changeling times

trials and tribulations of eclectic chicken

the wrong boots May 10, 2012

Filed under: out'n'bout — eclectic chicken @ 10:08 pm
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Well… there you go… Jane took me to an event in London.

I thought it wholey appropriate to wear inappropriate footwear… and they were the only boots I had that would go with the outfit I thought I’d wear for an exhibition opening. Jane assured me it would be full of alternative types so perverse as usual I dressed conservatively.

We rode on a train…and a tube and being early arriving in the area Jane decided the two time wasting choices were Hamleys or Topshop…. I opted for Hamleys becuase they were more likely to have a toilet and only had a slight grump when I noticed my options could have included Liberty’s.

Then to the gallery… Hayhills… the exhibition was Jamie McCartney’s (he of vagina casting fame).  Supposedly one of the vjs on the wall tonight was Janes… or maybe not… we studied them all pretty carefully…well I did and Jane moved away in embarrassment every time I declared “well its not one of those ones”.

The whole vagina casting thing reminds me of a film I watched back in the early eighties…. it was probably a feminist statement of some sort…it was a film of vaginas… though they probably called them cunts as the whole concept was rather more aggressive than Jamies softly three dimensional assorted vaginas. I remember being pinned back in my seat as cunt after cunt was thrust at me… it was a visual assault…each different but after many…all the same.

(anyone remembereing what this film was or having a link please let me know).

But back to this evening…. Jamie’s other works on display were a series of naked and semi naked models probably life size…. not photographed but built from sections scanned onto a computer scanner. An idea I can’t believe no-one has done before…its certainly something I’ve contemplated… it builds on the lo-fi art of old fashioned photo booths and an advancement on the old body parts on a photocopier (that I managed to build into a foundation stage art curriculum at one point). The pieces were very effective…. personally I’d have preferred a little more flesh distortion… there were some points where the flesh was compressed against the scanner maybe to bring enough depth into focus.

By far my favourite pieces were a body armour breastplate made of fur (I once talked to Jamie about an entire transparant plastic body suit of armour… ) and a wonderful vaginal casting in glass that not only cast the outside but also the inside…a strangely mis-shapen sac with the convexivity of the cervix at the back…. you could look into the vagina… through…. see the cervix from the inside…. fascinating stuff.

But looking at all that took about fifteen minutes tops…. but we had to hang out drinking apple juice and wine… becuase thats what you do… especially once you’ve realised your wearing inappropriate footwear and can’t go anywhere else.

And then we left… I think the real highlight of the evening was farting rather louder than i would have hoped on the windowsill of the louis vuitton shop (where i was resting my feet whilst Jane worked out which way up her map app was meant to be).

and so to home… no seat on the train of course.

All in all… I think I might have preferred a meal out locally (probably cheaper and less painful). But if nothing else its reminded me why I don’t like going to London for arty farty events…. so Janes solo nights out to the bright lights big city are probably safe again for a while.


Finding a voice… April 29, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — eclectic chicken @ 10:09 pm
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Jane has been to see the voice lady down in the smoke and come home with a new voice. I’m thinking the voice lady has a shop a bit like the wand shop in Harry Potter.

Open a draw….catch a voice and put it in your mouth and see what happens…. sometimes it’ll be a good fit…. sometimes  ridiculously inappropriate.

Of course its not like that…. Jane has to find her own voice and practise daily. (she’s practising a LOT).

I’ve been saying for ages her voice (her Jane voice…which is different most of the time from her old voice) didnt project enough (I’m forever saying pardon…what?… to the extent I’ve been for hearing tests becuase it couldnt possibly be her voice thats too quiet).

Any way the voice lady said in all her drawers in all her shop she didnt have one quite as quiet as Janes…so hopefully when the new voice is honed I’ll be able to hear her more often.

I guess the other side of bringing her new voice home is it also brings home how much the old voice was a link to the ‘other’ person.  <whisper> john </whisper> a continuity link.

Now all i have is her habitual cough.

(no doubt she’ll be working on that next)


London bootnote: Two shops, two smiles. March 12, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — eclectic chicken @ 11:44 am
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First smile, and this blog was never intended to be purely about gender,was walking into a newsagent in London and findingthe April copy of The Wire. That made me really smile….being in the Mail didn’t make me really smile, having the chance to be on tv doesn’t make me smile…in general, public exposure doesn’t make me smile…at least not when its aimed at me directly.

But The Wire has a CD on it this month and on that CD is a band i’ve played with sporadically over the last twenty years…in fact the band has played very sporadically over the last twenty years. Our name headlines on the cover list of bands….last year we played a week at the Edinburgh Fringe (and only get kicked off stage twice) and this year (our twentieth anniversary year) lots of things are planned and others are happening.

Check out the band on Wikipedia and find links thereon to other related sites/pages. You could say we’re like Marmite…you either love us or hate us…but we prefer to be like cake.

The other smile was in a Tescos further down the road, Jane got her usual double take up and down look from a shop girl. She then sussed i was with Jane and came over and asked

‘are you with him?’


‘is this traditional dress?’ (i should add at this point the girl in question was very foreign)

‘we…ll he’s on his way to being a she…so yes…i guess it is’

Of course thats overly simplistic…but it made me smile and Jane laugh when i told her…. she’s never thought of herself as a member of a strangely dressed tribe before.

I guess thats where a lot of our problems with gender lie…that we tend to think of ourselves on the whole as two entirely different tribes.

I guess the tv ad for the Mail on Sunday’s  gendered supplements sums it up.


An interesting day in London

Filed under: Uncategorized — eclectic chicken @ 11:15 am
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We spent much of yesterday sitting in a hotel lobby drinking tea and eating biscuits.

No hardship there then.

What was slightly more challenging and interesting was meeting a writer of television dramas and a maker of documentaries….both fairly successful at what they do and both interested in making something out of Jane’s and my story.

At the moment we are all cogitating on our conversations of yesterday, but they are two projects I’m very interested in exploring further. It just feels a far more suitable way to go for me than the more immediate ‘sit on the sofa and get asked questions in front of a camera’ propositions we’ve been offered (and in the main turned down).

I like both ideas. One would be far more challenging to do than the other and both i think could potentially get under the skin of some fairly big ideas one way or another.

We’ll cogitate some more.

What was even more interesting and challenging (interesting for me and challenging for Jane) yesterday, was that one of the people we met was female and one was male.

The social interaction was riveting.

We also had Janes PR present and so at one point we had four  women sat around the coffee table. I say four….we had three and one who pretends pretty well…… (more later on that). It was a fairly rambling touchy-feelie conversation and ended in a period of gossipy finding common ground mostly between Jane and the lady involved. Jane was relaxed and animated and her usual happy self.

And then we swapped for our meeting with the male documentary maker.

A very different, a more male led meeting, very interesting and enjoyable for me until I glanced at Jane who was rather more quiet.

She had totally disengaged from what was going on, throughout the meeting she said less, was far less animated, lacked eye contact and fidgeted with her scarf…a lot… she basically went back to being the man i used to know.

That was John, socially a bit awkward, gauche in some ways: a man who looked awkward, looked away when socially interacting.

Except he used to do it with both genders and i used to excuse it as being part of his eccentricity, we often allow the highly intelligent strange behaviours in the name of eccentricity…that and i used to think he was maybe somewhere on the autistic spectrum.

So maybe before he didn’t feel comfortable with anyone…neither fish nor fowl.

At least now Jane feels comfortable with half the population…and as she becomes more comfortable in herself perhaps she can feel comfortable with the other half.


a twirling tranny and a hangover January 15, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — eclectic chicken @ 11:02 am
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I don’t often venture into the bright lights of the metropolis so yesterday was an adventure in all manner of ways (not least the organisation of leaving two sixteen year olds in charge of the picking up,  feeding and putting to bed of a small boy).

We had japanese food….which is always good.

Followed by a worky meeting where due to Js lighweight drinking habits i had to drink several glasses of wine to help finish a bottle….which is always a mistake at lunchtime.

And then our first meeting at the gender clinic. Very helpful and supportive and the wodge of cash it costs certainly oils the cogs of process. A totally different experience from the NHS and we came away with the name of a psychotherapist in Cambridge and some paperwork (a hormone informed consent form to mull over and a sheet of other stuff that mostly seemed to be contraindications and dire warnings).

It was a bit strange Jane almost felt told off as presenting as gender dysphoric without having cross dressed to any real degree is quite unusual. J has almost an antipathy to cross dressing, I think its possibly one of the things about ‘this’ that she has blocked and not wanted to be ‘just’ a bloke in a frock.

The Doctor pointed out that as well as the long journey the process will take us J will also have the long journey of finding her style and her comfort in dressing to pass.

But it was a positive meeting, three months of therapy and then hopefully Jane can start the hormones that seem, for her, to be the magic key to being where she wants to be.

In times of stress, retail therapy is always good so we headed off to Long Tall Sally to start filling that wardrobe void.

The staff in LTS were brilliant, they gave us the large corner dressing room so i could be in there and let us just haul stuff in and out. The only teeny piece of criticism i would have is they need a step in the shop so shortarses like me can reach the shelf with the shoes on. It was a very positive experience for J just being around lots of tall women….she’s not the only tall woman in the world….its helpful to have that brought home to her.

So Jane tried on a couple of skirts and a top…. the first things she tried on made her spin with sheer happiness in front of the cubicle mirror…. we had the largest cubicle but…it wasn’t really large enough to be trapped in there with a twirling tranny!

Have to admit, seeing her dressed for the first time was scary….and did give me a wobble (that we treated in pizza express with highly sugared coffee)…but i unpinned my self from the wall, took a deep breath and got her to try a slightly more flattering top (Empire line, with a less revealing neckline and which matchedthe skirt she had on). And then…yes….once through the scare….i can see her start to emerge.  There are many things she’ll never be (Miss World being one of them)….but most of us never will. But she will pass as a woman…. she has (and i find myself falling into a Rum impression) a ladies hands.

In fact she has a lot of very good feminine stuff….and in the long run self belief and being comfortable in your skin can get you a long way becuase on the whole people tend to see what they expect to see.

So…we left LTS with two skirts, a top, a pair of black pumps and some tan tights (tan tights with black pumps!!!!)

And off we went to a party….where they had a vodka bar….which on top of the lunchime drinking really wasn’t a good idea.



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