Category Archives: Louise Brooks

The one benefit of Transatlantic flight

Yes, I admit it, I’m one of those who fall into the group of surviving the flight across the Atlantic, not enjoy it. Doesnt matter what I do, an 8 hour flight, I get bored. I know, I’m not the only one, but anyway, this time around, the flight out flew by, and the one back wasnt so bad either, though I’ve given my knee a bit of a bashing, trying to get into a decent sleeping position, but…

The difference? I had a really good book to read, the Louise Brooks biography, by Barry Paris, and its really good.

Fine, I already knew Louise could be a ‘bit’ awkward to deal with, but reading this, I’ve discovered just how much of a nightmare she must have been to deal with, throughout her life! It really is fair to say that the only thing angelic about her, was her looks! You could forgive her some of her awkwardness in later life, due to all the health problems she had, but Louise was the same throughout her life!

Still glad I discovered her though! 😉

No idea what I’m reading for the Albany trip though at present. I do have a Jean Harlow biography, but have been advised that I ‘might’ get annoyed by some of the tales in it. Hmm…?

Oh, and lastly, I might be a 30’s girl at heart, but there are some modern tricks that are a boon. This morning, at Manchester Airport, no more showing your passport to someone, my chipped passport gets slid into a machine, a photo check done, and…through you go!

Ah well, tomorrow, back to work we go!

The video, perhaps what we have to offer up for (Mary) Louise Brooks,

Somewhere, over the state line

Yes, somewhere over the state line, in the South eastern corner of Kansas, sits a little city called Cherryvale, I have mentioned it once or twice before in blogs, as the birthplace of Vivian Vance, as well as a young lady named Mary Louise Brooks.

Yesterday, I got there, so glad.

Now, this isnt a big city, total population of just over 2,200 people, but for me, it was one of those places I so wanted to visit, but getting there is a challenge for non drivers, unless you have a special friend like Kate to drive you there.

We got to Cherryvale shortly after 1.00, and I rang Tina, my local contact there, to let her know we’d arrived. She was one block or so away, and very soon a car pulled up, and we met up. What followed was a wonderful guided tour of Cherryvale, showing us all the landmarks, relating to Brooks, Vance, and general Cherryvale life, both past and present.

A picture of the first home Louise Brooks lived in

Louise Brooks 1st home in Cherryvale

Her second home

Louise Brooks 2nd home in Cherryvale

Then, while we waited for the Museum to be opened (just for us, I might add), we were taken up to the nearby ‘Big Lake’ to admire the view, and for me to get my picture taken

Me, at the lake, Cherryvale

After that, back into town, and while Kate settled into businesswoman mode, I took a tour of the museum. Lots of Vance, plenty of Brooks, and far more relating to life in, and around Cherryvale. We even managed to find some pictures of Jean in the old magazines of the 20’s and 30’s too!

Last, but not least, an ‘I was there’ photo, outside of the museum

Me, at the museum, Cherryvale

Yes, the lady in the background, in green, is Kate, my heroine for getting me there!

Finally, just before 3.30 we headed out of town, realistically my one, and only visit in my life to Cherryvale, but I got there. I know Louise would probably just say “so what?” or something along those lines, but I’m so glad I did it.

Finally, huge thanks to Tina for all she did for us, and thanks also to the lady who guided me around the museum, whose name I cant remember. Cherryvale, thanks for such a wonderful day.

Under the circumstances, there were only 2 video options. Given this is probably the ultimate Kansas song, and all that…No, not the Garland version, but Eva Cassidy, a version that I personally far prefer

I’ll find my way home…to Kansas City

So fine, sue me, its a lie, until tomorrow, I’ve never been to the place. Well, not in this life at least! But who knows what might have happened in a past life, and yes, just maybe I’m thinking of one particular person, however unlikely that will be the case, when I do a past life regression later this year.

But yes, for Jean Harlow at least, finding her way home to Kansas City would be a reality, as of course, thats where she was born in 1911. Alright, strictly, Harlean Carpenter was born in Kansas City, in 1911, but with a change of name (and a boost in fame), it was Jean. It was her mother’s name in fact, which is where she took it from, when getting her first audition in Hollywood. And as they say, the rest is history!

Beyond the obvious, I know very little about the city, so it will be interesting to see if I show any amount of familiarity to the place. Mind, given how much would have changed over the 100 years, beyond obvious landmarks (her homes, for example), there probably isnt much remaining that Jean would recognise anyway. But yes, I’m looking forward to seeing the modern city, with interest, I must admit.

Oh, and fine, I know most know it anyway, but the fact that most of Kansas City, isnt in Kansas amuses me no end. Harlow in fact lived in houses in the city, on both sides of the state line.

As Dorothy said, in a certain film, there’s no place like Kansas.

True, not many places are that flat!

But the charms of Kansas, most particularly Cherryvale wait in store for me too. A trip to the birthplace of Louise Brooks is just going to be amazing, I know.

Neither however, will be the first new state for me on this visit, that will be Georgia, if only as a transit through Atlanta Airport. All in all, one state short of halfway, in the sense of visiting US states for me.

Yes, the whole thing is a trip I’m looking forward to greatly, and getting to meet up again with Kate will be super too.

But fine, the video, is a moment where I look at Kansas City on the map, step into Jean Harlow’s shoes, and say, somehow I’ve found my way home.

To bid you farewell

To those who know both blogs, apart from the set up words, the only difference is in the video pick

I know, its been a week since I last posted, and I’m sorry. But today has been my first day off for 10 days, and beyond something exceptional, like last Saturday, I tend to only have time for these when I’m off. But anyway, enough talk…

Talk about a depressing week for anniversaries, mind! The first I want to mention happened on Tuesday, 52 years since the day that Marilyn Monroe died, at the age of 36. No, the video isnt Candle in the wind, another more poignant anniversary grabs that honour. To be honest, I dont know an awful lot about her, other than when tragic blonde actresses get mentioned, the 2 most popular names are of course, Jean Harlow, and Monroe.

Whereas we all know what Harlow died of, her kidneys failed, officially due to Scarlet Fever in her teens, but lets face it, all the smoking, drinking, and the like (and maybe, just very maybe, all that bleach on her hair) didnt help her kidney’s to function, lets face it, and thats what killed her. Back then, no dialysis, no replacement organs, so it was fatal.

However, when it comes to Monroe, in all honesty, we really dont know. Officially, its suicide, by barbiturate poisoning, but there are so many other theories to how she met her end, so who knows? One thing is for sure, who she was seeing/dating was giving concern to people in ‘high places’, so her death was handy for them. Or was it arranged? As I say, we will never know for sure.

The other whose death anniversary this week, is of far more significance to me. 29 years ago, yesterday, (Mary) Louise Brooks died, at the grand old age of 78. To be honest, given how much she smoked, how much she drunk, and how she lived her life, its amazing she lasted that long, but anyway…she did! Emphysema, a lot of it caused by her smoking, probably aided the inevitability of dying of a heart attack, but lets face it, she lived a long life, albeit a painful one at the end to some degree, so…

But the grimmest one, and the one with a round number occurred on Monday, 100 years on from Great Britain entering World War 1. Given my recent posting about this, and having given my feelings on those brave men who died, I’ll keep this part brief.

As I said, this is the one worth of the video pick, a wonderfully haunting song by Dire Straits.

That other video, the obvious one, Candle in the wind, Elton John

Fast food, and eating out wasn’t always so dull!

Lets face it, nowadays its pretty hard to tell one McDonalds (with very few exceptions) from another, and you can pretty much say the same for KFC, Burger King and the like, but its not always been that way. Mind, it seems a disease far more prevalent over here, than in the US, where a few fun places still exist. And no, I dont mean Denny’s, IHOP and the like, in a sense, they are just as bad!

But at least over there, you find the odd gem that will take you back to a different era, and the last time I was in the Seattle area, I was fortunate enough to find one.

The first time I saw the place, it looked like an outpost from the 1950’s, and I knew I had to eat there. And yes, beyond the prices, it was like being taken back to the 1950’s, and was so much fun, I ate there twice more that week! It seemed to focus on Route 66, and thankfully that road just about runs through Kansas (about a dozen miles), so I could sit in what I jokingly called the Kansas section while there.

But it was fun, it was different, and not an identikit place a la the chain diners. Not that there is anything wrong with the 2 I mentioned above, or others like the Cheesecake Factory, but you know what they are going to look like, and what will be offered, before you enter the door, this place was fun to go into. No, sadly back then I wasnt so into vintage, but agreed, going in, dressed in a 50’s outfit would have been fun. Not sure if anyone would have blinked, who knows? Well, maybe then I would have, it was before full transitioning, so…but now, hmm?

I’m sure there are many similar gems in the US, hopefully in the KC, or Albany areas, for later this year, but we shall see. I’m sure that if there is, in the KC area, and Kate finds out about it, we will end up there, with me dressed as a 30’s babe, I’ve no doubt.

But fine, you’re right, thats not the reason for this blog, fond memory that it is. No, one of my twitter contacts posted about this place, that used to be in Los Angeles

Fine, its no longer there, in fact it didnt survive the 30’s, let alone till now. Ironically now, the site is a McDonalds, and car park, aargh! But hey, even at modern prices, that would be such a fun place to eat at. If someone can invent time travel…

One of these days, I really must go to Los Angeles, though the thing that concerns me is something I was told a few years ago, its a lousy place to go, for a non driver like me, but not sure if that’s true? But yes, it would be nice to go and see Harlow’s star, I have to say. No, Louise Brooks never got one, too naughty a girl for that lol! And that house that Harlow allegedly haunts, hmm, unless as I say, she wants a quick trip to KC to see me! And yes, obviously, if Glendale is reachable for a non driver, it would be nice to pay my respects, as I did with Louise.

But fine, the video, the most famous 50’s diner I could think of. Oh happy days!

A professional actress, as well as writer?

Yes, seriously, I’ve been paid for performing, after so many years. I know, not strictly an actress, as I wasnt playing a part per se, I was playing a few parts in fact, under trance, for real! Thats right, I’ve ‘sold’ the link to the film twice over already, and had a couple more showing interest, not bad for a fifty something who thought her best days were behind her!

Yes, fine, as far as I know, both the buyers, and both the other interested parties want it only because they know me, I suspect, either through forums, or as a workmate. If I can get to 6 (hmm?), I will recoup the train fare, one more after that and I clear my coffee expenses for that day too lol! If I dont, I loved the day anyway, and thats the main thing. By the sound of it, ‘Mary Lou’ will be returning as a trigger, and then I’ll have the challenge of keeping her under control too! Not that I mind that in the slightest, you understand? 😉

When I get stopped in the street, and asked for my autograph, then I’ll worry!

Clearly I havent yet got into diva mode though, not yet spent a penny of that money at Amazon, though I’ve been tempted by a few things, little Miss Practical in my head says ‘you really dont need that’ and I dont buy it. Maybe not, but its not costing me anything technically, so…I know, I know, get on with it, girl!

Beyond that, today has been about getting a few things done. A review written for the people who did the photo shoot, a much needed massage, and getting myself booked in at the hairdressers on Friday, for a trim and highlights/ colour. After all, a film star has to look after herself, roflmao!

Oh, and lastly, talking of film stars, and laughs, I got a bit of both when I woke up this morning. One of those group things on Facebook, is something called ‘Colorized Hollywood’ (Yes, an American group, the spelling gives that away!) which is basically shots of the old movie stars, that were therefore in black and white, and someone has added colour (proper spelling) to them. This morning, one of those was Louise Brooks, and a dear friend from work had added my name as a comment to it. I wish! Yes, I really do! But…currently wrong hair colour, no helmet fringe, and I dont think my looks match up either, but besides all that…very flattering. Jen Pawson, thanks for suggesting it was me though. x
I think the person concerned probably needs to go to Specsavers, but when I posted the photo shoot pictures, they said I looked a lot like Jean Harlow. Well yes, very flattered, but seriously. A very glamorous movie model, who died too young, and me, a middle aged transgendered person, look alike, again I wish! If anyone wants to say I do though, I dont mind the flattery, really I dont.

Given all I’ve talked about is women, could there be a more apt video than this?

A look back at 2013

The personal version at least. When WordPress issue the yearly stats for this site, I will post the details here, as before, for anyone that cares?

Yes, I know, a couple of days early, but if you saw my shifts for the next couple of days, you’d know why!

I suppose the main thing that has happened this year that surprised me, is that I’m now an ebook author, and have received actual royalties for my stories. Alright, so I currently only have 4 story releases (the 5th early in the New Year), and have only sold 34 books, but if you’d told me at the start of the year that I would have made any money by it, I would have laughed at you! But its been fun, I must say.

This year has seen 3 big trips away from home, one to Belfast for a couple of days cricket (involving a lot of rain, and some cricket) so that I could see Trent Johnston play one more time, before retirement. The other 2, unsurprisingly to the US, the R’s of Rochester, and Richmond. With no disrespect to Kate, or Richmond, the Rochester trip was the special one. The chance to see where Louise Brooks lived for many years at the end of her life, and more importantly still, to pay my respects at her graveside were precious. More on her in the look forward to 2014 on New Years Day, shall we say? 😉

Oh, and the other surprise event, I went to a pop concert! That had been quite a while, I promise you. Yes, I got to see OMD live in Leeds, a sort of full circle seeing that I saw them in concert in 1982, in London as well. I almost saw the Beach Boys in Richmond too, but discovered it too late to sort it all out for me and Kate. Yes, alright, about 3 hours before the concert in fact, far too little notice!

Sports wise, beyond the cricket, I had the coldest game of Baseball I ever hope to have, back in Rochester, in April. I think the official temperature was 43, but I dread to think what it felt like, given the wind chill factor too. I was glad to get a hot coffee (or 2) afterwards, in a valiant attempt to get warm again.

Beyond that, pretty much work, and putting up with Trans Pennine Express, and their awful service took up plenty of time. No comment on either.

The video, well, its not a song tonight. My best selling book (so far) is one called ‘No Place Like Nome’, based loosely around the 2009 Iditarod race, just over half my sales in fact. So the video, well, its Nome, in February 2009, the month before the race the story is about. At one point, they put up the chute, before taking it down again, but dont blink, or you’ll miss it!

Happy New Year to all my readers, see you in 2014

And so, Happy Christmas

Yes, the big day has almost arrived, indeed for some of course, it already has by now. So I’ll take this chance now to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

I know, I know, a lot of the original meaning of Christmas has long since been lost, but thats not a recent thing, though it may have got to be more of the case in recent times. I’ve enjoyed today off, trying to catch up on a few things, some successfully, some not so, yet. But there is still this evening, so…

It will be a fairly quiet affair here tomorrow, I suspect, but that suits me fine. I would say I’ll put on a nice dress for the occasion, but to be honest, as I’ve got one on now, that is likely to be the case anyway! What I might do, for the odd reader who cares, is to wear the dinner dress, and talk either Nicole, or Dave into taking a photo, so you can at least see what it looked like. If you’re good, I’ll wear leggings, if not, I’ll inflict my knees on you lol! But yes, I know, I promised one, and havent provided as yet, so…

Presents, well, I know two. One, the bottle of booze from work, so that was hardly going to come as a surprise to me, lets face it. I also know I’ve got a Louise Brooks biography (the Barry Paris one), as someone asked me what I wanted, and I told him! Beyond that, not a clue, though Nicole tells me that there are one or two ‘out of left field’, so they should be interesting to discover.

For those with children, its a more special occasion, and I’m sure it was for me, all those years ago when I was young! For me, its another nice day off at least, before the lunacy of work on Boxing Day. No, dont ask!

So, as I say, to all my readers, old and new, have a wonderful day tomorrow, and I hope you have fun.

The video, yes, one or two clues posted, I guess?

Funny, war isnt over, its just the locations that change!

A general catch up piece

Sorry, its been a while, work and a few other things are responsible for that. Normal service will resume at some point in the next few days, I promise you.

So right, catch up time. The photo shoot, well I lied, it happened on Tuesday, not Monday, but hey, it happened, and it was lots of fun. I’m told the pics look good, and certainly what I saw, on the camera, that seems to be the case. Official viewing was going to be Tuesday, but is now on a short delay, as the photographer has been called down south on a family issue. Still, should be soon, really looking forward to seeing the results.

A couple of styles that were most Brooks-ish, a few shots in a fur coat (fake, which I suspect Louise’s were not), and lots more in a gorgeous sparkly top, and hat, including some with me playing with a feather boa, great fun. Some other outfits too, hopefully I can get some in a way that will enable me to post them on here. Certainly some great stuff for a 20’s style author, that is for sure.

Talking of which, at some point next week, I will be posting up my 3rd story as an ebook, an absolute Louise Brooks homage, with some nice OMD cameo touches too. Yes, I’ll let you know when its up, feel free to purchase that, or my other 2 books btw. Please do, 17 sales in all so far, but wouldnt mind a few more. Oh, and in setting up Paypal, to get all those royalties, I had to name the company, went for the obvious, Merry Brooks Publishing. No, I dont ever expect it to make the FT-100 lol!

Oh, and a piece of silliness yesterday. The Euromillions lottery thing (no, I havent bought any lottery ticket in years!) had a special yesterday, instead of 1 guaranteed millionaire, as they normally do (we pay 2 pounds, as opposed to 2 Euros, so they have to give back some way), they were guaranteeing 100. So I joined in with the office syndicate of 9, but we didnt win a thing. So no upgrade on the flight to the US in September, 8 weeks today in fact. Ah well…

The video, go back to that paragraph about the book, and you get the answer. Different mix, no idea which one, but some interesting shots of Louise, including a brief segment of her in the 70’s, when you get to hear her speak.

Yes, 8 weeks from now, I will be a long, long way from here, even if it wont be Kansas! Enjoy

Oh, last thing, get better soon, Malc Holmes, after suffering from heat exhaustion during a Toronto concert, where it was meant to be 115 in the hall! I know you arent on the original recording of this, but you’ve played it a few times since then. All my best wishes to him, and the rest of the band.

Well I wanted the bob look!

Yes, I had my hair highlighted and cut today, was a bit overdue to be honest, but with work, and things of late, its taken me until now to find the time to get it done. But yes, as Linda put it this afternoon, when I went to get my nails done, and my face, err, facialled, for want of a better word, its lighter now. But then again, that was always the plan.

The thing is, the 2 ladies working in the hairdressers were commenting about a client coming in later in the week, who had always had the same style, for, well, a long period, shall we say? And to be honest, until recently, I’d been much the same. Then just before the Christmas do last year, when I had it highlighted, I asked for what I termed a long bob. In the sense of bottom of the neck, but shaped accordingly. Looked good, gave me my ‘sort of’ desired bob look, without going too boyish in doing so. Yes, as you know, going too boyish would be an issue for me lol!

So anyway, I rose to the bait (or non bait), even if the comment hadnt been aimed at me, and asked her what style she thought I should have. “Back of the neck?” she asked, and I assumed she meant the normal zone, near the bottom, and said yes. Ah, she meant it literally, and now judging by this picture of Louise Brooks, its not much longer than hers!

I should imagine this is a 1930’s picture, going by the lack of the famous helmet fringe, but seems the normal length she chose. If anyone needs a pic of her more famous fringe, try this

My current look, well apart from the blonde highlights, see the first picture as a good guide. Actually, it prides me to say I’ve got slightly more fringe than that! 🙂 But no, nowhere near to that in the second picture lol. So yes, I’ve got the Louise Brooks bob! Just hope that it doesnt look too boyish is all I can say. At least I’ve got 2 assets that make me look less boyish lol!

Big challenge at work tomorrow, will anyone notice? Probably not, but…

Oh, the video, another classic character from that era