Category Archives: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark

Intersex is seemingly not a modern issue

I was wondering why Trans Ally was trending on Twitter, on a day when I couldnt logically think of a reason why. So I took a look, and wished I hadnt bothered. Seems the horribly right wing Times managed to post 4 anti Transgender articles in their newspaper today, and the reaction seems to have exploded accordingly. The trend is an eclectic mix between supporters, and those who think we should all be strung up, executed, or both! A few of the more crazy kind have clearly been hunting on Social Media for Trans people, found me, but yes, I’ve removed the abuse promptly. But unfortunately, with the swing to the extreme right that the world seems to be experiencing at present, is it any wonder? Sadly I doubt the anti LGBT hate all too prevalent at present will be going away any time soon!

Actually, that wasnt even what I was planning to write about tonight, it was an article I read yesterday, which I got reminded about, only after the blog had been done for the day.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-47842307?fbclid=IwAR2AywKMW6mFzGgisLeUbB6j_LC_1rMCVOxY0A6WHxQM-DrxwY9MXs5IwTQ

As the article says, 250 years on from the event, its impossible to know if Pulaski was intersex, female, or actually a man with a weird skeleton. Clearly the latter would seem unlikely, though not impossible, as his body may have got some strange wounds in various battles he took part in. Its also possible that Pulaski was a woman, hid the fact skilfully and rose to the position of General through her skills. Unlikely, I would have thought a physician would have noticed something missing when treating the General after being wounded.

In truth, in the 1770’s, if there was no obvious outward signs that the General had any female traits, then nobody would really have noticed. Medical skills back then were pretty basic, so anything less than basic, probably not expected, or discovered. Its only because by good fortunes, the bones were kept, and recently exhumed to move the statue, that someone decided to do some tests, and… the pelvic area was more that of a woman, than a man.

The thing to point out is that if the General, as seems likely, was intersex, there is very little chance he knew, during his 34 brief years of life. Back then, its fair to say it would have made little difference if he had known! But yes, at a time when LGBTI+ folk tend to feel like Marmite (loved or hated, nothing in between), this is quite a discovery.

Video time. Lets see, a woman who fought like a man? Was she intersex too? We will never know, as all the evidence was burnt, lol! This is a rare song, OMD never actually made a video of this, though of course ‘Maid of Orleans’ was another song about her, for which a video was made. But lets have some Legs & Co, and yes, I love their outfits for this.

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Moods, memories, and a book review!

Before I get started, let me just mention that the 2 ‘youthful’ people who went to Inverness got home fine, with no incident, other than the obvious Trans Pennine Express train delay. Seriously, 12 train journeys in total, and only 2 were late, both you know who! Strictly, the return train from Aviemore to Inverness was nearly 2 hours late, but for us, it meant we ran 7 minutes early, so…

Anyway, I took a book away with me to read on trains, given that the life of my old computer, not plugged in, was roughly 20 minutes at the end. Yes, this is first blog, on new computer, all seems fine. Well, I prefer the old email collection method to this, but other than that…

Oh, that book? Well, it would be this one

http://www.omd-messages.co.uk/product/moods-memories-and-other-manoeuvres-julia-kneale/

Which if anyone wants to rush out and buy, you’d make us both happy! I’ve never actually met Julia as yet, but I feel like I’ve known her for years through social media, perhaps because I have! She’s a wonderful lady, just slightly younger than me, and its been a privilege to chat with her as much as I have. We’re not that far apart distance wise, so maybe while our bodies are still up to it, we may yet meet, but otherwise…

Oh fine, she’s got me beat, the closest I’ve ever got to Andy McCluskey is the third standing row at Leeds, in 2013, on their tour that year. That was the night that I pledged all further concerts in my life would be seating only! So sadly, I missed this in 2017, as there were only standing tickets left by the time I got back from US

Would definitely have met her there, if I’d gone, but anyway…

Oh, the book. Its well written, telling a fascinating tale of real life, interspersed with a brief moment of fame, or two. Seems we have one thing in common at least, both of us had parents who divorced while we were young. Beyond that, we’ve both had interesting, but different lives, brought together by the medium of Facebook! I’m not going to say too much about the book, because I want you to go out and buy it for yourself, and read it, because its that good. And no, if you’re not anΒ  OMD fan, there is still plenty in there for you.

To my knowledge, I have met 4 ‘pop stars’, 1 you will know, 1 you might know, and 2 you definitely wouldnt know! Geri Halliwell was a case of just being in the right place, at the right time, as a couple of acting contacts who I was meeting in London, were working with her just after she left the Spice Girls, and she was there when I arrived! Nothing like Ginger Spice, in any sense of the word! Simon Crowe, of the Boomtown Rats had a second living, post group fame, doing watch repairs, or something. Anyway, we’d needed a vintage pocket watch for something acting wise, and guess who delivered it? Yes, him!

The other 2, well, bit of a cheat, but when I was much younger, I had 2 friends who worked in the band at Pontins, Camber Sands, but also got seconded into Womble suits for some of their TV performances, when others werent available. I only wish I’d got the chance to do the same, but never did!

Thats it, so after watching the next video, go back to the top of this blog, click on the link, and do yourself a favour, and buy the book!

That video. Well, its the connection between Julia, and OMD which has meant the relationship between them has lasted longer, than it might have done otherwise. Amazing what some ‘scribblings’ can lead to!

Like a fall in the war, like a pawn in the game

I suppose my readers might have worked out by now, that I’m not a fan of Trump. I know, shock horror, and all that. One of the criticisms that so many have made of the Republican party, quite justifiably on the whole, is that no one has had the courage to stand up to his comments, and crazy tweets, but there was at least one man of whom that couldnt be said.

I dont know what John McCain did to annoy Trump, other than not fawning over the ‘Emperor’ and his ‘New Clothes’, but seemingly something did. I’m pretty sure it was the fact that he did tell Trump what he thought about matters, and from time to time, disagreed with him totally. Anyway, for that fact alone, regardless of his political views, I’d have to like him. Maybe it was the fact that he actually served in the military, with honor, something Trump was determined to avoid.

I’m not going to snatch lots of stuff from Wikipedia about the guy to impress you about him, you can do that yourself, if you so desire. In truth, the first time I really came across him, was 2008, when he was the Republican nomination, who lost to Obama. Of course, I had a couple of reasons to want Obama to win, but in a sense, after Bush, he did seem a Republican candidate I could have lived with, but anyway…

Of course, one of the things he did, after falling out with Trump, was to vote down the mess that was the Trump plan to dump Obamacare, in favor of something that would line his friends in the medical industry’s pockets! I’m not saying that compared to our system, Obamacare was perfect, but it was better than previously, and its better than anything Trump wants for non wealthy people in the US. He did that, at a time when he was already critically ill, quite a stand to take.

Anyway, a couple of days he decided to stop fighting the brain cancer he was suffering, and take his chance in the next world. Unsurprisingly, it wasnt long between that decision, and his sad death. I dont know, maybe its because he was an old school Republican, maybe its because he was prepared to say what he thought, not just toe the party line that endeared him to me, but regardless of all that, RIP, John McCain.

OK, the video. 35 years ago, or so, OMD brought out an album that was totally ahead of its time in complexity, Dazzle Ships. I must admit, at that time, I probably didnt get it either, but its one of those things that has developed a fame after its time. I’m not saying I get it entirely, even now, but with the modernity of music, it makes a lot more sense. This wont be everyone’s cup of tea, but then again, neither was McCain, and indeed, neither is Trump!

In Metroland

Only in this case, not the one everyone thinks of, London, but Newcastle, and its Metro, which I will get to experience for the first time this week. In fact, in many ways, it will be my first, pretty brief experience of Newcastle. Yes, thats right, in 60 years of life, I’ve never actually stopped off in, and seen Newcastle, until this week.

I’ve passed through the railway station a few times, heading North to, or South from Scotland, but never actually left the station. I have also once passed over the Tyne Bridge, on a coach, but it was a holiday tour, and we never stopped in the city.

Oh fine, being honest, I probably wont see much this time either, other than the bit between the station, and the hotel, then back to the Metro station, and whatever I then see from the metro, as it heads out to Longbenton. In truth, what I’ve heard of Newcastle, though principally concerning weekend behavior of some (I’ll be there on a Tuesday night), its not the sort of place that would appeal to me much, anyway.

But yes, the one thing I do get to do, is try a new light rail/metro service for the first time. Given it only opened in 1980, I’m not sure if I’ve actually been through Newcastle since then, to be honest? And certainly, actually staying there will definitely be a first!

Another first for me will be staying in a Premier Inn Hotel. I know, I just dont live an exciting life, darlings! Well, not in this country at least! So, living the wild life this week, all these new events for me, at the age of 60!

The other thing that has amused me this weekend, is some news that appeared in an email at work yesterday. This week, I’ll be covering as a Team Leader for the week, which should be an interesting experience, and will show me if my new female self has any management ambitions left in her last few working years. So yes, I smiled when said email arrived in my box yesterday, letting me know that vacancies for that role, in our office (but not my section, I think?) were now being advertised. So if I like it, I wont have to wait long to rise to the challenge! Hmm, we will see? And yes, I wont scare people by wearing the leather Dominatrix look as management, lol. No, I havent actually got it, but if I had…lol? πŸ˜‰

OK, the video. I’ve used it before, which is why I’m using the shorter single version, video wise. Though fine, I’m sure, especially judging by the train, this was more Betjeman inspired, than Newcastle!

Well, I guess this makes me a pro?

Firstly, let me go back to events yesterday. Yes, Julia went on stage at York, and from what I’ve seen, was brilliant. Yes, I’ve seen the film via Facebook, cant yet find it on You Tube, so you will just have to take my word on that. Hopefully, at some point…?

Yesterday also ranked as the weirdest day at work I’ve ever done, and given thats a 43 year period, that takes some doing. I did consider whether a very wintry day in the betting shops, where there was 1 greyhound meeting that survived, and we took 12 bets all day might top it, but I doubt it.

Basically, the system was down for the day, so there was a message on the phone system advising prospective callers of this, and advising them to ring back during the week, but we had to have a few of us in, just in case people ignored that, and came through to us, so…I got 1 call all day! Day not wasted though, did lots of my apprenticeship stuff (yes, I know, at 59, but has to be done, so…!), also applied for a pathway course to management in Civil Service as well. Yes, diversity candidates desired. I’m not sure, I’m going to be 61 by the time the course ends, and even if they dont give in on retirement age, I’ll only have 5 years to go, so…But yes, I needed to do something! Did some practice tests, seemed to go OK, but anyway…

The other thing I did, technically, was become a professional performer. Yes, I got ‘paid’ for my presentation last week. Oh fine, technically it was a reward payment for doing it, but yes, I’m an actress with a mischievous sense of humor, so I’m saying that makes me a professional performer. No, I dont expect that to create a rush of offers from Broadway, Hollywood, or even small professional companies, but you never know, lol! Professional speaker on LGBT and Transgender issues, hmm? No, I doubt that very much either!

Oh, my fee? Β£25, but seriously, thats the first time I’ve been paid to perform, ever! Well, that I remember, anyway…? Treated myself to an Amazon voucher (email version), but have failed to find a controlling robot suit at any price, let alone Β£25 lol! πŸ˜› Question is, if I find a stylish (ideally full length) flapper, or 30’s style dress, does that count as a business expense for an actress? πŸ˜‰

Lastly, lets get this mentioned on the right day of the year this time around, its Nancy Carroll’s birthday today. She would have been 114, so you wont be surprised to hear she died over 50 years ago. But…? I have a friend in Australia, named Diane, who uses a picture of Nancy on her Facebook page, which leaves me wondering if…? No, I’m sure she didnt really time travel, just before her death, move to Australia, and…? πŸ˜‰ All the same, she’s a lover of movies from that era, so…hmm? Yes, she probably will kill me for this, or would if we werent on opposite sides of the world!

Lets see, video time. Well Nancy Carroll was a fine dancer, as was my past life self, Clara Johnson. Indeed, they may well have worked together, who knows? Thing is, last year, I used the best video of Diane, sorry, Nancy dancing, and its possible Miss Johnson was there too. So lets do something different tonight instead. This was a hit in the 1970’s, recorded live at the start of this year. Very good it is too, and its what both young ladies did

Dear Mr McCluskey

(Something different tonight, I’ll try and come up with something more normal on Sunday)

Or can I maybe call you Andy? After all, I’ve been following that band of yours right from the early days, and though that vinyl copies of those first LP’s disappeared somewhere along all the moves in my life, I went to the record shop, and bought them, and listened to them. Not that I knew any of you, beyond the odd performance on TV, and 1 early concert at Drury Lane, London, but yes, I was there, in those days. And indeed, at the last UK tour before this one, I went full circle, and saw you, this time in Leeds. I know, I’ve moved a few times since that first concert in London.

So anyway, imagine my delight when I heard you were touring again this year. Fine, York wasnt as good for a non driver like me as Leeds was, but there’s a train company that runs trains between there, and Huddersfield, even if they’re not too reliable! Snag is, my body. I stood in the crowd at Leeds for that show, and my knees seized up so much that I could barely walk to the station afterwards. Yes, arthritis is a horrible thing. I dont know how you keep going so strong, at our age, but anyway…kudos! Unfortunately, now, its not only my knees, its my back as well, osteoporosis, and all that. So it had to be a seat for York, or nothing. Sadly, when the tickets went on sale, I was in the US, and unable to get one. By the time I got back, all the seats were gone, a few standing places, but unless know a ‘genetic engineer’ to turn me into a ‘Tesla Girl’ they were of no use to me.

Oh, I know, there was Manchester, and there were spaces for that, but you know what, there was only one show I wanted to see, and how do I break this to you, it wasnt for you! No, it was for someone else, not part of the band. You see, through the wonders of social media, I’ve got to know a mutual friend of ours, a lady named Julia. Yes, that Julia! Yes, it would have been nice to meet her, and see her walk on stage, but its not to be. Oh fine, she might point out that I’d love to meet Martin too, but thats besides the point! Yes, I’m that one awkward fan whose principle admiration isnt for you, or Paul! Yes, I’m weird that way! Oh, and PS, you’re the only band I’ve seen both as a man, and a woman, hows that?

So all I’m saying, is that the concert would be a bonus. A really good bonus, but not the main thing. Yes, if you can fix it (I know your name isnt Jim, lol) for me to be able to get into York, meet Julia, and maybe meet Martin, it would be appreciated. Snag, I work in Bradford, and wont finish there until 4.00, and then I’d have to get to York, so…not easy, is it? Before you ask, no, I dont want to appear on stage. I have acted, but the biggest audience I’v ever appeared in front of is about 800, and I’m told by Julia that it will be about 3500 on Saturday. I know, probably fine, but anyway…unless you want a robot for those apt songs, or someone to have their memories erased…? Yes, I’m definitely weird like that too!

Oh fine, end of beg. I just hope if, and when you do the next tour, you check with me to make sure I’m in the country before putting the tickets on sale, OK? And yes, when you do, can you please arrange for Julia to appear at the Yorkshire concert again! πŸ˜‰

Oh, and Andy, I normally finish these blogs with a video, but I’m going mad tonight. Yes, two. Hopefully you’ll forgive me that neither are you, but both are Julia related. I did ask her if there was a video of her, with the Id on You Tube, but sadly, no. But I found this piece that she wrote the words for

And this interview she did when we were both much younger women (well, technically I was a woman, but…)

Is that all it takes?

Much though I hate doing politics, there are times when events happen that just cannot be ignored.

Yes, this weekend in Charlottesville, is the subject I cant ignore. I probably would have diplomatically avoided it, but for the death of one person, ran down by one of the extreme right wingers involved in this ghastly event, and the way that Trump has tried to avoid blaming the ghastly right wing people involved in this, because lets face it, he pretty much supports them! It seems that even after being advised to condemn them, that he couldnt do it! Too busy trying to start a nuclear war with North Korea to care, I guess? Sorry, but thats two people with the IQ, and temperament of infants, playing with very dangerous toys!

My sympathies to the family of poor woman who died, and to all those injured by that idiot yesterday. I only hope he gets punished as he should, but with Trump, and his right wing pals in control, I fail to be convinced of that. But I hope its the case.

The other depressing incident I have to report today, revolves around the fans of a certain NFL team I sort of follow, the Buffalo Bills. Though how much longer I want to follow them, if this is the way the other fans think, I’m not sure?

Yesterday, Marshawn Lynch of the Oakland (for now at least) Raiders, sat through the National Anthem, in support of Colin Kaepernick, amongst others. Kaepernick being the quarterback who knelt through said Anthem last year, in protest at police violence, and has since been seemingly black balled by every NFL team because of it. Given some of the names getting contracts as back up quarterbacks, there is no other good reason, I have to say. Let me add, that its not the first time Lynch has done this, but…some would make you believe it was.

Anyway, if I say that one of the more ‘polite’ comments (and sadly, I’m not being facetious) involved Lynch being so filled with lead that they couldnt put him back together to bury him, it shows what a depressing state of events is prevalent in parts of the US at present. Yes, seriously, there is a difference between being proud of your country, and being a dangerous person, and too many seem to have crossed the line to the latter, now.

No, I’m not a lily livered leftie, before you ask. I see myself as a sane moderate, but yes, some of these people scare me, a lot!

Fine, video time. A song about a massacre by the KKK, surely not? Yes, you got it! An OMD song that not many will know, for sure.

Brace yourself for the news

Yesterday was a funny sort of day. Sort of carried on today, but anyway…

Sadly, it was funny, but not in a good way. It was one of those cool, damp days that this British summer has specialized in, and yes, when you’ve got joint issues, thats not a good thing. The fact that my anti inflammatory steroid cream was on the end of its supply probably meant I was trying to ease up on the use of it, but whatever, my back wouldnt stop aching yesterday, even on painkillers, and using up the last of the cream.

So eventually I had to bite the bullet, and having done the necessary part of the day to avoid it counting as a sick day, I gave in, and came home. Only via the pharmacy, where I got a different formula cream, of a similar kind, and yes, fingers crossed, issue seems to have eased. Not going to be perfect until after scan, and properly medicated, but…

One thing that was awaiting me when I got home was a letter from the NHS. Yes, I needed to ring up and make an appointment for my bone density examination scan, good news. Well, so I thought, but…I was too late to ring up last night, I got home about 4.45 pm, but they shut at 4.30! So, with it being my day off today, I rang this morning instead. After the traditional lengthy wait, I finally got through to the booking office, went through my details, and then she said,

“Our first available appointment is…”

Now dont get me wrong, I wasnt expecting anything very immediate, this is the NHS we’re talking about, but I was thinking a couple of weeks or so, but…

“…Friday September 8th at 11.00!”

Fortunately its the last day before I go to the US, but I’m going to have to mess with plans, as I was planning to get my hair colored, and styled for my holiday that morning, before the rest of my body got sorted out in the afternoon. Now I’m probably going to have to get it done on the Tuesday, which is OK, but not perfect. But no, my main problem is that it means I will not be ‘sorted out’ before I go on holiday to the US for a week, and a bit.

Yes, I’ll survive, though I now have the issue that no cure will have started before the wedding, on my 2nd Saturday away, which will involve some standing still, which is the only real issue I have, as mentioned before. What I’m planning to do is wear a back brace, or a corset, as a back support, and hope that does the job!

The funny related fact today was that a guy came round asking if I would do a survey, and wonderful irony, a few of the questions related to the NHS! Yes, lets say I might not have been their biggest fan lol! I know, I wont have to pay for the service directly, but I do in my taxes, so all in all…Yes, if I had the money, I’d probably get it done privately, and I bet I wouldnt have to wait nearly 5 weeks for that! Ah well…No, I couldnt wear brace for flights, because the internal stuff to brace my back is made of metal! Fine, I’d enjoy it if I was made of metal, but anyway…

Right, video time. Given its a radiology department I will need to go to (in Bradford, ironically, as if I never travel there), I thought of this new OMD song. Fine its Isotype, not Isotope, but close enough! πŸ˜›

Everyday in (West Yorkshire) Metroland

Oh fine, I know, you’ve been waiting a week to hear the news about the job, but now I’ve got something else I want to tell you about, so…Fine, you can wait until tomorrow to hear about that!

Well, the good, and obvious news, I’ve survived the first week back at work, after too long away from it. Equally, I cant say I’ve enjoyed in the slightest, the need to be up before 5.45 in the morning to get to work, but fine, I’m getting there. In fact, frighteningly, so far the journeys to work havent been too bad. Had a couple of not so great journeys home (buses, not trains), but that was principally down to road works in town, and not the inabilities of First Huddersfield, though that may be being kind to them?

As to work, its been fine, but given the whole week (and next week) is dedicated to training, I’d be surprised if that wasnt the case at present. I’m the oldest in the group of 9, by far, and with the exception of one other, all are 24 or younger! Lets just say 3 are very loud, and leave it at that! No, sadly, I havent yet seen any sign of a silver bodysuit that we are expected to wear, or been told that the headset will have interesting effects on the mind, but I can hope I get offered that option at the end of next week lol! Headset is actually wireless, so I’m told, that will be interesting at least.

Alright, what other job related news can I tell you? I’ve been to other work places where tea, and coffee is provided for free, but this is the first (and probably last) place I’ve known where you’re provided with lunch for free! Yes, seriously, apart from travel card, I havent paid for anything all week! Just a sandwich/roll (and fruit option), but that suits me fine, so…For those fascinated, still waiting to hear on checks for other job at the moment.

But yes, the most amazing thing for me, its the first job where everyone has only known me as a woman, wow, just wow, its wonderful!

OK, the video. For those who think commuting isnt anything like this, you’re wrong, it is! Only difference is that now everyone is staring at their phone, or tablet device, not a newspaper, but otherwise. And no, the woman drinking wine isnt me, she’s not blonde! No, going back to work hasnt yet driven me to drink, but it might!

Its my proposal, anyone want to accept?

So fine, given a weekend filled with sickness, we wont focus on that too much. Beyond saying that I’m fine now, and thats all you need to worry about at this point. Unless you have a job to offer me, just about anywhere, then feel free to show concern, and interest.

But lets instead look at a piece of leap year silliness that we only get to enjoy once every 4 years, that day when ladies are free to propose to their man, and (in Scotland at least) if they refuse, the man has to pay the fine of a kiss, a dress, and a new pair of gloves! This law dates back to the 13th Century, though the legend of how this date came to be, relates to 2 Irish Saints back in the 5th Century! The famous Patrick, and the less famous Bridget. No, not that she wanted to propose to him (though maybe she did?), she just wanted the right to do so, if she fancied it. Seriously, 1 day, every 4 years, gee, thanks, Patrick!

Now, of course in these glorious days of single sex marriage, and everything else, this might make things a whole lot more complex, if ladies could only propose to their lady, on one day, every 4 years! Besides which, in modern times, I suspect that if any good lady really wanted to get things moving on that front, she’d just get on and do it, though hopefully only after dropping a few less than subtle hints to the guy that he should get it done!

No, dont worry guys, I have no plans to propose to anyone, would be a bit hard, given I’ve got no one in my life at present, nor am I likely to have, to do so in 4 years time, I suspect! Equally, I’m not really expecting anyone to propose to me, for much the same reason. Would I do it, even if I could? Probably not, mainly because I am that old fashioned type of girl, who wants that proposal made to her, should it ever (be a miracle if it did) happen to me.

But, at least unlike Bridget, I wouldnt actually have to wait 4 years for my next chance for it to happen, should I need it.

The 29th February, inevitably holds less birth, and death anniversaries than most days, as events can only occur every 4 years, not every years, as per normal. Alright, before anyone writes (ha ha) to tell me that 1700, 1800 and 1900 werent Leap Years, I know, but generally…

4 Years ago today, we lost one of the original Monkees, Davy Jones at the age of 66. I know, I was only young when they were famous, first time around, and everything, but…It makes you think about your own time, all the same.

But no, the video is not a Monkees one, unsurprisingly, the clue is in the blog title. And tonight, you get 2 choices. The first, being the wonderful, extended 12″ version, with no video attached.

The second, is the standard 7″ version of the song