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  • 04 Jul 2011
    "So ya, thought ya, might like to go to the show, To feel the warm thrill of confusion, that space cadet glow..." And so it was this week that I had the privilege of feeling the warm thrill of confusion, seeing Roger Waters perform "The Wall" live at the M.E.N. Arena. By way of Catharsis I feel I must write a little about it. It was the most amazing show I have ever seen, and I have seen a few. I can't quite get over it... Words cannot express the spectacle of it, the musicianship, the design, the sheer brilliance, but I have to say something. I'd like to go through the whole show in detail, but that's not going to work, so I may pick some random bits. I'm hoping that some readers at least will know a little of the album - The Wall. It's about a rockstar named Pink... The show began with a brief flash-forward. Two Nazi-esque post-apocalyptic-nightmare soldiers marched onstage carrying a soft toy version of Pink in his stripped bare state as caricatured in the trial sequence from the animated footage of the film. A pencil outline of a strange childlike figure, emotionless and vulnerable. The soundtrack to the old film "Spartacus" boomed out as Pink's head was manipulated as though through his broken-down haze he examined the audience as if we were the ones chanting, "I'm Spartacus". The rabble reached its climax, stopped dead, and Pink was unceremoniously dropped to the floor. The soldiers marched off. And then without warning in a sudden flash, all hell was let loose... The opening bars to The Wall are thumping drums, screaming guitars and organ, playing a slow, grandiose rock piece. The drums did not thump here though, they thundered, they beat at your diaphram, they made the earth move. Banks of red maroons shot across the stage highlighting the first beat of each phrase, each double-hit of the impossibly deep drum sound. The maroons were SO bright it was surreal, lighting the whole auditorium in incandescent crimson. Giant white Roman candles fizzing across the top and bottom of the stage came at the end of the song, dazzling, almost blinding. All the pyrotechnics accompanied the stomping opening bars perfectly and stunningly. OK, now you have my attention, this is exciting, this sounds amazing, this is what I call Rock and Roll. The sound quality throughout was immaculate. I say this as a former sound-engineer, indeed I still mix the sound for our band from onstage whilst playing keyboards, singing backing vocals, and trying to look pretty. I digress... It was loud, excitingly so, but the clarity of sound was perfect. Attention to detail in every respect. Waters' vocal sat atop the mix majestically, clear and warm. He sang everything just as he did on the album, bringing a familiarity that you don't always get in a live show, but the whole sound was just, better. He's not the greatest vocalist in the world, but his voice has a certain character; his ability to wail desolately, or scream the lyrics manically is unique and brilliant within itself. I've never been his biggest fan, always preferring the musicality of Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, but I always appreciated the song-writing partnership they had, which to me stands alongside the genius of Lennon and McCartney. I think it's safe to say, I am now a fan of Roger Waters. He is a visionary. What he created 30 years ago and has once more brought back to life and revitalised was, and is, pure genius. The album was played through in its entirety true to the original format, some extended songs and solos, some brand-new brief additions here and there, no major re-working of any songs though. I've heard clips of older live performances of The Wall and it's obvious that this time Waters wanted to get back to how it was originally intended. This was wise in my opinion; it's what audiences want to hear. This was The Wall as it was supposed to be, the same arrangements but with attitude, and with one hell of a show to go with it. Snowy White was on second guitar, quite a surprise. The main guitarist, Dave Kilminster, played the big Gilmour solos note perfectly and with feeling. He blew me away, I have never heard anyone take off Gilmour so brilliantly. His playing was truly wonderful, it was a joy to behold and he certainly looked like he was getting into it. Over the course of the show, giant "puppets" appeared, as big as a house. Again these were based on the grotesque characters drawn by Gerald Scarfe for the album artwork and film; the teacher, Mother, and later the scary wife with her praying mantis arms, and lips that freakishly didn't meet at one side. At the end of the first song a plane flew from the back of the hall over the audience's heads, bursting into flames as it crashed through the wall, which at the start of the show had been built at the sides only. A follow spot hovered out from the main lighting rig above the stage and passed right above our seats, accompanied by massive helicopter noise. "YOU, yes YOU, stand still Laddie!" And then of course there was the inflatable flying pig daubed with slogans such as "Drink Kalashnikov Vodka", floating around the entire auditorium just over our heads. And all throughout the first half of the show, they gradually built a bloody great wall in front of the band... "Goodbye cruel world, I'm leaving you today... Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye!" The final brick was added on the last note of the first set. The first song of the second set had no visuals. There was no band to be seen, they played from behind the wall; Waters' controversial way of making his point. All we could see was a giant, stone-textured wall. "Hey you, standing in the aisles with itchy feet and fading smiles can you feel me..?" This was strangely unnerving. The stage was lit but we couldn't see it, the follow spot faded up during the vocals, the lights shone down behind the wall. How long are we going to just see a very big wall, we wondered. Not for long... Apart from the music, the sound quality, the gigantic puppetry, the effects, and various objects flying around the arena, what really made the show different, what made it a stunning and thought-provoking visual experience, were the projections onto the wall. They were there in the first half, but with the wall now complete (and bloody massive), we saw the projections in all their glory. Not just the animations that had been used in the film, but, well, too much really to even attempt to describe. There was a strong anti-war message running throughout. It was stark, brutal, and factually up to date including hundreds of photos of real people accompanied by their name, rank or occupation and born/died dates, all who'd been killed in conflicts from the first world war through to 9/11 and beyond. It was moving, and so cleverly done... As each brick was individually added to the wall we noticed that after a second or two the new brick would light up. The entire projection area had been broken down into blocks matching the position of each physical brick in the giant wall, so that each one could be lit or projected upon independently. This innovative idea was used to such clever effect in many different ways. At one point every brick on the wall was projected with a different photo of someone lost through conflict. We became aware that occasional bricks began to "fly" backwards, leaving a black hole in the wall as the photo-brick floated away into the vastness of space. More and more bricks faded away backwards, and for final emphasis when about half the bricks randomly remained, each still showing their individual projection, they twisted and floated away together into distant space; hundreds of real people fading away. You had to be there for the impact, it was devastating. Later in the show, individual bricks appeared to explode out from the wall and hurtle forwards into the audience, each brick projection getting larger and spinning towards us. An amazing, seemingly 3D effect, all done by projection onto a very large wall. The projections - weird, wonderful, beautiful, bizarre, and it being Roger Waters, usually anarchic, were omnipresent, barely giving us time to catch our breath as the next mind-bending idea was projected across the width and height of the stadium. And all this set to the massive, "theatrical" music of The Wall. Stunning. After the first song in the second set, the "surrogate band" appeared and took up their places in front of the wall. All were wearing the pseudo Nazi style uniforms, with hammer-logo armbands instead of swastikas, black berets instead of helmets, guitars their weapons of choice. Waters returned wearing the same outfit minus beret, and at first with a long black leather coat, eyeing the band up and down as if performing a military inspection as he walked across the stage; Gestapo meets twisted, delusional rockstar, oh but it was fun. Even when he shot me with his machine gun that flashed from the barrel as he fired, and panned across the speakers as he strafed the audience. And yes he did shoot me! You know when people think the singer is looking into their eyes and is singing just to them? Well he really was shooting right at me! I cowered in my seat, raising my arms in defence, I hope he appreciated me playing along... In the first song, Waters had exclaimed with glee, just as on the album, "Lights! And all the sound effects!" Searchlights flying overhead and picking us out was spooky, but the sound effects were verging on scary! Not content with the giant stack of speakers on either side, many of the sound effects came from another pair, the same size, at the back of the room. Helicopters panned around the 4 speakers, surrounding us with their sound. Guns, bombs, and weird and wonderful noises boomed out from behind. Such volume and clarity, like some immense, rock and roll, sound and light extravaganza, fairground ride. Nearing the end the music built towards its climax of mayhem, the Nazi rally chant, "Jawohl" emphasised the beat as it marched through the stadium. Battle noises, screeches, the final wall collapse and other huge sound effects rattled your body, you felt it right through you. It was awesome, I grinned throughout, it was hard to resist laughing manically. It was frightening and feel-good all at once. This was the warm thrill of confusion; an assault on the senses, safe but terrifying, insane but wonderful. Earth shattering, mind-blowing, beautifully done. xx   Roger's entrance: Goodbye Blue Sky Photos on the wall Mother, should I trust the government? Big wall, nearly built Those bricks are coming right at us! Slightly blurry, but we were there
    1963 Posted by Lucy Diamond
  • "So ya, thought ya, might like to go to the show, To feel the warm thrill of confusion, that space cadet glow..." And so it was this week that I had the privilege of feeling the warm thrill of confusion, seeing Roger Waters perform "The Wall" live at the M.E.N. Arena. By way of Catharsis I feel I must write a little about it. It was the most amazing show I have ever seen, and I have seen a few. I can't quite get over it... Words cannot express the spectacle of it, the musicianship, the design, the sheer brilliance, but I have to say something. I'd like to go through the whole show in detail, but that's not going to work, so I may pick some random bits. I'm hoping that some readers at least will know a little of the album - The Wall. It's about a rockstar named Pink... The show began with a brief flash-forward. Two Nazi-esque post-apocalyptic-nightmare soldiers marched onstage carrying a soft toy version of Pink in his stripped bare state as caricatured in the trial sequence from the animated footage of the film. A pencil outline of a strange childlike figure, emotionless and vulnerable. The soundtrack to the old film "Spartacus" boomed out as Pink's head was manipulated as though through his broken-down haze he examined the audience as if we were the ones chanting, "I'm Spartacus". The rabble reached its climax, stopped dead, and Pink was unceremoniously dropped to the floor. The soldiers marched off. And then without warning in a sudden flash, all hell was let loose... The opening bars to The Wall are thumping drums, screaming guitars and organ, playing a slow, grandiose rock piece. The drums did not thump here though, they thundered, they beat at your diaphram, they made the earth move. Banks of red maroons shot across the stage highlighting the first beat of each phrase, each double-hit of the impossibly deep drum sound. The maroons were SO bright it was surreal, lighting the whole auditorium in incandescent crimson. Giant white Roman candles fizzing across the top and bottom of the stage came at the end of the song, dazzling, almost blinding. All the pyrotechnics accompanied the stomping opening bars perfectly and stunningly. OK, now you have my attention, this is exciting, this sounds amazing, this is what I call Rock and Roll. The sound quality throughout was immaculate. I say this as a former sound-engineer, indeed I still mix the sound for our band from onstage whilst playing keyboards, singing backing vocals, and trying to look pretty. I digress... It was loud, excitingly so, but the clarity of sound was perfect. Attention to detail in every respect. Waters' vocal sat atop the mix majestically, clear and warm. He sang everything just as he did on the album, bringing a familiarity that you don't always get in a live show, but the whole sound was just, better. He's not the greatest vocalist in the world, but his voice has a certain character; his ability to wail desolately, or scream the lyrics manically is unique and brilliant within itself. I've never been his biggest fan, always preferring the musicality of Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, but I always appreciated the song-writing partnership they had, which to me stands alongside the genius of Lennon and McCartney. I think it's safe to say, I am now a fan of Roger Waters. He is a visionary. What he created 30 years ago and has once more brought back to life and revitalised was, and is, pure genius. The album was played through in its entirety true to the original format, some extended songs and solos, some brand-new brief additions here and there, no major re-working of any songs though. I've heard clips of older live performances of The Wall and it's obvious that this time Waters wanted to get back to how it was originally intended. This was wise in my opinion; it's what audiences want to hear. This was The Wall as it was supposed to be, the same arrangements but with attitude, and with one hell of a show to go with it. Snowy White was on second guitar, quite a surprise. The main guitarist, Dave Kilminster, played the big Gilmour solos note perfectly and with feeling. He blew me away, I have never heard anyone take off Gilmour so brilliantly. His playing was truly wonderful, it was a joy to behold and he certainly looked like he was getting into it. Over the course of the show, giant "puppets" appeared, as big as a house. Again these were based on the grotesque characters drawn by Gerald Scarfe for the album artwork and film; the teacher, Mother, and later the scary wife with her praying mantis arms, and lips that freakishly didn't meet at one side. At the end of the first song a plane flew from the back of the hall over the audience's heads, bursting into flames as it crashed through the wall, which at the start of the show had been built at the sides only. A follow spot hovered out from the main lighting rig above the stage and passed right above our seats, accompanied by massive helicopter noise. "YOU, yes YOU, stand still Laddie!" And then of course there was the inflatable flying pig daubed with slogans such as "Drink Kalashnikov Vodka", floating around the entire auditorium just over our heads. And all throughout the first half of the show, they gradually built a bloody great wall in front of the band... "Goodbye cruel world, I'm leaving you today... Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye!" The final brick was added on the last note of the first set. The first song of the second set had no visuals. There was no band to be seen, they played from behind the wall; Waters' controversial way of making his point. All we could see was a giant, stone-textured wall. "Hey you, standing in the aisles with itchy feet and fading smiles can you feel me..?" This was strangely unnerving. The stage was lit but we couldn't see it, the follow spot faded up during the vocals, the lights shone down behind the wall. How long are we going to just see a very big wall, we wondered. Not for long... Apart from the music, the sound quality, the gigantic puppetry, the effects, and various objects flying around the arena, what really made the show different, what made it a stunning and thought-provoking visual experience, were the projections onto the wall. They were there in the first half, but with the wall now complete (and bloody massive), we saw the projections in all their glory. Not just the animations that had been used in the film, but, well, too much really to even attempt to describe. There was a strong anti-war message running throughout. It was stark, brutal, and factually up to date including hundreds of photos of real people accompanied by their name, rank or occupation and born/died dates, all who'd been killed in conflicts from the first world war through to 9/11 and beyond. It was moving, and so cleverly done... As each brick was individually added to the wall we noticed that after a second or two the new brick would light up. The entire projection area had been broken down into blocks matching the position of each physical brick in the giant wall, so that each one could be lit or projected upon independently. This innovative idea was used to such clever effect in many different ways. At one point every brick on the wall was projected with a different photo of someone lost through conflict. We became aware that occasional bricks began to "fly" backwards, leaving a black hole in the wall as the photo-brick floated away into the vastness of space. More and more bricks faded away backwards, and for final emphasis when about half the bricks randomly remained, each still showing their individual projection, they twisted and floated away together into distant space; hundreds of real people fading away. You had to be there for the impact, it was devastating. Later in the show, individual bricks appeared to explode out from the wall and hurtle forwards into the audience, each brick projection getting larger and spinning towards us. An amazing, seemingly 3D effect, all done by projection onto a very large wall. The projections - weird, wonderful, beautiful, bizarre, and it being Roger Waters, usually anarchic, were omnipresent, barely giving us time to catch our breath as the next mind-bending idea was projected across the width and height of the stadium. And all this set to the massive, "theatrical" music of The Wall. Stunning. After the first song in the second set, the "surrogate band" appeared and took up their places in front of the wall. All were wearing the pseudo Nazi style uniforms, with hammer-logo armbands instead of swastikas, black berets instead of helmets, guitars their weapons of choice. Waters returned wearing the same outfit minus beret, and at first with a long black leather coat, eyeing the band up and down as if performing a military inspection as he walked across the stage; Gestapo meets twisted, delusional rockstar, oh but it was fun. Even when he shot me with his machine gun that flashed from the barrel as he fired, and panned across the speakers as he strafed the audience. And yes he did shoot me! You know when people think the singer is looking into their eyes and is singing just to them? Well he really was shooting right at me! I cowered in my seat, raising my arms in defence, I hope he appreciated me playing along... In the first song, Waters had exclaimed with glee, just as on the album, "Lights! And all the sound effects!" Searchlights flying overhead and picking us out was spooky, but the sound effects were verging on scary! Not content with the giant stack of speakers on either side, many of the sound effects came from another pair, the same size, at the back of the room. Helicopters panned around the 4 speakers, surrounding us with their sound. Guns, bombs, and weird and wonderful noises boomed out from behind. Such volume and clarity, like some immense, rock and roll, sound and light extravaganza, fairground ride. Nearing the end the music built towards its climax of mayhem, the Nazi rally chant, "Jawohl" emphasised the beat as it marched through the stadium. Battle noises, screeches, the final wall collapse and other huge sound effects rattled your body, you felt it right through you. It was awesome, I grinned throughout, it was hard to resist laughing manically. It was frightening and feel-good all at once. This was the warm thrill of confusion; an assault on the senses, safe but terrifying, insane but wonderful. Earth shattering, mind-blowing, beautifully done. xx   Roger's entrance: Goodbye Blue Sky Photos on the wall Mother, should I trust the government? Big wall, nearly built Those bricks are coming right at us! Slightly blurry, but we were there
    Jul 04, 2011 1963
  • 15 Feb 2012
    Fifteen and a half years ago I met an amazing woman. Incredible. She was everything I had ever wanted to find, and for some reason she seemed to like me too. A short time after we met, I told her about Kati, and although she didn’t immediately take me shopping or put make-up on me, she did seem to accept that I was a little different, and not much was said about it. We had a couple of other conversations about me over the next few months, mostly when we were quite drunk. She wasn’t keen on the feminine side of me, but perhaps in time she could come to terms with it.   We married, and have been very happy together since then. A few ups and downs as all relationships have, but mostly ups, and plenty of them.   Our conversations about Kati have been sporadic, and stilted. I have tried to keep this side of my life separate from our home life, and that seems to work. I have noticed, however, that it is becoming an elephant in the room. Whenever there is mention of cross-dressing on television or a conversation heads a little that way, we both clam up and try to avoid the topic. Because of this, I wanted to bring the subject up and for the past 18 months or so I have been trying to find a time, and a way to do that.   That time arrived two nights ago. I had convinced myself that it was my hangups that were driving this uncomfortableness and that if were were just to talk about it then we could at least move on and accept what we had known for all these years. Talking about it, after all, was really all that we needed for me to let her know more about me.    But waiting 15 years for her to come to terms with me seems to have been pointless. I would like to say we are back to square one, but in all honesty it seems a lot worse than that. Our conversation involved quite a few tears and quite a lot of “it feels like you are having an affair”. I simply don’t understand why talking about it regularly and in a calm matter-of-fact manner couldn’t address this.   I’m pretty low. I am finding it difficult to find the good in this situation. I do hope there is some that I can rescue at some point, but for now I just feel empty; the thing I had waited for so patiently - acceptance - has been whipped away from me and I simply don’t know what the next step should be.   Any comments would, as ever, be very much appreciated.   Love and hugs   Kati x
    1659 Posted by Kati Davies
  • Fifteen and a half years ago I met an amazing woman. Incredible. She was everything I had ever wanted to find, and for some reason she seemed to like me too. A short time after we met, I told her about Kati, and although she didn’t immediately take me shopping or put make-up on me, she did seem to accept that I was a little different, and not much was said about it. We had a couple of other conversations about me over the next few months, mostly when we were quite drunk. She wasn’t keen on the feminine side of me, but perhaps in time she could come to terms with it.   We married, and have been very happy together since then. A few ups and downs as all relationships have, but mostly ups, and plenty of them.   Our conversations about Kati have been sporadic, and stilted. I have tried to keep this side of my life separate from our home life, and that seems to work. I have noticed, however, that it is becoming an elephant in the room. Whenever there is mention of cross-dressing on television or a conversation heads a little that way, we both clam up and try to avoid the topic. Because of this, I wanted to bring the subject up and for the past 18 months or so I have been trying to find a time, and a way to do that.   That time arrived two nights ago. I had convinced myself that it was my hangups that were driving this uncomfortableness and that if were were just to talk about it then we could at least move on and accept what we had known for all these years. Talking about it, after all, was really all that we needed for me to let her know more about me.    But waiting 15 years for her to come to terms with me seems to have been pointless. I would like to say we are back to square one, but in all honesty it seems a lot worse than that. Our conversation involved quite a few tears and quite a lot of “it feels like you are having an affair”. I simply don’t understand why talking about it regularly and in a calm matter-of-fact manner couldn’t address this.   I’m pretty low. I am finding it difficult to find the good in this situation. I do hope there is some that I can rescue at some point, but for now I just feel empty; the thing I had waited for so patiently - acceptance - has been whipped away from me and I simply don’t know what the next step should be.   Any comments would, as ever, be very much appreciated.   Love and hugs   Kati x
    Feb 15, 2012 1659
  • 04 Mar 2012
    This is my take on our girls weekend out in Milton Keynes arranged by Faye   For me the weekend started on thurs evening with packing, what to take what not to take? So i took way to much of everything. As i had booked for a make over at Style Me Quirky on the friday i packed two bags, one for friday, clothes for travelling back, two options ( i can never make my mind up what to wear) shoes, make up and loads of other stuff. The other bag was packed for saturday, even more shoes, 5 or 6 dresses, casual clothes, and way to much other stuff. Finally with everything packed it was off to bed to try to sleep, with the excitement building sleep eventually came in the early hours.   Friday morning arrives, the bags are put ih the car and im off. Driving to Milton Keynes so much goes through my mind. Will we all get on, what will the hotel and club be like, will i have the nerve to spend the whole weekend as Monique. Before i realise it I have arrived in Milton Keynes, way to early, its only 11.15. A quick check on the hotel location I decide to kill some time by going for a drive around. A quick trip up the road and i discover a shopping complex. So I decide to have a quick look around. First stop was TK Max, lots of cheap clothes but i dont have the nerve to look through the miles of rails as the shop is really busy. Next stop is Brantanos, here the problem is opposite, the shop is void of people and i feel very self concious walking around the womens shoes. I feel as though the sale assistants are watching me and laughing inside, im sure they are not but i decide to head out, im sure the young female assistant gave me a knowing smile as i head out the door. Back in the car i kick myself for being so stupid and realise that if i am going to enjoy this weekend i will need to be more confident, not a real strong point for me.   I decide to get something to eat as ive had no food since Thursday evening. Just around the corner i find a Burger King. A quick burger meal then i head to the hotel. I sit in the carpark reading the paper waiting for the girls to arrive. Again so much goes through my mind and im starting to feel really nervous about the whole weekend. I am bought back to reality by a text message from Debs, Faye has picked her up from the airport and they are on their way. A short time later i recognise a blue Saab as it pulls up in the car park, and nearly flattens a hedge.  I nervously get out of the car and walk over. The first thing that happens is a big hug from Debs, then a hug from Faye. We stand and chat for a short while and i can honestly say from that first hug my confidence is growing and my nerves seem to have gone. We check in to the hotel laughing and joking all the time, we all end  up in rooms next to one another, so we head upstairs to get settled before we head off to London.   We all meet outside the rooms. Faye has changed while me and Debs are still in drab mode. Faye is muttering something about not looking good, but i think she looks great. We head to the car park put mine and Debs bags in the car and we are off to London. The drive is pretty uneventfull, but the chat in the car is good and we have a good laugh on the journey. The more we chat and laugh the more relaxed and confident i feel about the weekend. We arrive in London park the car and make our way to the Styke Me Quirky studio.   We get to the studio and call Pops to say we have arrived, by this time i am doing a stupid dance as i am busting for a pee, of course the girls are sympathetic about this, NOT, but we have a laugh about it. I my case a little laugh as i dont want to wet myself literally. Pops and Kelly come down to meet us and i make a mad dash for the loo. I return to find everyone chatting and getting on like a house on fire so i just join in the chat while we have a smoke before going in for the make over. Seeing Pops again is like meeting an old friend and we chat like you would with someone you see everyday. We finish our cigs and head into the studio. For me personally this makeover was much easier than the first as i feel at ease with the Style Me Quirky crew even though ive never met Kelly before. I will not go into the make over now, but i will say it was a blast especially when Cathy arrived.  you need to read Debs blog about her make over.   We leave the studio around midnight and head to Pops house for a quick drink before we head back to Milton Keynes. We chat for a while about the day and have a good laugh. On a personal note while having a smoke in the garden with just Pops we have a personal chat, and as much as Pops has found a client who will return when possible i would also class Pops as a friend who cares. We all say our farewells throw the bags in the car and we head back to Milton Keynes.   Driving back we chat about the day so far and we all agree it has been a great day. The drive back was a lot quicker, mainly because lack of traffic but also down to my heavy right foot, thank god the sat nav pics up speed cameras. Debs and Faye have a bit of a snooze on the way back, i know because i can here the radio.............lol. I must admit i cannot stop smiling all the way back as i have had a great day with a couple of great girls. At this time i would honestly say i was flagging having had such a long day, but when we get close to the hotel it is decided we will go to PP's and it was the right decision.   to be continued  
    7789 Posted by monique aka *mini Mon* h
  • This is my take on our girls weekend out in Milton Keynes arranged by Faye   For me the weekend started on thurs evening with packing, what to take what not to take? So i took way to much of everything. As i had booked for a make over at Style Me Quirky on the friday i packed two bags, one for friday, clothes for travelling back, two options ( i can never make my mind up what to wear) shoes, make up and loads of other stuff. The other bag was packed for saturday, even more shoes, 5 or 6 dresses, casual clothes, and way to much other stuff. Finally with everything packed it was off to bed to try to sleep, with the excitement building sleep eventually came in the early hours.   Friday morning arrives, the bags are put ih the car and im off. Driving to Milton Keynes so much goes through my mind. Will we all get on, what will the hotel and club be like, will i have the nerve to spend the whole weekend as Monique. Before i realise it I have arrived in Milton Keynes, way to early, its only 11.15. A quick check on the hotel location I decide to kill some time by going for a drive around. A quick trip up the road and i discover a shopping complex. So I decide to have a quick look around. First stop was TK Max, lots of cheap clothes but i dont have the nerve to look through the miles of rails as the shop is really busy. Next stop is Brantanos, here the problem is opposite, the shop is void of people and i feel very self concious walking around the womens shoes. I feel as though the sale assistants are watching me and laughing inside, im sure they are not but i decide to head out, im sure the young female assistant gave me a knowing smile as i head out the door. Back in the car i kick myself for being so stupid and realise that if i am going to enjoy this weekend i will need to be more confident, not a real strong point for me.   I decide to get something to eat as ive had no food since Thursday evening. Just around the corner i find a Burger King. A quick burger meal then i head to the hotel. I sit in the carpark reading the paper waiting for the girls to arrive. Again so much goes through my mind and im starting to feel really nervous about the whole weekend. I am bought back to reality by a text message from Debs, Faye has picked her up from the airport and they are on their way. A short time later i recognise a blue Saab as it pulls up in the car park, and nearly flattens a hedge.  I nervously get out of the car and walk over. The first thing that happens is a big hug from Debs, then a hug from Faye. We stand and chat for a short while and i can honestly say from that first hug my confidence is growing and my nerves seem to have gone. We check in to the hotel laughing and joking all the time, we all end  up in rooms next to one another, so we head upstairs to get settled before we head off to London.   We all meet outside the rooms. Faye has changed while me and Debs are still in drab mode. Faye is muttering something about not looking good, but i think she looks great. We head to the car park put mine and Debs bags in the car and we are off to London. The drive is pretty uneventfull, but the chat in the car is good and we have a good laugh on the journey. The more we chat and laugh the more relaxed and confident i feel about the weekend. We arrive in London park the car and make our way to the Styke Me Quirky studio.   We get to the studio and call Pops to say we have arrived, by this time i am doing a stupid dance as i am busting for a pee, of course the girls are sympathetic about this, NOT, but we have a laugh about it. I my case a little laugh as i dont want to wet myself literally. Pops and Kelly come down to meet us and i make a mad dash for the loo. I return to find everyone chatting and getting on like a house on fire so i just join in the chat while we have a smoke before going in for the make over. Seeing Pops again is like meeting an old friend and we chat like you would with someone you see everyday. We finish our cigs and head into the studio. For me personally this makeover was much easier than the first as i feel at ease with the Style Me Quirky crew even though ive never met Kelly before. I will not go into the make over now, but i will say it was a blast especially when Cathy arrived.  you need to read Debs blog about her make over.   We leave the studio around midnight and head to Pops house for a quick drink before we head back to Milton Keynes. We chat for a while about the day and have a good laugh. On a personal note while having a smoke in the garden with just Pops we have a personal chat, and as much as Pops has found a client who will return when possible i would also class Pops as a friend who cares. We all say our farewells throw the bags in the car and we head back to Milton Keynes.   Driving back we chat about the day so far and we all agree it has been a great day. The drive back was a lot quicker, mainly because lack of traffic but also down to my heavy right foot, thank god the sat nav pics up speed cameras. Debs and Faye have a bit of a snooze on the way back, i know because i can here the radio.............lol. I must admit i cannot stop smiling all the way back as i have had a great day with a couple of great girls. At this time i would honestly say i was flagging having had such a long day, but when we get close to the hotel it is decided we will go to PP's and it was the right decision.   to be continued  
    Mar 04, 2012 7789
  • 08 Sep 2011
    At least for a while I guess. I have a nephew that's hit on hard times. He has no home or job & is one step away from living on the streets. I don't allways like him but I love him to much to let that happen. So I offered to let him stay here. He can fix up the basement & stay down there.  But that means I won't be able to dress up at all. 90% of my clothes are womens clothes. Now I have to box them all up.  I am & will allways be Karen. No mater what I wear. I just don't like wearing mens clothes.  He's family, he needs help, & I can help.
    2891 Posted by Karen Brad
  • At least for a while I guess. I have a nephew that's hit on hard times. He has no home or job & is one step away from living on the streets. I don't allways like him but I love him to much to let that happen. So I offered to let him stay here. He can fix up the basement & stay down there.  But that means I won't be able to dress up at all. 90% of my clothes are womens clothes. Now I have to box them all up.  I am & will allways be Karen. No mater what I wear. I just don't like wearing mens clothes.  He's family, he needs help, & I can help.
    Sep 08, 2011 2891
  • 23 Jan 2014
    Hi All,    Just thought I would capture some thoughts of the moment as they happen to me.  I work for a  company like many others ,its got its structure and you are recognised if you can do your job in a professional respectful way. Since I made my initial declarations at work ,there has been a formation of a small group of people around me . I would recommend consulting a web site and link I found to communicate a basic framework for transitioning at work http://www.gendersanity.com/plan.html   I agree with much of what is said there and for me the good thing is the messages are consistent and understandable whether you are transgendered , an employer , or a concerned person who  will have to deal with a transgendered person . In particular timing , and only coming out at work after a period in which you have been recieving professional treatment and guidance on transitiong and just basic time spent in your gender to feel comfortable. On reflection this is allowing some changes physical and behavioural to have occured and been accepted in your life and work.   . I have been very lucky in that my departmental Boss in his past working life  had known Jenny Bailey [ former Mayor of Cambridge , Famous in Uk as first Transgendered Mayor]. I did not know this before making my annoucement.  One thing I rapidly started to notice and have to come to terms with is that if the people immediately around you are basically reasonable , and you are too . then be honest and keep your focus on what you need to transition. If you are relaxed about  transitioning they will be too.     Keeping your focus is important , because for employers they need to see that your transition will not adversely affect your working . You need to show them that you are respectful of the possible impacts, but be mindful not to inadvertently exaggerate them by dwelling onthe negative minutae. In a word demonstrate that you in your transition  can focus on the important both in your transition and at work. [ ie you are not a problem maker]   One thing I did pick up on , a kind of sense or feeling , vibe , is that this small group of people really want you to  make this happen for the good  and get to you having transitioned at work as quickly as possible  ,not making it a big issue. After the initial jaw dropping ,they actually move to wanting  to see the real you. This means there is responsibility for you not to put distractions in the way.  Be mindful that you might be presenting and communicating yourself as an exception or abstract , so keep things simple and plainly personal on a common human level. For me I really have learnt ,not to go of on a tangent and be distracted over the last 2 months . Nuff said , I am getting a  numb bum  sitting and typing ,  need to get some washing done . Donna  
    672 Posted by Donna V
  • By Donna V
    Hi All,    Just thought I would capture some thoughts of the moment as they happen to me.  I work for a  company like many others ,its got its structure and you are recognised if you can do your job in a professional respectful way. Since I made my initial declarations at work ,there has been a formation of a small group of people around me . I would recommend consulting a web site and link I found to communicate a basic framework for transitioning at work http://www.gendersanity.com/plan.html   I agree with much of what is said there and for me the good thing is the messages are consistent and understandable whether you are transgendered , an employer , or a concerned person who  will have to deal with a transgendered person . In particular timing , and only coming out at work after a period in which you have been recieving professional treatment and guidance on transitiong and just basic time spent in your gender to feel comfortable. On reflection this is allowing some changes physical and behavioural to have occured and been accepted in your life and work.   . I have been very lucky in that my departmental Boss in his past working life  had known Jenny Bailey [ former Mayor of Cambridge , Famous in Uk as first Transgendered Mayor]. I did not know this before making my annoucement.  One thing I rapidly started to notice and have to come to terms with is that if the people immediately around you are basically reasonable , and you are too . then be honest and keep your focus on what you need to transition. If you are relaxed about  transitioning they will be too.     Keeping your focus is important , because for employers they need to see that your transition will not adversely affect your working . You need to show them that you are respectful of the possible impacts, but be mindful not to inadvertently exaggerate them by dwelling onthe negative minutae. In a word demonstrate that you in your transition  can focus on the important both in your transition and at work. [ ie you are not a problem maker]   One thing I did pick up on , a kind of sense or feeling , vibe , is that this small group of people really want you to  make this happen for the good  and get to you having transitioned at work as quickly as possible  ,not making it a big issue. After the initial jaw dropping ,they actually move to wanting  to see the real you. This means there is responsibility for you not to put distractions in the way.  Be mindful that you might be presenting and communicating yourself as an exception or abstract , so keep things simple and plainly personal on a common human level. For me I really have learnt ,not to go of on a tangent and be distracted over the last 2 months . Nuff said , I am getting a  numb bum  sitting and typing ,  need to get some washing done . Donna  
    Jan 23, 2014 672
  • 03 Jul 2016
    Had a nasty scare this week.  It seemed like I was having another stroke.  Spent a day in ER/A&E being checked out.  Tests confirmed no NEW brain damage, but apparently it is not that uncommon to have a return of problems even months later.  Last week I walked a mile and a half one day.  This weekend it was hard to walk much shorter distances.  They reassured me that I would be ok and approved an increase in exercise immediately.  So, flats for the near future. Good news is that Sundance has greatly improved mentally.  Can tell me all about 1066 and current events.  Looking to get her out of hospital and maybe share an apartment when she is better physically. I picked a rotten time to go weak. Our relationship may be the best it ever has been.  I do not know if she remembers Wendy and am almost afraid to ask.   Nobody should ever have to come Out TWICE!  At least I remember Wendy and am even more comfortable with the girl from up in the loft.   I am getting to shop for clothes/shoes for Sundance now, which is fun...when the shoes fit. It is nice that I started this blog so long ago as I have a place to retrieve important memories.   Blogs were a great idea, Katie, thank you so much.  HUGS. Had to get ears re-pierced.  Fun the second time, too. Thanks to all my well-wishers this year.   
    656 Posted by wendy larsen
  • Had a nasty scare this week.  It seemed like I was having another stroke.  Spent a day in ER/A&E being checked out.  Tests confirmed no NEW brain damage, but apparently it is not that uncommon to have a return of problems even months later.  Last week I walked a mile and a half one day.  This weekend it was hard to walk much shorter distances.  They reassured me that I would be ok and approved an increase in exercise immediately.  So, flats for the near future. Good news is that Sundance has greatly improved mentally.  Can tell me all about 1066 and current events.  Looking to get her out of hospital and maybe share an apartment when she is better physically. I picked a rotten time to go weak. Our relationship may be the best it ever has been.  I do not know if she remembers Wendy and am almost afraid to ask.   Nobody should ever have to come Out TWICE!  At least I remember Wendy and am even more comfortable with the girl from up in the loft.   I am getting to shop for clothes/shoes for Sundance now, which is fun...when the shoes fit. It is nice that I started this blog so long ago as I have a place to retrieve important memories.   Blogs were a great idea, Katie, thank you so much.  HUGS. Had to get ears re-pierced.  Fun the second time, too. Thanks to all my well-wishers this year.   
    Jul 03, 2016 656
  • 20 Nov 2010
    I am pleased to report that this site has just been transferred to its new home (its production server) which is much faster than the development server we were using.  I just did a GT Metrix test on our front page load time and was pleased to see it come in at under 5 seconds (4.52s to be precise) and that's before we have made any changes and tweaks on the server and in the software.  I would hope that we will be able to improve on this too. Ivan, the developer, is about to start work on migrating our old data across to the new site.  Tony and John, our community managers and Alex, the server administrator, are all pulling together to get this site up and running.  Finally, after months of work and waiting for the software modules to arrive, it seems like things are happening. There are still a number of features to be installed over the next week or so.  So please look out for the new stuff and when you see it, please do try it out and test it, then let me know what you think. And you know that whenever we install anything new, there are usually some bugs to be found so please do look out for those too. Thanks and huggies, Katie   x
    1056 Posted by Katie Glover
  • I am pleased to report that this site has just been transferred to its new home (its production server) which is much faster than the development server we were using.  I just did a GT Metrix test on our front page load time and was pleased to see it come in at under 5 seconds (4.52s to be precise) and that's before we have made any changes and tweaks on the server and in the software.  I would hope that we will be able to improve on this too. Ivan, the developer, is about to start work on migrating our old data across to the new site.  Tony and John, our community managers and Alex, the server administrator, are all pulling together to get this site up and running.  Finally, after months of work and waiting for the software modules to arrive, it seems like things are happening. There are still a number of features to be installed over the next week or so.  So please look out for the new stuff and when you see it, please do try it out and test it, then let me know what you think. And you know that whenever we install anything new, there are usually some bugs to be found so please do look out for those too. Thanks and huggies, Katie   x
    Nov 20, 2010 1056
  • 24 Apr 2012
    I was not able to sleep so I decided to record a few of my piano songs on vocaroo. LOL digital recording at its best .. not . Still kept me busy a while. I sure wish I had a singer/lyrical writer to work with. Hope anyone that listens enjoys it. I am quite mellow on keyboards which is strange considering my background in rock music.   http://vocaroo.com/i/s0EvdQ7Y5KMa   http://vocaroo.com/i/s0DMA1T4zjfK   http://vocaroo.com/i/s0EvtehmM7nf   http://vocaroo.com/i/s0J7edoZsPZW     Also , as far as "transition" is going for me recently I've felt a little stuck about where to go from here. I would really like to get my head together and start doing some entries on this blog about my experiences up to this point in my life. I'm going to really try and focus and do this I think. Even if for no other reason as self therapy. Let's see where my blog goes from here. I didn't even know as a basic member I could write one until a few weeks ago. I'm such a dizzy brunnette!!   xoxo all Jessica 
    1481 Posted by Jessica Nova
  • I was not able to sleep so I decided to record a few of my piano songs on vocaroo. LOL digital recording at its best .. not . Still kept me busy a while. I sure wish I had a singer/lyrical writer to work with. Hope anyone that listens enjoys it. I am quite mellow on keyboards which is strange considering my background in rock music.   http://vocaroo.com/i/s0EvdQ7Y5KMa   http://vocaroo.com/i/s0DMA1T4zjfK   http://vocaroo.com/i/s0EvtehmM7nf   http://vocaroo.com/i/s0J7edoZsPZW     Also , as far as "transition" is going for me recently I've felt a little stuck about where to go from here. I would really like to get my head together and start doing some entries on this blog about my experiences up to this point in my life. I'm going to really try and focus and do this I think. Even if for no other reason as self therapy. Let's see where my blog goes from here. I didn't even know as a basic member I could write one until a few weeks ago. I'm such a dizzy brunnette!!   xoxo all Jessica 
    Apr 24, 2012 1481
  • 10 Dec 2012
    Wow, what a great year it's been for both The Gender Society and for our bi-monthly trans publication, Frock Magazine. We've seen them both going from strength to strength and I hope you've enjoyed all the improvments we've made to both. There are heaps of ideas for new features in the coming year too - it's just a matter of getting round them all.  Just a quick taste of what's in the pipeline...In 2013 we are hoping to install some new shopping mall software, but this is not just any old shop.  Oh no, this clever piece of software will also give YOU the opportunity to sell your own trans-realted products right here as well, in your own little store.  That's coming fairly soon so if you've ever thought about setting up your own transgender related store and selling any kind of trans-realted stuff (as long as it's decent, legal and honest), this could be the right time.And as part of our plan for world domination (ooops, didn't mean to let that slip out), we will be introducing our own currency.  Yes, our very own pennies, and you'll be able to use them to buy stuff in the shops, pay for Full Membership, send virtual gifts to your friends and so on.  You'll be able to buy credits to use on the site, but one of the best things of all about them is that you will also be able to collect credits for just being here and using the site as you normally do.  Every time you make a new friendship or post in the forums, you'll earn some credits, every time you upload a video, post a blog entry or Like someone else's, you'll earn some credits and over time they'll all add up. Anyway, that's all coming very shortly, in the New Year.  I'm sure this is not the last time I'll say it this year but do enjoy the holidays and have a great 2013! Hugs, Katie   x
    1611 Posted by Katie Glover
  • Wow, what a great year it's been for both The Gender Society and for our bi-monthly trans publication, Frock Magazine. We've seen them both going from strength to strength and I hope you've enjoyed all the improvments we've made to both. There are heaps of ideas for new features in the coming year too - it's just a matter of getting round them all.  Just a quick taste of what's in the pipeline...In 2013 we are hoping to install some new shopping mall software, but this is not just any old shop.  Oh no, this clever piece of software will also give YOU the opportunity to sell your own trans-realted products right here as well, in your own little store.  That's coming fairly soon so if you've ever thought about setting up your own transgender related store and selling any kind of trans-realted stuff (as long as it's decent, legal and honest), this could be the right time.And as part of our plan for world domination (ooops, didn't mean to let that slip out), we will be introducing our own currency.  Yes, our very own pennies, and you'll be able to use them to buy stuff in the shops, pay for Full Membership, send virtual gifts to your friends and so on.  You'll be able to buy credits to use on the site, but one of the best things of all about them is that you will also be able to collect credits for just being here and using the site as you normally do.  Every time you make a new friendship or post in the forums, you'll earn some credits, every time you upload a video, post a blog entry or Like someone else's, you'll earn some credits and over time they'll all add up. Anyway, that's all coming very shortly, in the New Year.  I'm sure this is not the last time I'll say it this year but do enjoy the holidays and have a great 2013! Hugs, Katie   x
    Dec 10, 2012 1611