Friday, April 24, 2009

"Too much, much, much, much, much music"

Hey y'all

Another week flits by eh? Last Saturday was Record Store Day. A special event in the UK celebrating the diversity of music available at your local music shop... At least, one in the eyes of the indie retailers. It' not like we had flags and street parties. Hell, we didn't manage the latter on St George's Day (although I'm guessing we [Brits] did drink a lot :-D ). I must confess, the whole record shop thing passed me by in the rush that is the family weekend. Y'know - trips to the park, lunch, a shufti* around town and then home for a lark in the garden, tea and bed. After that, maybe a spot of blogging and a good cup of tea. :-)

[ * Ed: that's slang for 'look' for our non-English readers :-) ]

My relationship with music is somewhat complicated. It's something I enjoy and its effect on my mood is very positive. If I'm not feeling with it, the right tune - or perhaps more accurately, the right lyrics - can help me break out from under a dark cloud. There's nothing quite like singing your head off (not literally) in the car to a favourite song... at least I think so and it's the only place I will attempt to sing. I'm so out of key I can't even think of a witty way to describe it :-)

Just about every blog post has a lyric quoted from an artist. I started this because certain songs would catch in my head when I was thinking about particular subjects. The two would intertwine and I'd feel in someway the lyric was necessary. I find myself storing up lyrics wondering when I'll have a post that matches them. Part of me wonders if an artist would be upset by this, but then I think, is all advertising good advertising? I know I've seen links to video on YouTube and after listening, I go and buy that track.

Anyway, indie record shops....? In my youth I'd regularly make the trip into town to take a look in my favourite record shops. I'm glad to see that at least two them is still going strong. That's one of the great things about Nottingham, it has such a young population that "yoof culture" shops (and clubs) keep on ticking. No matter what 'tribe' you belong to, there's somewhere for you to top up your identity.

But you make time for the things you like and old pleasures ebb away. I still love music, but I don't make the time to go through the records or CD racks any more. Since the on-line retailers have (thankfully) dropped DRM from music downloads, I'm now buying more - perhaps more than when I was a teenager. Does this help the independent retailer? Probably not, but the stuff I'm buying now - mostly pop or chart indie-esq tunes - wouldn't be the stuff I'd get from them anyway. They lost me as a customer as my tastes altered once again.

That said, it's still fun to walk in to an alternative music shop in your work suit to pick up a couple of CDs.... if only to f*** with the stereotype.

A Visit from the Council

In other news, it was time for the Full Betty (to re-use a gag) as Chameleons was on once again (yay!). I was going to (cross)dress smart this week as we had a visit from the local Council. But in the end I opted for white jeans (so 80s! LOL), my stripey top and some wedges. Well, it is almost Summer isn't it?

Our two visitors wanted to talk about the Complains Procedure and get a some feedback for TG specific issues. Obviously, anonymity was a key point. As someone said - and on an unrelated note - some crimes don't get reported because the person doesn't want to out themselves. Sad, but true. BTW, I'm not saying the Police are failing us here, I'm just reporting how people feel about reporting crime (assault for example) and how the process might go. Interestingly, the Complaints Officer explained how you could make a complaint (or otherwise) to the Council (or Police) and remain anonymous. Useful to know!

There was also some talk about the group being quizzed over the TG community needs within Nottinghamshire. I don't think we can speak for everyone, but we can at least give some feedback to whoever's listening. Food for thought eh?

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: Poison to the Mind by Pop Will Eat Itself ]

Friday, April 17, 2009

"Before I put on my makeup,
I say a little prayer for you"

Hi peeps,

I read about some new research that was quoted on Rose's Forum earlier in the week. The link takes you to a discussion about the findings and how some parts of it go against earlier research. I'll give you a brief sound bite (below) although that clearly doesn't do the full article justice:
"What this study does do, however, is add to the increasing evidence that there
are some detectable neurological differences in the brains of transgendered
people. We're just not in a position to say much about the significance of this
How does one define 'transgendered'? Hell, most of us TG folk can't agree on labels, I wonder how the scientific community managed? :-) Snippy comments aside, let us say - for sake of argument - that if it included everyone in the TG spectrum - I wonder what would come out of such a research project? If - a God knows how - we studied everyone from the the occasional dabblers to those who live full time (or near as damn it); would we find any commonality?

Does this prove that there's no such thing as 'alternative lifestyle' and that we are how we're made? Man, that sounds a loaded statement if you take it out of context. Oops. ;-) It's so easy to say the wrong thing these days! :-) What I mean is, are we who we are by biological lottery of chemistry? Certain hormones at certain times mean certain things, etc. It's going to be an interesting ride that's for sure.

In other - and significantly less scientific and earth-shattering, the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones and I had a day off today for a spot of shopping. Y'see, having a tranny husband isn't always bad news: we don't get bored while you try on shoes or the same dress three times. We know why you would rather wear trainers on a big shopping trip that cute pumps and the phrase 'too many shoes' is as alien to us as the off-side rule (Ed: sweeping generalisations ahoy!).

After lunch we stopped in a department store as Mrs J checked out the new slap that was on offer. She had a quick make-over (Ed: lucky lady!) and she looked very nice. Yes, of course I told her. :-) While she tried on a new foundation, she complained about it being too 'glowy'. So helpful husband and bloke mind thinking 'problem? provide solution!', I handed over a small compact of powder... in the right shade, of course. :-) The assistant gave a big smile and said: "Wow, you do know your way around make-up don't you?"* Mrs J kindly bit her lip, although I did notice a cheeky grin (one of the many things I love about her).

"I'm a new man," I replied hoping that would dodge the issue. "Shall we leave it at that?" Heh. Busted :-)

[ * Well, not really, but then compared to my non-TG mates, yes I guess so. ]

Mrs J was debating the cost while the assistant was looking for other products that may prove popular. I thought I'd treat her because a) she's worth it and b) because it's nice to have the little things that can help you feel good about yourself.

Right ladies? :-)


[ Today's lyric: I Say A Little Prayer For You by Aretha Franklin ]

Friday, April 10, 2009

"Call me old fashioned,
But I'm a little nervous about the future"


Bit of a last minute post today. It being a bank holiday - yay! - we've been out and about letting the kids run of their energy and for the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones and I to top up the feel good batteries.

I don't know about your blogging process, but I try and store up ideas or even just things I'd like - or even may like - to talk about during the week. This week, though, well... 'meh' really :-) Monday through to Wednesday I just wasn't with it. It wasn't like there was anything physically wrong, I just couldn't - and to use a 90s phrase - "get my sh** together." :-) My heart just wasn't in it. I think it was a work thing. I've been feeling pretty disconnected of late. Just turning up and pretty much going through the motions.

I think most of us - although I could be wrong - would like to feel that we've done something at work. Something to make a difference, no matter how small, to someone else's day. A little help here or finishing something off to make the 37.5 hours you put in mean something.

Feeling out of it, I did what most trannys do: I went shopping. :-) I stopped off at a local out-of-town shopping centre and had an enjoyable lunchtime session of finding, trying on, rejecting and buying. I found some very nice sparkly red heels (in the sale), but if they're a size eight, I'm a natural brunette. :-P

Armed with a bag full of goodies, I headed over to the changing rooms. The lady looked in the bag, looked at me (typical casual bloke gear) and asked: "You want to try all of these on?" I 'uh-huhed' and smiled and without any more ado, I headed into the changing rooms to help make my mind up. The shoes were too small, the skirts not really what I wanted but the purple top was very nice (reduced too!).

It was a welcome break from the feeling of ploughing treacle I had in the morning. After lunch, everything seemed to pick up. A spot of shopping and knowing that I'd be at Chameleons on Thursday put the spring back into my step.

Talking of Chameleons (Ed: ooo, seamless link), it was a very interesting evening. We had a good turn out and also a visit from TransFixed. They're a TG friendly beauty salon who sell wigs and whatnot in Manchester. Anyways, and God bless 'em, they'd braved the pre-bank holiday motorway mayhem to come and see us.

The group also went through the finances and muggings here signed up to be a trustee. I mean, and not to be negative, but you don't really know what's around the corner. I've found the group a real haven and I've met some lovely people through it. It's not a big deal to put my personal details down on a bank sheet and just be available. Just in case :-) To be honest, it felt a little odd signing my real ID down sat in skinnys and knee boots. :-D

Today's lyric? Well, that came from something Tracey said while chatting to the ladies from TransFixed. They asked about the next generation. I think Sam and Angelina are our youngest visitors - everyone else is I think 30s plus. Tracey was saying that the next generation are just 'out there'. Enjoying the mainstream venues and just getting on with it. I can't comment as I'm not 'down with the kids'. I hope that's the case because it may mean that one day, groups like ours will be just social groups, not social and support groups.

I am a little nervous about the future, yes, but I am hopeful. Despite my cynical nature, I am an optimist at heart and I think things are changing for us. There will be bumps and slaps along the way, but one day we'll get there.


[ Today's lyric: The Glam Rock Cops by Carter USM ]

PS: I have a wee favour to ask of you all. Picture a gent in a white shirt and a cheeky grin (okay, not just a white shirt, that would be too revealing :-D ) and think positive thoughts. A good friend of mine needs a little luck sending his way.

Friday, April 03, 2009

"What the eye don't see won't break the heart"

Hey y'all,

Once in a while, the all-seeing eye of The Media scans over our little subcultural havens. Sometimes folk are after a lighthearted look at we trannys - something for the coffee table magazines perhaps.

Anyhoo, earlier in the month a similar request dropped into my inbox. It was from a soon-to-be launched magazine - LGBT focused at that - and, unless I got the wrong end of the stick, was for students by students. A worthy cause in my humble opinion as it gives folk work experience on the real deal and from a TG point of view, if one person reads the article and gets some hope from it, then it can't be a bad thing right?

I exchanged an email or three on the subject and it was all going quite well. Then the bombshell: what about a picture of the happy couple?

Say what? :-)

Woah... Let's just back up a bit on that point. While my mug may be occasionally visible - albeit in low res - on this site, I'm not ready to be in a magazine. But moving away from the whole me-me-me vibe, it's a completely different thing for the ever lovely Mrs Jones. To start with, she's never seen me in Lynn mode, and frankly, I'm very happy to keep it that way. Also, I'm kinda in disguise. Okay, some days the disguise is better than other days but you get my drift :-) Mrs J doesn't get that luxury.

So my questions - 'cos you know there'll be more than one right? :-) - are these: Why the big deal on a photo? Is the story not enough on its own? Why is it when you say 'no' to a snap, interest vanishes like an election promise? :-)

I mean, I've read positive husband and wife articles in the past and they've been straight text. How does having a picture of a tranny + partner somehow make the story more valid?

Incidental, there seems to be a rising tide of blogs written by wives and girlfriends....

There's WaGs, so can there be PoTs? Partners of Trannys? :-D

.... which I think is excellent. The partners writing that is - not my weak pun :-) It's the voice we often don't get to hear. We know the stereotype of angry spouse - and who can blame them if we spring this surprise - but what about the partners who accept? At Chameleons we have lots of first time outs for us blokes, not so much in the wife department. Honestly, I take my hat off to any woman (or man) who'll stand by their boyfriend/husband when they reveal who they really are.

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: When you don't see me by The Sisters of Mercy ]