Okay so this weekend I participated in a funky one off weekend game called Ghosts in Public: The Echoing Green, this was a game run for Mish’s Birthday up at Eskmeals, so it was cold and wintery and also cosy inside with the fires, which was handy because since we were all playing ghosts we couldn’t really leave the house that much :) Continue reading
Based on reading this epic Trans Girl Next Door strip from 5 months ago I just kind of wan want to say that yeah, I’ve been there and done that, sometimes things just conspire to trip dysphoria from seemingly minor and non-existent causes, and yeah, that sort of kills the mood for whatever you’re doing.
The rest of the comic is also totally worth reading :)
So yeah, after my last post I should probably write at least a short update to discuss the fun I had last week going down for my latest GIC visit. This basically consisted of a long train ride, followed by more train rides across London. The appointment was scheduled later than my previous ones so even leaving a little later I still got there with plenty of time to kill. Sadly I was a bit worn down through the whole thing, I think a combination of not sleeping well due to nerves and also the start of a cold left me feeling just that teensy bit wiped out.
So yeah, as some of you who may be following me elsewhere probably know I had another of those wonderful GIC appointments scheduled last month, and again they managed to reschedule it … thus making it a 100% reschedule rate so far. This time they did it by calling and leaving a message which I picked up on the train at about 5 hours notice from the appointment, which at least gave me the ability to hop off at Preston and loop back to Lancs for an afternoon of work.
This did however leave me in a stompy foul mood and just filled with apocalyptic levels of rage, so I listened to some really tasty metal and growled and was generally annoyed and burnt it all off by the afternoon mostly. I think it’s just that each time I have to build myself up to these things, and when they get canned at the last minute its just all that readyness and prep just blow out the window, with all my plans just cancelled and a whole day wasted. Also it feels a bit unfair in that they can cancel on 3-5 hours notice (and have done a few times) and that’s fine, but if I cancel at less than 48 hours notice I’m deemed to have “not shown up” for the appointment and risk getting booted from the service, where I then have to wait through another few years waiting list to get back on another.
So yeah – watch this space, lets see if they can manage to keep this second appointment of if I’ll be poking them to seek a second refund in train fares.
As several of you know I get to go sit on the stage and wear a silly hat for other peoples graduations, and these are graduations I really quite like for various reasons. I was never much of a fan of my own graduations, because during the first one I was just all bleh for public appearances in general for reasons that made no sense to me at that time, during the second I knew I was trans and was just filled with dislike for inhabiting my body or my social role at that point, however when you’re on the stage its quite fun as you’re not the centre of attention so much its not about focusing on you, also I’m way more comfortable in myself than I used to be I think, at least in some ways.
Interestingly I quite like going to graduations because it helps remind me why I’m where I am, and why I do what I do. A lot of the time working for the Uni its easy to lose sight of the awesome good work we do, we educate students in all kinds of things, we do kick ass research, we improve the state of human knowledge at least in some ways – however in the day to day grind of projects and support its easy to get lost from this and instead just throw up your hands at all the politics that floods the place. So graduations are nice for in some ways fulfilling the promise of the establishment, a time we can come together across departments and do our act as formal academics (processing in is nice, because everyone does their best formal and proper thing, we present a professional front, also you never know who you’ll be lined up next to so a nice point for a chat with new people in the queue) and present a united front to celebrate the achievements of the students.
Also it’s a more personal thing, in that not only does it give an institutional/group celebration but I tend to mostly come and sit on the stage for students I know through various societies, so its also a personal thing of celebrating the achievements of friends and giving them a grand sending off as yup – you are now officially recognised as more awesome in some specific manner, its nice to sit on the stage and try not to grin too much to be improper while applauding them :)
The final point, which is kind of what spurred me on to post this (being as I’ve just come back from watching the Manchester Pride Parade at the weekend) is the visibility aspect of it. Whenever I go to graduations I make sure to flag with at least a small rainbow pin, if not a trans one as well, and also while I tend to blend into crowds in direct or focused interactions I get read as trans pretty easily – and this is one of those cases where I don’t mind. By being there, being in a group of academics and walking formally with them as a colleague and academic doctor and making myself obviously visible I aim to get some subtle exposure – to help say to people that hey it’s okay to be trans or queer, I’m here, looking respectable and not hiding. And hopefully I’m helping out closeted students, and I’m helping normalise various minorities as a thing that exists for visiting friends and family who are in the hall, and those who watch the remote streams or for times I’m caught in pictures (amusingly I was grabbed for pics out of the line with some students this year, I’m not sure what I was doing beyond featuring as an academic to pose with, I have no idea how they were even reading me, and I don’t really mind).
While it’s true this could be said to be in some ways being over obvious with my sinister dark agenda (okay I’m maybe being snarky), or “rubbing their faces in it” I like to think I’m striking a balance between being too obvious (on a day that’s about the students), and being too hidden. All I’m doing is wearing a small rainbow badge in my outfit and just existing and being there which is the part I think is important, physically being there and in front of people and being comfortable – and I can do this because the University is an accepting place, I know that 99% of the staff and students wouldn’t give me shit, so based on the work of others (standing on the shoulders of giants) I can help continue that work by being there, by normalising things, by being visible and wearing small subtle symbols to help make it okay for others to come out and be themselves.
Okay, so this morning I was wittering at Jonno about the joy of strange new music I’ve found, and low and behold he hadn’t really heard of any of it. Now I admit I’ve also gotten introduced to all kinds of odd new folky things (mostly Joni Mitchell) from Lee lately which has been all good but kind of washed over me. However via chatting with random people and getting linked to stuff via youtube mainly I’ve found a few more bands that have oddly been eating up my listening time. So yeah this is the mega music dump post :) Hopefully I’ll do shorter ones in the future. To be honest I think the best stuff is at the start and the end of this … or at least thats my opinion right now? Not sure, you may just want to try it all or skip about :)
First off there’s the ever epic C.N. Lester (who’s blog is also pretty epic) who recently made an album called Aether, which is sort of haunting, floaty and ethereal piano driven stuff, well worth a listen if you like that kind of thing. The titular track Aether is available on youtube and really the rest of the album is close in style, although personally I find the track “Codine Blues” is probably the best tune on it.
Contrasting with that I’ve also been listening occasionally to Die Antwoord who are … oddly compelling, musically they’re a South African rap-rave band from Cape Town, probably the best things off there are I Fink U Freeky which has a chirpy almost 90s sound to it and an epicly surreal video, although the album does dip occasionally into iffy kinda misogynistic stuff and at least one of their videos has gotten slammed for blackface.
On a more electricy selection try Avicii – who’s a lot of fun to be honest and does some really funky stuff, for examples see: Silhouettes (epic trans content), Addicted To You (female bank robbers ahoy!) and Wake Me Up (just kinda perky you know).
Back to more smooth stuff (warning – potential hipster warning) I can also recommend the epic Caravan Palace for being awesomely French electro-swing, which is just all kinds of groovy and bouncy without delving into being bleepy electric stuff mainly. Particularly I can recommend Jolie Coquine, We Can Dance (both from the first album “Caravan Palace”) and Rock It For Me (for the singers suit if nothing else), Dramaphone from the second “Panic”. Also this entire gig IM Karlstor Bahnhof Heidelberg. In related news I’ve also had Caro Emerald recommend, which is apparently Dutch jazz, try Liquid Lunch.
From a more rocky standpoint I’d suggest trying Against Me‘s excellent album Transgender Dysphoria Blues, I think written to brain dump everything after their lead singer transitioned recently. I’d probably recommend Talking Transgender Dysphoria Blues and Paralytic States for being the two tracks to best cover the source material, in general however the acoustic tune Two Coffins a tale of romance until death is actually the best thing on the whole album.
Lastly if you want some more acousticy Icelandic kind of pop stuff try Of Monsters And Men who’s album “My Head Is An Animal” is well recommend for pretty much every track on it, but in particular try Dirty Paws (multi-layered weird narrative), Your Bones (strange tale of … population migration, boats, weird I have no idea but its beautiful rolling noise) and also Little Talks (couples, mental illness, boat/house based metaphor) – seriously this whole album is just pure bottled amazing.
So yeah I think that’s about everything I’ve been listening too lately thats been unusual stuff, and if anyone likes any of it in particular let me know I’ll be impressed :)