Firstly let me say that I didnt see this on TV last night, only finding out about it after it had all happened. Besides which, given I tend to avoid this sort of reality TV, I probably wouldnt have watched it, even if I had known, given what I’ve since read of her views beforehand. Yes, but for Twitterverse, I might never have known about it, though given the coverage it got this morning, that might have been hard to miss!
So my views are more my own, and as much as I could gather from comments from Twitter, and various media outlets, which may not be all that reliable.
Right, disclaimer over. Thats right, for those in the UK at least, who might know about it, the C4 program last night, A Week As A Muslim, is what I’m talking about tonight. For those elsewhere in the world, well, you’ve seen as much of it as I have!
It seems to be the classic TV take on something like this, take a self admitted non-fan of Muslim people, and get her to live as a Muslim for a week, and film events as they happen. I’m going to use that term, for now. She might have been worse than a non-fan, but as I wasnt witness to that, I’ll leave it there. Part of the reaction against her seems to have related to the fact that she was ‘made up’ to look like she was a Pakistani, which worked both ways, garnering complaints from those who wished to point out that there are white people who are Muslim, so she didnt need to be ‘colored’, and from those who said that it wasnt done in a flattering way to Pakistani Muslims, but as that is Twitter hearsay, I’m not sure how much credence to give to that. None would probably be close to the mark, there are some ghastly views on Twitter, on both sides of the fence!
Of course, as fate would happen, she went to live with a Muslim family in Manchester, and it coincided with the bombing at the Manchester Arena, which led to her realizing, even more, just what ordinary, innocent Muslim people have to put up with from some ‘idiots’! She only faced it for a few days, but for so many more, its a sad fact of life, at all times. So wrong, so sad that there are people like that, but anyway…
For me, I think it would be fascinating to spend a week as a woman in a Muslim family. But yes, I wouldnt make for ‘great TV’ because I’m pro ordinary Muslim people anyway. No, I dont support the terrorist branches, but neither do most Muslim people here anyway! And lets face it, there are some pretty awful right wing white supremacist types around too! Oh fine, she wore a Hijab, but I know that if I was in that role, I would have wanted to go out in a Niqab, or Burqa, just to find out the real truth. Mind, I suspect the reality in Bradford might be different to Manchester, but in truth, no idea.
I have some experience in these matters now, of course. Before September, I’d heard stories of people deliberately ignoring people in wheelchairs, trying to pretend they werent there, but I hoped it was being exaggerated. Sadly, the answer was no, it isnt. When sat in one, people just looked away, had to literally be shouted at, to stop them walking in front of the moving wheelchair, and so much more. All the same, I’m looking forward (hopefully, health permitting) to experiencing ‘Round 2’ in May, in 3 airports (I need to transit going out, direct flight back), I must say.
I guess it might be an actress thing, the challenge of a new role, either in a production, or in this case, a real life situation. So yes, a week as a Muslim would be a very different show with me, but I guess I’ll never know what its like. Unless…?
Equally, of course, if Channel 4 want to consider making a show, a week as a robot, hmm, lol? 😉
The video, massive clue in the title. Live version, a very good one, mind, as I’ve used the original before.
Firstly, let me say, that for those who are curious, this video was shot, not a ‘million miles’ from where I live in Hebden Bridge! I suspect it might have changed a little in 30 years, but it paints an accurate picture of a small northern town back then. Well, put it this way, I remember Haworth back then, and it looks a fair match!
However, my northern town, as such, as you should already know, is Huddersfield. No, I cant remember what that looked like back in the 70’s, or early 80’s, because back then, it really wasnt on my travel route when heading up north. In truth, my memories of most of the places around Yorkshire from that long ago are fairly vague, apart from probably Haworth (and maybe Keighley?), because I either didnt see them at all, or only saw them in passing in a car, or bus.
Of course, that adds another alternate universe thing to the whole of my life. Suppose we hadnt moved down South permanently when I was 3 or 4, and suppose I had grown up from a young girl, in a northern town like Haworth. Marriage, children, work in a mill, who will ever know? Or working in one of the multitude of tourist type shops that grew through the village, as time moved on. No, I havent even been back in recent times, I know its not the village I grew up knowing, and though part of me wants to see it now, to see what its like, another part of me just wants to stay away, and preserve the memories, as they were. I know, I know, I have no idea which is the best route to go down, but I’m sure, at some point I will go back, like it or not!
Ironically, the only city I have really seen through all ages, is the one I now work in, Bradford. Even more amusing, where I work, I remember that area when it was actually a mill, and that children were told to stay well away from that area. Now across the road is a shopping centre, and our mill building is an office! Not hard to tell the latter mind, when you see the stairs inside the building, they’re steep, which is why this poor old crock has to use a lift at present, due to the state of her back.
And thats a matter I will soon know the state of, given that I rang the surgery today, and found out my scan results are back. No details yet, as the Nurse dealing with my case was off today, and to quote the receptionist, the results were all in medical talk, so none the wiser at present. I’ll find out Thursday, I’m told, and will report accordingly. I’d love a new cybernetically upgraded back, or full body, but pretty sure that offer isnt available! Most likely some more pills to take, will be interesting to see if estrogen is amongst them, given what I said I would do if they were!
So I guess I might yet end up as a Northern housewife, but I wouldnt put good money on it, lol! Would be amusing though, over 50 years on from when a ‘young girl’ might have had that planned out for her?
Video time. How this group was a one hit wonder, no idea, but they were. There is a different version of this video, filmed across the Pennines, near Manchester, but this is the Yorkshire version!
Well, this is it, last UK blog for a little while, though I’m sure that if you’re good, you’ll get a few from the US, assuming Hurricane Irma doesnt decide to come and visit Cape Cod at least. If it does, all bets are off lol!
If you’re wondering about the blog title, its a ‘witty’ comment on my week. Tuesday, I became an, err, natural blonde again, when I went and had my hair colored around the corner, in preparation for the holiday. Yes, I am joking about the natural bit, if anyone was stupid enough to think otherwise! I will be back there shortly after the holiday is over, for another reason. Due to the wedding, I’ve been trying (mostly in vain) to grow my hair out, in case I need to put it up for the wedding. Well, I still wouldnt call it bounteous, but its more than I normally have. And yes, its beginning to annoy lol. So it will be getting clipped back to a more 30’s length very soon after I get back!
Secondly, yesterday, a lovely lady named Linda did her best (my body is the spoiler, not her skills) to get me in reasonable shape for the trip, and to get my nails looking all pretty as well. In truth, beyond my back, my body actually isnt in bad condition (relatively) at present, due to some suggested knee exercises given to me by the Occupational Health Dept at work. I must admit, I was cynical as to how well they would work, but fine, I’ve been amazed how much better they are, so…
Lastly, and with no thanks to First Buses on this (invisible bus syndrome this morning), I went over to Bradford today, for the bone density scan tests. Yes, I know, dont have to go to Bradford today for work, and still end up going there! I must say the staff at St Lukes were nice, and very efficient, so swiftly dealt with, and on my way again.
Oh, the two out of three bit? Well, it was a radio-logical x-ray, and I was sort of hoping that those beams would do something amazing to my body, and I’d come out looking like a 30 year old version of my past life dancer self, but it never happened. No, I didnt really think it would, but no harm in hoping lol!
Beyond that, most of the stuff I’m taking with me is packed in the case, pretty much anything left out is the stuff I need tonight and/or in the morning. I plan to wear the corset brace in the morning, because I will have to wait at check in, before being put into a wheelchair, and also to offer some support for moving the case along. I plan to get it off before the flight though, its just too warm wearing something made of neoprene for about 12 hours. Maybe I need to lose a few pounds in weight, but thats not a favored way of doing it!
Ah, the wheelchair. Yes, I’m still trying to get my head around the idea that it is wise, fine, and fully permitted for me to have one, but I still feel slightly guilty, all the same. If anyone wants to mentally solve that issue for me, feel free to do so! Yes, I’d enjoy that! 😉
At least there was one other piece of good news today, the swimsuit finally arrived, with the emphasis on finally. I’ll be honest, after 2 false starts, I didnt believe it was coming, even when I had an email telling me it was, until they delivered it at the door. Studio.co.uk are the shambles of a company that I would advise anyone not to ever purchase from!
Right, video time. Going back to the blog title, for one of the lesser known Meatloaf/Steinman songs, that is very apt here.
PS, If anyone does want to put me in a transformation chamber, and make me look like a young Clara Elaine Johnson, or Jean Harlow, feel free to contact me lol!
One thing I’ve often heard said by disabled people, especially those in wheelchairs, is that a large number of people either tend to look away, or look over them, trying to pretend they’re not really there. In honesty, I’ve got to the point where I nearly always try to acknowledge them, even if only briefly in passing, simply to prove that I do know they’re there, and are happy to be seen with them.
The other group of people that I always try to acknowledge in a friendly way, are Muslim women wearing either the Niqab, or occasionally the Burqa, simply to show that I want to be friendly, and supportive of them, unlike sadly too many people nowadays. One thing I enjoy about Bradford is that nearly everybody I see, if not approving of such wear, at least doesnt react in a bad way. Mind, that might be because I only really see it being worn in the city center, though hopefully not the case.
But until now at least, the one thing I’ve never discovered is what life is like on the other side of the issue. Yes, I’d be fascinated to know what life is like inside of the Niqab, or Burka, and show my support for Muslim women who wear it that way, but I suspect its too complex a religious matter for it to ever happen. But yes, it would be both fascinating, and probably informative to spend a day wearing the Niqab, and seeing how people react to those wearing it. Probably only brave enough to do it somewhere like Bradford, or similar community, if going out, but as a whole, just seeing what life dressed like that would be a fascinating experience, and probably one that if more people tried it, we might have a lot less religious issues in the world too.
Yes, I am saying that if someone offers me the chance to wear Niqab, or Burka, either privately, or outside, then I would love to do it. And if it can be done in a way that brings up positive publicity for Muslim women, then so much the better!
Equally, fortunately, up to now, I’ve never known what its like to spend time in a wheelchair. I must have done as a child, when my knees were wrecked at the age of 9 or 10, but you dont expect me to remember that, do you? But at least on that point, in 5-6 weeks time, I’m going to get to see how people react to me in a wheelchair. Will they look me in the face, and be supportive, or will they try to pretend I’m not really there, hmm?
Yes, I have to be practical about my flights in a few weeks time. Currently I can walk to a pretty reasonable degree, and I can sit down without too many pain issues, though how much of that is currently clouded by painkillers, I have no idea! However, the one thing I cant do at present for more than a few minutes, is stand still. And yes, while the check in queue, and the security check queue will require some standing in line, you usually move along at regular intervals, which may, or may not be sufficient for my back not to lock up completely. However, when it comes to the queue at Boston, to go through Immigration principally, and Customs to a lesser degree, is that you tend to stand in 1 place, in a queue, for far longer than that. Now it is possible that in 5 weeks time, my back may be less of an issue, but until I’m on proper medication, I wouldnt like to bank on that. Even if on proper medication, I dont want to be confident on that, and not sure we will reach that point in 5 weeks, anyway.
So yes, today I’ve bitten the bullet (you have to give a minimum of 2 weeks warning, but being realistic, I’m not going to improve dramatically in 3 weeks), and requested assistance from the airline for my travels through the airports. Yes, I know I need it, but that doesnt stop the guilt factor, when I can walk reasonably well, but thats just my nature, I guess?
But yes, it will be fascinating to see how ‘fit people’ react to this ‘poor old lady’ in a wheelchair, I must say. So yes, if on 9th September, at Manchester Airport (or Boston later that day), you see a middle aged lady in a wheelchair, be nice to her, it might just be me! Yes, same plan booked for JFK flying back on evening of 18th, just saying…I wonder?
Right, video time. No, I have no plans to be wearing this while sat in my wheelchair, though it might be fun if I was! But yes, feel free to look at me, all the same!
Yes, let me say I was saddened greatly by the news that came out of Finsbury Park in the last couple of days, in a similar way to how I felt after the London Bridge incident, before anyone points out that I didnt comment on that. Sadly, when I only have time to do 2 blogs a week, and other things do happen in my life, some things get thought about, but not mentioned here, and that was one of them. Add in the Tower block fire last week, and London isnt having a good time of late, lets face it.
Equally, can I say that I wasnt entirely surprised when that horrific incident in Finsbury Park happened, because I wasnt. Such is political, and religious extremism at the far end of the spectrum of late, that no, I wasnt surprised when a white supremacist type decided to take a stand for himself over the matter. Thankfully, both sets of incident are few, and far between (very much so, in fact), but the press, and TV tend to over focus when they do. When parades of thousands of Muslims, protesting against terrorism happen, they have a tendency to ignore, as it just doesnt suit the underlying tendencies of too many in power, trying to scare people nowadays, lets face it.
I only hope that this can be it, that people can see sense, and we have no more retaliation, from either side. I know, as John Lennon said, ‘You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one’, at least I hope I’m not. Unfortunately, the people I’m appealing to with this piece are probably the ones least likely to read this, but I can hope that in some way, the message can get out. Yes, I know, I’m a very liberal type, but I think that most people, with a cool head would be able to see that just continuing the violence isnt a great idea, from either side.
So all I am saying, to quote another Lennon song, is to ‘Give peace a chance’, please. And yes, let me add that if there was a way I could wear a burqa/burka (I’ve seen it spelt both ways) in support of my Muslim friends, without it being religiously offensive, I’d happily do so. I dont deny it, I’ve seen women wearing it in Bradford a number of times, and wondered what it was like. But no, I dont want to offend anyone, all the same. But if the chance arose…?
Right, the video. No John Lennon, no Dusty Springfield, which a few might have thought of, from the blog title. Instead, a live Police classic from 2008!
Normally the walk between work, and Bradford Interchange, to get the bus home, is a pretty dull affair, with the most ‘exciting’ thing being crossing a few roads, where some vehicles seem to see the traffic lights, or indicating their intention to turn, as a suggestion, rather than compulsory on a Saturday afternoon. But fine, no one has got me, yet!
Now, I’m not claiming to be an angel, I’ve worn some weird stuff when acting, I’ve worn some even weirder stuff when not acting, but thats beside the point! 😛 There’s also some weird stuff I’d love to wear, but havent had the chance to do so as yet. Yes, one might be that robot suit from Metropolis, but never going to happen, I’m sure!
But I must admit, one thing caught my eye, and made me do a double check, as I was walking up the last stretch of hill yesterday, up to the interchange. There was a man, and presumably his daughter, about 8-10 at a guess (me, and children’s ages lol…) walking down the hill towards me. Nothing strange in that, you say, and yes, normally, I would agree. Apart from the fact that the young girl had a metal handcuff affixed around one of her wrists, and was casually slipping her other wrist into the other handcuff! Wow, they start young nowadays lol! No, unfortunately, as they were going in the other direction, and I didnt want to attract attention by looking too closely, I have no idea what happened next!
In truth, I’m sure she was doing it very innocently, and had no idea that one passer by would notice, and react inwardly, at least to it. All I know is, she looked so casual doing it, I do wonder if she was only doing what ‘mummy’ does from time to time lol? Oh fine, I might have worn a pair or two in my time, but never relating to a legal matter lol, my record is spotless, in real life at least. In a play, well…? 😉
But yes, just proves that no walk through any town, or city is guaranteed to be dull, or normal, does it? But no, given that currently, locally, the temperatures are in the 80’s, the leather catsuit, even if I had one, is definitely a no go. No, never worn one, but if someone is offering, when things cool down…? Yes, handcuffs are purely optional unless its a Catwoman roleplay, or acting role! 😛
I might have gone with a more straightforward blog title, but for one thing, the song for the video. This is what happens when a classic song gets tackled by Ray Stevens. Seriously, its rather good!
Even more amusing is the fact that the drummer looks remarkably like someone at work. I know it isnt, but…?
One thing about working in an office, where there are 5 teams in a department, is the knowledge that you might not always be in the same team, forever. its certainly happened in both my previous jobs up here, and now, seemingly its going to happen again. Same role, same hours, just a different team leader.
In a way, it makes perfect sense, I’m now going to be in the team of the team leader who works every Saturday, like me, so there wont be weeks when I’m sat all on my own any more, though to be fair, said team leader was sat right behind me, and besides, it never really bothered me anyway. I know, I dont let much bother me, but anyway…Its equally fair to say that my current team leader is sorry to lose me, though I suspect thats as much down to my ‘entertaining’ calls, as anything else. Who, me? Flirt with customers? No, not really, though fine, I do maybe use my feminine wiles to get round them at times lol!
As to the swap, no, I get on fine with both of them, so no issue to me, either way. But fine, I could live without all the fuss of changing desks, and everything, as you then have to do all the ‘health and safety’ stuff again when you change desks, but never mind… Other than that, I’ll just carry on, as before, and…
Oh fine, I might enjoy it more if it was a literal transfer of affection, but more of that when I get to the video, but fine, I’m probably the only one changing teams that would enjoy that sort of thing. Still, if they want to arrange for it to be done like that, just for me… 😉 In fact, in some ways, the video is a little tame for what I’d fancy, but besides all that…
I just wonder how many more transfers of affection I might have before probable retirement, in just about 7 years time, lol? Who knows, I might even be one of the team leaders by then? Not that I’m very ambitious, but all the same…? Still, if someone wants to ‘make me’ more ambitious, I might not say no!
Right, video time. Oh fine, you can tell this is from the 80’s, from the outfits the group are wearing, not even allowing for those rather cute space suits! Who, me, fancy wearing any of those, you bet! I have no idea why this wasnt a bigger hit over here in the UK, but besides all that…Yes, I’d love to know what was actually being done to her mind! 😀
I must admit that when one of the big bosses called me into an office on Friday, my mind tried to work out what I could possibly have done wrong? Even more confusing when she invited one of the guys in at the same time, especially as he was acting as a team leader at the time. Oh fine, before anyone worries, I’d done nothing wrong!
I had noticed a couple of people from our department spending some time in another department on our floor, which deals with certain cases when they come in. Yes, they are called initial action, for the obvious reason, and why the video link for this was so easy to choose!
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I was asked if I fancied some training/shadowing time over in that department, and I couldnt say yes quickly enough. It will be interesting to see another department in action, especially one that deals with figures a lot of the time. Yes, mathematics, and figures have always been a love of mine, and I dont mean the hourglass figure I’d love to have lol! The latter, well if I could miraculously develop one in the next 3 weeks, might be handy! Or even by September, as I know a couple of ladies over in the US who would love to see me happily married, and living over there. But anyway…
So I’ve got a day on the phones tomorrow, as per normal, then the rest of the week, seeing how another department does its thing. Yes, starting Tuesday, so dont expect another blog before Saturday, though you might be lucky, as I will be working 10-6, instead of 11-7, but dont hold your breath! No idea, if its 1 week, or 2 at present, so watch this space for info on that. Why not the start of the week, because the lady I will be sitting with does a special task on a Monday, and because last Monday was a Bank holiday…you get my drift, she wont need me around that day!
Funnily enough, over here, next Monday is a Bank holiday too! So now I’ve ended up with a long weekend there, though I’m assuming that if I’m still on this secondment, I might be in on the Tuesday again, which will be weird! If it does, it means yesterday was my last Saturday working until June!
So yes, looking forward to learning something new, and the chance to discover if a department that I think would appeal to me to work in, really is that! Wish me luck!
Right, video time. Not one of Bucks Fizz’s bigger hits, but I liked it all the same!
Well, I’m assuming it will be at least? As far as I can see, Transgender Day of Visibility, which was on Friday, was about the last landmark in LGBT history for a while, so I’m assuming I will now be able to drop back into quiet anonymity, much to the disappointment seemingly, of a number of my work colleagues. For those interested, the last article, which actually made the blog on the main Civil Service page, can be found here
Yes, I’m proud to be the spokeswoman for Transgender people in the Civil Service, dont get me wrong, and the ride has been amazing, but fine, the boring old biddy that I am would say that I go to work to do my daily job to the best of my ability, and thats the main thing. Fine, I have enjoyed the whole ride, but fine, getting back to ‘normality’ in Bradford will be a good thing to do.
I know someone will tell me otherwise, but I’m assuming that until the same landmarks come around next year, I can go back to being a dutiful Administrative Officer, and leave it at that? I have to say the reaction to everything at work has been amazing, and fine, I’ve quite enjoyed the teasing about my 15 minutes of fame at work too. Fine, it will go on until at least Wednesday, because someone is going to mention the article to the whole team at the staff meeting then, but after that, and probably before that, for people outside Bradford…
I know one thing, if I get this much publicity, and interviews during my stay in LA, I will be thrilled. If so, who knows where it might lead, but no, I’m not expecting that to happen. Except, well, maybe…? Helped someone with some research this morning, and it may lead to a filming opportunity when I’m in California, so I’m told, but I really will believe that when it happens! No, not Jimmy Fallon, yet! Nothing to do with transgender issues, but thats all I’m saying unless its likely to happen! 😛 Lets just say its something I would love to get involved in.
But now, as far as I know, life can go back to the reality of day to day work, with no interviews, no publicity, or nothing. Oh fine, a part of me is really going to miss that, but equally, getting back to just being another worker in the department, without all the other stuff, is probably better for my future prospects. Or maybe not? 😉
Video time. If you havent worked out the song, long before now, be ashamed! Thanks to Sarah for reminding me of this one.
…Its the way that you do it! Yes, tell me about it.
In truth, when it comes to receiving customer service, I’m probably more forgiving than most, because its an area I’ve worked in for much of my life. However, there are times, and people who even drive me to frustration, and yes, I met one on Friday.
The rule I’ve always applied personally, is, if in doubt, ask someone, and make sure you’re doing the right thing. It has led to moments when I’ve been 99.9% certain that I’m right, but still feel its better just to make sure, especially on critical matters. Anyway, on Friday…
Normally, when I have anything to do with foreign currency prepaid credit cards, I head to Thomas Cook, as I did on Friday. Their card does all I need, and the staff in Huddersfield know exactly what they’re doing, and you get smooth, professional service. To cut a long story short, I was over in Bradford on Friday, so I thought I’d get it done over there. Not a wise move!
I guess I should have taken the hint when the woman behind the counter was fighting a losing battle to put a currency order into the system, and asked me to wait while she sorted it out. As I now know, like a fool, I did! I should have walked out the door, there and then, but fine, hindsight is a wonderful thing.
I rather gathered she’d never had to issue, and activate a prepaid card before. So after a few minutes of trying to convince the system let her do it, she gave up, and asked for help. The snag was, the woman who she called for help had never done one either. So, instead of the 5 minutes I have spent in the past doing this, in Huddersfield, we were now up to 15 minutes, and no closer to getting it issued than when I had walked in!
Eventually they said they’d won the battle, and quoted me a dollar figure for the amount I was handing over. I misheard, or I would have said something because the figure they put through was ridiculously low. Yes, instead of giving me the sell rate, of around $1.20, they gave me the buy back rate about $1.11! But I only realized this after they’d handed me everything, including the receipt. After all that time (about 25 minutes), I wasnt inclined to start again, for about the sake of $4.50, as I was only putting a small amount on the card to get it active.
So, got it home, registered the card online. Yes, its showing up, but no, its not showing any balance! My suspicion, they havent confirmed something, or they’ve confused the system with the exchange rate they’ve used, or something? So now, on Tuesday, I’m going to have to go into Thomas Cook, in Huddersfield, on my day off, and get the whole matter sorted out. All because 2 people, who admitted they didnt know what they were doing, couldnt ask someone who did, or ask me to go to another branch where they would!
Yes, I’m glad thats not my regular branch! I’ll stick with Huddersfield in future!
The video, as so often, a clue in the blog title. An, err, interesting live vocals performance by a group of people who I suspect were more used to lip syncing!