Transgender Life

I don’t want this site to be solely about being transgender. From my experiences so far, it’s not even something I could write about every week – being in the closet is far more intense and frustrating and writeable. However, there are moments when things happen, unique to trans people. I’d like to share those moments with you, and let you into the mystery.

My Love of Ozzy Osbourne

jakeelee

My Love of Ozzy Osbourne 23.07.17

That's of, not for, in that the object of my passion is a band whose 1980s heavy rock I still feel something for. As for the man called Ozzy Osbourne who fronted and sang, and whose charisma and status gave the band its stardom, I have mixed feelings.

Why write about him, about them, the band? Perhaps simply, I've been listening so much to 1980s Ozzy Osbourne lately, their eerie glamour, their junk food for the soul. I've talked before about guilty pleasures. Here, heavy rock's most resonant reflection to Lady Gaga continues to endure, that combination of glamour and ecstatic melodies, those electric guitar solos by the forgotten genius of Jake E Lee (pictured). But I'm already getting ahead of myself. Forgive me for this week's posting, it really is about them, not me.

So, the personal story of a superstar: John 'Ozzy' Osbourne sang for one of rock n roll's all-time influential bands, Black Sabbath, from the late sixties to the end of the seventies. I will admit, I find Black Sabbath mostly turgid. They named themselves after a horror story and narrowed their art to a horror music, and it shows, a thematic cul-de-sac.

I'm already digressing into genre; rewind. Osbourne's personal life began to spiral as the seventies concluded; Black Sabbath became a parody of their former selves. Their what-could-have-been evolution would come to fruition over a decade later in the form of Chris Cornell and his band Soundgarden, and their peerless album Badmotorfinger. But this posting is not about them, and I am digressing again.

Osbourne circa 1979 was washed up, the drink and drugs and wild behaviour had turned him into a porcine figure of tight white satin and bad songs. Sacked by Black Sabbath, he exited Britain for California, his future wife and manager Sharon tasked with helping his reinvention. Already, I admit this drama of Ozzy's phoenix-like recreation is part of the appeal to me. 

1980, and John 'Ozzy' Osbourne is now purely Ozzy Osbourne. His dark hair flecked anew with blond highlights, his glare turned into a contented smile. His new, eponymous band features a gifted young guitarist called Randy Rhoads, who cuts a gentle, feminine figure, his ability with the rock guitar the equal of contemporary Eddie Van Halen. Ozzy Osbourne, the drunk from Birmingham, becomes a glamorous American star in Californian sunshine and sell-out stadiums.

Stop. I know how I'm meant to feel at this point in the story, to sense the tragedy about to occur. 1982 and two albums in, with Ozzy's slightly higher-pitched, more likeable singing style matched by a more gloriously go-for-it music, young Randy Rhoads dies in a freak plane accident. It is the stuff of rock n roll legend, the brilliant prodigy who died before he got old. This is where I digress from the what-could-have-been.

Because Ozzy Osbourne hires the guitarist Jake Lee, he of mixed Welsh-Japanese descent, so beautiful back then to look at and listen to. I have been Youtubing Jake Lee for the best part of a month now, he strikes that much of a chord with me. His guitar playing is one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard, and I include the opening minutes of Wagner's Parsifal in that gushing tribute. Watch him play on Youtube, his song Killer of Giants, as he stands in a single shaft of light, the gentle, complex melodies emerging at his fingertips.

Jake Lee wrote the music for two of my favourite Ozzy albums, Bark at the Moon (1983) and The Ultimate Sin (1986). For the first of these, it seems Lee was forced to waive all rights or claims to having written the music. After the second, he got fired and would never be so famous again. But equally, Ozzy Osbourne would never be as good again.

Stop again. I was very young when all this happened. Years would pass before I began to hear of and listen to Ozzy Osbourne, before that day as an awkward, ungainly teenager when I watched a documentary, Dancing with the Devil. It informed me of heavy metal's alleged bad influence on young people, and how one particular teenage boy killed himself after listening to Ozzy Osbourne's Suicide Solution. Of course I bought the album, and after it, the other albums. For a teenager of unremitting ugliness and mediocrity, I spotted that allure like a sliver of another dimension opened up to me, Ozzy's world of cartoon monsters and orgasmic guitar solos the rabbit hole I yearned for.

It's strange how people change in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, but those moments of exposure to certain art in our youth stays with us. We all have our filters, why did 1980s Ozzy Osbourne and the guitar play of Jake Lee flow smoothly through mine? Artistically, they are the equivalent of McDonalds, or supposed to be. Perhaps it's the glam of the genre, men transformed in cascading blond highlights, tight leather and lots of eye-liner. Maybe it's Ozzy's glow of rebirth, and the twin tragedies of two talented guitarists, the one by death before his time, the other by a career cut short by a mean-spirited manager and a front man who never appreciated what they had. But electric guitar play can provide its own kind of ecstasy, it's not just about the history of this band. Finally, though, it's about the power of the past: we never get away from it, from what we were, those who portray trans people as having no past have no clue.

I always wondered when I was young, when I would stop wanting to become female, and when I'd stop finding value in the music that meant so much to me at the time. In some aspects of my identity I have matured, or at least altered my perspectives. But here I lie on my bed typing this, now as Gina Maya, and still listening to Ozzy Osbourne.

Dining Out
Friendships in Edinburgh
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Guest
Thursday, 21 January 2021

Captcha Image

What's On This Week

My Latest Posts

December 22, 2020

Lacanian Icarus: when Gina flew too close to the sun?

On the recent experience of nearly being no-platformed There are two identities in one when it comes to being part of a disempowered minority. The first is for yourself: all your failings, your insecurities, your doubts, and connected to this, your curiosity and quirks. Let's be Lacanian analysts for a moment: what we're talking about is the transg...
November 17, 2020

If I were to detransition, this is what I would write

Warning: this is a speculative piece of writing, not an official announcement, although I have recently begun to imagine an 'ideological' detransition (from trans woman to GNC male). Here, I'm trying to articulate and reflect on my thoughts and feelings, and imagining myself from a different perspective. In this post, I'm Gina v...
November 17, 2020

Trans Hell-thcare

The picture accompanying this post is important to me. I took it yesterday, 16 November 2020, unsure what I'd find. It's been nearly eleven months since I came off oestrogen for reasons I'll get into in a moment. Undoubtedly this has had an effect on me, bodily and therefore psychologically, but the accompanying selfie gives me a reassura...
October 17, 2020

What if gender-critical feminism came to power?

This scenario is inspired by a dialogue I had yesterday evening with a gender-critical feminist just before I went to bed. Here is what I dreamed: In the summer of 2021, the Conservative minister Liz Truss introduces legislation, making women-only spaces legally accessible only to those born female. This U.K. law includes a provision for funding al...
October 13, 2020

Responses to my blog post (1)

A frustrating aspect of my website is that when people write in, there's no trace of an email address so no way of getting back to people, and also no way of publishing their messages. However, I received such a nice response to my article just now that I'd like to include it here. It's from some who for the sake of confidentiality (in case it's ne...
October 11, 2020

On adopting a more gender-critical transgender activism

On adopting a more gender-critical transgender activism Note to the reader: This post is intended as a contribution to addressing the current tensions between transgender activism and gender-critical feminism. The way I see myself in relation to female i dentity, and the ideas I express here, are not a prescription for other trans women. The t...
May 11, 2020

The Book of Queer Prophets, curated by Ruth Hunt

in Books

  The Book of Queer Prophets: 24 Writers on Sexuality and Religion The historically fraught relationship between Abrahamic religions and LGBT+ identities provides the backdrop to The Book of Queer Prophets , a collection of twenty-four meditations by public figures who identify as both religious and LGBT+. The book's curator, the for...
May 09, 2020

Queer/Transgender short film: Mesmeralda

Joshua Matteo's short film, Mesmeralda , merging horror with esoterica, is now out on youtube . As with his previous work Metanoia , we see youthful trans actors racing through the empty streets of a moonlit New York, haunted by symbols and stalked by a masked figure of violent intentions. Mesmeralda , as described by Matteo, is the companion ...
March 08, 2020

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare Summer, 2016: Gina's Big Bang, as transitioning begins A bureaucratic question in a sun-lit room. My medical practitioner asks me if I intend to have children. The question lingers, but the self-loathing is instant. No, I won't be having children. The practitioner nods. She moves on to the n...