Category Archives: Blackpool Piers

2018, a bit of a drag?

So, as promised, the review of the year starts here. It will finish tomorrow, and then at the start of the new year, I’ll take a look at what 2019 might hold, some of it very likely, some of it unlikely, but might be fun if it does.

2018 actually saw something happen, that I’d never done in my 44 years of working life, I was told not to go to work! Yes, a combination of the fragility of my back, and some very cold, and icy weather saw me put on ‘winter weather leave’ for a few days. It made sense in so many ways in truth, but was still a bit of a novelty to me. But agreed, if I’d slipped over, landed on my back, and especially my spine, well you wouldnt want to think about the potential outcome, lets face it. Pretty sure its likely to happen early in 2019 too, especially given the deterioration in my wrist too, but we will have to wait and see on that. In truth, after about a week of that, I was getting a bit of ‘jail fever’ but it was a very wise move, so kudos to my employers for letting me do it.

While on about work, I started working on an LGBT committee at work, which was definitely a fun thing to do. Yes, was, more on that over next couple of posts.

Something else that happened early in the year was also work related. One of my colleagues got notice of volunteers needed for the Blackpool Film Festival in March, and the rest, as they say, is history! I wont claim it as strictly the revival of my acting career (its more a natural performance thing, no scripts), but it was a moment that led to the return of my time performing in public.

This year, it was a flying visit, arrived in Blackpool on the Friday afternoon, left again on the Saturday morning, due to fate, and a memorable date. Yes, the night of my flapper revival was my 60th Birthday! The works celebration was done a week earlier (would have been anyway), but the ‘house’ version was delayed until the Saturday night, which was why we needed to get back as we did.

Yes, a decade or so ago, that would have been it, retirement, which in truth, the body probably needs already. Now, officially it will be March 2024, though I have my doubts my body will hold out that long, but we will see? If it does, I might plan to retire (or take holiday) from work a couple of weeks early, because as things stand, the Iditarod race will start from Anchorage on 2nd March (restart at Willow on 3rd), and that would be an amazing thing to do, and a sort of dream come true. Nome as well? Well, maybe, but all that is a long way off. More on my preferred retirement option in part 2 tomorrow night.

May saw my return to Seattle for the first time in a few years. A few firsts there. Another state bagged, as I flew in via Las Vegas, so getting Nevada as my 24th state. Hopefully get 25 ‘somewhere’ next September, maybe? Ask Kate on that one, lol. She knows the one I’d love it to be, but its not renowned as the most friendly LGBT state in the US, so maybe not? There are a couple of New England options for that title too, so we will see.

The other big first on that trip, was my first Mariners game. It was memorable for more reasons than one, good, and bad. Good, they won. Bad, disability related issues. To be fair to the club, I complained, got a free ticket in the disabled area later in the week, and a few souvenirs as well, they handled it all very well.

Lastly, in the first half of the year, was a return to Blackpool, for World Pier Day. Again I have to thank a colleague for covering my Saturday shift to enable me to do this. Went back even further in time, as an Edwardian Lady, though I never got tightly corseted, cant have everything, lol. Amusingly, it was also Blackpool Pride day, and though I heard a lot of that, didnt get to see it at all. 2 trips already planned for Blackpool in New Year, but more on that on Tuesday, one of which you may not want to miss!

Well, the year certainly hasnt been a drag, but when this came up in my You Tube suggestions tonight, I couldnt resist this 1930 offering. And yes, a certain ‘fluffy haired’ blonde definitely looks like it could be Clara Johnson!

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I could have walked all day

In case anyone was wondering, its a play on the video title, which pretty much summed up a lot of my day yesterday.

Fine, firstly, it would be remiss of me to not mention an event that happened earlier to day in the 4 UK capitals, which was a march to celebrate the centenary of the first ever date that some women could cast a vote. It was about another 10 years before all women could, but 1918 is remembered for the suffrage, so…

Oh fine, all you really are here for, is the weekend. The train journey to Blackpool was uneventful, other than that Northern Rail provided a train for the journey from Halifax to Preston that wouldnt have looked terribly out of place in the Edwardian Era. Fine, that might be a slight exaggeration, but not by much! I guess the train was nearly as old as me, and that is the truth!

The guest house was lovely, the only snag being that I picked the one room that had separate beds for me, and Eric, and unfortunately, it was at the top of the house. Yes, he made it, but next time (and we’re most definitely going back there again!), they said they will sort something out, so we can be ‘modest’ but sleep on the ground floor, which sounds good to me. Lets just say it was rated 4.7 out of 5, and my only query would be why so low? Lack of a suitable computer table would seriously be my only issue!

We brought back old times on Friday evening, going to an Indian Restaurant, which Eric reckons is the first time we’ve been in an actual one since we left Leytonstone in 2005. Not sure thats correct, but anyway…Yes, very nice meal.

So to Saturday. I left Eric to ride the trams, and I headed for the pier, and spotted a few of the others waiting. Seemingly no one had told the pier people we needed early entry. Unfortunately we attracted the interest of one guy who wanted to help us, and we had to be sharp to get rid of. Friendly, but slightly crazy might be a fair description of him. But then we got in, and yes, headed to the theater, and the chorus girl changing rooms. Yes, probably just like Clara Johnson knew them, with 2, 3 or even 4 of us in a changing room, getting ready. I’d seen my dress in advance

Outfit for tomorrow

And yes, it was as gorgeous as it looked, complete with hat, and gloves. Hampered by the looks of the wearer, but anyway…

Pier Day1

I spent the morning helping out with the craft stand, in the Sun Lounge, and lets just say it got hot, especially dressed like that. Oh, the Punch and Judy man, one of the couple running our guest house! After lunch, I briefly went back there, while covering for the person doing that role for the afternoon was having her lunch. But then I was free to promenade up the pier, like a fine Edwardian lady, accompanied by a ‘companion’, and lets just say we had our photos taken more than a few times! During this time, I was asked if I minded covering the front desk for the last hour or so, as someone had to leave early, so of course I did! The amusing moment here was, that firstly, my companion and I were so busy looking out for people with cameras, and then when on the desk, so busy looking for children to hand out the free ride tickets to, I missed Eric twice! Focused, darlings, focused!

Then, eventually, back to the theater to change back to modern life, but only after a group photo, of most of the remaining volunteers had been taken. We all said out goodbyes, until the next time, then went back to the ‘real world’. Going in, Edwardian, out, looking modern, and back along the pier lol. I did wonder if some people who saw me after I’d changed back recognized me as the Edwardian lady in purple, or not?

There is one wonderful lady, among a lot of wonderful ladies, and men, that I just want to show you her outfit, and you can blame her for tonights video. The outfit was gorgeous, and she went up on the stage, and sang wearing it. Yes, it could be the song in the video. Sorry, you will  have to put up with Audrey Hepburn singing it though

Pier Day4

And thats it, until the next time at least. Beyond the Film Festival early next year, currently I have no idea when that will be, but as Arnie said, when it does, I will be back! How I will be dressed then, who knows, but pretty sure it will be fun!

Oh, that song that ‘A’ sung, from My Fair Lady, well…if you hadnt guessed…

A chorus girl’s dressing room

Fine, for those privileged to see both blogs tonight, you’ve got one serious one, and a silly one. Of course, in either case, if you only know of one, or the other, well, its pot luck, in that case! In case you needed tipping off, this is the serious one.

Today I got to find out where I’d be changing on Saturday, for my ‘performance’ as an Edwardian Lady in Blackpool, in the chorus girl changing room at the pier! Yes, who could I possibly know who would have changed regularly in such a place? Hmm, Clara Johnson, just maybe? But no, having either always worked in school plays, am dram, and the (very rare) theater, I’ve never had the delight of being a chorus girl. Played a number of girl parts, long before transitioning, but in this life, a chorus girl, oh I wish!

So, unsurprisingly yes, I’m looking forward to this moment more than I probably should, even though my outfit will be far less revealing than anything thats normally worn on the chorus line at Blackpool, or in all likelihood, anything Clara got to wear, in that sense! I mean, some of her outfits were relatively normal, but revealing, though others were crazy, and revealing! One of them shortly, honest… I do suspect that if ‘someone’ gets her chance, in November, I’ll probably get to wear something that would make Clara giggle, blush, or both! Yes, I probably will, even at my age, just because it would be fun, however silly it might look. So fine, A, if you can find something in my size, bring it on!

I think its fair to say that I’m going to walk out of that dressing room in an outfit that a chorus girl would be unlikely to wear, given the era its from. I suspect that even if they’d made a musical based in the Edwardian era, that the outfits that the girls wore would be more revealing than mine, lol. But equally, wouldnt it be funny if I walked out of that changing room, went through a time warp, and out walked a young dancer, wearing not a lot, onto a Hollywood studio dance stage? As long as I had Clara’s dance skills too, at least!

“Yes, Mr Berkeley, I’m ready for my dance routine.”

Sorry, Miss Swanson, couldnt resist pinching that idea! Yes, other than maybe A, I suspect this is as close as I will ever get to chorus girl life!

Right, video time. Among the numerous movies that Clara danced in, was one called Footlight Parade. Why I’ve picked this one is simple, earlier today, someone posted a picture of 13 chorines from that movie, pictured in a row, and asked if anyone knew any of them. Yes, you guessed it, one of them was Clara! So… And also, yes, she is seen in one of those cute, crazy cat outfits in this number. So…Yes, Ruby Keeler, and Dick Powell star, but there among the cat girls…

 

Going back a century

No, not for real, and for now at least, for one day only, honestly. And fine, unless you’re within reasonable distance of Blackpool, England, you’re not going to see any of it, I’m sure. But yes, a week on Saturday, I will be the perfect embodiment (well, perfect is stretching it, I guess?) of an Edwardian lady. I know, stop laughing, as the best I can possibly do is imagine what life was like as an Edwardian lady, and play my part accordingly. Oh, for all those now putting Blackpool, on June 9th in their diary, and wondering why, this is why!

Blackpool pier day

Yes, you know you want to be there, dont you? I know, for most of my readers (given that my stats suggest most are in US), its not going to happen. But if you read this, and are in reasonable distance, feel free to come and support. If you do, and you see a mature Edwardian looking lady, dressed in purple, come up and introduce yourself to me!

I know, according to history, and well, Wikipedia, an Edwardian lady should be tightly corseted under her outfit. Well, maybe…? Put it this way, I’m planning on taking a corset with me, and if someone offers to tie me up ‘tightly’ in it, then I wont say no! Snag is, the corset is elderly, not as elderly as me, but over 10 years old, and hasnt been worn for a long while, as I have always found tying knots difficult (especially behind my back), and as the arthritis in my fingers has got worse, it became impossible more than a few years ago, so I have no idea how strong its feeling, or even if it will fit me now! But if anyone in West Yorkshire, or the Blackpool area (person, or company) has a corset I can borrow for the day, natural waist around 34 – 36 inches (no, I dont do centimeters lol!), please contact me through here, or by email at stephmajor8@hotmail.com . Should anyone do so, please put corset somewhere in the email title, so that I spot it amongst all the spam, lol! It is for a good cause, and it will be returned, just saying… I could provide a Paypal address, but in truth, I dont think I could purchase one now in time to get it here in a week!

I must admit, my previous research on the Edwardian era is pretty much zero, having never played any parts set in that era in my time. All I do know is that its a very different time to now, it was only during that time that people flew in a plane for the first time, and that first flight lasted 11 seconds! Yes, a few balloon flights before then, but to travel any great distance, you went by sea. I do remember ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ from TV, many decades ago, and I’m pretty certain I’m playing more of an ‘Upstairs’ lady on the day. It was a period before WW1, when the world seemed so at peace, little realizing that a decade or so later, all hell would break out, quite figuratively. Though of course, for most women at that time, they didnt go to war, beyond a brave few. Oh, and before the vote of course, though the Suffragette movement was just beginning to take off by then.

But yes, a week on Saturday, I’m going to do my best to play the part of a ‘fine’ Edwardian lady, before I return to modernity again for the evening. I wonder what the woman of a century ago would make of modern life? Or indeed, what I would make of Edwardian life, even as a fine lady?

Fine, video time. Its fair to say that the Edwardian times have definitely gone. Strangely enough, music videos of that era are slightly lacking! So, a little live Bucks Fizz instead. I have used the original video before, but not for 6 years, but as I found this…

 

You’re getting to be a habit with me!

I must admit that I had a great time in Blackpool in March, and definitely made a diary note to repeat the experience next year, but I was assuming I wouldnt get back there before then. And to be fair, up to a few days ago, that was still the plan! But then…on Thursday…

The same lovely lady who posted previously for March, posted that she was looking for volunteers again, this time for Blackpool Piers Watch day, on Saturday 9th June. Yes, you Brits, get that date in your diary immediately, lol. Yes, I can say that now, my guest house room is booked! No, I cant find a link to it, but trust me, its not fake news! Sorry…he may be a jerk, but…

In  truth, I had no idea whether I could do it at short notice with work, given that Saturday is part of my standard working week, and for most other people, its a working day to avoid! Anyway, one wonderful workmate agreeing to swap the Saturday she works on her rota, and management being wonderful, all was settled, I can go to the, err, ball! Will be nice to have a long weekend away, as I’m going to travel down on the Friday, and only come back on the Sunday, just being sensible with my back, thats all!

Yes, there are numerous people I’m looking forward to meeting again, sooner than expected, I must say. In truth, I have no idea what I will end up wearing this time, because though the Pier is of Victorian origin, I dont know if our manner of dress will go back that far, or not. As long as its not bikini’s, all will be fine, lol. Mind, Victorian look would be interesting, for sure, as long as the corset isnt done up too tightly lol! I might enjoy it, but for a whole day, in summer, hmm…? Oh fine, mermaid might be fun, but would need to be a body stocking look, at my age! Might make moving tricky too!

Yes, this time I’ve planned better, found a guest house at the right end of town, near the pier, and near the railway station. And good ratings on Expedia, and Trip Advisor, so… Funny isnt it, you go about 40 years without visiting somewhere, then go there twice in 3 months!

Fine, video time. An oldie, but not quite Victorian. Not quite flapper era either, but not far off!