Category Archives: Ultravox

A softly, sighing lament

No, not a real blog, just something I wanted to post for obvious reasons, and cant do justice on the day, as I will be working.

Today marks the 80th anniversary of the date in 1937 when Jean Harlow last lived on this planet, and obviously I want to remember it.

Despite all the stories, and there are plenty, she died of kidney failure, and back then in 1937, there wasnt a thing that could be done. 10 years later, early dialysis, and transplants might have saved her, but that at that point, was not possible.

Oh, the other story that needs quashing, her mother did arrange medical staff to look after her, there was just nothing they could do.

Rest in peace, Baby, as you’ve done for 80 years now

xxx

Love’s great adventure?

Oh fine, I have to say that these weeks when I have to do 2 blogs in 2 days, I dont always have enough material to fill the space. I did sort of have something work related (again), but I’m sure you’re all tired of that by now, so lets try something different, and a bit more personal.

For those who didnt already know me, and the date, you might have missed the fact that 106 years ago on Friday, a baby girl was born in Kansas City. Her name, Harlean Harlow Carpenter, but far better known as Jean Harlow. Coincidentally, 33 years ago today, the last beau of her life, William Powell died, at the grand old age of 91! What would have happened had she lived beyond 26, who knows? Mind, 3 years later, Powell married Diana Lewis, and they stayed married until his death! Whether Harlow, and Powell would have done the same, we will never know?

The fascinating fact is that, at the time of Harlow’s birth, Powell was actually living in Kansas City, though being 18 years her senior, they never actually met until Hollywood! Yes, Jean seemingly had a thing for older men, as all bar her first husband were far older than her, but I cant talk, as my only long term relationship was with someone a lot older than me!

While we are talking about birthdays, and ages, in 11 days time, I’ll be 59. Still, now, I’ve got more than a few years of work to go, I believe it will be 8 more by the time I get to retire. But not that long ago, as a woman, I would have been 1 year from retirement! Now, by the time I get there, it will be 66, assuming I get that far, of course! Then, finally, I might get to Alaska, and the start of the Iditarod race…maybe? Mind, I might need a new body by then, but… I would need to split the flight there, both ways, due to length, and my physical health, and there is no way I can do that on a 7 day holiday from work!

Sadly, again this year, it cant race from Willow (Anchorage) to Nome, due to lack of snow in the early stretches, so it will start out tomorrow morning (Alaska time) from Fairbanks, and run the adapted northern route. Sadly, this means that the ghost town that the race is named after, wont be visited for at least 6 years, as the same thing happened in 2015. Amusing to think that a trapper, the last ever resident of Iditarod left, because the race came through every 2 years, and the place got too lively! To think, just over 100 years ago, at the height of the gold rush, over 10 thousand people lived there, all too briefly!

Oh, if anyone wants the details of my fiction piece, loosely based around the 2009 race (which did get to Iditarod), let me know! It also mentions the event that started it all, the 1925 serum run to Nome.

So fine, we have a tale of love, we have a tale of adventure, so the obvious video is…

Reducing my sleep overdraft!

Back in the ‘bad old days’ of the 80’s and 90’s, while managing a betting shop for William Hill, it was far from an unknown practice that on weeks when too many people were on holiday, off sick, or had simply left without being replaced, that we tended to be ‘offered’ the chance to work a 6 day week, with overtime payment. Yes, the term ‘offered’ was pretty much a case of ‘Do it, or else’, so…fine…

What occasionally happened to me, is that the lack of sleep, and non lack of stress related to this, would mean I would literally ‘flop’ on a Sunday, desiring sleep for a couple of hours in the middle of the day, or face violent headaches, and nausea. To be fair, it was usually the signs of those two things that had me heading to bed in the first place!

I might add, its not like I was working the modern day betting shop hours, as for most of my time there (just towards the end, opening for evening racing kicked in), we would open at 10.00, and be shut by 6.30, but it was tougher mentally back then, because all the settling was done by yourself, not by the till. For all the fuss about it now, I used to man that shop on my own each morning (except Saturday), though they were very different to shops now. But fine, this isnt about betting shop life, so…

What I’ve been doing during my training period for my new job, is getting up early, but going to bed about my normal time. So I guess I’ve been running up a sleep deficit, 5 days a week! Now, thankfully, apart from Saturday’s, I will be able to sleep a little longer, so all should be fine, but…

This morning was like my body reacting to the change, and I got that ghastly sleep deprivation feeling again. Unfortunately it didnt time it well, as it kicked in, just before I was going out to get my hair done! Somehow, with the aid of a couple of cups of coffee, and a lot of yawning, I got through, but felt shattered by the time I got home again.

So yes, just like the old days, I went to bed for a couple of hours during the day, and felt better for it! Hopefully its a one off, and my body doesnt think it can pull that trick again soon. Mind, it always seems to only be when I relax, so that might be why its never happened while at work? I hope so, anyway. I know, I’m getting old, but…

Yes, before you ask, I’m blonde again, all over. Irony is, if I would go a little grey, it wouldnt be so obvious that it wasnt natural, but…! Next thing I need to sort out is waxing, so give me a little time, and…

The video is a lesser known Ultravox track, which you could almost say I was doing earlier, in a non traditional sense!

One day, to live a life the way it’s meant to be

Here in the UK, this seems to be Pride weekend, certainly is in Leeds, and from what I’ve seen advertised, it is in a few other cities too. Yes, I’m too old nowadays for these sort of things, and besides, this year at least, I havent really got the money to go this weekend anyway. But as I say, its for younger folk than me really, anyway. Doesnt mean I’m not supporting them in spirit, mind.

Its funny, I was born, and indeed lived life at a time when homosexuality was regarded as illegal. Thankfully, things have changed dramatically since then, and fine, even if a few religious cranks (mainly in the US) think its a ‘disease’ that can be cured, the vast majority of people at least accept it, to various degrees. Hopefully, in a few years time, transexuality will be treated in the same way. Its getting there, the latest generations seem to be finding it ever easier to accept who they are, and in time, older generations will generally get to acceptance of it, I’m sure.

So fine, you’re expecting me to say that I’m proud that the Pride festival takes place, and all that? Right? Wrong! Dont get me wrong, I’m glad that LGBT folk can go out on a weekend like this, and show their pride at being who they are, but I’m still sad it needs to happen. Why? Because for the same reason there isnt a Hetro Pride weekend, in an ideal world, it wouldnt need to happen! I know, maybe its like the football fans on a Saturday, they like to go out and celebrate, and if it was just that, then great, but in our hearts, we know it isnt. Oh, the amusing thing in my new job, when discussing this, I had to settle for the Bi option, lol!

Its like all the fuss the press make, when someone comes out as gay, or lesbian, one great day, it wont be news, and no one will really care! Probably not in my lifetime, but compared to how things were, 50 years ago, we’re getting there, and life’s a lot better for LGBT folk. But one small day, in the future, we wont need Pride parades to prove it, I hope!

The biggest irony, Leeds NHS have made great show about Pride weekend, and how their Trans related unit will be taking part in the parade. Irony, their waiting list is by far the worst in the whole of the UK, and their reputation is dreadful! Yes, another reason why I cant be bothered to get my bits ‘bobbed’ around here!

Just one closing thought, though I’m not entirely saying it was Trans related, but here’s something to think about. Job hunting, as a woman, with my old male passport, I went 0 offers, out of a lot. As a woman, with my new female passport, 2 offers out of 4. Hmm?

Video, a bit of live Ultravox. Fans might have worked out the song from the blog title, though as it was a minor hit, others might not have done?

The sound of my voice

I meant to post about this in the previous blog, but I forgot…Yes, I’m blonde! So you can have the full length story, covered across from my other blog

Oh goody, you’re in for a video treat tonight. Lets leave it at that, for the length of the blog, at least.

At the beginning of this week, on Fembot Central, someone wanted a woman to do a vocal piece, a half of a conversation between a man, and a fembot. So yes, I said that if no one younger offered to do it, I’d do it for him. I have done these things in the dim, distant past, long before you could record it on to a program, on a laptop, for sure.

And yes, seemingly, its a bit like riding a bike, I soon got the hang of it again, just like reading a script. Fine, its a bit weird, doing your line, waiting a few seconds, and then recording your next line, to give him space to edit his lines into the middle of it. I’ve read scripts before like that, but all players have been there, so its easier to judge the pace. When you’re recording by yourself, hmm?

The other snag I discovered, when it came to do my lines, was exactly how robotic I was meant to be, I forgot to ask. Yes, I know, I was pretty sure he didnt want the monotone robot style, given she was a fembot, created to look like a human. So I played it in a clipped, human way, apart from where she was having difficulties with a malfunction in her system.

Actually, for someone like me, not an expert in technology, I had more fun getting it together, and sending it back to him! I mean, I’m the one who wants to be controlled by computers, not controlling them! Yes, the .wav things (I did one where I used the letter b, one where I used beta, as I wasnt sure which he wanted) I saved them as, was very large, and wasnt going to willingly be sent by email, not even separately. Eventually, the technical blunder girl saved it to her One Drive thing on Hotmail, and sent him the link! Yes, I mean, if we needed it recorded, we were all in one place, and put it on to a tape recorder, or cassette recorder!

Yes, fine, I loved the experience, it was great fun doing something like that again, after so many years. No, I dont think the tape will be going to Hollywood studios, even if it was fun. I’ll see how much he liked my voice, if I passed, I might be doing more. Yes, I’d love a contract, with decent money, for doing these things, but realistically…nope!

So, to that video. In honesty, Ultravox created some great videos. Vienna is the obvious well known one, but the barely known Passing Strangers is one I love, for the whole vintage feel. This one is just plain powerful, and far superior to the other one they made, for this song

Choices, choices, how should I play this?

Or also known as how should I be balancing my current life?

I must admit, when I knew I was going to be made redundant, I decided to treat myself in a few ways. So yes, the Hollywood trip went up to 10 days, from 7, and I flew Premium economy, instead of coach class. And yes, I’ve decided that come what may, I’m flying in economy plus to and from Boston in September, though the difference between that, and coach class really isnt that large, principally because I’m still in economy, just the slightly better (and nearer the front, for the scrummage) seats in that range.

But beyond that, spend much at all, let alone rashly, no, I havent at all. Dont get me wrong, I have got a few little things I want to get when I get as job, but I’ve been saying not before then. A pair of those gorgeous Dam Hag (Lindy Bop) dresses for starters, for which the money is on the credit card, but…I’ve stopped myself from buying them, because I’m not yet back in work. So fine, I didnt expect that to take this long, but it has, and aargh…!

But I’d envisioned a few shopping trips (if only Charity shop hunts in Wakefield), or a day or two at the cricket, but so far I’ve done neither. Partly because I wanted to be here, should a potential employer (or agency) call, and partly because I have my old problem of having money, but in my head, I dont want to spend it, other than on necessaries. But is that the way I really ought to be doing things, or should I lighten up just a little, and enjoy my time off a little more?

I suppose I sort of decided that maybe I’m taking this “Don’t spend unnecessary money” thing too seriously this morning, when I turned down the chance of a trip out, simply because I felt I shouldnt be spending money I dont need to (only about £15), because I’m not working, and at the moment it feels like I have no idea when I will be. I know, it will happen, but…someone tell me if I’m doing the right thing, or whether I need to lighten up, at least a bit? To be honest, I suspect the job situation has so got to me by now that I’m not seeing things clearly.

Right, to finish, as always, the video. I’m pretty sure this is one job contract I’d turn down at present, all the same, but dont quote me on that. I suppose if he offered to literally turn me into Jean Harlow, I might, but…

The weekend adventure

Alright, principally this is going to be about yesterday (which is what most will want to hear), but lets get up to date on all events, shall we?

Yes, Thursday started off this stage of things, with an awareness session, for the training course starting tomorrow. To be honest, I’d been told I would learn more about the potential job, but I didnt learn much that I didnt know, in all honesty. Done a (very) basic numeracy, and literacy test while there, presumably to let them see where they stood with the candidates, before the course.

Anyway, that all starts tomorrow, hopefully I will be a bit wiser after that!

Friday was, err, entertaining. I was meant to have a phone interview at 9.00, so that it was out of the way before the crazy part of the day got started. So, they rang at 10.30, about 20 minutes before I had to get ready to go to the job centre. Anyway, while keeping an eye on the clock, I did as much as I could under the circumstances, but we will see. Then about 10 minutes before I’m due to head off to Loughborough, an agency rings, wanting to do a phone chat, lasting about 15-20 minutes. Anyway, put that off, they are meant to be ringing tomorrow evening. Whether they do, or not, we will see, but wasnt a lot I could do!

The journey to Loughborough went fine, found the hotel easily, and settled in. Cant say the service in the bar was what I would expect from a 4 star hotel, but maybe I have old fashioned expectations? Mind, they were relatively busy, so…? Food was good, when I finally managed to order it, and it arrived!

Saturday morning for breakfast was even more entertaining, quite a queue to even get in to eat, but again, there may have been a good reason, or maybe standards doesnt qualify for star rating nowadays?

After that, the day improved dramatically. Registration was simple, smooth, and efficient, despite numbers. Then off to Electrical Engineering, and instantly recognised by Will (my Twitter contact), which is always nice. His talk was informative, entertaining, and lots of other good things. Had me thinking that if only I was 40 years younger…

I then did a tour of the building, along with a number of others, in the very capable hands of one of the students. Saw a lot of stuff I liked the look of, and would love to use, but anyway… By the time we got back from this, Will had started his second round of talking, so I went and had some lunch. After lunch, and after the talk, we got together properly, and had a chat. Anyway, to cut a long story short, if I can do the foundation course this year, I might well go for it, though I’m not sure how my brain will take to seriously studying again, after 40 years! But Will was not certain if there were any spaces for this year (99% of people there were looking to start Uni next year), but is going to find out for me. I would have to say, if its next year, it almost certainly wont happen, though I guess if I’m in a mundane job, who knows? At least I now know what it would involve.

After that, I headed for home, having had a wonderful time. I’m glad I let Will talk me into going, that I actually went, and even if I dont ever get back, at least now, at 57, I have been to University once! For those curious, I left school after O Levels, as my mother was a single parent, so never got the chance to study further.

Tomorrow is going to come as a shock, I have to be in Leeds, for 9.30 in the morning! I will get an interview, after the course, at the end of the week, so we will see how things develop, in more ways than one.

The video. Ultravox, and though this was nothing to do with love, it was a wonderful, great adventure!

A day to remember, but a day to celebrate too.

Well, seriously, given the date and everything, what else were you expecting tonight?

Strictly, the centenary of the significance of the 11th November is still 4 years away, but given this is the centenary of the start of World War 1, its a major landmark anyway. And at the 11th hour today, we have, or will (depending on your time zone) remember them.

Not that we just remember those who fell during that awful war, but on the battlefields everywhere, ever since. I suppose, strictly, those who died before too, but its fair to say that 1918 was of course the day that Remembrance Day over here, Veterans Day in the US, is the one that all are remembered for.

No, I’m not going to get political on the matter, though its fair to say that in hindsight, the leaders on both sides in WW1 didnt think too much about planning.

But anyway, for all those brave souls who died then, and since then, I remember, and respect all you did for us, who followed you.

Oh, the celebration? Well, two friends, one long term, one who I have only got to know recently both celebrate their birthday today.

The new one, that wonderful lady who showed Kate, and I around Cherryvale, less than 2 months ago. I think it was towards the end of last year when we first made contact, due to a posting I made about, yes, going to Cherryvale, the home town of Louise Brooks. Finally, I got to meet her in September, and she was just as wonderful to me in real life, as she had been in cyberspace.

Thanks, Tina, hope you’ve had a wonderful day.

Its fair to say I’ve known James a lot longer, though I’m not sure now, just how many years it has been. But in that time, he has become a true friend, a confidant, my editor, to name but 3 things! This man is simply amazing, believe me. Oh, and to top all this, he is the one who has invited me, in less than 2 weeks now, to celebrate Thanksgiving with him, my first time doing so.

So yes, as well as remembering the brave who died fighting for us, I am celebrating the birthday of 2 wonderful people.

The video, well yes, its a war related one, though possibly not one that people would immediately relate to events.

2 happy anniversaries, and 1 less than happy one

So fine, lets start with the less than happy one, as that’s the biggest milestone of all. One hundred years ago today, World War 1 officially started. It had been boiling up for a month or so, ever since the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife, but this date was the one where the first shots were quite literally fired.

The rest is in the history books, as many millions of brave young men died, on the whole, led by fools! I know, its easy to say that in hindsight, but looking back now, history doesnt cast a great picture of those military leaders, whose ideas were by then, clearly behind the times.

Rest in peace, all you brave men, the ones known, and unknown, who died in that 4 and a half year slaughter.

Fine, moving backwards in time, on this date, in 1905, in Brooklyn, a young baby girl was born, Clara Bow. Despite everything in her early impoverished life, in 1921 her picture was sent to a movie company, and the rest was history. Despite her mother’s efforts to end her career before it started, threatening her with a knife, she survived, went to Hollywood, and found fame. 12 years later, she retired from the business, never to make another film, until she met her maker in 1965.

Last, but not least, and the most important in a sense to a Jean Harlow lookalike, is a gentleman born on this day, in 1892. His name, William Powell. Thats right, the man romantically linked to Jean Harlow at the time of her death, and the man who financed the stunning last resting place of both Jean, and her mother. There was actually a 3rd space, for Powell, but as we know, a few years later he remarried, and was buried with her, when he died in 1984. Maybe if its still available, that third space, for me…? No, I know lol!

The irony is, long before they met in Hollywood, Powell, and Harlow (or Carpenter as she was back then) lived no more than a few blocks apart in Kansas City, Powell’s family having moved there in 1907. But obviously, given the age difference, their paths didnt cross for another 20 years or so, and then…

Many years later, when a biography, and a couple of films came out about Jean, Powell is famously reputed to have said that the only things they got right, were ‘her birth, her death, and her movies’ and pretty much the rest was pure fiction! If he said that, I know who I’m inclined to believe about her life.

The video, an extremely tentative connection to Powell. His most famous series of parts was as ‘The Thin Man’, so I thought of this…rolls eyes

Happy birthday, both of you, and rest in peace.

Snow is on its way, someone must be on holiday!

Yes, according to the weather forecast this morning, winter is about to strike over here. Snow, temperatures barely above freezing and all that. Yes, you’re right, I’m on holiday next week, perfect timing as per usual lol! It is related to another event happening here, combined with having a stack of time to take before the end of March, so…Anyone got an Eskimo suit? 😉

Unless it gets really bad (and knowing my luck, it will), I plan to do some travelling next week, so hopefully it wont be as bad as forecast. I’m planning on a trip across the Pennines (possibly snowy?) to Manchester, partly for a day out shopping, but mainly, it must be said to get in that Aqua Massager again, my knees are certainly screaming out for that, and I’m sure the back wont mind either. Beyond that, a trip on the Settle and Carlisle railway again, care of the reduced fare, and wouldnt mind a little snow for that, but not too much! One other trip probably, though no idea where at present, so feel free to tempt. If nothing else comes up, Doncaster might be the favourite.

What else to report? I’m not sure if I mentioned it, and I havent got time to go back through everything to check, so…if in doubt, post it now lol. At work we had an email around about making your dream come true, and I took a chance, and sent my piece in. Only asked for a photoshoot to be paid for, but doesnt sound like I was one of the lucky ones. Not that anyone told us the winners were announced, I only found out because of someone’s Facebook posting, says it all really! So still hoping on that too.

Ah, the video, what you and me could be next week, if we met in the street. Yes, I love the video, and this is one of those under the radar gems from Ultravox. And oh, local connection, Billy Currie is also from Huddersfield! I might even have met/seen him, dont really know what he looks like nowadays, a bit older than here, thats for sure!