Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Accepting and Explaining

It’s strange how easy it is to become insular and build up little prejudices.

Over the past few years I’ve met quite a lot of quite different kinds of transsexuals, transvestites and cross-dressers.

All different in lots of ways and similar in others.

Mostly they are people that want to express a certain femininity in the way that they look and act … in the way that they are … in who they are.

Just occasionally there are challenges though. Once in a while someone that wears a dress or a skirt and blouse … but no makeup or stockings … slightly hairy legs … sandals … socks.

It’s a delicate kind of issue for me to write about here because friends that read bits and pieces of some of the things that I post will think of people that I might be thinking about.

Really though … I’m not writing about any specific individual. More about my own feelings on a concept.

There’s a part of me that feels that a person that doesn’t “make the effort” shouldn’t be at the get-togethers.

Another part of me feels a sense of shame about this feeling. I mean … if I’m not able to accept such a person … do I have any reasonable right to hope that “mainstream” society should be prepared to accept Andrea?

So … I know that I need to learn how to deal with this … and move on from a reluctant and passive acceptance towards a willingness to be a friend.

Today at work I had an unusually angry few moments. I work with software … and there is a recurring conflict concerning release date deadlines … feature-creep … mistakes … over optimistic predictions.

The deadline was the end of October.

At the meeting the boss expressed a certain degree of dissatisfaction.

I guess though that … whatever the circumstances … I’m not prepared to accept disrespect from my employer. So I made this clear. And I was angry. But, I think, respectful.

Thankfully, he respected this.

And in the end … by rationally and reasonably explaining the state of things he was able to get a level of willing commitment to work longer hours for “free” that would have been impossible to get by just ranting and raving.

And in amongst all that extra work … there is Pink Punters on Saturday … Surrey Swans on Sunday … and a niece’s wedding next weekend.

I know, things could be a lot worse.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Pink Punters, Pints, Lipstick, Bathrooms and Boobs

Friday had been a Candy Girls evening.

Saturday was a Pink Punters night.

My turn to drive … we set off a little after 4:00 pm and got to the hotel at about 5:30.

By about 7:00 we were all set and headed down to the hotel bar and restaurant and had a drink. Chatted a while with another tgirl then had a bite to eat.

Then back to the bedroom to get changed.

I’ve picked up an addiction from Nikki I think … so here are the hotel corridor shots.





Tina had asked me …

“Why does your shirt say Pink on it when it’s black?”

“The secret”, I explain, “is in the colour of the word Pink”.

To be fair … the Pink did look kind of yellow in the hotel lighting.

But it made me giggle.

The shortest route from the hotel entrance to Pink Punters involves crossing the ditch. Kind of the the Bechers Brook of the tranny world.

Actually it’s just a little dip in the ground … but it is grassy and on a dark evening … especially on the way back … after a drink … and in high heels … well … it is a challenge … and there have been those that have fallen.

Rumour had it that the ditch had been filled in!

In fact … the ditch is there … but the gap is now bridged so the tiny little walk is much less fraught.

The security men say hello and we head up the steps and have a little chat with the lady at reception.

It’s still quite early and the place is very quiet …that’s in terms of the number of people that are there … the music on the dance floors never gets what I would call quiet.

We head to the top where the music is quiet enough to be able to hear people talking without having to use raised voices and buy a couple of drinks … we each have a half of Fosters … I’ve never known Tina to drink lager before … this girlie thing is getting serious Smile

We sit and chat.

The photographer heads our way and takes a picture:


The original is here

There are loads of pictures of the evening here.

We chat a while about all kinds of things. I remember mentioning that one of the sociological differences that seems to exist between tgirls and ggirls is the way that ggirls never seem to visit the bathroom unaccompanied. I’m using the term bathroom in an American kind of way here.

We head for the dance floor for a bit.

Then back upstairs.

My turn to get the Fosters.

The bar is a little crowded and I’m standing behind three girls who apologise for being in the way. But I manage to perch at the end of the bar and p[lace an order.

“Mind your head” I hear.

Being a little over 6 feet tall without heels … and I guess a little over 6 feet 4 inches with them … I need to duck down under one of the beams.

“At least it’s padded” says the girl. “I’m ok” she says “way too small to hit it”. She has what must be six inch heels on … takes them off and says “see … I’m really tiny.”

I pay for the drinks and turn round to see where Tina is.

Nowhere to be seen.

I look here. And there.

Maybe Tina has paid an unaccompanied visit to the bathroom?

I put the drinks down on a table and sit down.

Just a minute or two later I hear a voice:

“Excuse me … are you waiting for somebody?”

It’s one of the three girls that had been at the bar.

“Well yes … I guess she’ll turn up in a minute or two.”

“Well … we were wondering if you’d like to come and join us” she says.

I collect the drinks and move tables.

We’re all surprised that Tina should disappear without the drink.

Very mysterious we all think.

We all introduce ourselves … Dawn … Emma and Annette … and, of course, Andrea.

They’re a little amazed that people travel from Windsor to get to Pink Punters.

After a while Annette mentions that she is Emma’s mum.

Emma explains how strange an admission this is … “you said I shouldn’t call you mum out here … and it’s been really hard getting used to calling you Annette when you’re my mum.”

Dawn is Emma’s cousin. I think.

Tina arrives.

She was sitting in an alcove at the end of the bar … hidden from sight almost … and had been wondering where I had gotten to.

Ah well … all’s well that ends well.

Emma and Dawn spot a tgirl sitting alone at the bar and invite her over … Erica.

“Can I ask you a question?” asks Emma.


“Why are you drinking half pints and not pints?”

“Well I guess it seems more lady-like” I say.

But then tell the story that when my daughter Katie had asked what I drink when I go out on a girls night and I told her the same thing … she said I ought to tell a few of her friends that.

Dawn agrees with me though … half pints are much more lady like.

Emma vows to have a pint when the next drinks are ordered.

I’m not sure if Annette or Dawn gets them. But sure enough, Emma has a pint.

She looks at my red lips and asks if I’ve got the lippy with me still.

I nod.

“I’ve never tried red like that before” she says. “Will you put some on for me?”

At this point I think it wise to warn her that I’ve never put lippy on anyone else's lips … not ever … and she could end up looking a little clown-like.

“I’ll take the risk” she smiles.

I take my glasses off'. And I think I’m more nervous than Emma as I start painting the bright red liquid.

Here’s the result. It’s a lot harder to paint someone else’s lips. Honest.



“You look a lot better without your glasses … you should keep them off” she says.

Then everyone seems to be trying them on.



And Annette:


No one can see a thing through them and they make their way into my handbag.

As time passes the drinks have an effect and a trip to the the ladies is needed.

“Do you err … well … which one do you go to?” asks Emma.

“The ladies” I say.

“Come on then” she says. Emma and Dawn head for the stairs taking a hold of my hand and drawing me along.

Another difference between a girls visit to the bathroom and a boys visit is that boys tend to get in there and then get out. To girls it’s a networking opportunity. And it’s almost a must to powder your nose or gloss your lips or brush your hair.

We brush hair a while.

Back up the stairs we step outside a while for a cigarette break. I just take the opportunity to chat some more.

It’s a cold night … but there are log fires.

A friendly couple take a picture of Emma, me and Dawn. I think I should have powdered my nose while I was brushing my hair.P1030777_1280x960

Back upstairs and we continue talking.

Dance a while.

Visit the bathroom a few more times.

It was at one such visit … on the way out … lagging a few yards behind Tina and Emma … the place is a little crowded and there’s a group of girls waiting in an orderly kind of line.

“Hi” says one girl as I mosey along towards the exit.

“Hi” I say.

She introduces herself and I introduce myself.

“I was just admiring your shirt” she says.

“Well thank you” I say.

“Well … to be honest … it was your boobs I was admiring.” she smiles.

Well … unaccustomed as I am … I say the first thing that comes into my head … “… well … they’re not real.”

Not the smartest response, I know.

She smiles and looks me in the eye.

Places a hand firmly on each boob and begins to jiggle them around.

“They’re real.” she laughs … good naturedly.

Like I said … the ladies room is on a totally different planet than the gents.

Back upstairs again and a kindly couple take a group picture.

Annette … Erica … Tina … Emma … Andrea … Dawn.




I quite like Emma’s ring … though she says that Annette says she’s a real chav Smile

A little more dancing and talking.

Dawn says Emma and I look like sisters … similar hair.

Emma says … “Well … thanks!”

A little before 3:00 am Emma, Annette and Dawn head away. We say our farewells. They are such lovely people!

Kim drops by to say hi. She’s at the front of the Pink Punters picture below:


We talk a while. Like a lot of girls that I’ve talked to here she says she likes the place because you can dance … talk … have a great time … and there’s no trouble … no fighting … just people allowing themselves to be themselves.

Anna (on the left in the picture) sits with us a while.

We all head downstairs for another dance … the music is more my kinda style at the moment … a little more oldie-worldie … re-makes of YMCA and  stuff like that.

Before we know it … it’s almost 4:00 am and we decide to call it a night.

It’s nice not to have to struggle down and up the ditch.

The end to a really nice evening.

Candy Girls … Wine, Women and Song

Last Friday night Tina and I ventured out to Candy Girls.

Tina arrived at my place at round about 9:00 pm. We were both pretty much ready … so a few pictures and then we were off.

Me … smiling …


and  then not …


Tina smiling.


The were just two little complications at the beginning.

First I needed to get some cash … so we stopped off at the cash dispenser at the local Tesco store. It was a little after closing time so it was pretty quiet and no one paid any attention.

And then … drat … I had put a bottle of wine in the fridge to take along and managed to forget all about it. So we stopped at the local wine shop and I paid them a visit. Candy Girls don’t sell alcohol but are happy enough for people to bring some along. Tina was driving … but I wasn’t … so the wine sounded like a nice idea to me at least Smile

It being Tina’s car we listened to Radio 2 rather than Indigo Girls or While and Matthews … though roles were to be reversed the next day.

It’s a reasonably short and straightforward 30 minute drive to get to Candy Girls.

There’s plenty of parking and we were made to feel really welcome as soon as we walked through the door.

Although we hadn’t expected to meet up with anyone in particular, we’d hardly been there any time at all when we spotted a few friends … Nikki included! Cat and Julie were also there … friends that first met at a Trans Femme party a few years ago and also at candy Girls once before.

We spent a fair bit of the evening chatting and toured the premises taking a few pictures of the women.

Me myself:





Nikki said I looked great in this one … no face:P1030735_1280x960

There were, of course, consequences for such wanton remarks:



Nikki photographing Tina:


And several stooges:


I was framed … honest … Julie took this one:


And we just dropped by the … err … well … the dungeon for a few minutes. Nothing naughty. We just hung around for a while. Smile 

Tina took these:


I know … I need an armpit repair:


Roberta the club photographer checked with us if it was ok to take a picture. When I get to see the picture I’ll post a copy here for posterity.

A little while later we were visited by another photographer … same camera … and it will be put on the same web site I believe. The new photographer was about the poses … so it’ll be interesting to see which of the two pictures is most perfect … or least imperfect perhaps.

It was past 2:00 am when we left … closer to 3:00.

The short drive back … a glass of wine for me … coffee for Tina (ah no wonder she didn’t sleep so well). A little Chris While and Julie Matthews.

This is the song bit.

Then some sleep.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Evenings with While and Matthews

The two Chris While & Julie Matthews gigs have been and gone.

Both were great … similar to each other but yet different enough to make both worth attending.

“Worth attending”?

Well .. who am I kidding?

The “events” were fantastic. I remember thinking as I sat and listened … at this moment there is nowhere that I’d rather be.




Even an invitation for the guys to get in touch with their feminine side … an aid to understanding the pain of being a reluctant netball player  and the feelings expressed in the song Class Reunion.

I think Julie must play guitar with a lot of passion … a guitar string broke at both events. It was especially cute at the Ram Club. Towards the end of a song the string snaps. Julie continues to play. At a convenient point Julie changes strings whilst Chris sings sans musique. A few minutes later the guitar is strung and the next song is about to begin but tuning is not quite complete. “Could you just adjust my G-string a little?” says Julie. “No … the G not the D.”All is adjusted. The show goes on.

A big part of both evenings is the new album Hitting the Ground Running. I’d bought the music a few days before the first gig but only had chance to listen to snatches of it. Hearing the songs live …. together with a little background on many of them … is great. Here’s what I remember of the introductions to some of the songs.

Carved in Stone: Julie was in Spain … beautiful mountainside. A cemetery where the graves were dug into almost a wall. One of the stones had a name carved into it … but everything else was worn away … illegible.

The Coldest Winds do Blow: Chris lives in Southport and at a certain time of year pink footed geese fly overhead from Iceland. How nice to fly away.

Rock of Gelt: The word Gelt,it seems, means money. Julie was one of the five songwriters and two poets that “spent five days in the remote Northumbrian countryside writing a new concert”. There’s a lot more info on this here. It seems a piece of Roman graffiti was discovered on Hadrian's Wall. Translated from the Latin it reads: Domnius didn’t want to do it. This song written by Julie together with Ruth Notman describes how Dominius might have felt. In the live performance Julie included a poem written by Elvis McGonagall. There’s other stuff about the event here and also here.

We’re not over yet is a song by Julie inspired by the style and inspiration of the Everly Brothers and people that wrote songs for them.

The Darkside Wood … by Chris … inspired by stories of Australian bushfires.

Somewhere I Walk Alone. Julie said that a while ago the mobile phone signal at where she lives had died. No mobile phone seemed ultra depressing for a while. And then came news that made no mobile phone seem to be not so unbearable. Things can always be harder.

Hitting the ground running. A break up … and the ensuing tug of what should be love.

Bridge over time. Another song inspired by Hadrian’s wall and the excavations that take place there. Sometimes so little seems to separate us from the past.

If you like acoustic folk rock then buy the album! I love it.

At the second gig they sang Jewel in the Crown … which features on a Fairport Convention album of the same name and also on the Julie Matthews CD Such is Life. The lyrics are here and these are they:


Jewel in the Crown

(Julie Matthews)

We are a proud land we stand for freedom
We’ve got the franchise on how to lead them
We’ve got the history and books to prove it
Give us a mountain and we will move it
We rule the waves and the seven seas
We bring the mighty to their knees
We offer hope and inspiration
A fine example to lesser nations
We are Britannia the jewel in the crown

We brought a system to the masses
Divide the nation into classes
It’s in our breeding and on our faces
At least we’re all born knowing our places
We’re raised within our social borders
We only take what our class affords us
It doesn’t matter that it’s not even
This is the nature of the demon
We are Britannia the jewel in the crown

We are Britannia, we crowned an empire
We came and conquered
We tore their borders down
We need no conscience
God is on our side
We are Britannia the jewel in the crown

We are your friendly liberators
We’ll free your countries from their dictators
For a small slice of your oil wells
We’ll send our boys in with their gun shells
We are an ally to the needy
We’re always caring, never greedy
What other gesture could be finer
We’ve given Hong Kong
Back to China
We are Britannia the jewel in the Crown

We are Britannia, we crowned an empire
We came and conquered
We tore their borders down
We need no conscience
God is on our side
We are Britannia the jewel in the crown
We are Britannia the jewel in the crown

History isn’t all a flattering thing if you are Britannia.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Freedom to Cuss

Mistress of My Fate?

Place, Time

Mother, Father

Egg, Sperm

Ordained Destiny?

Random Chance?

Free to choose?

Programmed to react?

Driving home tonight I thought about King James and his merry men. About the time we devote to the things that matter to us. The people that matter.

Somehow or other this led to thoughts about the choices that we have … and those that we don’t.

It seems that a lot of the things that happen to us are beyond our control.

And for some, it seems that reactions to life’s events are predictable. Almost inevitable.

This led to some thoughtful theorising.

Maybe  the biggest potential “good” that religion offers to people is a realisation that it is possible … to some extent at least … to break free of the programming. Free to be ourselves rather than a genetically guided response to an ecology.

The downside is that sometimes one set of programming is just replaced by another.

Of course, religion has no monopoly on this.

And it’s not just religion that can replace one set of programming by another.

And the new programming can be worse than the old.

I remember reading a book a long time ago. I don’t remember the title. But the author wrote of an experience in New York. He regularly visited a newsstand. The newsstand owner was an unfriendly kinda guy it seems. One day the newsstand man was so awful that the author left the newsstand fuming … in an awful mood.  And then he realised … it doesn’t have to be that way. He didn’t have to allow the owner of the newsstand to ruin his day. He had a choice about it.

I guess that the choice begins when we realise we have a choice.

And even then … it’s easy to forget.

If someone cuts me up when I’m driving along minding my own business … I don’t have to cuss if I don’t want to. I can smile and get on and try to enjoy the day.

Although … I guess there is a time and a place for almost everything under the sun … even a little non-violent, peaceful private cussing.

And some choices are easier for some people.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

While, Mathews, KJV1611, Potties, Candy, Punters and Leonard Cohen

On Friday Chris While and Julie Matthews are playing at The Ram Club in Thames Ditton … not so far away from Windsor … and I hope to get along. I already have a ticket for the gig they are doing in Maidenhead on the Sunday … so twice in 3 days. Maybe I should become a groupie?

The weekend after it looks like Candy Girls on the Friday and Pink Punters on the Saturday.

All is quiet on the King James Bible Believers front. I am soooo tempted to pass on on a link to this wonderful web site: 

in order to help free up some of the web masters time. But I said I wouldn’t pester any more.

And here are a few pictures taken at a recent Leonard Cohen concert in Helsinki … taken by one of my most favourite people:




I’m reliably informed that Mr Cohen has quite a … well … effect upon some people. Wouldn’t you agree E?

A lovely thought.