Tuesday 29 May 2012

Today Was A Different Day

The taxi rumbled outside as I finished my last mouthful of Cheerios and closed the lap top lid. I was as prepared as I could be. I knew my research. I knew my view point. Most importantly I had my personal experience to draw upon. As I hurried out of the flat dressed in a plain purple T-shirt, jeans and a new pair of Converse trainers Younger Dad tried to reassure me, "you'll be fine, you really know your stuff". I didn't feel totally convinced as the latch clicked shut behind me.

The chauffeur, a very burly, down to earth man named Dave held a rear door open for me. I settled myself on the back seat and gulped from a bottle of complimentary water as the cab drove away from the curb. En route to our destination Dave and I put the world to rights. We talked football. We talked Princess Diana. We talked conspiracy theories. It alleviated my nerves and kept me calmly distracted.

After an hour of crawling through rush hour traffic my carriage finally parked outside a modern building somewhere on the Isle Of Dogs. The towers of Canary Wharf engulfed the skyline nearby. I couldn't quite believe this adventure was happening. Only two weeks before some one had contacted me from a television production company. They'd asked if I would like to be a contributor on a fifteen minute pilot for a new chat show on Channel Five. The subject matter was older mothers.

A youthful assistant greeted me at reception and I was escorted to the Channel's offices upstairs. There, I was debriefed by the production manager, offered a croissant and juice, and then shown to the make up department. Heated tongs straightened my ruffled hair and a natural look applied to my flushed complexion. I wasn't so keen on the liner applied beneath my eyes. It appeared too heavy. But the overall effect was camera friendly. My armpits on the other hand couldn't be tamed in the morning heat. No amount of deodorant was going to prevent the two large wet patches appearing under both my arms. The make up artist kindly offered tissues to stuff into my armpits. It helped ever so slightly.

A blond, animated character burst into the small mirrored room. She greeted me with a blustery "so you're the woman I'm debating with today". It was Carole Malone, journalist, broadcaster and celebrity Big Brother contestant. She's a vivacious, articulate woman and I began to doubt whether I had the intellectual muscle for a televised exchange with her. To her credit, Carole was very reassuring. She actually agreed with my positive views on older mothers but today she was going to play devil's advocate. What had I let myself in for? Facial enhancements applied, Carole vanished like a whirling dervish in black patent heels to warm up the small audience gathering in the studio. Meanwhile I was left stuffing more tissues under my sweating armpits.

Get ready. I'm debating with YOU today Older Mum. 

While I was having my makeup touched up another bright face entered. I instantly recognised the female form in the light floral print dress as Natalie Cassidy. She's the actress who played Sonia in East Enders. Natalie recently became a mum herself. She was hosting the pilot show and we went through some of the prompts she was going to ask. Natalie had a vested interest in the topic of older mothers. Her own mother was aged forty four when she had given birth to her. She tragically died from cancer when Natalie was nineteen.

In the studio a microphone was attached to my t-shirt and its battery placed in my back pocket. I looked apprehensively at the round plinth that housed two black chairs. Now I felt woefully under dressed. I had hoped for a table to conceal my jeans and trainers. My complete casual ensemble was going to be broadcast. But then I reminded myself that this was only a pilot. I was authentically dressed. In character. As a mum.

Carole and I took our places. My arms were pinned to my sides to ensure no exposure of the pools of perspiration etched onto my t-shirt. Then we were off. Natalie introduced the show and the debate began; how old is too old to become a mum? I don't clearly remember the exact words that escaped my mouth but I do recall not stumbling over my sentences as my heart pounded and my head drew an anxious blank. I definitely didn't swear. I actually surprised myself by holding my own against Carole. I was sparky. Lively. I had expected a panel discussion but this was a tabloid debate. Very Punch and Judy. And fun. I engaged with the heckling from the audience. I even received claps when I made a salient point.

After twenty minutes, it was all over. I hadn't even started. I wanted to express more opinion. To champion older mums. To thoroughly lay my argument out. The production team were pleased though. I came across well. I was concise and enthusiastic. I listened to the audience. 

And then I was out of the studio and back in the make up room wiping my face on again.

Dave was waiting outside. I was relieved to see him again. We talked about the nature of celebrity all the way home. He regaled me with tales of notable passengers like Annie Lennox and the first patient to receive a heart transplant in the UK. After another crawl through central London the cab pulled up outside my flat and I bade my jovial driver farewell.

And what was the first thing I did when I got home? I had a shower of course and can thankfully say that my lawless armpits have been restrained.

If the programme is commissioned I'm going to be invited back for an hour long show. Older Mum In A Televised Muddle might be transmitted into your living room.

Watch this space .....

Friday 25 May 2012

#Once upon a time - Don't Touch That Dial

Once upon a time .....

DJ Tantra's velvet tones were heard on the FM frequencies of West Yorkshire. I was a radio DJ. A pirate radio DJ which made it all the more cooler. I played on Dream FM from the early nineties until around '96.

It was the Summer of '92. My graduation Summer. A time of lounging, partying and occasional consideration of my career options. Dream FM was holding a club night. I got talking to one of the the DJ's who invited me along to his show. From there I blagged my own spot. It helped that I was an aspiring female DJ. A rare commodity back in the day. But I was good. Talented.

I grew up on Dream FM. It was my first residency. I discovered my niche experimenting with mixes that blended together contrasting genres of house music. I really indulged my tastes. It was the spring board to my true desire; to spin deep house and techno to clubbers all over Europe. Dream FM was the crooked fairy godmother that granted my wish.

Every week H, a heavy box of twelve inches, and I made the pilgrimage to the station. We parked the rusty maroon VW, braved the stench of the public lifts, before finally arriving at the summit of the tower block. Dream FM was situated in the foisty living room of a flat that I guessed belonged to someone associated with the darker shades of grey. An ex criminal probably. The radio equipment and record decks were set up on a sturdy trestle table in front of a large rectangular window. From this portal, the urban sprawl of Leeds stretched before me as I spun my show for two hours. H manned the phones while I played my records, coordinated adverts, and spouted shout outs, and mostly nonsensical nonsense over the microphone. I preferred to let the music do the talking.

Because Dream FM was a pirate station it periodically moved location but the police never really interfered turning a blind eye to the illegality. The station became so popular that it often featured in the local press. One year it applied for a legal license but lost out to competition over the Pennines. This outcome sadly meant the abrupt sinking of Dream Fm's ship. I moved onto another pirate station, Frequency FM, based in the South.

Dream FM was a blast. I made friends, propitious connections and even became the voice over for many of the station's adverts. My voice was thankfully dripping in reverb so I was rendered virtually unidentifiable. I even had a fan base. Most of the fan mail I received came courtesy of the inmates from Armley jail. These were not serious criminals but petty offenders, young adults who I presumed had started out on the disadvantaged side of life. Rereading some of the letters made me think about what set these characters on their paths. Poverty? Lack of opportunity? Exclusion? Who knows ... And now after all this time I like to imagine they got out and got on with their lives. I hope they became wiser, discovered insight, found new purpose, retrained, had families .....

"I mean when you put that top tune on and said "this ones for you" I couldn't stop myself jumping up and giving the door a good old bang. Thanks very much as it was. Totally appreciated." 

"Nice one for the Shouts and Toons. Keep me going and many alike. So once again keep it coming fast .... I used to go to the After Dark at Morley. I'm sure you know the place. Kicking ant it?.  That's how come I ended up in this predicament. Just a sound geezer trying to keep the smiling faces around."

"So just like to set one thing straight, if it wasn't for your set Armley jail just wouldn't be the same at the weekend. So keep doing what you do best and keep those kicking vibes coming our way. So from all the inmates and especially myself. Max respect."

"Dearest Tantra ... Well I'm listening and kicking and its down to you. You can imagine it would be a downer in jail but know there's always hope and mine is your set so do your best and put my shouts over the air." (female)

"The show is excellent as ever so keep them sounds coming. As long as you're playing them. I'm smiling."

I even dare to think that my radio show - the emotive power of the music I played - gave these inmates hope to start afresh, or at least to imagine new possibilities. Was it conceited of me to think that? I hope not.

Thanks for tuning in .....

So once upon a time, what did you enjoy (or dislike) doing, seeing or creating? It could be anything. What were you like many moons ago? Do you have a once upon a time story to tell or picture to share? It could be a happy, sad or humorous tale. The skies the limit. So do Link up below and grab the badge code ... and don't forget to tweet #onceuponatime. This is a monthly meme.

Once Upon A Time
Grab the badge code ...

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Monday 21 May 2012

100 Word Challenge - Just Disappear

The waitress placed the latte and croissant on the table.

David barely registered her. His eyes were caught by the bait of the financial news.

The coffee had bitter overtones and was barely warmer than the life left in his blood.


It mattered no more.

He closed the laptop. The finality of this action brought sweet relief.

Unrelated memories surfaced. Mainly women.

"Just disappear" she'd said.

David smiled at the irony.

He'd noticed her flat mate. Their eyes once met in silent recognition. The flame flickered before Charlotte, oblivious, had wrenched him out the door.

David shook his head.

Time to leave.

I'm linking up with JB47's 100 Word Challenge. This week's prompt was ... the flame flickered before ... 

Monday 14 May 2012

100 Word Challenge - The Closing Hand

"Can I get you anything love?"

David cocked his head at the waitress trying to ignore the nauseating brilliance of her yellow cotton blouse.

"Latte and croissant."

He stared at the Apple folded on the table and with resignation opened it for the last time.

The news was the same. Markets crashing. Banks collapsing.

He'd built an empire once. And then destroyed lives.

Now they were coming after him.

But he would play the final card. The closing hand.

For a brief moment he felt omnipotent. Enormous.

Then shrank into irrelevance.

Soon he would taste liberty.

Escape from his pathetic shell.

I'm linking up with JB47's 100 Word Challenge. This week's prompt was the inclusion of four words; apple, empire, enormous, liberty and yellow. 

Friday 11 May 2012

Bitmums Live 2012 Ultimate Meme

Last Christmas I received a fabulous present from Younger Dad; a ticket to Brit Mums Live 2012. Although the ticket wasn't purchased until February it still ranks amongst one of the many favourite gifts I've received from him. You see this golden ticket buys me two days of freedom. Two days of being solely me. Younger Dad will look after Little A while I go and meet some of the wonderful mummy bloggers I've been reading over the past ten months. I am so excited to be attending the conference in June!

Anyway the Ultimate Brit Mums Live meme is the brain child of A Boy With Aspergers. The lovely A Party Of Seven and Older Single Mum both tagged me to answer some questions about the event.

The meme rules ask that you copy and paste the questions, answer them, then tag another two to four bloggers to do the same. Also don't forget to link your post back to A Boy With Aspergers linky.

Questions ...

Q: What’s your blog title/URL and how long have you been blogging?
Last Summer I started Older Mum as a supportive resource for mothers over 35. But then I muddied the waters by blogging about everything other than subject matter relating to older mums . So the beginning of this year I decided to start a separate personal blog, Older Mum (In a Muddle), a space  where I can ramble about anything and everything. I've been blogging for about ten months now.

Q: Will Brit Mums Live be your First blogging conference?
Yes, and that is why I am so excited!

Q: Did you bag yourself a sponsor?
No, just me on my lonesome.

Q: Are you attending both days?
But of course my dear! I'm not going to lose out on two toddler free days!

Q: What are you most looking forward to about the conference?
This is my first conference so I'm really looking forward to meeting parent bloggers in person for the very first time.

Q: Are you wearing Branded Clothing ( you’re sponsors brand)?
Er no ... does Marks and Spencers count?

Q: What is your planed style for this event?
Middle aged glamour!

Q: Are you hoping to be nominated for a BiB award?
A little late for that now ... the recognition is always nice but I don't think my blog is that well known.

Q: If so what category?
A nomination or two for writing would've been cool ... I think the category was LIT.

Q: Will you be looking to network with Brands?
Yes, as far a Older Mum is concerned since this is more of a commercial venture.

Q: What do u hope to walk away having gained from the conference?
Inspiration, confidence, ideas, connections and new friendships. But most of all some time to myself as a woman and person as opposed to the role of mother and servant.

Q: Will you be dressing up in the toilets for the Friday night BiBs?
Er, probably not, no. But you'll always find me in the kitchen at parties! Cue monotoned one hit eighties pop classic ...

Q: Are you speaking at the conference and if so when, where and how do you feel about doing so?

Q: Will you be joining in the early morning bloggercise on the Saturday?
What with a hangover? I don't think I'll be joining in anyway as I'll be travelling from West London in the morning.

Q: What speakers are you most looking forward to listening to?
Lordy! There are so many great speakers. Highlights though have to be Ruby Wax, Jane Blackmore (Northern Mum) and Katie Davis-Holmes (Kate On Thin Ice).

Q: What workshops will you be attending on the Friday (Day 1)
There are some really good workshops and I'm totally torn .... a toss up between 'Getting Yourself Published' or 'Crossing the Chasm - bringing your blog up to the next level'.

Q: What Workshops being held on the Saturday (Day 2) have grabbed your attention?
So far four have piqued my interest; 'Beginner Blogging Essentials', 'How to Create an Ebook', 'Perks and Pounds', and 'Writing About Your Life'.

Q: Are you booked into a hotel for the Friday night, if yes which one?
No. I will be returning to my humble abode in West London.

Q: Will you be looking for after party drinks?
Now let me see?

Q: Are you worried about not knowing anyone or being confident and socialising on the day?
Yes, very apprehensive indeed. I'm worried that so many mummy bloggers already know each other and that I'll feel like a spare part. I know a few bloggers who are attending *wink* and will be meeting them for the first time. I'm a very friendly warm soul. I don't bite - promise! Come over and talk to little ole' me!

Q: What are you most likely to be found doing while attending Britmums Live?
Talking gibberish and listening hard, studiously taking notes, connecting, smiling, feeling overwhelmed, feeling over excited, matching face to blog, networking, being brave, finding my feet, believing in myself as a writer, and hopefully making some genuine long lasting friendships.

All the bloggers I know who are going to Brit Mums Live have already completed this meme apart from one, I think, so stand up and be counted Lynsey The Mother Duck. You're IT.

See you all at Brit Mums Live ...

See you at BritMums Live! 2012

Tuesday 8 May 2012

100 Word Challenge - The Undead

"What? Your fault?" I intoned aghast.

"I liked him. I did." Charlotte began. "He was just so intense. He kept calling. He ..."

Charlotte's thoughts trailed off. 

Without a word she disappeared into her room.

She returned pressing the newspaper into my hand.

The story reported a suspected suicide. It was grimly offset by an editorial at the bottom; an advertisement for an exhibit of prehistoric relics. The caption read The Undead.

"I'm going to phone David's brother."

I looked up at Charlotte's troubled expression.

"Why?" I asked.

"I have to go to the funeral. To make amends. Come with me Chrissy?"

I'm linking up with JB47's 100 Word Challenge. This week's prompt was ... this picture;

Old Bones

Friday 4 May 2012

We're Going On A Bra Hunt

This post was inspired by ...

1. Today's adventure to the Big Brassiere Shop (details to follow).
2. Michael Rosen's and Helen Oxenbury's brilliant We're Going On a Bear Hunt.
3. Bibsey's very witty rendition of the same story.

We're Going On A Bra Hunt

We're going to the bra shop
We're going to buy a big one
What a beautiful H cup
Am I still that big?

Uh-oh! The 607!
A great big double decker with a bad tempered driver.
We can't go over it.
We can't go under it.

Oh no!
We have to get on it.

Excuse Me!
Excuse Me!
Excuse Me!

We're going on a bra hunt
We're going to buy a big one
What a beautiful H cup
Am I still that big?

Uh-oh! The big bra shop!
A jungle of gargantuan booby holders with pert chested, petite assistants

We can't go over it.
We can't go under it.

Oh no!
We have to get measured.

Blush Flush
Blush Flush
Blush Flush


Two mile wide straps!
Two colossal cups!


Quick! Back through the jungle of gargantuan booby holders ! Blush Flush! Blush Flush!
Back on the double decker! Excuse Me! Excuse Me!
Get back home. Open front door. Big brassiere brochure on the mat. Run upstairs.

Oh no!

I forgot the brochure.
Run downstairs. Pick it up.
Back upstairs. Sit at the table.
Have some rescue remedy. Make a cuppa.
Turn the laptop on. Order on line .


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