Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Monday, 30 December 2013

Domestic Goddess

Last Monday evening my good friend B came to dinner, as we are both now in many ways single it was a nice opportunity to have a small celebration of our own.   For me it was also an opportunity to show off my culinary skills a little.   As I could not work in the afternoon I could take a little time playing around, so after tidying up and hoovering I chilled the champagne prepared a couple of table ornaments and put together some little canap├ęs.

I managed all this and still had time to get changed.   B has met Paula several times before so he was not particularly phased when I greeted him at the door, indeed he was gracious enough to tell me how nice he thought I looked.   I can't say that I am too sure he realised just how much that meant to me.

I enjoyed all the reparations, it was nice to have the time too get things how I wanted them, and somebody to do it for rather than just myself.

After we had enjoyed some Kir Royals I had put together what I thought was a pretty good dinner.

We started with pears with blue cheese cream, followed that with one of my speciality dishes of pork fillet in ginger ale, after that there were the inevitable mince pies with cream,cheese, coffee, brandy and chocolates.

One way and another not a low calorie option, I hate to think just how much weight I might have put on with just this one meal.

I just hope that it won't mean that it will have been the only chance I have to wear my Topshop white peplum dress, this is the outfit I had planed to wear to my support groups Christmas dinner I do like this outfit, it feels good, I feel good wearing it and I think I look all right in it as well.   Like so many of the outfits I have the problem is that I don't get enough opportunities to wear it, it is a bit too dressy for day wear and being white it's not something I can wear to play a concert.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

My favorite outfits of the year

This is where I realise just how many clothes I have, lots, these are some of my favourite outfits from the year, in no particular order.

They are mostly dresses, I like dresses, partly because they are the most feminine of garments, there is no male equivalent, they also feel so much nicer, and dare I say it I think they rather suit me.

This year I have also been wearing much less formal clothes, as I have been participating more and more in the real world  I have taken to jeans and a top much more.   I love wearing my skinny jeans with my "Pirate" boots, but more often it is the convenience and comfort of boot cut jeans and ankle boots.
 I have also found myself with a lot more sweaters, I have the "Angora" cowl neck seen here, but I have also picked up a few turtle and polo necked sweaters that I like to wear with either jeans or a skirt and thick tights

 This trouser suit is nice, comfortable as well as smart, the jacket is on the longer side almost three quarter length, I have even teamed it with a shirt and tie and worn it in "boy mode"

This mauve skater dress is a definite favourite, casual or dressed up it always looks good, and I love the swirl of the skirts.

 Regular readers will all know of the special place that black dresses have in my wardrobe, not least as they are my staple concert wear, I a still waiting for the right opportunity to wear my posh evening gown, but I can always enjoy Justin's photo of me.

Friday, 27 December 2013


Over the last couple of days I have enjoyed posting on Facebook some Betty Boob pictures I have collected, I hope you enjoy the as much as I have been

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Getting things arranged

Hard at work on the laptop
Against all my earlier fears I had a lovely day with my friends yesterday, I think they must have been tired of me by the time I left but it was much nicer to spend time sharing Christmas with good friends than it would have been to be on my own.   Not that I would have as I did had other invitations as well, although this has in many ways been a difficult year I still have much to thank God for.

In contrast to the last few days hectic social whirl I plan on spending today sitting at home watching TV and catching up on all the programs I have recorded ~ lots of solid intellectual stuff like Cadfeal, Jonathan Creek, and Star Wars films.   I will have to go and check the van's tires, fill her up with diesel  etc. at some point in preparation of tomorrow's trip to Cardiff with my daughter.   I will be away for three days so have left a few Blue Peter posts, as in "Here's one I made earlier"

I have also made a start on arranging some Christmas music for concert band, I hope that by starting now I may have something ready in time for next Christmas.

Can we fix it?

I have my practical side as well as my artistic side, of course in the line of my work I occasionally have to undertake some construction work the odd bit of bricklaying, more often some carpentry, my latest piece of construction was very satisfying.   I am very happy with the outcome, however I did manage one piece of crushing stupidity.

On the other hand I do sometimes also manage a little bit of DIY around the house, I now have flying dolphins in the bathroom

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Happy Christmas

I have been waiting for somebody with a clipboard to ask me what I think the meaning of Christmas is, just so I can tell them "It is the time when we celebrate the transcendent made manifest"

I was rather dreading Christmas this year, it looked as though it could have been the first I would spend alone, as it happens  I have been overwhelmed with invitations, and I am very touched by the number of cards that arrived for me (as opposed to for the family).   It will still be the first time that I will wake up on Christmas morning as the person in the house.   Every year before this I have either been with my parents or my wife.

I had a lovely day on Monday and a nice quite slow day on Tuesday and am anticipating a very pleasant Christmas day itself with friends.   I have already been to Midnight communion at my Church and then I will be starting the day proper off playing at the morning service at then going straight from there to my friends.

Like most of us I will no doubt eat and drink a little more than may strictly be good for me, I will enjoy opening a couple of presents, but I will try to remember what it is we are celebrating, and why it is important.  

As I will be spending the day with friends this does rather restrict my clothing choices, if I had the freedom, this is what I would be wearing today, but I don't so I won't.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Those things that I have done, and those that I have left undone

Things I have not done to prepare for Christmas
  1. Bought presents for a large number of family and friends
  2. Bought too much food including an improbably large fowl
  3. Bought peeled and prepared any Brussel Sprouts
  4. Wrapped any presents for anyone!
  5. Sent any Christmas Cards at all
  6. Been to any parties
  7. Mulled my own wine (It's easier to buy it and just warm it up)
  8. Put up any decorations other a tree a crib and a table centre
  9. Got any wrapping paper, the gifts I have bought will be wrapped in A4 printer paper
  10. Worried about any of the above

Things I have done
  1. As much work as possible
  2. Spent time with my daughter
  3. Arranged to spend time with my Mother
  4. Spent time with a couple of my older customers who feel very alone
  5. Played in several (I think it is seven) Christmas concerts
  6. Played Leroy Anderson's Christmas Festival once, Only Once!
  7. Had a good friend round for dinner and Christmas drinkies
  8. Been to Church, played and sung carols as worship to the Lord whose birth we celebrating
  9. Tidied up and cleaned living room
  10. Tried to remember what all the fuss is about

Monday, 23 December 2013


It is the time of year when many lists are compiled, the telegraph has several, including the two they missed me off, as do most of the papers some more serious than others.   I am often told that this is a male thing, putting things into lists and top tens in particular.   To a certain extent I suspect that it depends on what the lists are off, s over the next few days I might be putting a few together and asking you all for any additions or exclusions

So here we go with my first, in no particular order the top ten lies of the twenty first century

  1. One size fits all
  2. Hold Up Stockings
  3. Off course I'll still respect you in the morning
  4. I'll be ready in a minute
  5. That was great ~ it doesn't matter whether it's about sex or food it's the same lie.
  6. Nothing's wrong, I'm fine,  ~ the may be the lie most frequently told by women to men
  7. You look lovely in that ~ mmmm
  8. I start my diet tomorrow
  9. Off course your bottom doesn't look big in it ~ when he really means "Honey your bottom would look big in Wyoming"
  10. I'm stuck in traffic
And as a special seasonal bonus

         Lovely, it's just what I've always wanted.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

New Ground Broken

Today was a big day for, so was yesterday, and I suspect that there will be some more coming before too long.   On Friday I visited a long standing friend (I'm far to nice to call her old) who had spotted my clothing choices and had reached the correct conclusion.   Although she is very nice and quite liberal it is f course still a little worrying anticipating how people you care about are going to react.   In this case my worries could not have been more misplaced.   Not only understanding but providing positive affirmation and encouragement.   All in all I had a very nice day on Friday, as after leaving my friend I drove down to Hever to play in a brass quintet outside the Castle as part of their Christmas Fare.

I enjoyed the playing, and afterwards we adjourned to the local hostelry for a pizza and a pint, this again was very pleasant, but I find myself enjoying the male banter a little less than I used to.   As Friday had turned into a day off, Saturday became scheduled as a work day, it was only because I was having a slow start and logged into Facebook that I picked up an evening gig in Hampshire, making the day's logistics a little more complicated but much more enjoyable.   My customer has a major problem with a tree as well as some substantial trellis down, this morning I managed to make everything safe, but will have to go back on Monday and possibly Tuesday to tidy up and erect some replacement trellis.   I did what I could for the before rushing away to get ready for the afternoon rehearsal and evening concert.

This was my first concert "en femme" with a "civilian" orchestra so I wanted to present myself well, I wanted to appear dignified, casual and comfortable.   In short I wanted to look like a woman who might be a musician, not a transvestite.   For the afternoon I opted for jeans, ankle boots sweater and leather jacket, accessorised with some fake pearls and a floaty mauve and pink scarf.   I was happy with the look and when I got there no one commented on my status or my appearance.   For the concert I wore all black, dress trousers with a sparkly lace waist band and my silk shirt blouse, a pair of open toed sling backs and sheer socks was what is for me a quite modest outfit.   I like the look and felt that by being a little conservative in my dress I made myself less obvious, less the centre of attention and therefore much more just another member of the Orchestra.

Going into this concert with the lovely Pelly Concert Orchestra I felt more nervous than I have for a long time, when I texted a friend to say that they asked whether it was what I was wearing or the couple of unprepared solos that were making me nervous, thinking about it I believe it was the whole being taken out of my comfort zone, pushing the social barriers, making my closet bigger that was making me nervous.   Once we started playing I settled down and just enjoyed the experience.   As usual I had nothing to worry about, I did see one or two of the audience looking at me, but then I was on stage, everyone in the orchestra accepted me, was very friendly and very grateful as if I hadn't stepped in at the last moment they would have struggled without a tuba.

I hope that I may be asked back, and if not then I will certainly want to play with other ensembles, with my music as with most other things I increasingly find I am more comfortable, more me, as Paula than as Paul.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

I'm not worthy

Well the Telegraph has anther of their fabled list, and once again I have been overlooked.   This time I'm not so worried since this time it's their "Worst Outfits of the Year" I will admit to a few howlers, but some if these are special!    I suspect that my low point was the mauve leopard print tights with black stiletto boots and denim shorts.

I shall have to do better, tonight I will be playing y first concert with a "Civilian" Orchestra.   This is a big breakthrough moment for Paula, so I will have to be on my best behaviour, I will be playing tuba so that means there is no temptation to wear a silly little black dress, the way the instrument is held dictates trousers, but I do have a nice pair of lacy topped dress trousers which should look nice with a silk blouse and some nice heels.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

All I want for Christmas...

Well I don't know about all I want, after all there is a lot of jewellery out there, and sexy lingerie, not to mention some nice smellies 

WOOPS, well maybe not so bad after all.

I have already mentioned here and here some special friends who I have been trying to come out to for some time, I have also already mentioned Saturday night's concert but there are a couple of things that I didn't mention.   The first thing I didn't mention was my clothing choice.

This is a group to who I am not "out" although a couple of my friends do know, so no LBD on Saturday night, I did wear a pair of dress trousers with a satin strip down the leg, a rather nice quite short black jacket, and a black silk blouse, I limited my accessories to a gold coloured chain black sparkly ear studs and my wedding ring (although in the second half I did sport some ridiculous Christmas earrings).   As is usual these days my gloves scarf and coat were like all my clothes also feminine items.   I enjoyed the evening and was sad that I had to leave the after concert social a little early, I expected this to be the last time I would see most of these friends this year, and yes the couple I have been wanting to have that certain chat with were there, but with his parents and their daughter, so once again it did not seem like the opportune moment.

Yesterday I got a message from the wife through Facebook "We need to talk" unlike most people she had noticed what I was wearing, and more to the point was prepared to act on what she had seen!   I will be going over to see her in a couple of days, but since we are now Facebook friends I am hopeful that it will be another positive experience.   I am always nervous before these conversations, but so far I have only had positive reactions so lets hope for more of the same, if I keep making the closet bigger maybe eventually it will just break open.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Just a quicky

As seems to happen so often these days I am running out of time, this is of course partly the time of year as I am in great demand (excellent!) musically as well as all the usual pressures of work, church and keeping the house going.   At the weekend I played in two concerts one on Saturday night and one on Sunday, although the feedback from audience and colleagues alike was very positive, I know in my own heart that I can do better.

On both nights I made some avoidable mistakes simply because I lost concentration.   While I also know that with just a little more practise I could improve my tone, range and technique the things that went wrong were just down to concentration.   I suspect that this could be down tiredness, not the tiredness of a few late nights, but the tiredness that comes from a year without holiday and far too much stress, and just a little trauma.   There is not a lot I can do about that, but at least I do have a few days off coming up, I suspect that I will have to take off the whole two weeks from Monday 23rd to Monday 6th January. I could do without the loss of income, but maybe the break will do me good.

Apart from four of those days I don't know what I will be doing, on Christmas day itself I have been invited to spend the day with some good friends and after boxing day I will being spending three days with my Mother. Other than that I have no plans, and at the moment no plans for any opportunities to dress up.   Having bought the white dress I wanted to wear to my support group Christmas diner, I want an opportunity to wear it.   I am always being told that this is the party season, but Paula hasn't been invited to any ....yet!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Over Looked Again

The Telegraph have once again published their Best-dressed women of the year list, and once again I have been overlooked.   I'm not quite sure why they keep missing me out, maybe they are just going to the wrong places.   If they were to come to St Sepulchre's without Newgate at about seven O'clock tonight they would see me wearing a very fetching LBD subtly teamed with a short black jacket, sheer tights and open toed black pumps.   I think this is a nice classy outfit (given that we are wearing all black), indeed better than some of the much more expensive and colourful outfits they feature.

Tonight's concert promises to be great fun, some of my favourite music being played by some of my favourite people, plus a chance to glam it up a bit.  

Tonight we will be joined by a new trombone player, I have not yet met him, but I have corresponded with him, and I know he is a good friend of some friends of mine who I have yet to have that certain difficult conversation with.   I am not sure yet just ow much I shall tell him, I had hoped to be able to be totally free and out, but a not sure as I wanted to tell my other friends first, I have tried a couple of times but the situation has not been right, with other people or children being around, as Jack Sparrow would say I have been waiting for the opportune moment.

Saturday, 14 December 2013


I feel that I am being looked after, of course as a Christian that is something I believe all the time, but it is not something that we experience, or indeed feel all the time.   Given the amount of s%*t that has been going on in my life this year this is a strange statement to make, but none the less I am being blessed.   A moments reflection shows me that I am very busy with work and being self employed the more I work the more money I make, and I need it now!   I'm still coming to terms with how much it costs to live here on my own, some things are cheaper, some still cost the same, but overall my expenses have gone up massively, so continuous work is essential.

So far 2013 has been a good year for work, I have been pretty steady since around April with very few days lost to weather, and always enough to do, recently I have often been working five and half or six days a week, and still don't have enough money to "get ahead" but I am not getting worse.   Being busy also means that I don't have time to reflect on the down side of my situation, even when not working I have a lot of music engagements at this time of year I have currently completed three of nine Christmas performances, not remunerative though.

It does also mean that I don't have that many opportunities to dress, to be myself, I have managed the odd evening at home, but even they are few and far between.   Last night I was home alone so decided to glam up a bit, to dress for diner, so there I was all dressed up and ended up falling asleep on the sofa after dinner.

Not sure how I will be fitting this weekend together, two concerts, collect a friend from Heathrow, complete construction of a new cold frame, mend a chain saw, do the housework and the laundry.   At least I do now have a Christmas tree up, so I'm not the only thing the house that sparkles!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Beginners Welcome

Our support group in Croydon is a very friendly bunch of girls who meet up on the second Saturday of each month, we are quite a lose group as it's not always the same people who turn up, there are of course some "die hard" attendees,but most of us make it when we can.   It is also quite a sociable group, there's no agenda, or formal business, we meet in a pub, we chat over a drink and share between ourselves the trials and triumphs of the month.   This is fine for those of us who are old enough, confident enough and organised enough to go into a pub, dressed.    We are mostly of an age where we are past caring what other people may think, and to have built up our own facilities for getting dressed and travelling.

Now given that we are normally between six and a dozen in number, and Croydon has a population of over three hundred thousand there must be quite a lot of trans people who we are not serving.   To that end we are starting a new, additional group next month.    The first meeting will be on the 25th January 2014, I will be there as will a few others to share our experiences and offer whatever help we can.

The new group will be called TRANS PALS and is a new friendly group for beginners, to give them confidence.   TRANS PALS will provide a safe environment for transsexuals, cross-dressers or intersex, whether male or female.   There will be, no alcohol, smoking or illegal substances.   No fetish clothing or kinky gadgets.   This will definitely not be a pickup point for admirers, but friends, family and supporters will always be very welcome.

If you would like more information, details of the wheres and whens of our meetings then send me a message (using the contact form on the right) and I will forward the details on to you.   Although we have said that it is for "beginners" it is for anyone of any age who is seeking a safe accepting environment where they can be themselves, and talk to people who will understand, and may even have trod the same (or similar) paths before them.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

A Bit of Dog?

Following my friend A's comment the other day that he thought I might make a presentable woman, I started wondering how others see me when I am out.

I know I have received some favourable comments, some not so favourable, only once have I been greeted with outright mirth (and to be honest I deserved it).   Strangely the laughter didn't hurt, but being called "Sir" does.   The thing is how do we know what is the honest reaction, it is nice to be acknowledged as a woman, and preferably an attractive one, or at least that a lot of effort has gone into our appearance, but are they just being polite or telling the truth.

Of course those who have family who accept and will comment can rely on them, but for the rest of us we need to befriend our mirrors.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

No Winners

A while back I started a post stating that "I woke up this morning feeling rather blue, it's not all that surprising I'm an ancient Briton you see" There is a special Tufty Badge surprise winners present for anyone who gets that one!"  of course no one managed win the Tufty Badge, this is a reference to Mike Absalom's maybe not so famous Saga of the Ancient Briton, I first came across this song on the seminal album Hector and other Pecadillos, a little later I saw him playing at a Student's Union do, he was a young, tall slim hippie and just too cool for his own good.   nearly forty years later I can still remember most of the words to this song and others like "Royal Borough Blues" from the album I haven't heard for years.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013


Joey came up with the amazing stat that

"The average British woman will throw out 11 pairs of knickers in the run up to Christmas in readiness for the ones her partner will buy her as a gift."

When I read this my first thought was "Eleven pairs! Who has Eleven pairs of knickers?" so a little latter I went upstairs to check the contents of my knocker draw and have a quick count up, I stopped counting at thirty five! I've no idea why I have over thirty five pairs of knickers, some of them I know I never wear, others are favourites, I had also just bought myself a couple of pairs of Christmas knickers, why? I have no idea, the only other person who ever sees my underwear (apart from the possible curious neighbour peering at my washing line) is my osteopath, and I'm quite sure he's not bothered one way or the other.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

The Proverbial Woman

I saw this on Facebook this morning, and thought that maybe this could work for Girls like me, where maybe it is not only the beauty but also the woman that is within.   The full text of Proverbs 31:31 (NIV) is Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate Well no arguments with that here!
Given that this was written around 4 thousand years ago in a highly patriarchal society it was quite something to even acknowledge any worth in a woman, and this is the last verse in the book, so that gives it extra emphasis!

Facebook like all the news media has been saturated with comment and recollections of Nelson Mandela, I am surprised that there are some split views on him, I feel he was a truly a great man, promoting forgiveness and reconciliation after victory, much has been said but I like best what my daughter said.

Good luck in the afterlife nelson Mandella, I'm sure yours will be filled with fluffy bunnies and nutella, unless you don't like that stuff... then it will be filled with broccoli and mondays.
R.I.P to a legend, don't look at it as a sad thing, he was 95, his life had achieved it's full potential, which was massive.

Early Reflections

Well the perils of being a gardener and trying to be glamorous! I have taken special care to keep my nails intact this week, so that tonight I could waggle my fingers as much as I flutter my eyelashes and be the prettiest most glam trans girl at the party.   Well all I can say is so much for planning.

I knew I had to work today, I had planned it, I had booked my friend B to work with me, it was a fairly simple job so we should have been through by mid afternoon, I should have known! with one thing and another we weren't through until nearly five O'Clock, certainly it was dark, however the shed did have a new roof, and had been painted.   When I got home I found that I too had been painted, and worse than that I had bitumen on my face and in my hair!   Given that it was not a fancy dress party I was going to, I couldn't say I was the well known English Poet John Bitumen so I had to clean it all off.   The only thing I have found that cleans off Bitumen is Petrol, on the whole not a good facial care product.

Having got the both the bitumen and the petrol out of my hair and off my face I then found another problem.   Last night I had noticed a small dirty mark on the back of the dress I was planning to wear tonight, so I popped it into the washing machine, don't ask me how, but somehow it came out dirtier!   Having then decided that I did want to wear this white dress tonight I decided to try hand washing it, but when I got home it was still wet!   So, total change of plan then!

Shower, shave, dress, make-up, jewellery, shoes, eventually managed to get ready in time for a cab to pick me up at seven.   Of course for all my panic I was early, over dressed and much in need of a glass of wine.

On top of everything else one of my cameras won't work at all and the other is a bit "dodgy" on colour and now has no batteries, but I did promise a photo so this is the best I can do for now.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Party Frocks

There is a very timely gallery in the Telegraph showing their top twenty Trendy Christmas Party Dresses. some of these I love, some I like and some I just think ERR?  What does unit almost all of them is that they are outrageously expense.

Given that I am used to buying most of my clothes from charity shops and twenty pounds for a dress is a lot of money to me the very thought of paying £3,500 for a dress makes me go all weak at the knees.

I will be going out tomorrow night to our group Christmas dinner, I have a very nice Topshop white peplum dress which I will be wearing with a pair of strappy ivory and gold sandals, none of the dresses the Telegraph features is anything like the one I will be wearing, and my whole outfit - including the over coat and bag will have cost me less than £75 ~ if I remember I will get photos

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Driving Out

I have often heard it said that when a difficult conversation has to be had then a car journey is a good time to have it.   There is other stuff going on to fill in any difficult silences, and of course you are not actually looking at each other.   Today I had to give my friend A a lift to the airport, this is the friend with whom I had the conversation some years back along the lines of

A "Are you a cross dresser?
Me "No I'm quite happy abut it"

I have been wanting to come out to him for some time.   I have also been curious ever since that conversation as to what made him ask.   Of course he had forgotten the original conversation, but was totally cool with the idea, indeed at one point he did say "I expect you make a pretty good woman"   The conversation covered all the usual ground, but since A is also a musician it also covered my performances with the LGSO.

Again, as usual I feel a real sense of relieve once I have told one of my friends, so far they have all accepted that this is me and it's OK, but I think the main reason for the relieve is the end of the lying.   A while back I decided that I would tell the truth when asked, "no more stories", "no more excuses" but there is a difference between waiting to be asked and coming out and telling, but it is still all about honesty, keeping the truth and intimacy within a friendship.   A did observe how pleased he was that I felt I could trust him, I think that this may strengthen and already very good friendship.

Also particularly pleasing is the fact that A is a prominent member of our Church.

Size does matter

A while back I changed the banner headline of the Blog from being something about the exploration of my feminine side as I come to terms with being a cross dresser to the rather more bold claim to being the "Adventures of the World's leading Transgendered Bass Trombone and Tuba playing Gardener", well I haven't had any arguments so I guess I am the world's leading, etc. etc. whilst this may not be much of a claim, a bit like Eddie Izzard's claim to be the only cross dressing Yemeni comedian there is probably not a lot of competition.   Implicit in the claim is a fairly public profile as being Transgendered as well as being a gardener and a Bass Trombone and Tuba player.   Well if I am honest with myself while my circles are expanding I am still more widely known for my gardening and my music than for my clothing choices.

I am now "out" to a lot more people than I used to be (i.e. any) I have now played several performance with the LGSO and one with the LGSW, I have appeared in public, not just as one of many, but on the platform as a performer.   Yet I have so far restricted these performances to being with LGBT groups, Paula has yet to play with a "civilian" band or orchestra, the vast majority of my friends are still not aware of my gender confusion, sure I have spread my wings, but I a not sure that I am yet flying.

I wonder if all I have achieved so far in my going and coming out is merely to expand the size of my closet.

Of course we all want a bigger closet, if only to put all the clothes in, Tubas, Fish Ponds, Greenhouses and Closets it doesn't matter how big they are you always want a bigger one.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Movies and Musicals

I have just about recovered from yesterday's Movies and Musicals extravaganza at the Apollo Victoria.   The concert was fabulous,, all went well and the audience seemed to enjoy them selves and received the evening most enthusiastically.   Looking out from the stage there were quite a few empty seats, but bearing in mind that the theatre holds 2,500 it was well over half full so I suppose there must have been well over twelve hundred there. 

We had some simply wonderful singers including the fabulous West End Gospel Choir, who must have changed their costumes at least four times! Louise Dearman, John Owen-Jones, Gareth Gates, and  Sarah Lark all sang songs for the shows including Defying Gravity, Unchained Melody, Beauty and the Beast, along with loads of numbers from Les Mis.   As well as accompanying the stars we played Star Wars, ET, Jurassic Park and a medley of tunes from Christmas films including  Home Alone and 34th Street.   Loads of Christmasy stuff, including "O Holy Night" John Owen-Jones' new single, in all there were around 30 pieces, all compered by Christopher Biggins.

I was more nervous about this gig than I have been for a long time, it took me right out of my comfort zone in so many ways, being on the stage at a major London Theatre, playing show music, being miked up, and all this while wearing a short skirt!  

For one reason and another what should have been a nice leisurely morning ended up being a bit of a rush, and in that rush I ended up leaving both my battery shaver and my trombone stand in the van in the station car park while I caught the train up too Victoria.   Despite my worries I got there in plenty of time, which just gave me more time to get nervous.   Once we got going though I soon relaxed and regained my self confidence, only to have it dashed again a little later when we went out for a bite to eat.

Four of us popped into the "Iron Duke" a bar in the station, three or four time while ordering the barman called me "Sir", I am sure he was trying to be polite, but bearing in mind that I was wearing a denim miniskirt, and "pirate" boots and was fully made up including bright crimson nail polish this hit me harder than I wanted to admit at the time.   However the acceptance of all the other performers (not just the orchestra) did help me get back to normal, and that LBD always builds me up a bit.

Given that we had a 11:00 a.m. band call and that I didn't leave the after show party till half past eleven, just in time to miss my train home this all meant a satisfying, but very long, very tiring day.