Friday, March 11, 2016

The past is another country

Hi,

Three minutes to midnight as I start writing this. One more, and there's an option of a knowing nod to an old Iron Maiden record. Larks, that dates me. Not the Iron Maiden reference, but I've just used the word 'record'. That, or I'm some too-cool-for-school ageing metal hipster, with a love of record decks.... :-)

I should point out I'm not. Even back in the 80s, I preferred tape or CDs. Records, well, despite the large album sleeves, which would, on occasion, have brilliant artwork on them, were not for me. Not portable enough and seemingly, too fragile to make the swap between friends. Tapes on the other hand, you could make your own mix and swap tracks with friends. I know, piracy. Shocking eh? ;-) But, on the positive for records, the sleeves sometimes had scenes you could study, or lose yourself in, while you had your headphones on.

Don't tell the kids

By way of a strange intro, the above brings me around to something that was stuck in my head earlier in the week. At work, a colleague mentioned that they'd be brought in by the school, to watch the sex education video, that the teachers would be showing the class later on. My first thought was, "Well, it's a bit late, if they're now parents." :-) Talk moved on we both mentioned what we'd been told at school.

See, I was a kid in the 70s and a teenager in the 80s. It was the era of strikes, Tories, AIDS and social change. Maybe it was me, being a young lad in a backwater town, but the government of the time, didn't seem to get what was happening. Or maybe, that's always the way of the world when you're a teen. How can you have anything in common with people 30 years older than you? I'll let the truth and irony of that statement hang, for your own amusement. ;-)

So, for whatever reason, there was very little sex education at school. Perhaps this was a sign of the times - the past is a different country, and all that; or the Right Wing View that if we teach kids about doing it, they'll do it more. Wow. They might even learn to enjoy it and respect each other. Where would that lead?! :-) There was also the Clause 28 nonsense, in which prevented Local Authorities - that's local government / city hall, to our overseas readers - from "promoting homosexual lifestyles." Yeah, 'cos not telling kids about being gay will keep them straight, right?.I only got into being trans, because I saw Danny La Rue having such a fabulous time. :-P

But getting off my soapbox, not being given any real talk about it, didn't mean I wasn't curious. In that vacuum, and fuelled by growing realisation about knowing I liked to cross dress, I was drawn to the gay magazine programme, Out on Tuesday. Channel Four showed this for about an hour, and while it was mostly about gay people, there was the occasional mention of trans people, to keep my attention. Plus, it was a different world to me and I found that fascinating.

This being the 80s, there was a big AIDS awareness drive going on and yet, primetime - and straight TV (I bet those two words will affect Google searches ;-) ) - glossed over most of this, merely reporting the statistics and occasionally showing how to roll a condom to your fingers. There's a life skill, eh? :-) Out on Tuesday, however, being Channel 4 and post-watershed, did not hold back. Perhaps being nonplussed by the idea of two people of the same sex enjoying themselves, wasn't perhaps a great survival tactic - sh** the 80s was homophobic - but the presenters covered how to keep yourself and your partner protected. Going back to the 'phobic comment, I doubt the word 'transphobic' existed then (although I'm happy to sit corrected).

I remember leaving home and after a year, I met the Ever Lovely Mrs J. My mum, bless her, said, "Oh, we meant to have a chat with you about that," which given that my sister was a teen mum, you'd think they'd have been a little more forthcoming ;-) But, we never had our chat. I just said I was taking precautions and given that Mum was already worried about my cross-dressing, I thought it best not to tell her I'd learned about the Birds & the Bees from a late night show for gay people. :-)

T stuff

I had a bit of a dip earlier this week, on the old good-mood-o-meter. Nothing too serious, just a mild case of the Green Eyed Monster and it's bessie mate, Pink Fog. It's my own fault. I'd been looking at spring fashions - I see lace up heels are back in - and I rather foolishly listened to the negative voice, around body image.

It didn't seem that short,
when I packed that skirt :-)
Spring fashions, like the - for me at least - seemingly unattainable summer outfits, are there to show your arms, legs and back. Areas that I would need to keep covered up, less I be mistaken for Chewbacca on his way to Summer Pride :-) But.... I'm just going to have to ignore that sea of negativity, and look at good things, because realistically, I'm just getting at myself and I also know, I need to make the best of what I've got, rather than wishing for the unobtainable. Perhaps then, I'm not too far away from regular women, who may also look at a magazine image, sigh and try not to think that that they don't fit into the narrowband fashion seems to aim for.

On a brighter note, it was Chams this week and I was in a bit of a spin, over what to wear. Yeah, that awkward winter into spring period eh? Larks, it was cold that night and I was glad the Centre's organiser had left us a portable heater, in the changing room. I gave up on the tights from New Look, I'd bought on a whim last Xmas. They had hearts running down the seam at the back, which looked great on the packet, but were just impractical to get straight on me. Plus, they were too short. Perhaps, I should have stuck with M&S. Lessons learned!

The evening itself was very busy and after chatting with Val, I caught up with a few regulars. Sarah had popped in, along with Alison (get well soon, Mrs!) and Sarah mentioned she'd been on a course with a guy in my department. Small world eh? We chatted about jobs and in a most non-British way, mentioned money and salaries. Well, it's rare people change jobs for less, although it does happen.

Despite my best efforts at taking an age to get ready, the evening seemed to go by very quickly. But again, it was great to be 'all of me', so to speak. I also tried my new blue nail varnish from Boots, which I'm very happy with. Great colour. I had to turf some late hangers on out, at the end, while Val & I locked up. Then, it was off into the fog, and back in male disguise. Still, there's worse things eh? :-)

Take care,
Lynn

15 comments:

  1. That Danny La Rue has so much to answer for doesn't she? ;o).

    Three weeks since Rhiannon time and the pink fog is well and truly hanging around. Getting ready to breathe a sigh of relief this week...

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    1. Corrupted a generation, I'm sure. ;-) Best use a smiley, otherwise we may be quoted in The Daily Heil, under 'sad transvestites blame TV drag queen for their gender woes. "We warned you!" said Moral Minority' ;-)

      Hope you soon get to dispel the Pink Fog.

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  2. I reckon the whole weird problem of sex education in the English speaking world is the 400-year legacy of puritanism. I'm not aware that any other culture has had these problems with getting the young to learn about, erm, you know, wink, nudge... mummies and daddies.

    Anyway, all this corruption of youth so they turn into transgender adults is totally due to long-legged transvestites in miniskirts posing online.

    Looking amazing as ever, Mrs. Sue x

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    1. Yes, the Puritans cast a long shadow. Not just over us, but in the US too. As to other cultures, I'm no expert and some of the middle eastern societies have some - shall we go with 'interesting'? - approaches to sex and sexuality. Humans, eh? Aren't we a mess ;-)

      ...corruption of youth...

      I didn't 'LOL', but I did snort/chuckle in a most unladylike way. This is fine, 'cos I'm a bloke ;-) Well, if 'tha yoof' have Googled their way here, to read about someone of their dad's age, they've only themselves to blame! ;-) Thanks for the kind words re: outfit. L x

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    2. Perhaps you need to read your history, the Puritans are part of the religious fall out from Henry VIII marriage problems

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    3. They did. I did say a long shadow :-) Jokes aside, they (The Puritans) haven't been they only movement through history, to take that stance. While not a direct copy, I dare say there are ever more modern, and perhaps, more 'watered down' versions, as each generation passes. If someone wants to live their life by such rules, that's up to them. But, to attempt to enforce them on others, that may well be where the trouble starts.

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  3. Next time that negative little voice pipes up with comments abot body image, just show it that photo. You have pins real girls would envy, never mind the rest of us.
    I kind of miss the days of home made cassette compilations. I still have several dozen, sent to me by friends. Many of them were themed, which made it an intriguing exercise finding just the right tracks. I once made one titled Love Hurts with the saddest, most heart-breaking tracks I could find.Totally unlistenable all the way through. Some even had sleeve notes. You can do it all much easier nowadays with Spotify, but it's missing the point. Which was the personal care and attention taken to making each one, like writing a leter to someone, but with music.

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    1. Long time no see, Susie. Thanks for your kind words. I guess, and as oddly, I was saying to someone the other day, we humans, we seem wired to see the bad things. Wired so that we are driven to improve things. Get out of the swamp, build a fire to keep warm and keep predators away, keep plants and animals to eat, etc.

      With that in mind, and I'm guilty of this, I forget to think of the good things I have, and look at what I think I'm missing. Again, that drive to fix things. I have started to keep a Memory Jar, which is filling up with Good Memories / Happy Events. Maybe it's time to do the same thing for T events too.

      Ah, the joy of the mix tape! I'm with you, in that they were little themes, stories even in their own right. So much for home taping killing music ;-)

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  4. Re making mix tapes, I've still got a few that I made of the theme music from various Commodore 64 games - you can't get much more '80s than that!

    Like you, I preferred tapes and CDs to records (I still do, though replace "records" with "downloads" these days!) although, as you said, having such a preference could cause you to miss out on some great cover art. Don't know if you ever got into Sodom, but the LP version of one of their earlier albums, 'Agent Orange', had some absolutely killer artwork on it. Sadly, I've only got the tape version, which features only a small portion of that artwork. I remember being utterly blown away by the artwork for Iron Maiden's 'Somewhere in Time' too (and luckily, in that case, the cassette version provided a decent portion of it); I was fascinated by the futuristic city it portrayed, and had a lot of fun finding all the subtle references to Maiden songs featured in it.

    Living through the '80s myself, I'd have to say I find it a funny decade in retrospect. Very upbeat and optimistic in some respects (just look at how colourful it was!), yet quite pessimistic in others. As I recall, the clock got very close to midnight with respect to the nuclear stand-off between the two superpowers, and there were a whole host of "hot" wars raging around the globe that kept tensions high too. Sometimes, I think it's a miracle we got through the decade without blowing ourselves all up!

    When (and how) did your mother find out about your CDing, if you don't mind me asking? Mine found out about mine when I was just a month or two shy of seventeen, and while she did her best to be understanding about it all, it ended up becoming one of those topics we just didn't talk about for the most part. I think she thought (and hoped) it was all just a "phase" (does any of this sound familiar?), but it obviously ended up being much more than that! To tell the truth, I still can't figure my mum out sometimes. On the one hand, she seems to really like the fact I'm sort of "feminine" in the sense of being gentle, sensitive, and the one member of the family she can watch chick flicks and weepy movies with; on the other hand, I think she recoils at the idea of me being trans in any way, shape or form (though I often think that the things she loves and hates about me are really just two sides of the same coin). In a similar vein, she'll often bang on about the "good old days" when "men were men, and women liked it that way" (blech), yet she'll then ask me if I'd ever be interested in a career in something like nursing or fashion design! Um, yeah, real hairy-chested, high-testosterone professions there!

    Like you, I found growing up somewhere under the LGBT umbrella during the 1980s hard at times. It didn't help that that decade wasn't a great one for tolerance of gays here as well as in your neck of the woods (the appearance of AIDS, and the widespread perception that that was a "gay disease" surely didn't help matters), and that being trans was probably considered completely beyond the pale. Indeed, the predominant stereotype of cross-dressers I picked up from the media was that we were all gay, and the only reason we did what we did was to fool other guys into having sex with us*! Um, no... I think in the end I just decided that if I wanted to be a cross-dresser myself, I was just going to have to go ahead and do it for my own reasons, be my own role model, and adopt a "don't give a fuck" attitude about it all. Happily, that's an approach that seems to have worked for the most part.

    *And yet this was also the decade of gender-bending hair metal and New Romantic bands! Go figure.

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    1. Coo, where to start? :-)

      Have you had a look at some of the 'synthwave' stuff that's on YouTube? There's some rather good (IMHO) retro sounding music, based on the 80s. 'Perturbator' would be a heavier version. I'd be interested to read what you think :-)

      The 'Somewhere In Time' album cover is, as you say, packed with pop culture and band references. I can't say the music still appeals, but the artwork does. Oddly, I was looking that up on Google, given someone had posted the Eddie as a cyborg picture.

      Ah, the "don't ask, don't tell" policy of parental units :-) Always a hoot :-D How did she find out about you?

      As to me... I think, as I do tend to rattle on, it's probably a blog post for next time. Nothing scary, well, maybe at the time, but there are worse ways to come out :-D

      Yeah, the 'hair metal' glam stuff, which you'd think I'd be drawn towards, but for me, it didn't work. Perhaps, it was because it was mostly "blokes in slap", rather than actual cross-dressing. Then again, musically, it wasn't me either. If you're going to listen to metal: commit and go heavy, or go home. :-)

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    2. Thanks for the music recommendations - I'll have to check some of that stuff out. I remember, years ago now, finding an interesting little one-man musical project from the UK (whose name unfortunately eludes me now) that combined metal with electronica (and probably a few other genres as well), the latter strongly reminiscent of Commodore 64 music (I think the creator actually listed that as one of his inspirations). I found that on Myspace (which has probably become even more passe than vinyl!), along with a whole heap of other interesting musical acts, such as Saudi Arabian death metal outfits and other things you probably wouldn't think even existed.

      My mother found out about my CDing when she stumbled upon a couple of pairs of women's satin PJs that I'd washed, and had been attempting to dry in the garden shed (a place where I also used to keep my bike, as I recall). She seemed to take it surprisingly well (and also told me to hang them on the clothesline, as they'd never get dry where I'd put them!). I have a feeling in hindsight it didn't come as a complete shock to her, as she and my father had apparently long wondered, for various reasons, if I was going to grow up to be gay, and me being a CDer probably didn't seem that different (interestingly, and perhaps depressingly, I suspect my folks would've had far less of a problem with me being gay than any flavour of trans, though).

      Interesting to hear your views on "hair metal". I have to admit that musically it didn't do much for me either; that said, I probably haven't listened to enough of it to really pass judgement on it, and I'd also have to say that I've heard the odd glam metal song I really liked (I always thought Motley Crue were pretty good, for example). I was always fascinated by how "girly" it could be, though. One band that seemed to exemplify that more than any other was a group called Cinderella - I mean, you can't give your band a girlier name than that! It could also be surprisingly homoerotic too - for example, I'll never forget a picture of Motley Crue I once saw that showed them all naked in the bath together!

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    3. Sorry for all the doorstopper comments BTW. They never look that long in the comment field!

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    4. No worries about the long comments. It's interesting stuff.

      The hair metal thing. There was a split at my school in terms of metal. Of those who listened to said genre, there was the soft metal types, who were looked down on, by the glammies. They in turn were looked down on by the thrashers.... Then, there were those who just liked music and categories be dammed ;-)

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  5. coincidentally, I just got these delivered:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0027CQRBA
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B003VW321I

    — dedicated storage for my 10" and 7" records

    but I'd need about 30 of them for 12" records/LPs

    I have a lot of vinyl :)

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    1. Ah yes, he Lego Graveyard boxes ;-) I hope they work a treat for your records.

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