Category Archives: Brotherhood Of Man

Not a firm of solicitors?

Though I must admit Harlow, Johnson and Brooks could very easily sound like one!

In truth, there are very few places left in Hollywood that you could trace back to their days in town, but yesterday I managed to visit two of them, though one is no longer used for the purpose that they knew it for. Oh, and I passed a couple of others too, the Chinese theater, and Musso and Frank’s being the famous ones.

I always planned to visit the Hollywood Museum on this trip, seeing they’ve got a special Jean Harlow display this summer, and yes, its really good, if you get the chance, which I suspect a lot of my readers wont! Back then of course, this was the Max Factor building, the man behind the movie make up of many famous actresses, and judging by the pictures there, a few chorus line dancers too! Its a well known fact that Harlow would have gone there, and ‘supposedly’ thats where the platinum blonde look was created. That I’ll question, but anyway…? Kept going, quite possibly. Created, hmm?

In truth, I always assumed that Factor only did the make up for the stars, but yesterday I saw a few pictures of chorus line dancers, waiting their turn to be made up by him, and thoughts turned to Clara. Was she one of them, who knows? Did she at some point have her make up done by Factor, seemingly almost certainly. One thing is for sure, they wouldnt recognize the building today. Not just because of the change of nature of the building, it lost its front seemingly when Highland Avenue was widened.

There is one seriously wonderful helmet type thing, that was seemingly used to measure imperfections in faces, which I would love to have used on me, but it would find plenty of imperfections lol.

Oh, one fun moment, signing the visitors book in my name, especially given who the main display was about, though I doubt they even look!

The evening was spent in the company of the last of our trio, Louise Brooks, at the Egyptian Theater, which is 5 years short of its centenary! I wonder if you’d told Grauman that, back in 1922, whether he would have believed you that it would happen? Looks very different in places now, to then of course, but so much remains, though mainly restored, but all the same…

I found out shortly before coming here, that there were 2 of her films on last night there, neither of which I’d seen before, beyond glimpses of one. Beggars Of Life is probably one of the better known Paramount ones that survives, with ironically Louise playing a girl pretending to be a boy. Some of the shots were amazing, especially when you think there was no CGI back then!

The other was the second film she made in Germany, Diary Of A Lost Girl. I’d seen brief scenes from this, but that was it. Personally, for all the fuss made about Pandoras Box, I found this the far superior movie. The cast seems stronger, in deeper roles, and benefits from that. In modern eyes, its amazing how much censorship was used on this film originally in US (Yes, I saw a restored version), as some of it is daring, but not extreme. But its not hard to imagine that in 1929, things were seen very differently to that. Oh, and the ending is delightful.

So yes, yesterday was a look back to Old Hollywood for me, this afternoon I’m off to see some new, at a female playwright festival. Just watching, nothing more, unless…? No, I doubt it somehow! More on that in next blog, I suspect.

The video. Well, I couldnt think of anything more apt on a California Sunday Morning. Cant believe there will be many who know this already.

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United we stand, United we fall

Its fair to say that most of my flying in recent years would come down to 3 current Airlines, American, Delta, and Aer Lingus. There was also US Airways, but they are now part of American, so…lets talk about someone else!

As far as I can remember, I’ve only ever flown twice on United Airlines in my life. The first, around the turn of the century, was an uneventful trip to Richmond, Virginia, via Chicago from Heathrow. It was in fact my first solo trip to the US, and all I vaguely remember is the long queues at Immigration in Chicago. So long that they actually took my case and loaded it onto my next flight before I got through to get it.

The second, and final time was a flight to Seattle, and though the service was OK, the fun started when I got back to Chicago. At Seattle they had been surprised when they couldnt issue my boarding pass for my second flight, but then I found out why, when I got to Chicago, they’d cancelled the flight, not that they really seemed to care! I actually got out that night, after complaining, via Heathrow, but obviously was late into Manchester, and they didnt do as requested and inform the people picking me up over here as to what was happening. So that was it, never again, I pledged. In fact, shortly after that, the Chicago route changed, first to British Midland (equally as bad), and then American (decent service), and I found it easy to ignore them after that.

So yes, I’d forgotten all about United until recently, and their ‘magic moments’. I dont know enough about their rules for people flying on free/reduced company tickets to comment too loudly on the recent leggings issue, but it was children, not likely to be assumed to be airline staff, so heavy handed was a fair comment. Not as heavy handed as at the weekend, clearly! Just when Delta thought they might get bad publicity for their cancellation issues because of weather in Atlanta, along come United to rescue them, and make them look like saints! Hopefully you’ve heard the tale of how not to deal with paying passengers, to get staff travelling for free on a plane, surely?

Heard tonight that their share price has fallen dramatically, presumably on top of all the bad publicity everywhere, especially on social media, so…I dont think United will be having so many insufficient seat issues in the near future! Hope not, anyway! Seriously, one social media disaster is bad, but 2 in about a month, oh dear me! The CEO blamed the passenger, no one else, absolutely unbelievable. Ah well…

Right, video time. Frightening to realise this is nearly 50 years old, and I remember it, but…For those who remember the 80’s reincarnation of Brotherhood Of Man, this isnt them! This, as Tony Burrows probably gives away, was a session version from 1970. Not one member of this group was in the second band, but anyway…

The name may change, but does the person?

Pertinent question, you might say, for anyone, for whatever reason changes their name by deed poll. Some like myself, do it as a sign of a change in life, in my case transitioning, but equally for many, its because of a wedding. But does that change the person too?

Despite what some say, especially some comedians, most women dont change after marriage beyond the name. But for me, changing name, and more importantly changing gender was an amazing release. All of a sudden I was no longer trying to live a lie, I really was me, a woman in nearly all senses of the word, and believe me, the one thing that marked me as a man hasnt functioned for years anyway! Well, it does in one sense, but not in the way that marks you as a man lol! I would say it fires blanks, but nowadays it simply doesnt fire at all lol!

But for me at least, the change was far more than that. Its possible to say that hypnosis played a part in making me the confident woman that I am now, and I’m sure to some degree it has, but the thing was, finally, after all that time, I was the real me. No pretence, as Helen Reddy said, I am woman, watch me run, and I certainly have since then, and I love it.

Even so, back then, if you’d told me I’d be buying shoes with a heel, I would probably have laughed at you. Now I’ve got 3 pairs, even if one of those is a wedge, so a slight cheat, and neither of the other pairs are of the towering, or the narrow kind, just not practical with my knees, even if I wanted to. Now I go out in public in skirts, and of course, even more famously in a dress, and love it.

So yes, I’ve definitely changed beyond just the name, but its all for the better. Just a shame I wasted so many years of my life trying to be a man, but so be it. Now, I feel good, and thats the main thing.

Right, the video. Funnily enough, just the opposite situation here. Mention a group called The Brotherhood of Man, and everyone would think of the group that won Eurovision in the 80’s. Funnily enough, there was another line up of that group, and not one of them is in the line up that most people know. Yes, you might recognise one of them, its someone who has appeared before in my video collection, Tony Burroughs.

I love the title as well, it sums up beautifully what the whole LGBT community has to do, to stand united.