a blast from the past in 2013….

EastEnders-logoLogo_2010

Yes, I watch the British soaps here in my home in Toronto… have done for decades now.

EastEnders is a couple of years behind for us, so I have no idea if the character Eddie Moon is still part and parcel of the show in 2013!

eddie moonI just have to say that when his character appeared on Eastenders a while ago, I thought wow, it’s amazing when I see a man with a full head of fully grey hair, I don’t look too closely at first (yes in my early 60’s now, I am still a blonde). However, when I did get a real look at old Eddie, I thought wow, he must have been a real charming looker way back when, um .. hell, he is a looker now!!! I rattled my brain wondering if I could figure out if this actor was big when he was young. Having limited knowledge of the UK TV scene, I thought to myself, he was probably some famous dashing character on 70’s or 80’s British TV series… ! I thought that I had already looked at his name on the program closing credits … I guess I didn’t!! Imagine my surprise when last night I happened to glance at the name Eddie Moon, only to glimpse the name David Essex!! a blast from the past that I do remember…

David+Essex+-+Rock+On+-+Quadraphonic_Sealed+-+LP+RECORD-439669

Now I actually don’t know anything about Mr. Essex except that he was a fairly big name, a touch on the glam-rock type singer and had some hits back in the 70’s including the above, and when I lived in London for a while the  ‘We’re Gonna Make You A Star’ … I loved that number, and I remember seeing his face on the telly and in some mags and  thinking how gorgeous he looked.  Now, of course, I can totally see him as an actor, especially as the cockney father of an assortment of young men in Albert Square..

This is an excerpt from a previous post that I wrote about first visit to Biba back in 1976 (London~ magical visit ~ BiBa) :

Armchairs and couches! With live people sitting in them (in the display windows)! Turns out that the BIBA shoppers were the display, and they were truly fabulous trendoids! What an incredible idea I thought, trust BIBA to think of such a cutting edge concept so far removed from traditional stores. I approached the glass doors with total rapture. I walked in and immediately was immersed in loud heavenly (to me) music. It was one of my absolute favourite tracks: David Essex and ‘I Want To Make You A Star”! Somehow, it fit my enchantment so perfectly.essexa There were many counters, fabulous Art Deco décor, heavenly scents, artfully arranged racks of beautiful clothes, totally hip salesgirls and of course the vibrant beautiful people who were the customers. There was even a tea place with light fare. I eventually became part of the window display as I sat in a plush comfy armchair drinking my pop and smoking a ciggy taking a break from the ‘hell’ of shopping. BIBA more than lived up to my expectations.

Fancy that!!  Mr. Essex grew up real good…

Advertisements

so seventies................

somewhere in the mid to late seventies…………. went to Vidal Sassoon Salon in Toronto, my sis always went there, when she wasn’t going to the House of Lords (which believe it or not, still exists somewhere on Yonge Street). The stylist told me that golden wasn’t really moi, so I let him dye my locks dark ash blonde………………… I think it lasted perhaps 3 days, then I bought a box of light golden blonde dye and went back to being what I feel is me….workI suppose I kept it long enough to go to work…

oscarOscar is the plant behind me (a chefalure…?? that my sis and bro bought for my mum on mother’s day not long after we emigrated to Canada.  I still have Oscars great-great-great offspring). Back to golden blonde with roots, and bleached eyebrows and little denim piny…chrisitoine& cat

Yes it is an awful wig.  I bought a couple of wigs in the 70’s – experimenting with new looks, including a brown very curly (not quite afro) wig. 

crls

browny curls..

My sis and I were playing around with clothes and taking photos of each other.  She is wearing my awful light ash blond wig.  Ahem, we both loved Cat Stevens…

funky robert&xtinebthis is a cute shot of my brother and sister also fooling around with photos.  She is wearing a sou’wester that my bro bought during his year in England…

xtin&meOMG … this is a pic of me and sis on a new year’s eve in the mid 70’s.  I don’t know if she went out to party, but I remember I did, hoping to hook up with a certain guy!  Acht, he was with someone else, as was my other hope, (his bro).  Horrible new years eve for me!!  Please excuse the ‘orrible flashy belt I am wearing.  I borrowed the striped cross-over top from sis.  She is wearing a Miss Selfridge top.  The biggest store in Canada in the last century was EATONS.  They had the wisdom in the 70’s to add a Miss Selfridge (from pre TOPSHOP Selfridges) to their YouthWear department!!  We bought quite a bit of Miss Selfridge gear back then…

of past hospitals and jails…

Fortunately for me, my geriatric rotation in my Canadian nurses training of 2  years at TGH School of Nursing was mercifully short compared with my post The Hell That Is Geriatrics The Memorial Hospital.  Well, at least it seemed shorter and much less traumatic than my sink or swim days training as a State Registered Nurse in Woolwich.  Our rotations were closely interspersed with classes, ward instructors, group work.  I actually do not remember anything of my patients in the Riverdale Hospital,

an old photo of Riverdale Hospital c:1963

an old photo of Riverdale Hospital c:1963

1244, Item 1152).

The Don Jail, c 1950 (courtesy City of Toronto Archives/Fonds

which was a relatively new geriatric hospital in Toronto.  This is perhaps sad, but what I do remember about Riverdale is that one side of the hospital building looked onto the exercise yard of Toronto’s ancient Don Jail,

The Don Jail in the 1970's

The Don Jail in the 1970’s.  I believe that the old gothic looking building was closed and the inmates were transfered to the newer built jail on the left

Construction-cranes-at-the-Bridgepoint-hospital-construction-site-October-27-2010-IMG_5966

You can see the old Riverdale Hospital, now the Bridgepoint Rehab being renovated in 2010, and there is the Don Jail on the right…. the juxtaposition of the geriatric hospital to the disintegrating jail that I recall from 1974

which I believe at the time was more of a holding centre for prisoners.  At a certain time each morning, the male prisoners (I think it was just men) would be taking their outside break in the exercise yard.  This of course created much interest for a gaggle of student nurses, some of whom would wait at the window on those mornings, and be rewarded by a bunch of men looking up and waving.  That’s what I remember about my geriatric rotation in Toronto.  Perhaps after The Memorial experience, I blocked out the Riverdale experience…………. who knows??!

Aerial-view-of-Bridgepoint-hospital-construction-on-October-27-2010-

here you can see the distinctive curved hospital located very close the former jail

An interesting postscript to these 2 institutions is that Bridgepoint Rehab (physical not drug) took over the Riverdale Hospital in 2009.  The Don Jail was closed in 197xx?  Now the Bridgepoint has been in the process of building a brand new rehab centre around the curves of the Riverdale, the shell of which will be demolished when the new Bridgepoint building is completed.  Most interesting to me is that Bridgepoint people also own the empty Don Jail, will be restoring and  renovating it also into executive offices for the Bridgies.. and perhaps some more B Hospital ammenities..

I visited my kids’ former carer, a few winters ago.  She had broken her second hip and was at Bridgepoint for physical rehabilitation.  It still reminded me of the old Riverdale Hospital geography.Bridgepoint-Health-June-21-2011-IMG_0551

and below is  the new Bridgmount building in progress built at the side of the old hospital they took over…. I heard it and it’s jail abutment is supposed to be completed this fall.

urbantoronto-7188-24180..Interesting idea to convert a jail as part of a big downtown rehabilitation hospital…………………… I should go and see the finished product when it is done…

1976

just a snapshot …on my own ….

Taggs Island & Glasgow

I hated moving to Canada at 15… I did not want to leave my home in Glasgow where we had lived for 10 years.  Unfortunately my dad lost his job at Scottish Television.  Uncle Peter, his brother had already emigrated to Canada and found work in television at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He suggested that Dad try his luck there.  In 1967, Canada was welcoming a huge influx of immigrants.  So off we sailed in August 1967.

High school ………. yuch ….. .keep to myself ………. difficult because of extreme self-consciousness due to my dark passenger (my gammy leg)… and also undiagnosed chronic depression (as it was more often than not in those days – ‘snap out of it’!!) come by so honestly from my Irish side.  I just wanted to disappear into the ground…

Fast forward to January, 1971, I had graduated from high school and decided to take a year to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.  I got a part-time job, and saved up my money to make a trip back home (my parents kindly let me keep my money to do with what I wanted).  They say never go back in the first couple of years after emigrating.… As circumstances would have it, I went back, on my own, 4 years afterward.

Yes, I planned to visit my former home, Glasgow, but I first wanted to check out London.  Luckily for me my Nanny had a flat in Muswell Hill, and my aunty Bee lived on a houseboat on the River Thames with her boyfriend Ken and her daughter, Sh.  So my plan was to find a charter flight to London and stay with my Nanny, and somehow at some point, take a train or something to Glasgow.

I loved my first taste of London as a teenager.  I had spent my first 5 years of life living in Hackney, but that’s different.

My aunty Bee and Sh and Ken soon came to drive me to the houseboat, named the Vernette which was moored on Taggs Island.

What an adventure! It was January, so everywhere was so cold and damp!  I can’t remember the logistics of my staying on a houseboat for a few days.  I do remember there was a paraffin oil heater in the kitchen to warm up the interior, and Aunty Bee had sprinkled some dried rosemary on it, perhaps to hide the smell of the paraffin.

Aunty Bee and Sh, my cousin and I went exploring.  On the shore, close to the Vernette, were the amazing ruins of an old hotel.  Bee told me that they filmed some scenes of a movie there.  Actually the movie was A Clockwork Orange with Malcolm McDowell………. wow, exciting!  Apparently Bee and Sh were watching filming from a distance and poor Sh was asking her mum ‘what are they doing with that lady’?  I am not sure, but Bee said it was a nasty rape scene that they were watching.  I had tried to read the book, but could not get into it.  I did see the movie and hated all the wanton violence, rape, and psycho-pathological acts of these yobo’s or whatever they called themselves?…’droogs’??

Recently I Googled Tagg’s Island and Clockwork Orange movie information and finally found information about a very grand old hotel.  I found this wonderful photograph of the Karsino Hotel, Hampton Court.  I was so excited when I saw that the stairway and pillars matched my photo of the hotel ruins…

I took the pic at the bottom of the Vernette by the old hotel ruins

I took the pic at the bottom of the Vernette by the old hotel ruins

I felt pretty growed up, especially when Bee and Ken took me around to visit their London friends.  Ken  had access to, or owned a motor bike with a side car.  It was so much glorious fun when Sh and I squeezed into that sidecar and Ken took us for a ride along the island roads……….Halfway through my 3 week visit Ken very kindly drove me all the way up to Glasgow.  We travelled all night and arrived in Glasgow at about 8am on a Sunday morning.  I was lucky enough to have a place to stay in Glasgow.  The family who bought our house in 1967, still lived there and welcomed me with open arms.

I must say that seeing Glasgow again was a disappointment.  Maybe because it was winter, but as Ken drove me into that big city, all I could really see then was big, grey, grimy and gloomy…  I visited my 2 school friends, June and Frances and we even went to the Kelvin Hall annual fun fair, where I had enjoyed all the midway rides, rollercoasters and handsome lads who operated the rides, as well as the loud pulsating beats of Brit Sixties pop.  Keep On Running by the Spencer Davis Group always comes to my mind when I think back on my blossoming teens spent on an annual outing every winter after Christmas at Kelvin Hall.  However, speaking with my school friends, in my mind, I felt that I still had the world at my feet and the possibilities were many… I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to be?  My pals had both finished school, but June was quitting her job as she was getting married soon and Frances worked as a secretary in an office.  So I think that moving to Canada really changed my way of thinking……….. not settling for any old job, or getting married when you leave school … which seemed like the common thing to do in the old City of Glasgow back in the late 60s….  To be perfectly honest, I could not wait to catch my train a few days later and go back to London.  No disrespect intended to my old home of Glasgow, which a few years later, demolished a lot of the slum areas and had a renaissance of reconstruction and won some European awards for design and architecture… My heart now belonged to London!

my cousin Sh & I waiting for the bus to Gatwick Airport, just down the road from Taggs Island. Look at all the stuff I brought back with me........ mainly lovely London clothes!

my cousin Sh & I waiting for the bus to Gatwick Airport, just down the road from Taggs Island.  Aunty Bee took the photo.   Look at all the stuff I brought back with me…….. mainly lovely London clothes!

That trip, on my own, to London, was a pivotal point in planning my future…

my sweet sister

this is my beautiful sister in her late teens. The photobooth pic at the bottom left is of her and I back in August, 1972, when we spent the day at the EX (Canadian National Exhibition).  An annual end-of-summer funfest with midway rides and much, much more… a real Toronto tradition..

xtine

I am wearing my hair in braids tied with polka dot ribbons. one of which sits under our pic, and the silver heart broach was a present she gave to me, with ‘blondie’ engraved on the back.

xtinell

We had such a wonderful time together, and back then my sister could still walk normally.. until MS all too quickly robbed her of that…

frillly2x

in the red

Not quite the 70s yet… more likely 1968, about 8 months after we emigrated to Canada. My sis and I loved fashion and had so much fun doing our ‘fashion shoots’.  This photo would have been taken with my old Brownie simple box camera that I got for a Christmas pressie way back when I was about 10!   In those days, unlike the immense ease and capabilities of digital cameras (not to mention the single outlay of cash), you really couldn’t afford to take test shots or fool around too much when snapping a shot!  Back then we had to buy a roll of film, wait a while to finish the roll of film, take it in to the drugstore to be developed, which could take a week or more.. and then make sure we had enough money to pay for the photos… sheeez, those were the days non?

I don’t know when I got these ‘granny’ sunnies, (either in Glasgow or Toronto) or the red Kangol beret? The frilly shirt might have been my mums, I can’t remember, although she was not a frilly lady, so maybe it was mine. It was red, as were the cotton pants and matching waistcoat that my darling mum made for me… I did like my ‘Mia Farrow’ hair and my red lips… and oh … my life would have been so much easier if I could have worn this to school (minus the frilly shirt) and therefore hide my obvious disability… but in those days, girls couldn’t wear pants in high school or even public school!! how ridiculous was that??

MY BIBA DRESS

bibmailq

Back in 69, I really wanted something from BiBa. We were living in Toronto, our new home. I had seen the articles and the photos of the wonderful BiBa line and had fallen in love with Barbara Hulanicki’s delightful and dreamy fashions. I even asked my Aunt Bee to send ma a BiBa catalogue, which she did.  I picked the dress I wanted, actually I wanted everything.  I saved up all my money and bought an international money order and sent it my my Aunty Bee. I was really never sure if Bee bought it mail order or if she bought it in BiBa. I do not know if she was still living in London then ….bibadr

Imagine my delight when the mailman delivered a package wrapped in a large BiBa envelope, with my Aunty Bee’s writing all over it! Bee had a very distinctive style when it came to addressing packages to us in Canada…  Inimitable, colourful, fun, and irresistible. I have kept some of her wrapping and still love looking at them. I will post pics of them soon.

The dress was gorgeous! Dark navy blue cotton, with a little red flower print… fitted bodice with puffy sleeves and a full gathered skirt flowing from the waistline. There were little buttons on the bodice and a zip at the side. Unfortunately I discovered that I was a little too busty to be able to completely close the bodice fastenings, so for this photo I draped a black lace shawl over the top. (I bought this shawl for a couple of bucks at the most famous store in Canada ~ Eatons. They were having a spring fashion promotion and if you bought a garment, you could buy this lovely Spanish shawl for about $3… I still have it).biii

Below is an attempted photoedit that I did to show the bodice as I remembered it, if it had fit me perfectly!

biiii

I am sorry to say that in those days I hadn’t really developed my clothes renovating skills yet. I wonder why I didn’t ask my mum, who was an excellent seamstress, to alter it for me? Perhaps it was that as much as I adored my BiBa dress, I don’t think I could have worn it anywhere as my life was then! Sadly, I do not remember what became of my precious BiBa dress, but at least I have this Polaroid of me wearing it (as I do also of a pair of leather FRYE boots that were all the rage that I bought, but alas could not walk in!!!!) ….

wiggin out...

circa 1973 or 74

Remember I was explaining why I had lotsa perms in the 70s… well, in 1974, I actually bought a curly wig! it seems so strange to me now to have done that… frankly I blame it on all those fashion mags! My sis took this pic. I am in my bedroom in my family house in the Toronto Beach area. Sis and I were doing our own fashion shoots. The wall behind me is plastered with fashion mag covers (my faves: Honey, 19, UK Vogue). I took pics of her too (which I have to locate) in all our fashion finery of the time, and in those damn wigs (I had 2!) we had so much fun and we loved our togs!… . BTW this is a photo of that pic that I scanned in the late 90’s and found recently.

back to London.... 1977

This is me in Otober 1977 standing at the bus stop in Hackney waiting for the bus to take me to Mile End tube station…. the same stop I waited at many a time a couple of years earlier, to go to work at JJ on Oxford Street…My friend Darla took this photo…

September 1977

This time it was a ‘holiday’…. why? because I wanted to see Ty!!! He still lived at the VicPark house, his mum in the basement!  I was working as an RN at HSC, making a good buck, living in a big apartment in Toronto with my brother and his girlfriend.

I don’t think I arranged beforehand to stay with him, because I have a couple of photos of me staying at a B&B. My friend Darla had arranged to fly over with her pal Carolyn about a week after I had arrived in London. Carolyn was staying about 4 days in London, and then would be leaving Darla to visit her relatives who lived in England. So the plan was that after Carolyn left, Darla and I would hook up and do London.

I give Darla credit for wanting to join me for a the rest of the 3 week holiday, bunking up at Ty’s house. Darla and I did London well and I had a really good time. We even went to a punk club called ‘the Vortex’ and survived an evening of pogoing punks!  There were punk bands galore, screaming, cursing, yelling, frenetic energy, vibrating eardrums, flying sweat, lithe young men and women jumping into every body around, booze and probably lots of the other…. For safety of our limbs, Darla and I tried to stay glued to one of the walls, but then we realized that to get to the bar, which was near the stage, we had to make our way through moving walls of hopping limbs… I swear it took us 15 minutes to safely negotiate ourselves from a wall (we tried the other 2 walls, they were all just as bad)… after all, it’s not the sort of place you would want to experience sober..  A straight looking guy, well I suppose I looked straight too, compared to the devoted audience, started to chat me up, and perhaps he got us a couple of beers… I cannot remember too well… except that I had to tell him to sling his hook, as we were headed back to our London host!!!

1977

1977

It took me less than a day to realize that Ty was never going to change…. I think I knew that even before I left Toronto. Perhaps it was ‘closure’ for me… I was never going to have a life with a broken, damaged alcoholic man no matter how much I loved him!  Thank God, I had my return flight to Canada and my own life….

declps…………. checking up on some of my blog entries, I see that some of the photos I added have SHRUNK …….. don’t know why, and I can’t seem to fix them in WP anyway….