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Secret Cinderella

With Glasgow Pride coming up next weekend it’s no surprise that this month’s edition of Extra Second is focusing on sexuality. As I’ve been billed to perform I thought I had better get cracking and write some poems on the topic. In this one I travel back in time to the summer of 1974 and recall the day I  started secondary school and the first real stirrings with regards to boys and being aware of being a socially awkward trans teen before I knew the term for it. I’ve given it the title Secret Cinderella, I hope you enjoy the read .

Secret Cinderella

It was the day that Nixon resigned 

and the Bay City Rollers made number one on Radio Clyde 

when I started high school

I tried so hard to fit in and be cool 

it didn’t work 

I wanted skirts not the trousers that were my fate

I hated being made to be a boy 

I couldn’t play the part 

my heart wasn’t in it 

there were limits to my acting skils 

I tried to play football but would sooner hang out with girls 

talk about what really mattered 

make up, boys, and teenage dreams 

the centrefold in that week’s Jackie magazine 

but when you lived in the schemes 

these stirrings had to be calmed if not completely quelled

Catholic or Protestant both guilt trips 

had the same destination 

a one way ticket on the road to hell 

and a child of a mixed marriage would be condemned to it twice 

secretly I would wear tights and dresses 

when nobody else was watching 

well Scotland was a different place back then

where men were men and no boys were ever allowed to cry 

even if denying the truth would have them climbing bedroom walls 

the secret Cinderella’s who never even made it 

to the school disco let alone the ball 

and wouldn’t kiss Prince Charming till their 40’s 

© Gayle Smith 2017

An Ordinary Women Looks Back On A Journey. 

Hey Readers

 On World Transgender Remembrance Day I have written this poem which charts my personal journey from the early years and suppressing my natural instincts to be the girl I knew I was to now and where I have eventually found contentment as the woman I am.I’ve given it the title An Ordinary Woman Looks Back A Journey I hope you enjoy the read. 
An Ordinary Woman Looks Back On A Journey

You try to suppress your desire

to wear that dress

Look at that boy

buy that magazine

your folks would be mortified

you’d be talk of the scheme

If you were ever found out

this is the kind of hassle you can live without

so you lied

tried to fit in

wish yourself away

for fear of what the neighbours might or might not say

whilst friends are getting ready

to go to the dancing on Saturday night

you go to your room put your music on

get made up

slip in to a secret skirt and tights

dream of that boy you fancy like mad

you know the best boyfriend you never had

the one who looked hot in shorts

In those long days of summer

or maybe that long haired drummer

who played in a band

wrote lyrics your mum would be too old to understand

or so you’d like to think

you blushed

your checks pink like roses

but your mum knew more than she told

at the time you cursed her for being old

it was just the way she was brought up

now you’re old enough to be a mum

or if you’d had a family young enough

maybe even a granny

you no longer care if some ned calls you tranny

you know your a woman

you couldn’t care less

long ago you abandoned yourself

now you wear your dress with pride

unwilling to hide your identity

for the contentment of others

if that makes them uncomfortable then so be it.

your just a trans woman who says it as she sees it.

 too many like you have died in denial

due to fear and social constraints

placed on them by those who cared too much

about the opinions of others they’ll never meet

strangers in shared city centre streets

whose only communication would have been

to talk about the weather

a quick blether in the queue

outside Marks and Spencer

or some similar well known department store

life is better than before

for a woman like you

it’s certainly true to say you have nicer times now

than you did growing up

your teenage years were troubled times

but now I stand as the woman you’ve become

to say things have turned out fine

and more enjoyable than you could dare to have dreamed

your just an ordinary woman

your talk of the scheme no longer

so remember the journey you’ve taken

you’re stronger than you thought you could be

trust me your greatest achievement will be campaigning for the rights of others

but on this day say a prayer for trans sisters and brothers

in countries less accepting than ours

Brazil, Mexico , USA , Russia, Italy

flowers of life cut down before being given

the chance to bloom

robbed of dignity

there fate was to be left behind

the victims of hatred

fuelled by ignorance and fear

give thanks God placed you here

in this land

then think of others

first used then discarded

like washed up rags

on the deserted beaches of humanity

remember them then get on with your life

It’s what they would want you to do

@ Gayle Smith 2016

Dress Sense

Hey Readers 

This poem was inspired after a brilliant night of reliving my teens when I attended the final night of Jackie The Musical at Glasgow’s Kings Theatre.

Using poetic liecence I have taken the name of the lead character from the show and indeed the magazine I used to read in those golden days of 1970’s and though tongue in cheek this is more autobiographical than I would ever like to admit. I’ve set it in Glasgow and given my mother the lead voice in a poem which I’ve titled Dress Sense. I hope you enjoy the read.

Dress Sense

Jacqueline I’m not telling you again
you are not going out like that
gold satin jackets
should not be worn with silvery boots
In this kind of outfit nobody
would look cute
if the fashion police arrested you
it would be a fair cop
you look like you’re
on the run from a charity shop
and for goodness sake
I hope you haven’t teamed them up with that black micro mini skirt
and diamond patterned tights
this is not a good look ,
when your going dancing on a Saturday night
trust me Jackie you won’t get a lumber
you’ll only get a dizzy
and his old mobile number
the one he ditched three phones ago
when he wanted to get her off his case
you know the local crackpot
how can you be sure
you’ve hit the jackpot
it’s puppy love
your in your teens
nothing is as good or as bad
as it seems
and watch him by the way
so whatever you do
don’t say hold me close
because while you’ll love to love
he’ll just love to dance
all he wants to do is get in to your pants
Yes I know you think it’s the real thing
but trust me men
bring their own problems to our lives
they just want us to be meek little girlfriends and eventually wives
they are not like us
they don’t understand
yet Tammy Wynette says
stand by your man
but Tammy lives in Tennessee
Not Maryhill
where some of us know
the only frills we will see are on blouses, dresses, or if we’re lucky lingerie
far be it from me to say that your perfect man may not be so perfect after all
I get more sense talking to the wall
than I do talking to your dad
yes I love him but he drives me mad
so if you don’t want a boyfriend
whose a younger version
of guess who
there are certain things you shouldn’t do
like going out dressed like that
now I know you’re in the mood for dancing
but listen up cinders
if you want prince charming
take it from me
young hearts may very well run free
but you’ll have to compromise
on the things you do for love

@ Gayle Smith 2016

The Music Made Us Think Of Our Teenage Dreams But Jackie Helped Make Us The Women We Are (My Review Of Jackie The Musical At The Kings Theatre Glasgow 30-07-2016)

Hey Readers

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Having told you in my last post, how I spent the early part of last  Saturday I now move on to let you know how I spent the evening.
Believe me girls this was one of the most  enjoyable nights I’ve had in a very long time and I know I’ll smile every time I think about it.

Right you lot, get your minds cleaned out there was nothing like that involved and if there had been I wouldn’t be sharing it on here.
Seriously though  last Saturday night was a truly  uplifting experience and I didn’t even need a push up bra to get the power boost it provided. I will however say before you ask that my uplift was of the cultural variety and has nothing to do with anything i may or may not have bought in Anne Summers.

You see I went to the theatre for the last night of a musical about a magazine. This however was no ordinary magazine, this was Jackie, the magazine which was the must read for girls growing up in the 1970’s and for a trans teen as I was at the time this was as close to the bible as I got at the time. So when I heard there was going to be a stage production based on it I decided I simply had to see it.

As soon as I entered you could sense the party like atmosphere which would be such a feature of the evening on a night when over 95 percent of the audience were women and at least 90 percent of them were original Jackie Girls or daughters of Jackie Girls. Believe me this was an audience which wouldn’t just have scared any would be wide boys it would have absolutely terrified them.

Our story starts when Jackie played by former EastEnders star Janet Dibley, is now in her early 50’s and has been recently divorced from John, her husband of 20 years who left her for another women or Gemma the whore as Jackie calls her.  As she ponders going back on the dating game for the first time in a generation she decides to seek advice not from her friends not even her best friend Jill but from the pages of her Jackie magazines and annuals.

As she starts her journey to the rest of her life we hear for the first time from the voice of her younger self who tries more often than not in vain to be the voice of her conscience. Like any younger voice she asks how she’s done in life and as the David Cassidy classic Could It Be Forever gets the audience singing along Jackie tells her younger self that yes she did get a house, she did get job, she did get child well a son and of course she did get married. Unfortunately however she is dismayed to learn that she is now going through a divorce

As the hits kept coming there was something for everyone as Jackie girls walked down memory lane to the days when Cathy and Claire solved all our problems from friendship issues to dating dilemmas. From the soft rock of Osmond’s Crwas Horses, to Barry Blue’s feel good classic Dancing On A Saturday Night. Wizard’s See My Baby Jive to that girly favourite from Tina Charles I Love To Love But My Baby Loves To Dance, every song found the audience in good voice it was if we’d all discovered the white tights and mini skirts we hadn’t seen since our 1st year school disco. You know when we kissed a boy and made our secret wedding plans. Thank god there was no facebook in those days as our mother’s may have found out some secrets we really didn’t want them to know.

As the story continues we are introduced not only to Jackie’s ex and his new woman but also to her son David who she wants to go to college but who dreams of being a rock star and teen idol heartthrob. I think someone had been his mum’s old copies of Jackie a bit too much for his own good. Meanwhile as Jackie prepares to get back in circulation John is having to put up with Gemma and her bucket list of things to do before she hits 40 next year and one of her targets is to learn a musical instrument.

It’s at this point in the story that Jackie tried to look up her first crush but didn’t know where to start until she thought Google was bound to know where he was and it did. Jackie however was to put not too fine a point on it gutted when Google pointed out that he was gay.

Undaunted Jackie ventured in to the world of Tinder where after several disappointments she met Max (Nicholas Bailey). At first this looked a match made in Jackie heaven and even tempted Jackie to read through her old copies of her favourite magazine and get advice from Cathy and Claire on how to get and keep a boy or in her case a man.

On meeting her new would be beau Jackie is at least initially smitten. A woman who wants believe in love Jackie is swept away a tidal wave of love and wonders what Cathy and Claire would say to her with regards to keeping him. As the first half of the show comes to an end we left wondering has Jackie found love? and as David Cassidy plays in the background we are asking ourselves the question every woman has asked since the dawn of time Could It Be Forever?

As I queued for the ladies during the break there was a real feel good factor and everyone said how much they were enjoying the show. As woman of the Jackie generation, we chatted on our memories of the songs we had heard and about what Jackie meant to us growing up.

At this I related what it was like to be a trans girl in the 70’s and making sure that I kept my secret stash of Jackie’s under my bed and out of the way of intruders and a woman who was around a similar age to me Donny and The Bay City Rollers being the musical clues said that whilst Jackie was an essential read for her it must have been even more important for me as I would have learned a lot from it on the things I needed to know. Trust me the woman concerned spoke the truth and possibly to a far greater degree than she realised.

As the Second half starts a lovestruck David and his friend Keith are still dreaming of stardom and attempting to write songs based on some of photo stories and problem pages of his mum’s old magazines blissfully unaware that his mum and dad’s relationships are about to fall apart. Well any boy who doesn’t believe that girls of a certain age did and probably still do practice kissing on our posters of Donny or whoever it is we fancy the pants off (In my case I was Donny and Les McKeown of The Bay City Rollers) definitely doesn’t know the inner workings of the female mind. Believe me I swooned as I sang along to Puppy Love and I wasn’t the only one.

As the story progresses it isn’t long before Jackie is given the it’s not you it’s me chat by Max and John blurts out Jackie’s name when he was with his new and soon to be former love of his life Gemma. As everyone’s world’s are turning upside down with the chaos it was significant that the key song during this part of the story was the 10CC hit the things we do for love. though I will admit to tapping my toes to Tiger Feet. At this stage Jill tries console Jackie and says that if she read through her back catalogue of Jackie’s she could get advice from Cathy and Claire on how to deal with break up’s. A despondent Jackie shrugs and with a touch of bitterness not to mention irony says what would Cathy And Claire know about break up’s I bet they were both men. This is all the funnier because in reality the Cathy and Claire columns actually were written by men.

In the show’s next twist we are taken to Frankie’s cafe where a newly single or should that be newly dumped John tries to win Jackie back. This leads to a testosterone tussle with Max who has by now did what most men do and realised his mistake far too late. This time however the only winner is Jackie who decides with a newly found confidence, that she is an independent woman and gives both of them a knock back and to the backdrop of enough is enough declares that it’s time to get on with her life.

As the story ends Jackie is back at her home, packing her boxes and getting ready to move on to wherever life takes her. David reveals that he is going to college and Jill tells him that he’ll get so many girlfriends that he won’t have time to work and with last blast of Could be it forever the story of Jackie is brought to an end.

You know it is fitting that I waited till the final night of the show to see the story of my favourite magazine brought to life.
I say this because as the old saying goes it’s not how you start it’s how you finish and a superb cast made sure that while the music made us think of our teenage dreams Jackie helped make us the women we are and gave us the feel good factor to finish on top of the world. It is my opinion that no magazine or indeed no show can ask for a better ending than that.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle XXX