Category Archives: Andy McCluskey

Moods, memories, and a book review!

Before I get started, let me just mention that the 2 ‘youthful’ people who went to Inverness got home fine, with no incident, other than the obvious Trans Pennine Express train delay. Seriously, 12 train journeys in total, and only 2 were late, both you know who! Strictly, the return train from Aviemore to Inverness was nearly 2 hours late, but for us, it meant we ran 7 minutes early, so…

Anyway, I took a book away with me to read on trains, given that the life of my old computer, not plugged in, was roughly 20 minutes at the end. Yes, this is first blog, on new computer, all seems fine. Well, I prefer the old email collection method to this, but other than that…

Oh, that book? Well, it would be this one

http://www.omd-messages.co.uk/product/moods-memories-and-other-manoeuvres-julia-kneale/

Which if anyone wants to rush out and buy, you’d make us both happy! I’ve never actually met Julia as yet, but I feel like I’ve known her for years through social media, perhaps because I have! She’s a wonderful lady, just slightly younger than me, and its been a privilege to chat with her as much as I have. We’re not that far apart distance wise, so maybe while our bodies are still up to it, we may yet meet, but otherwise…

Oh fine, she’s got me beat, the closest I’ve ever got to Andy McCluskey is the third standing row at Leeds, in 2013, on their tour that year. That was the night that I pledged all further concerts in my life would be seating only! So sadly, I missed this in 2017, as there were only standing tickets left by the time I got back from US

Would definitely have met her there, if I’d gone, but anyway…

Oh, the book. Its well written, telling a fascinating tale of real life, interspersed with a brief moment of fame, or two. Seems we have one thing in common at least, both of us had parents who divorced while we were young. Beyond that, we’ve both had interesting, but different lives, brought together by the medium of Facebook! I’m not going to say too much about the book, because I want you to go out and buy it for yourself, and read it, because its that good. And no, if you’re not an  OMD fan, there is still plenty in there for you.

To my knowledge, I have met 4 ‘pop stars’, 1 you will know, 1 you might know, and 2 you definitely wouldnt know! Geri Halliwell was a case of just being in the right place, at the right time, as a couple of acting contacts who I was meeting in London, were working with her just after she left the Spice Girls, and she was there when I arrived! Nothing like Ginger Spice, in any sense of the word! Simon Crowe, of the Boomtown Rats had a second living, post group fame, doing watch repairs, or something. Anyway, we’d needed a vintage pocket watch for something acting wise, and guess who delivered it? Yes, him!

The other 2, well, bit of a cheat, but when I was much younger, I had 2 friends who worked in the band at Pontins, Camber Sands, but also got seconded into Womble suits for some of their TV performances, when others werent available. I only wish I’d got the chance to do the same, but never did!

Thats it, so after watching the next video, go back to the top of this blog, click on the link, and do yourself a favour, and buy the book!

That video. Well, its the connection between Julia, and OMD which has meant the relationship between them has lasted longer, than it might have done otherwise. Amazing what some ‘scribblings’ can lead to!

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Dear Mr McCluskey

(Something different tonight, I’ll try and come up with something more normal on Sunday)

Or can I maybe call you Andy? After all, I’ve been following that band of yours right from the early days, and though that vinyl copies of those first LP’s disappeared somewhere along all the moves in my life, I went to the record shop, and bought them, and listened to them. Not that I knew any of you, beyond the odd performance on TV, and 1 early concert at Drury Lane, London, but yes, I was there, in those days. And indeed, at the last UK tour before this one, I went full circle, and saw you, this time in Leeds. I know, I’ve moved a few times since that first concert in London.

So anyway, imagine my delight when I heard you were touring again this year. Fine, York wasnt as good for a non driver like me as Leeds was, but there’s a train company that runs trains between there, and Huddersfield, even if they’re not too reliable! Snag is, my body. I stood in the crowd at Leeds for that show, and my knees seized up so much that I could barely walk to the station afterwards. Yes, arthritis is a horrible thing. I dont know how you keep going so strong, at our age, but anyway…kudos! Unfortunately, now, its not only my knees, its my back as well, osteoporosis, and all that. So it had to be a seat for York, or nothing. Sadly, when the tickets went on sale, I was in the US, and unable to get one. By the time I got back, all the seats were gone, a few standing places, but unless know a ‘genetic engineer’ to turn me into a ‘Tesla Girl’ they were of no use to me.

Oh, I know, there was Manchester, and there were spaces for that, but you know what, there was only one show I wanted to see, and how do I break this to you, it wasnt for you! No, it was for someone else, not part of the band. You see, through the wonders of social media, I’ve got to know a mutual friend of ours, a lady named Julia. Yes, that Julia! Yes, it would have been nice to meet her, and see her walk on stage, but its not to be. Oh fine, she might point out that I’d love to meet Martin too, but thats besides the point! Yes, I’m that one awkward fan whose principle admiration isnt for you, or Paul! Yes, I’m weird that way! Oh, and PS, you’re the only band I’ve seen both as a man, and a woman, hows that?

So all I’m saying, is that the concert would be a bonus. A really good bonus, but not the main thing. Yes, if you can fix it (I know your name isnt Jim, lol) for me to be able to get into York, meet Julia, and maybe meet Martin, it would be appreciated. Snag, I work in Bradford, and wont finish there until 4.00, and then I’d have to get to York, so…not easy, is it? Before you ask, no, I dont want to appear on stage. I have acted, but the biggest audience I’v ever appeared in front of is about 800, and I’m told by Julia that it will be about 3500 on Saturday. I know, probably fine, but anyway…unless you want a robot for those apt songs, or someone to have their memories erased…? Yes, I’m definitely weird like that too!

Oh fine, end of beg. I just hope if, and when you do the next tour, you check with me to make sure I’m in the country before putting the tickets on sale, OK? And yes, when you do, can you please arrange for Julia to appear at the Yorkshire concert again! 😉

Oh, and Andy, I normally finish these blogs with a video, but I’m going mad tonight. Yes, two. Hopefully you’ll forgive me that neither are you, but both are Julia related. I did ask her if there was a video of her, with the Id on You Tube, but sadly, no. But I found this piece that she wrote the words for

And this interview she did when we were both much younger women (well, technically I was a woman, but…)

A Whole Woman?

Oh fine, I was going to do something lighter, and sillier tonight, but then I found this event on my Facebook thread today.

Trans activists block Manchester’s Pride Parade

Yes, fine, I knew there was a good reason why I took my own individual route as a Trans Woman, and kept away from the campaign groups! Dont get me wrong, I fully understand feelings over recent prison issues for Trans Women, but seriously, do something like this at a Pride Parade, probably annoy the LGB folk who support us, and everything? Ah well!

I could also say that if these Trans Women didnt do things that required them to be sent to prison in the first place, the issue would never arise. Or does that logic only work with good girls like me?

I equally get the logic of doing it in front of the Police float, just about, though actually, it would be the Prison Service that made the decision on which jail they went to, not the Police. And yes, annoy the police in one of the cities where LGBT is best supported, to start with.

I also suppose that if you want to ensure publicity for the event, somewhere like Manchester Pride is a good place to do it. But yes, fine, in terms of keeping good relations with the rest of the LGBT community, the Trans folk do seem to like putting their feet in it. But yes, I know, maybe we do get a raw deal within the community at times, but doing things like this doesnt help!

Fine, I know, technically I cant change things, I’m always going to be designated as a Trans Woman, I guess, but please, if anyone wants to give me honorary, natural woman status, please do! Then maybe I could focus on being Lesbian, or Bi, and pass on Trans issues lol! Mind, my passport says I’m female, so…

“Yes, I’m a natural woman, its just that I ran into some mad scientist, and he carried out an experiment to give me a penis too.” Hmm? No, I know, but…

Video. No, not OMD, though Andy McCluskey actually wrote it. But no, not Atomic Kitten either! I found this by sheer chance, I know nothing about the group, not even checked them on Google yet. But yes, I love the vintage feel, and look, so…

An actress I (sort of) got to know

Firstly, let me say, if you’re looking for a really good tribute to Monica Lewis, who died earlier this week, at the grand old age of 93, this isnt it! If you want to know my personal moments with the lady, through social media, stick here!

Its fair to say that on Social Media, “people” arent always who they say they are. Hey, I have a Facebook account I’m proud of, in the name of Harlean Carpenter, but given the actual lady is dead, might be a clue. And lets face it, most modern stars who have these accounts, have ‘someone’ who posts everything for them. One of my favourites, OMD, its a well known fact that a good percentage of the postings are done by Andy McCluskey, but thats not the norm.

So its fair to say, that when Monica Lewis appeared on both Facebook and Twitter, given that she was in her nineties, I assumed it was someone doing tribute stuff for her. Wrong, I quickly discovered that this genuinely was Monica, and for many months I’ve enjoyed seeing her posts, seeing her comments, as well as all the vintage pictures of herself that she posted. Being honest, I think she was enjoying it all as much as the rest of us were!

However, earlier this week, the news broke that Monica had died in her sleep. Yes, she had been posting on Twitter the night before, and I wouldnt be surprised if she wasnt on Facebook too! There was a further posting on her Twitter account, from her family to confirm the sad news, and pretty much tell us what we already knew, we had been ‘chatting’ to Monica herself, all that time.

No, she wasnt a massive star, but as some would say, she had a decent career, over many years. I never even considered meeting her when I was in LA, but I suspect she may well have said yes, if I had!

Its probably as close as I will really ever get to a genuine actress, and I’m glad I knew her.

So it just needs to be said. Monica Lewis, rest in peace, and thanks for everything.

The video, yes, its her

Back to business

I know, so much for the every couple of days thing, but…

Tomorrow marks the day that I get back to business, trying to get a new job! Actually got 2 proper interviews tomorrow, of the face to face kind, quite a delight nowadays! The snag is, one is in Leeds tomorrow morning, the other one just outside Wakefield tomorrow afternoon, so an interesting logistic exercise. Oh, and the getting up before 6.00 tomorrow morning is going to be a bit of a shock too!

Both are for call centre work, both would be different for me, as they will be outbound calling jobs, albeit neither of them would be cold calling people, so fine by me. The one in Leeds appeals to me more, I must say, sounds quite interesting work, and an interesting place to work.

A company doing medical trials, basically you contact the people who have applied to take part in trials, to see if they are suitable, and if so, to check their details, and if all is fine, sign them up for the course. Only going to get fun if there is a trial for female hormones, lets face it! Of course, the sci-fi writer in me comes up with other ideas about medical trials, but lets not go down that road! OK, fine, those I might be interested in taking part in, but anyway…

The other is for an insurance company, dealing with union members, who get a certain level of free insurance, to see if they want to take up any more. I have the distinct feeling this might involve more of a hard sell attitude, which really isnt my thing, but we will see…Also, with it not being in central Wakefield (a fact I only discovered after going for this), it might be more, err, fun, getting to and from work, as a non driver in all honesty. But I can get an idea on that tomorrow, might be a no go before I even get started!

Then on Friday, that time has come when the notice period payment is up, and I have to report to the Job Centre, and sign on, to get my Job Seekers allowance. Not a fortune, but better than nothing! Ironically, they wanted to have the interview tomorrow, but were quite happy to delay it, given I had 2 job interviews lined up!

There is one other thing I’m tempted to do Friday, but its that question of how long the Job Centre thing is going to take, as to how practical it is. A salon type place over Bradford wants to have an afternoon of fun, basically a before, and after session of photos, and possibly some modelling, starting about 12.00. Now, it would be fun, but I have no idea how long I’ll be at the job centre (last signed on in 2002, different name, different gender!) or anything, so its tricky to commit to. So under the circumstances, I’ll probably pass on it, and regret the fact afterwards!

Oh right, a tongue in cheek video. Given its a medical research place, and its a 2 hour interview, I’m wondering just what will be involved. I’m just assuming that their method of finding the perfect candidate for the role doesnt involve research of the human mind? But…

A general catch up piece

Sorry, its been a while, work and a few other things are responsible for that. Normal service will resume at some point in the next few days, I promise you.

So right, catch up time. The photo shoot, well I lied, it happened on Tuesday, not Monday, but hey, it happened, and it was lots of fun. I’m told the pics look good, and certainly what I saw, on the camera, that seems to be the case. Official viewing was going to be Tuesday, but is now on a short delay, as the photographer has been called down south on a family issue. Still, should be soon, really looking forward to seeing the results.

A couple of styles that were most Brooks-ish, a few shots in a fur coat (fake, which I suspect Louise’s were not), and lots more in a gorgeous sparkly top, and hat, including some with me playing with a feather boa, great fun. Some other outfits too, hopefully I can get some in a way that will enable me to post them on here. Certainly some great stuff for a 20’s style author, that is for sure.

Talking of which, at some point next week, I will be posting up my 3rd story as an ebook, an absolute Louise Brooks homage, with some nice OMD cameo touches too. Yes, I’ll let you know when its up, feel free to purchase that, or my other 2 books btw. Please do, 17 sales in all so far, but wouldnt mind a few more. Oh, and in setting up Paypal, to get all those royalties, I had to name the company, went for the obvious, Merry Brooks Publishing. No, I dont ever expect it to make the FT-100 lol!

Oh, and a piece of silliness yesterday. The Euromillions lottery thing (no, I havent bought any lottery ticket in years!) had a special yesterday, instead of 1 guaranteed millionaire, as they normally do (we pay 2 pounds, as opposed to 2 Euros, so they have to give back some way), they were guaranteeing 100. So I joined in with the office syndicate of 9, but we didnt win a thing. So no upgrade on the flight to the US in September, 8 weeks today in fact. Ah well…

The video, go back to that paragraph about the book, and you get the answer. Different mix, no idea which one, but some interesting shots of Louise, including a brief segment of her in the 70’s, when you get to hear her speak.

Yes, 8 weeks from now, I will be a long, long way from here, even if it wont be Kansas! Enjoy

Oh, last thing, get better soon, Malc Holmes, after suffering from heat exhaustion during a Toronto concert, where it was meant to be 115 in the hall! I know you arent on the original recording of this, but you’ve played it a few times since then. All my best wishes to him, and the rest of the band.

Kissing the machine

As I mentioned just over a year ago, I have a fascination with all things robot, and what it would be like to be transformed into one. As I also mentioned back then, the fantasy, and facing the practical reality of it about to happen to me are probably two totally different matters! Well, maybe at least? 😉 Its probably not helped nowadays by the fact that I work with a computer all day at work, though currently I control it, not the other way around, and as far as I know, the headset has no effect on my mind either! Apart from anything else, the way its designed, it slips off my head far too easily when I’m looking up and down from paperwork for that to be likely anyway lol! Personally, I’d prefer a headset that would stay on my head better, a skullcap type headset, and not just for the robot thing, it would be easier if I wasnt having to wonder about whether it was going to stay on my head or not! I suppose it could be done, redesigning a cycle helmet or something? Cant see work doing it though, I’d be the only one who wanted one like that anyway lol!

But yes, if any designer (or someone who knows a designer) could come up with something like that, I would appreciate it. Having it so that it could control my mind in any way is purely optional extra lol! Having a headset that stayed on my head would be a good start! No, I dont need a silver bodysuit to wear at work, though agreed, especially with said headset, it might be fun doing so! Might make going out to get lunch a bit tricky though lol! It also would make a certain bodily function quite complex too, unless the suit has very robotic effects! Whether management would prefer obedient, robotic workers, no comment whatsoever! Might make training for new roles easier, just download it into our minds lol!

I suppose one day I might get hypnotised, and experience what life as a robot is like, but suspect thats as far as it will ever get. I might get roleplay for robotisation, or brainwashing, something that might be interesting to experience, more so if the person doing so made it feel very real of course. If anyone wants to offer to help with either, or again, knows someone who could help with either…?

Right, what bought all this on, you might ask? Well, about 10 years ago, some Canadian TV company was looking for people to discuss the whole robot thing, and I got involved. I assume they were either in the UK for something else, or used a local company or something, rather than flying across the Atlantic to see me, but who knows? Funny thing is, I never got to see the interview, or programme! No, I dont remember any details now, strangely enough, beyond the fact it was filmed in an exotic location, my bedroom in London! Just a few days ago, National Geographic were advertising for people to interview for a programme they are planning to make about the whole fembot scene. No, I wont be taking part, their location expenses mean they are only doing interviews in North America, so…Mind, I did say I wanted a more interesting location, but the situation wont arise now, and not just because of that!

Being honest, this is probably as exciting a revelation as you’re ever likely to get out of me on here. Well apart from those who dont realise I’m pre-op transgendered, but what havent you been reading if you didnt know that? Beyond this kink, I’m as dull as they get lol!

Right, the video, well again the clue is in the title, though not so many may know this song. Oh, and coincidence, a new version of this will be on the OMD album released in April, but more on that later. Lets just say that outfit, first seen worn by the woman at 46 seconds, might be fun! A Maria type Metropolis one (as also featured), even more so, but dont think thats as easily, or cheaply created!

If you want to kiss this ‘machine’, you need to make me a machine first lol!

A Film Review

Given recent postings here, I’m sure no one needs to be told which film! Given I’d gone over 8 years since I last saw a movie in a cinema, or theatre, dont hold your breath waiting for the next review either!

Yes, if anyone out there didnt know, it was Pandoras Box, starring Ms Louise Brooks, which I saw last night in Leeds. Post work, the evening started briefly with the ‘delights’ of a quick meal in McDonalds, which filled the need, but only as an appetiser to the main course.

I’d never been in the Grand Theatre in Leeds before last night, the box office being set to the side, so had no idea what to expect. But on first impressions at least, I was duly impressed, though of course I didnt get to see the main theatre, just one of the side rooms upstairs where the film was to be shown.

It might not have been the first full length silent movie I’d seen, Metropolis holds that honour, though that was on DVD or Video, not on a big screen. The other excitement about last night was a live soundtrack provided by 4 talented musicians. But yes, the big thrill for me was seeing Louise Brooks on the big screen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1R8Y5IEvyc&feature=related

provides a few highlights for you, as I didnt think anyone would sit through the full film on a computer, as its nearly 2 and a quarter hours long! No, it didnt feel like it was that long, it has to be said. I know they had to ‘act’ in a silent movie, but hopefully without bias, I found Brooks to be a very good actress. Not to say the supporting cast were anything less, but alright, it was her I went to see, to some degree.

Its not hard to see why it caused controversy when it first came out, its a storyline that certainly pulls its punches, especially in less enlightened times back then. And thats not just the famous scene, regarded as the first film lesbian scenes with Lulu, and the Countess dancing together. No, nothing actually happens, but the look in the Countesses eyes certainly suggest she’d like something to happen! Who can blame her really though? 😉

No, I didnt see any ghostly apparition in the theatre, and certainly not sat next to me, though that seat remained empty, one of the few that did. I swear I felt someone (or something) touch my arm, and hand though, but definitely no one there, or moving in that area at the time. But anyway…

If you have any sort of interest in Louise Brooks, you should make the effort to go and see it sometime, it will be well worth it. If you dont, you might find it a bit dark, unless your tastes run that way. Me, if I get the chance to see more of her films, I will take them, but not sure as to when that chance might arise. But yes, its interesting to see the full film, and the different scenarios that Andy McCluskey used to snip parts for his OMD video. But I owe him much gratitude for introducing me to Louise Brooks in the first place.

The journey home afterwards, surprisingly smooth, I have no idea what went wrong lol!