fun reasons as well. Now, a role that required me to wear something like that, oh yum!
Mind, nowadays my body is probably in a state (with the need for a wheelchair at times) where the Davros (of Dalek fame) look would be more apt, and more suitable. And fine, I wouldnt mind the wired up stuff either!
But in truth, probably the weirdest (though both for charity reasons) were outfits where if I didnt remove the head, you wouldnt have known I was in there. One Children in Need day, while working in Newbury, I wore a Teletubbies suit at work, all day. Tinky Winky, if I remember rightly, for those who want to know. But as I was working, between photos being taken, and taking donations, that head didnt stay on all day. Might have been fun, but hot if I had, but anyway…
Much further into the past, I actually wore a similar design, and didnt get to take my head off, for a few hours at least. Yes, for some charity event (I have no idea, its about 40 years ago!), I was a Womble! No, I have no idea which one now, but it was great fun to do.
But yes, like most people who have spent any reasonable amount of time in the acting world, when it comes to clothing, or other outfits, we’re pretty hard to shock. Electric shock might just work, but unless its a decent voltage, with me, well… 😉 And yes, those ECT scenes you see in movies, or on TV (or on You Tube), then yes, I’d love to act one of those, believe me!
So sorry folks, trying to shock me with talk of strange chairs, or strange outfits, you need to try pretty hard lol!
The video, well, it relates to one of those outfits. Some of it is clearly live (the Intro), though I’m not sure how live the singing actually is. And no, sadly, none of said Wombles was me!
So, assuming I can get feminist, if I dont get all militant about it, right? Oh fine, you know me already, I dont do militant, just equal chances for the fairer sex anyway!
Back in April 2015, on my first trip (but definitely not my last) to Los Angeles, I had the pleasure of getting in contact with a wonderful woman named Tema, about a group called Women In Media, who are only trying to do what is fair, and give women an equal chance in media as a whole, but in this case, primarily Los Angeles, of course. On my last night of the trip, our contact got beyond online, when I met her, and a number of other people dedicated to the cause, to watch a 1940 Lucille Ball film, directed by Dorothy Arzner.
It was a wonderful evening, and I have the feeling that if I hadnt been flying out the next morning (yes, timing is a pain, sometimes), I might have at least made a few worthwhile contacts, and who knows what more? I’m not saying I’d now be a movie star, but earning a decent living, in small/medium acting roles, or even writing, who knows?
I was fortunate enough to meet up with her again in May, for a reading event in Hollywood on a Sunday afternoon while there, and only amazed that she wasnt the only one to remember me! Well now, I’m delighted to say, Women In Media have been given 501(c)(3) status, so are now having a big relaunch, complete with new, impressive website at https://womennmedia.com so go and give it a checkout, if relevant to you, as its now live.
To answer questions, yes, I am a member, but no, my profile isnt up yet. It will be in the next few days though, so if you want to use my talents… Yes, this is principally about behind the camera work, because thats an area that women struggle to get their chances at, even more than on the screen. So yes, my profile is probably going to end up looking like a writer, that acts a bit, rather than an actress who writes a bit, but hey, I’m a combination of both, so…
No, dont look for me at many events, I will get to them when I’m in town, but lets face it, thats not often! But I’m certain that if you mention the name, Harlean to Tema, she will know who you mean, there arent many Harlean’s in the world, lets face it. Though Stevie might strike more initial chord, as thats what she got to know me as, of course.
So, all we are saying, media industry, is give women a chance! Not just for me, but all those other wonderful, hard working people out there just looking for that chance!
The video. Yes, its a variation of that song by Cyndi Lauper, but a different sound. Oh, and for some strange reason, the whole concept of the video appeals to me, just saying…