Category Archives: Brotherhood Of Man

LGBT United

I know, blog is supposedly a day late, sorry, and all that. But yes, I was busy yesterday, very sore when I got back, which is why you’re getting this tonight, as work was a no go today, but thankfully the hours from yesterday sort of make up for that.

Yesterday’s trip out actually began, and ended with something that was not out of the ordinary, Trans Pennine Express trains running very late, to, and from Manchester. If I say the departures/arrivals, the closest to punctuality was 7 minutes, you get my drift!

As stated in the previous blog, my first ever Civil Service Conference was related to LGBT issues, so no shock there. The toilets were strictly gender neutral, but yes, the women all stuck to the ladies, and the men to the gents side. Hardly surprising given we cant use urinals, lol! But a lovely gesture, all the same.

The first talk was a pair of people from the Welsh Government Civil Service, and their thriving LGBT section, and the work they do. Very good, very impressive, and just showed how much my department has to do if we’re going to get Stonewall awards too. Got some good tips about what we might want to do, at least.

Talking of Stonewall, our next speaker was actually representing them, giving us lots of useful information on what they do, what they can do to help us improve our diversity standings, and what we could get involved in, if we wanted to, which is probably more useful for London folk, than us a long way from town, but still stuff for us.

Then into the first panel discussion of the day, which was interesting to listen to, though you can never be sure if leaders are saying what they think, or what they think we want to hear? Probably just being cynical on that front, but I’ve been there so often in my life, probably just me jaded by bosses at my previous job, who wouldnt have known what Diversity & Inclusion was, if it had bitten them on their backsides!

After lunch we broke off into selected rooms, for various sessions. Firstly I went with my own department Pride group, who were looking for suggestions on ways to improve matters, both for members, and those of us on committees, and groups as well.

My second session was in the same room (tactical health planning, lol), and was 2 Team Leaders advising us on how they dealt with someone who transitioning in their section. Now, without wishing to show bias, I would say the TL’s at my place handled it with me in a far better way. Mind, I guess its easier when someone has already transitioned, not transitioning in that role, but anyway…

Lastly, I went to a heart rending session, which was a Trans male, writing to his younger self, about what was going to happen in the rest of his life. I could relate to this so easily, because other than a reversal of genders, it was pretty much my story too.

After that, a different panel, for another panel discussion, which summed up the day, and yes, confirmed what a great success it was. We had a good split on the LGBT rainbow, and allies there, which was a good sign. What I did realise, and that Stonewall had mentioned can be an issue, was just how ‘white’ the room was. Hopefully, the next time, assuming there is one (and there should be), we can get a little more widespread representation on that front at least.

But was it a worthwhile event, absolutely, and praise goes to all who helped to arrange it, especially Rachel, who did incredible stuff, just to get this on. Who knows, maybe the next time, I’ll be one of the speakers, or presenters, we will see. But put it this way, I will, if I can!

Oh, and if any readers came out yesterday, on ‘World Coming Out Day’, I say congratulations, and wish you well for your future.

OK, video time. Showing my age, as this is 48 years old! And before anyone says this isnt Brotherhood Of Man, because they know the Eurovision group, you’re right, this is an entirely different line up, but they predate the other line up by about 6 years, but given these were all session singers… they needed replacements, lol

 

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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.

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.