Friday, April 24, 2015

If music be the food of love... get me a bucket.



On the way to work I was listening to Radio 4's The Reunion. For those of you outside the UK, Radio 4 is part of the BBC and it's talk radio. Not so much speak your brainz phone ins, but interviews, book of the week and other such stuff. Oh, and comedies - either plays or panel shows (yay! News Quiz). None of this modern popular beat combo nonsense, that's for sure. ;-)

Anyhoo, today was a programme called The Reunion, which - perhaps somewhat obviously - brings people together after a long period of time, to discuss and comment on a historic, or social, event of yesteryear. Today, was the Hit Factory. A team of three gents - Stock, Aiken & Waterman - who shook up the pop industry during the 80s. Much as I didn't like the majority of what they produced, they could certainly crank out the hits (or an anagram, thereof) and were very successful.

Now, I'm guilty as a (t) girl can be, when it comes to enjoying Bananarama's 80s disco camp, who were signed the same label. Maybe it made a different that Bananarama wrote most of their own material, whereas they recordees, didn't. SAW had a formula for songs and - seemingly - a 'beat' or rhythm track (so I'm told), that was pretty much constant. To the point that if you ever heard a mix of their artists, it was pretty hard to tell the songs apart. Their dominance of the charts, made it seem that there was no escape. Wall to wall and packaged pop seemed the order of the day.

I suppose I was at an age where you start listening to other stuff. Friends lend you a tape, or a CD and you try different sounds, working out which worked for you and then, which 'tribe' you'd sit in. Pop, dance, indie, rap, metal...or, in some rare cases, classical. Rarer back then, were the folk who didn't let themselves be pigeon-holed and just listened to the stuff they liked and didn't 'wear' their music. I know I got a strange look when asking for an album by The Shamen, while wearing a Metallica t-shirt. Go figure! :-) So, judging by that statement, wearing a metal uniform - funny how *ahem* anti-establishment yoof culture is still about conforming? - and putting a dance band shirt with it, would seem to mess with peoples' heads. Mind you, we are talking a small town in the Midlands. I still think the good people of back then thought goths where transgender. :-P

So, after a (thankfully) brief 'megamix' of the SAW pop tunes, I felt the need to cleanse my ears, by listening to some Nine Inch Nails. A slightly different popular beat combo from the 80s. :-) Hello, DadRock :-)


Thanks to Val for the snap
Chameleons was very busy this time around. The Ever Lovely Mrs J gave me an early pass, in return for getting the kids herded towards the shower and coaxed into their PJs. With that all sorted and a kiss for each of them, I was off into the evening. We had at least two new people turn up and with last time's folk now paying, the rent was covered. Busy nights like this are great, because there's plenty of people to talk to and it helps build the funds up, for the quieter summer months.

I wore my new skinny jeans the high waist meant they were much more comfortable. Perhaps them being a larger size, also helps. Not that that stopped me putting my finger through my tights while getting ready. Gah, klutz! :-)

Make-up wise, I tried a new Rimmel eye shadow set and I was very pleased with that. Not too intensive, so I could go with the shade du-jour, matt red (whoever he is). I got the suggestion from the London Beauty Queen blog and if you're interested in make-up, it's well worth a ready IMHO.

We also had a visit from a student, who was doing some research into trans people's views on the word 'transvestite'. I guess it seems like an old school word, but it's still a label a lot of us may still use. Personally, I prefer trans, or transgender, because it's inclusive and there's less risk of offending someone. Say, someone who is full time.

Given the funding situation, we had a quick show of hands about funding a stall at this year's Pride event. That was a yes, so it's now a case of sorting out some business cards (we've got loads) and printing off some flyers. Then, it'll be over to Tania and some volunteers to staff the stall on the big day. Fingers crossed it all goes well eh?

Hold on. Matt red lippy and a slight rock look? Where have I seen that before? Hmm.... :-) And they say TV doesn't influence a child :-P

I guess there are only so many combinations, before we start to repeat. Still, I wasn't quiet old enough to wear it the first time around, so I'm not breaking that fashion rule. At least, not yet. ;-)

Take care,

Friday, April 17, 2015

Fight your fears


Last weekend of the Easter Holidays, so it's back into the routine of School Runs and later starts. Not that I mind. Having kids keeps you entertained - you may like to perform a Joe Pesci in Goodfellas impression in your head, if it'll help. :-) Oh, but it's rewarding too, but if you're a parent, you probably get this and if you're not a parent, you may not give a sh**. Moving on.... :-)

The Ever Lovely Mrs J was away this weekend on business, so Yours Truly was holding down the fort for a few days. We had some walks, trips to the park and a few lazy afternoons. All good fun. Then it was off to leave the kids with my folks for a few nights. In days of old, not doubt I'd have raced back and flung open the cupboard doors. An evening to some trans version of Narnia, only without the Christian allegory, snow and a giant talking lion. So, umm, not at all like Narnia then! That bitch Tumnas still hasn't returned my cashmere wrap, the Judas. Fawns eh? Can't trust 'em.

So, no, the evening was passed watching Netflix and reading. I did paint my nails and toes mind. Not having to worry about taking my time was rather good and as I was working from home in the morning, no rush to clean up afterwards.

The morning went quickly with much typing and I think I got my report all sorted out. As lunchtime grew closer, so my nerves grew more than a little frayed. My make-up was done, I was happy with that and I think my outside was daytime enough. My stomach was doing flips, which is crazy, because technically, this is no different to going out to Chameleons. Either, getting ready upstairs, or those rare occasions, when I get ready at home and go their already... umm... ready. :-)

I took a few deep breaths, touched up my lippy and had a last minute change of shoes. My black ballet pumps, while they look more petite, they are a little on the wrong side of snug. The coast was clear, so I swallowed my fear and headed out to Leicester. Once there, all was fine. The panic was left behind and I just got on with my day. Do I pass? I don't think so and it doesn't bother me any more. For me, passing is a stick with which we beat ourselves. Provided no-one bothers me, which people don't, I'm fine with that. If anyone looks - which is rare, I just smile, just as I would if in bloke mode. Some smile back, some look away. No different really.

The weather couldn't have been better, with warm sun and a gentle breeze. I tried on a few things, even though I wasn't buying. I did get some new jeans (thank you New Look) with a voucher I'd saved from some trans* research, I'd done last year. No luck on shoes, as the wedges I'd had my eye on had gone. I guess you need to strike early, if you want a pretty size 8. Ah well.

I did manage to get a new bra though and the staff in M&S were absolutely brilliant. At least I know my size now, even if the heat of the changing room made my boob tape fail. Ah well, lessons learned. All in all, a good day out and once I got home, I was happy to put all my pretty clothes away, and go back into Bloke Mode. After a day in dainty shoes, I can understand why the Ever Lovely Mrs J is keen to put her slippers on, or go barefoot. :-)

I did leave my nail varnish on until late. There was something rather nice about having pretty fingertips all day. Trans people eh? ;-)

Take care,

Friday, April 10, 2015

Happy heart


I don't know about you good people, but the long Easter Weekend was very kind to me. Plenty of time away from work and with my family. A few long walks in the woods (always a joy to see our dog bounding around) and some time for Wee Man & Little Miss to climb trees, or clamber about on old logs.

Oh, there was even a productive visit to Ikea and a chance to clear up Little Miss's room. She does like to keep her room tidy. I think she manages this by keeping toys and colouring books in the kitchen, living room and anywhere but her room. :-) Still, a brief chuck-out session, some serious hoovering and some furniture assembly - with help from Wee Man - and we were sorted. Dare I say, everyone was happy? Now, there is something to blog about.

Thanks to Val for the
alternative photo angle.
With the weather warming up, it's been interesting to see how fashions have been mixed and juggled, to bridge the tricky period of cold mornings, hot afternoons. Sleeves are shortening, opaques disappearing and it's sandals or wedges, rather than boots. I did treat myself to some new footless opaques the other day. Rated 200 denier. Isn't kevlar about 120? :-) They certainly had some fight in them, when it came to putting them on this Thursday.

Yes, Thursday was time for Chameleons Group (woo!) and having packed (just) three outfits, I was (I think) ready for whatever the spring weather had in mind. Anyhoo, the old favourite - my wrap dress - won out, and I tried to do something different with my eye make-up routine.

This is not the eye crease you are looking for

I've been reading up via YouTube, Pinterest and from some blog suggestions from V&A (see last time). I think I've got hooded eyes. That, or as Maddie once said: I've got fat eyelids too. :-)

Well, I'm no expert, but the fact that I don't seem to have an eye crease, maybe the tip off. This would explain why the classic smoky eye (Ed: nothing to do with cops or bears) doesn't work for me and why many make-up tutorials just don't seem to work on Muggins here.

But, with a bit of help from t'Interwebz, I think I've got a better idea now. On the plus side, I've not been doing it totally wrong, which is either blind luck or somehow, some knowledge on eye make-up styles, has gone into my noggin. :-)

One trick seems to be to fake a crease (see left). Yeah, this does sound a bit odd, but it worked for me. You put the darker shade where you'd like the crease to be and then blend up. I think I may have overblended, because it sort of vanished a bit, but it did seem to give me a little more depth, than I usually have.

Oh, there's also a couple of videos from some regular YouTubers - is that even a word? :-) - who have some very informative How To videos. SugarPuffAndFluff has one just on hooded eyes and she shows you - sans make-up (bless her) - what happens when you do it right and when you do it wrong (/waves :-) ). There also Wayne Goss, who, somewhat obviously, being a chap - although not (AFAIK) trans - I found it easier to relate to his techniques. I guess you've just got to keep practising and working out what works for you.


As to the evening itself, it was very busy. Seemingly far busier than usual, with lots of new people visiting, either for the first time, or now into their second visit. There was a slight comedy altercation with a glass of water (I shan't name the culprit :-) ), during the announcement about the summer party. Luckily Sandi grabbed my mobile, so no harm, no foul; just a few chuckles.

Unlike last time, I got away fairly quickly, so I wasn't too late to bed. All in all, a grand night out and with the afternoon off, to look after the kids, what a great start to the weekend.

Take care,

Friday, April 03, 2015

Daring to dream


It's been a somewhat odd day today. To start with, it's a holiday weekend for the UK and given where I work, I get an extra day on Tuesday. Talk about a long weekend... and not that I'm complaining. :-)

The Ever Lovely Mrs J, myself and our two nippers had gone into town to get new school shoes for the kids. While we were there, we stopped off at a bookshop. Yeah, I know you can get books cheaper on-line, but I still think there's a lot to be said about being able to browse the books, see the stalls and sit down for a read before you buy. Yeah, I do own a Kindle and yes, I did buy a fair few books on-line before buying an e-reader. I suppose this is another way technology has changed commerce and society. Now, if you want a book, a film or some music, you just switch on your wireless and buy it. No more waiting until the weekend and then trekking into town. Easier on us, not so easy on the old school businesses. Sometimes, I wonder where this will take us.

On that note (did you see what I did there?), I spotted a book propped up with an intriguing cover (see image) and while the kids were looking at various books, I took a copy down and read the blurb at the back.

It is, as the cover suggests, a trans novel. One about a young boy (14), who does not want to be a boy. I'm summarising the plot very harshly, but that's the crux of it. However, I guess that's a bit like saying a small chap goes off to find some treasure (The Hobbit), or a hacker goes on a trip to space (Neuromancer) :-)

I've only read the sample chapters, and for me, I can feel the Midlands setting in there. I don't know if I'm reading into it, given the author was born in Nottingham, before she got a job in a Gender Identity Clinic, down in London. There's a review here.

On the back of the above, earlier this evening I watched the Eurovision 60 event on the BBC. It's been sixty years since the event (!) kicked off and I've fallen in, out and back in love with this festival of cheese, glamour and occasional irony. Tonight we saw celebratory performances include Dana International and Conchita Wurst. This prompted questions from Wee Man. Namely: "Dad, is Conchita transgender or a drag queen?" I had to admit, that I didn't know, and you'd like, that I'd have some insider knowledge about this. :-)

So, there seems to be a huge amount of trans* stuff floating around in general culture. It doesn't seem to be the quiet whisper, or furtive news exposé, that there used to be. Okay, we do still (sadly) get a few of the latter, but I guess we'll always have bigots. :-\

Like most posts here, eventually, like a cosmic object drawn towards an incredible mass, the subject swings back to Yours Truly. Hell, it's the only subject I can write about with authority.... and I have my wife's permission to write that. :-) In the first paragraph of the book, David, is asked what he wants to be when he grows up. He writes, he wants to be a girl.

Rev back 30 years and think of a warm classroom, somewhere in the East Midlands. A career teacher is giving a chat about jobs to around two dozen kids. He's got that knack where he can explain, without talking down to someone. It's the afternoon and he's giving an introduction about jobs. He explains that there are all sorts of jobs and I'm beginning to switch off. But, instead of telling us about types of jobs, he says there are jobs we can do, jobs we'd prefer, jobs we have to do and then, there are jobs we dream of.

As he says the words, my mind says 'drag queen'. He lets the statement about dreams hang and my mind races: performance, comedy, dressing up (mais oui), glamour and music. Everything that's not in my little world and if it's a performance, I can be who I want on stage, right? :-)

I've never done drag, I guess my t-powers are too strong to make me fabulous. Sure, I can lip sync and tell a few gags, but there's a lot more to it than that, I'm sure. Instead, I'm more working mum when I go out, but, it sure as hell beats not daring to dream and never trying to live.

Take care,