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!
Tomorrow night is that annual tradition known as the Works Christmas Dinner, version, who quite knows? There were a few while at William Hill in Leeds, and this wont be the first Civil Service one, but its certainly a more interesting location than the norm. Why, dinner is at a casino, darlings!
In my life, I’ve been into 2 casino’s, and thats it. The first of those was actually at Philadelphia Park racecourse and casino, and I simply passed through the building on the way to the racecourse viewing area via a lift. Just a way of getting somewhere, never looked at anything. I have also been to the one we’re going to tomorrow night in Bradford, on a Saturday afternoon, after work, with a colleague, to waste an hour between the finish of work, and yes, you’ve guessed it, the works Christmas dinner! Must have been the 2016 version, because I was able to drink back then!
The amusing thing for me tomorrow night, beyond the opportunity to dress up a bit, is that one of the things that we get for our price, is a £5 gambling chip! No, I dont expect it to last more than 1 play, lol! And what to play it on, no idea! I suppose that if it was a real Hollywood movie, I would walk up to the roulette table, coolly put the chip on a number, and it would win! But given the most glamorous place I ever acted was the Octagon Theatre, in Yeovil, its fair to say it will lose! Yes, its still there, about 30 years on, so I didnt close it down, lol! In truth, I knew it survived at least until 1999, when I left Yeovil, but have never been back since, so had to check on Google!
No, I dont think its going to get me back into any form of gambling habit, somehow! Beyond the race that everyone in the UK bets on, the Grand National, I havent had a bet since 2013, until now. I dont think I’m going to say I broke that streak for 1 free chip in a casino, lol. Maybe I should get into cool flapper mode before playing that chip, mind? Not that I can smoke (not permitted by law), or drink (not permitted by painkiller pills I’m on), but I can think the part! Oh, and partly look it, at least.
Yes, the hair, darlings! Had it done today, so I’m ‘properly’ blonde again, with a neat layered bob look, and probably the attitude to match? I did actually go under a hair dryer today, but unfortunately it wasnt in the mood to ‘transform’ my thoughts into those of a 20’s flapper! Ah well…
Oh fine, if this is the last blog for a while, you know I broke the bank at Bradford, and have moved somewhere warmer abroad. So yeah, you’ll get a blog again soon, probably Saturday (recovery day after tomorrow), rather than Sunday (out for some of day), but anyway, just saying… 😉
Right, video time. Another one from the TV series set in Blackpool, a rather apt song for tomorrow night. Sadly the very dishy David Tennant isnt seen in this one, ah well…
Yes, tonights blog might, ever so slightly, be tongue in cheek, just saying? 😉
One thing I’ve come to the conclusion of, is that if I really want to revive my ‘acting’ career, once I reach retirement age, I need to move to the Blackpool area. No, I know, there probably are opportunities elsewhere, if I put my mind to it, but in terms of fun, one off roles, it seems a good place to be. Maybe thats because the lady behind the Winter Gardens Festival Volunteers is just good at going out, and advertising these things, and maybe its just due to the fact that a workmate, and friend tipped me off about them at the beginning of this year, but either way…it works for me.
Yes, I’ve done a couple of things already, and try keeping me away from next years film festival (its my birthday week in March, so work wont be an issue), believe me. There might be at least a couple of us hoping the movie will be a 30’s musical for the outfits, though the audience (and some of the other volunteers) might wish otherwise, lol! But yes, doing my best ‘Clara Johnson’ routine would be a lot of fun! At least 2 of us are trying to get this to happen regardless, so fingers crossed.
OK, back to the title. October 26th (Friday), there is a film showing at Lytham, and they are seeking volunteers to dress up as witches. Yes, thats where the ‘no makeup’ comment for me fits in, as lets face it, witches arent meant to be the most beautiful of creatures, are they? Besides which, it would be fun pretending to be wicked, lol! 😉
I suspect I might have played a witch, or a wizard in my time, but just cant put one to mind. However, at the Boys Grammar School, we did ‘that Scottish play’, and I had a minor part, so just maybe I did? 😉 Oh god, I must have been in heaven back then, a need for ‘boys’ (strictly, in my case) to play female parts, oh love it! Now I could play a witch legitimately, but…
Sadly, no, its not going to happen, for so many reasons. A good one is that I really havent got the holiday allowance left, as I need to save some days for January, to try and pace breaks for my back, especially in winter, and I think I’ve just about got a week left at this time! Next is distance, doing a trip from here, to Lytham, and back, all in 1 day, not going to happen, especially as we will be required until about 8 pm. Throw in cost, as its the weekend of the Gatsby Dance in Bradford, even more no go!
But yes, when I retire, either at 66 (legal) in about 5 and a half years, or whenever my back gives up the ghost for that much physical exertion (far more likely, I fear) involved in getting to and from work, I might just have to move to somewhere where I can get my acting skills put back to good use yet again., maybe?
Unless any generous benefactor wishes to subsidise a new acting career for me? No, thought not, lol! 😛
Right, video tonight, its one of those progression things. No, there is no song of such a title that I know of, but there is an album with a similar name. And one of the singles taken off that LP is…
I realized one thing earlier today, when Eric was watching the Darts here (recording of last night), and I was trying to get on with stuff on the laptop, that this time around, there was something a little bit different about it.
No, not strictly the fact that the walk on girls are now gone, though I did find that sort of odd. Personally, I disagreed with that decision, as if ladies are willing to do that, for good pay, and good publicity for themselves, then why not? As far as I know, no one is forced to do it, all free will, and all that stuff, so…? Would I have done it, if I’d been a woman back then, young, pretty and all that stuff, and good money was on offer for doing that, oh, absolutely! But now…
Its fair to say that before this year, I’d never performed anywhere famous. Yes, village halls, school stages, and the like dont tend to attract the celebrities of the world. Whereas now, I’ve done the North Pier, at Blackpool, and more critically, in the same location, the Winter Gardens, which is of course, where the darts are being shown from this week.
No, I never got up on the stage, but plenty of people saw this Flapper, strutting her stuff on the ‘meet and greet’ stuff, and directing people after the film show. And no, even on the Pier, unlike my friend, Angie, I missed getting up on stage at the Pier, something I do regret now, but can hopefully right, some day. Or at the Winter Garden, maybe…? I hope she sees this, and maybe Catherine too, because I know the 2 of us would love to do something there next March, probably before the public get in, and I suspect one or two of the others would too!
But yes, now I can say I’ve seen a venue that I’ve performed at, on TV. No, at my age, I dont think (certain, in truth) I’d get the job as a walk on girl this week, even if they had any, but…
Oh, next month, those at the Lytham Festival (18th and 19th), watch out for some stylishly dressed people, doing pre publicity for next March. No, I wont be there, its a Saturday/Sunday in August, and getting time off work would have been a no go. Besides which, finding anywhere to stay in mid August, no chance, I’m sure! But next March, just maybe, on a stage where a few dart players have been…? 😉
Right, video time. I did use this a couple of years back, but when I found a live version, lets say it wasnt a great performance, and leave it at that!
Oh fine, I thought I was going to be reminiscing about the previous time that England were in a World Cup Final, even more so when I got in last night, and saw the score was 1-0, but everything went downhill after that, so you’re getting this instead! 😛
To be honest, I guessed I’d see less people around last night than normal, but in truth, during the walk into Bradford from work, I hardly saw anyone at all. Well, apart from inside the bars, showing the football, lol…Little did I know that by the time I walked past, England was already winning. Even the Interchange was almost empty, and the bus had a fraction of the normal amount of passengers too. Despite a few ‘idiots’ (signalled the bus to stop, just as he was passing at speed, but he managed to stop, and wait for them to sort out their fares) for the first time in memory at that time of night, the bus actually had to wait for the clock to tick round at Brighouse before we could complete the trip to Huddersfield. Despite that, I got off at Huddersfield 4 minutes early, and got a bus towards home that should leave a minute before I get there, and thats with a couple of minutes walk. That bus was quiet too.
As for this end, well, I could have walked home in a swimsuit, and pretty much no one would have known! I saw a driver, and 2 passengers on a bus heading into town at a respectful distance, but I doubt they saw me. Other than that, no one!
For the first time this tournament, I switched on the football at home, and discovered the news, England were winning. By the time I’d gone downstairs, put my dinner in the microwave, and got back upstairs, they were drawing! Then I jinxed them, I left the football on, and the almost inevitable happened, they lost! At least it wasnt on penalties this time, lol. So sadly, it seems like we will have to put up with Baddiel and Skinner for 2 more years at least, singing about 3 lions on shirts, ah well…
For me, the more exciting potential news was another chance to dress up old fashioned style, and work in the Blackpool area (Lytham, to be precise) as an advertiser for the Film Festival next March, but its a weekend in August (18th and 19th), so not even worth asking in truth, as Saturday’s are short staffed enough as it is, without being in School Holidays (we have a number of term time only staff), and besides which, I suspect finding accommodation over there in mid August, no chance! Its not even like its just a Saturday anyway for me, I’d need to finish early on the Friday to get there, would need the Monday off to recover afterwards, so… No, I dont know what era, or look just yet! Probably better I dont know, might regret not doing it!
OK, video time, at least you’re saved from Keith Allen, aka Fat Les, due to last nights calamity with England. I had no idea how good Marlene Dietrich’s singing talents were by 1963, but they were bearable. And yes, its more than one glorious link to the past that I love, so…
Before I leave Blackpool off the blogs for a little while…Some thoughts from the weekend.
When I was young, pretty much everyone, excluding the wealthy, used to holiday at home in the UK. For the wonderfully obvious reason that in those pre-package holiday days, most people had little choice to do anything else. So places like Blackpool, Scarborough, Southend (the 3 I now know best, now, and in the past), and numerous other seaside resorts thrived with visitors every year, in the summer. Its hard to believe that until the early 60’s, on a Saturday, the trains would run hundreds of ‘holiday trains’ to the seaside, filled with people going away for their week of leisure. To be fair, they had their day before then, with mass ownership of cars creeping in, but even then, there were enough people to make it worth while.
Then at some point in the 1970’s, a travel company came up with the idea of package flights, to beaches abroad, and the entry into the Common Market, and the demise slowly began. Lets face it, why, when you have a week of freedom, would you risk the UK weather, when you could have almost guaranteed sun, for little more money. I never got involved in that initial rush, as part of a single parent family, holidays had to be basic, and stay that way. Even when I could buy my own, I tended to stay in the UK (or Jersey) of choice, apart from ‘family’ related trips to Ireland. Apart from that, and a school day trip to France, I never went abroad until I was in my late twenties!
Since then, I havent often holidayed at home! There was the trip to Jersey a few years ago, and I noticed that numbers were less there, not surprisingly, but that really was about it. But UK seaside resorts otherwise, not at all.
Lets just say that I dont remember Blackpool at all from my few brief visits 30-40 years ago, so I cant compare it to then. And as I said at the time, March was such a flying visit, I didnt get to see much. Of course, this time I did. I’m not going to say Blackpool is a depressed area, it isnt, but at the same time, its seen better days! Yes, its heyday is gone, for sure. But thats progress, I guess? The pier was busy on Saturday, and was quite crowded at times, and that was nice to see. Where the big clues lay for me, was Friday evening, when we walked inland, into town, to get something to eat. I know most retail areas are struggling today, due to online shopping, and stuff, but the town center didnt inspire me to do more than have a meal, and get back to the guest house.
To be fair, the number of guest houses, and small hotels in the town, business must still be decent, but I suspect way down from the heydays, up to the 1970’s? I’ll give Blackpool its due, its trying, Saturday showed that. I’ve heard other places may not be trying so hard, but the times have changed against these famous UK seaside resorts. Who knows, it may swing back again after Brexit, who can tell? I have my doubts, but fingers crossed…
Right, video time. One of those ‘foreign’ songs that were all the rage back in the 1970’s. Most were re-recorded in English, as this song was, several times. But this quirky video, from the 1970’s, of the original version of the song, truly is quite, err, something!
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
And yes, it was as gorgeous as it looked, complete with hat, and gloves. Hampered by the looks of the wearer, but anyway…
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
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…
Hopefully a few of you will get the connection before you get to the video at least. Or, oh fine, the next line of the blog at least.
Yes, June being Pride month, and me being one of the Diversity leaders at work, I could hardly ignore it, lets face it, so I’m not. Most amusing thing? Well, you know Saturday, in Blackpool? Well, as well as our event, it seems its Blackpool Pride day too! Should be fun, and makes me glad I’ve only got to get back a few hundred yards to the guest house at the end of the day, nothing more!
Why June, you might ask? Hopefully most of my readers know it relates to the Stonewall Riots (yes, where the UK LGBT group got their name from) back at the end of the 1960’s, in New York, but if you didnt, you do now! And yes, however bad some might think things are now, before that time, it was far worse for LGBT folk. Homosexuality was illegal here in the UK until the late 60’s, in my lifetime. As it was done on a state by state basis in the US, I’m not going to mention dates for over there, easiest way.
No, I’ve never been on a Pride Parade as yet, and I guess that at my age, less likely it will happen now, especially now with my health issues. I’ll leave all that to the younger folk lol. Thats not to say I wouldnt, if needed, but as I would probably need someone to push me round the march route nowadays, it wouldnt be fair.
My ideal wish, that we wouldnt need Pride Parades, because LGBT people wouldnt need to stand up and be noticed. Hopefully a decade or two down the road, and all this will be looked back on as ‘Did they really need to do that?’, but sadly the answer is still yes, even if things are a world apart from 50 years ago, and better than 20 years ago, but not perfect. Pretty certain I wont be around to see that, but for those who will a much better life, because of whats been done, I’m pleased for you.
Now fine, I know, and accept that a lot of my readers may be LGBT supporting, but not LGBT. Fine by me, equally as important in my eyes. Just give that sign that you’re an ally, OK?
Right, the video. I know, this actually relates to MLK, but the title, and sentiment so fit in with Pride month, I’m sure Bono wont mind?
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…