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Author Topic: Story: Carol  (Read 23996 times)

Offline bracessd

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Re: Carol
« Reply #15 on: 15. December 2022, 17:32:50 PM »
Great job @sparky

Offline Kruz

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Re: Carol
« Reply #16 on: 18. December 2022, 01:23:41 AM »
nice! curious what will happen next

Offline m1090y

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Re: Carol
« Reply #17 on: 21. December 2022, 09:40:14 AM »
I really enjoyed Jenny Loves Singing and I'm glad we get to have another story with this band.

Offline Sparky

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Re: Carol
« Reply #18 on: 23. December 2022, 16:53:19 PM »
Chapter 7 - Open Mic night again

It's two weeks later, and once again Carol has gone to the Open Mic night. And like last time, she was sure to 'dress down', she knew that it all helped her to appear less of a 'pop star'. In the last 2 weeks, Carol has done quite a bit of singing with her retainer in, whilst working on new songs - as well as just singing existing songs - and her lisp is a lot softer. It's not completely gone: if you listen carefully, you'll still hear it's there.

Carol specifically asked Steve to put her on later in the evening, so she could hear a few of the others play first. Along the way, she spotted one of the performers - one who was better than average, apparently giving Steve a bit of grief over something.

After him, it was Kevin's turn: Carol had briefly chatted with him at the last Open Mic Night, he was probably the best performer there (well, after Carol, of course!). As expected, his performance was excellent.

"Carol, you're up" said Steve a little later. Carol went onto the stage, and stood there quietly while Steve adjusted the mics.

"Jutht before I start to play, can I give you guys... and by that, I mean you guyth who come up here on stage to perform... a bit of advice. If I'm being paid to perform, then I reckon that I'm probably the motht important person in the room at that moment! But I have a question for you: tonight, there's no paymaster, we're all playing here simply becauthe we all love music.... so who is the most important perthon in the room now?". She paused, to let a few people reply. 'The audience' was one suggestion, 'The person on stage still' was another. Some wag suggested 'the guys behind the bar', which raised a laugh. "No to all of those..." said Carol, with a very slight lisp from her retainers.

"I'd say it's Steve...." said Kevin.

"Spot on right there, Kevin! Tonight Steve is our combined thtage manager, sound tech, and sound guy. He understands thound. If he doesn't like you - for ANY reason - then he can make you sound REALLY sh*t... you know, guitar far too loud, vocals far too quiet, the odd bit of feedback, even turn the PA completely off! But if he likes you, then I know he will do EVERYTHING in his power to make you sound better. What I'm saying is: find out who your tech guyth are - by name. Be good to them, always be polite to them, and help them. If you're doing a sound check, then do what you are told, it's NOT an opportunity for you to rehearse, it's an opportunity for the sound guys to make you sound good! At the end of the day your sound guys are there to help you sound good. And finally, always but ALWAYS thank them!" Carol looked straight at Steve, and gave him a thumbs up. "Come on, let's give Steve a big round of applause, he's been doing a great job here again tonight!". As the crowd applauded and cheered, Steve had a huge smile on his face. Yes, Carol's sound was guaranteed to be 100% perfect tonight! She gently strummed her guitar a few times, knowing that Steve would be using that to check its level.

"Ok, on to the music.... So, remember last time, I played you a 'work in progress'? Well, it has progressed quite a bit in the last 2 weeks, so let me play what it sounds like now... you'll just have to imagine the drums and bass and so on....". Carol played the song she had been working on, and everyone liked it. Again, she sung with a slight lisp too, but it didn't matter.

Next, Carol put some music up on her stand. "I thought you guys might like to see how we create our songs. For us, usually Jenny's mind starts shooting off fireworks for some reason - and no, she's NOT doing drugs!!... and she comes up with a tune: this is one exactly as she sent me last week....", and Carol started to play a relatively simple tune. "But while Jenny is really great at coming up with stuff like that, here's her notes: 'a girl is worried about her guy cheating on her...', easy, right? Yeah...." There were a few laughs. "Jenny then passed the song to me and Dianne, and we spoke, and I volunteered to start on some words. How many times do you think I have listened to that tune?".

There were various guesses.

"Yeah, somewhere around fifty times.... in the first couple of hours! I had it on repeat. I need the tune in my head, and as I sing it or hum it, I'm trying out ideas and words and word patterns and that sort of thing. Jenny thinks and dreams music, I do words. I actually came up with some reasonable words, but the words didn't quite fit the music, so I had to tweak the tune a tiny bit... so now, the music sounds like this....". Carol shuffled the bits of paper, and then she played the modified tune.

"Probably not THAT noticeably different, but I assure you there's a few extra notes in there! Let's add in my first set of words.....". Carol shuffled the bits of paper again, then played and sang. There was applause at the end.

"So, I put it down for the day, then listened to it the next day, and made a few changes. Then again the day after. This is what it sounds like today...", and she played the song once again... the whole thing seemed to flow better.

"I'll now pass it over to Dianne, see if she has any bright ideas, and let her work out how the rest of the instruments will fit in. Then we'll all play it together, and I'm sure it will change again.... and I suspect it will sound a bit different when it's finally done. Actually, someone asked me a good question earlier: 'do you get many songs that you never finish?'. Yes, there's plenty of those! Some we give up on fairly quickly, others just never sound right. Occasionally one of us will pick up an old song and rework it - that happened with 'Coffee by the pool' for example. Sometimes we pick up an old song and rework it for some other performer. So, yeah, there's plenty of songs that never make it."

"Right, something different. This is not a song I'm doing for the band, it's just a 'me' song. Maybe one day it will get recorded, but probably not....". Carol played a very simple acoustic song - as she said, it was nothing like the CJDL stuff - but everyone seemed to like it.

"Ok, let me finish with an absolute classic from about 40 or so years ago, sing along if you like!", and Carol sang 'American Pie'.

After coming off stage, Carol passed Steve. "Hey, thanks for that" he said to her, "it's not often that someone shows their appreciation like that. I'm guessing you saw what happened earlier?"

"Yeah, I did, and from the little I could see, you were doing the best you could, and he didn't appreciate it! I almost went and had a word with him, but thought doing what I did would be better for everyone."

Carol returned to where she was sat, and put down her guitar next to it. "Spot on what you said about Steve, Carol" said Kevin. "Something tells me that you work with a happy tech team when you're on tour".

"I like to think so," replied Carol, and she explained about the time Jenny had a bit of a meltdown, and had been rude to the stage crew during a soundcheck. "The next day she apologised to the crew in person, and gave them all a load of nice beers. She had even managed to get a load of t-shirts done that she insisted they all wear that night, that said 'Jenny says sorry' on the front. She wore one herself during that evening's show - probably confused the hell out of the audience!".

After chatting for a few minutes she excused herself, and went and visited a couple of other tables, where one girl - not Susan this time - nervously asked if Carol could sing a song with her, and was delighted when she said yes... even better was that she'd printed out the songs lyrics for her. Whilst the girl turned out to be a fairly average singer and player, singing the duet was fun for both of them, and the audience certainly appreciated it.

"Ok," said Carol, "I'm probably going to regret this but...  I'm probably going to be here next time, so if  anyone else would like me to sing with them, then please ask. Bring some printed lyrics with you though, it's a LOT easier than trying to read from a phone!" she added waving the sheet she'd just been singing from.

Carol went and sat down at a table where there were a couple of spare seats. As she took a mouthful of her beer, a guy came over to her table.

"Hi, mind if I join you?"

"Sure, take a seat..."


Offline Sparky

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Re: Carol
« Reply #19 on: 24. December 2022, 18:50:27 PM »
Chapter 8 - Tom, the DJ

"So, I'm Tom, I'm actually a DJ on 'Croydon Radio'," he said, as he sat down.

"Oh, hi there, Tom!" said Carol. Tom sat down, and put his drink on the table. To be honest, he was a bit in awe: whilst he had met many other musicians, CJDL were up in the premier league as far as musicians go.

"Thanks!" he continued. "Tell you what, that song you played, it was really good, quite different from what you normally do!". That was when Tom smiled, and Carol realised that he had braces. Proper metal braces, just like Jenny had (and unlike the retainers that she had). To be honest, Carol thought he was generally quite good looking, and those braces looked rather good on him, they suited him.

"Thank you! That's one of the reasons I've started coming here, it lets me try out playing different stuff. A couple of weeks ago I played some CJDL stuff I was working on, and it went down well, so that's why I did the 'update'. But that third one was one I was  working on with Linda the other week. So you're with Croydon Radio then! What sort of show do you have then?"

"I do the mid-afternoon show, so predominantly chart stuff, and yes, before you ask, I DO play your stuff!"

"A man of taste then! But the question is: whilst you may play our stuff, do you actually like it? And please be as honest as possible, I'll promise not to hold your music tastes against you!"

"Ok... well, whilst I wasn't too keen on your early stuff, I really like the newer stuff you've been doing. I believe that was Jenny's doing..."

"Yeah, she went and fell for a guy that didn't really know about our music, he likes indie rock stuff, and when Jenny listened to what he likes, her brain just seemed to go 'boom'! Looking back on it, I'm actually quite glad, we couldn't have stayed with what we had been doing for ever."

"True, although I suspect you lost a few fans as a result..."

"But gained even more new ones on the way! And to answer a question you've not yet asked: yes, I do like the way things are going, but it's going to be interesting to see what happens if we can get Linda actively writing some stuff for us. Anyway, someone like you would never come to join someone like me unless there was something that they wanted!"

"Guilty as charged, I'm afraid! I was wondering... is there ANY chance... that I could persuade you to come and do an interview for my show sometime?"

"Hmmm...". Carol picked up her glass, and took another drink from it as she thought... and once again she took another look at his braces. In principle, there was no reason why she couldn't do an interview: if she had been Jenny, she would have jumped at the idea, but Jenny was so much more used to doing that sort of thing. "Ok, so I'm not going to say no, but... can I have a listen to your show first, get a feel for what it's like?"

"Sure, of course you can. And I'll promise to be very nice to you when I interview you! Here, let me give you my details, then you can just call me. And if I don't hear anything, I'll just come here in a couple of weeks time, and annoy you again!".

"Don't worry, I promise I'll call you! So, what do you think of the music this evening?"

"Quite a mix, isn't it? You and Kevin are both very good, but there's also a few beginners here too... but I love the way you're willing to go and sing with them.."

"Yes, that's actually good fun. It's something I can do to encourage them, it reminds me of where I started out."

"You're local, aren't you?"

"Yeah, we all are. Jenny, Dianne and I met at the local 6th form college, and got together as a band for our annual college concert. Linda was there too, but in the year below us."

"Oh, wow, I hadn't actually realised that...". The guy who was on stage finished playing, and Steve, the sound guy, called out that Carol and Susan were next.

"Sorry, got to perform again!" said Carol. Like Carol, Susan had already sung a few songs by herself, but Carol had agreed to do a duet with her.


----

The next day, Carol made a point of listening to Tom's show on Croydon Radio. He sounded rather good, and quite relaxed, talking to the listeners as if they were good friends. Maybe because he knew she would probably be listening, he played out an interview he'd done with someone a few months before - it seemed to be a very pleasant and relaxed interview.

Carol called Brian (Jenny's dad, their manager), just to check he didn't have a problem with her going on the radio, then after the show ended, she called Tom.

"Hi, Tom, it's Carol here, from last night..."

"Hey, Carol, thanks for calling back so soon. I don't suppose you listened to my show, did you?"

"Yes, I did. And whilst I'd be happy to come and do an interview with you, I have something else that I think you might prefer, but I need to ask a question first."

"Oh, what's that then?"

"Is there enough space to bring a guitar?"

"Yeah, there's plenty of space in Studio 1..."

"And how about, rather than just doing an interview, I join you for your whole show?"

"You kidding me? All 3 hours?"

"Why not, it could be fun for both of us, and I'm sure your listeners would enjoy it."

"In principle, I love the idea! I'll need to run it past my bosses, but I suspect they'll be ok with it. Apart from that minor detail, when would you like to come along?"

"Well, it's not like I'm actually 'working' at the moment, so I can make pretty much any day..."

"Ok, so how about one day next week? We can talk again to work out which day, but it will give us time to sort everything out."

Offline Sparky

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Re: Carol
« Reply #20 on: 06. January 2023, 17:17:24 PM »
So, I'm taking a short rest from my "Invasion from the 8th realm" story, to let my brain have some more 'thinking time', so while I do that, let's find out a bit more about what Carol is up to...

----------------------------------------

Chapter 9 - on the radio

"Well, good afternoon everyone, and welcome to 'Afternoon-time' here on Croydon Radio. And if you've been listening to us this morning, then you'll know I have a special guest with me in the studio today. She's actually going to be with us for the whole show, so we're going to have plenty of chance to chat together. But before we introduce her, let's play you a song that's currently at number 4 in the charts....."

Carol sat there looking at Tom as he completed the first link of his show. She had liked his voice when she had first met him at the open mic night, but his 'on-air' voice was so sexy!

She had arrived most of an hour before the show: she had brought along a load of audio clips which they might want to use during the show, stuff recorded while creating their songs. She's also brought her acoustic guitar, so they needed to set up the mic for that too. They had spent some of that time discussing what they might talk about.

"A new one there from Elton and Britney: 'Hold me closer'. Well, it's time to introduce my guest. Let's just keep it simple: she's one of the members of the chart-topping girl band CJDL... I'm absolutely delighted to welcome Carol Danvers to the show. Hello there, Carol!"

"Hello Tom! You know, I'm actually looking forward to the next three hours... normally when we do an interview it's a bit like an SAS raid: in quick, spend a few minutes talking, then goodbye. Maybe today we can take things more gently, and let everyone learn a bit more about the REAL me...."

"I'm really looking forward to that. Why don't we get in the mood by listening to your last single... it's still just about in the charts....."

....

"So, when I asked you earlier if there were any topics I should avoid, you said no....". In fact, the only thing they had agreed not to mention was her singing at The Crown, otherwise a rather pleasant regular event might get a bit over-busy.

"Yeah, if you only have 5 minutes to talk, then certain things can very easily get mis-understood, but we've got plenty of time today, so I'm happy to talk about pretty much anything, and I know you have a long list there..."

Tom laughed. "Well, I have to be prepared, don't I? Ok, so I thought I'd start by getting you to give us a potted history of your life.... so, I believe you're actually a local girl?"

"Yeah, I was born over in Wallington, went to Harris Junior, then the County Grammar, then off to Croydon College..."

"Yeah, that's definitely local! So, when was it you first realise that you liked music?"

"Oh, from a very young age. I used to LOVE singing at primary school, and I was even able to sing in tune! Any concert, I would be there, singing my heart out. Same when I moved on to secondary school... Of course, in secondary school, I was able to learn to PLAY music too...."

"So I'm guessing that's where you first met Jenny and Dianne then?"

"No, not really. Jenny was in a different class, and Dianne was actually at a different school.... it wasn't till I went to 6th form college that I really met up with Jenny and Dianne"

Over the next half hour, in between bits of music, Carol gave a potted history of her life, and the band's life while they were at college.

"So, what about your parents in all this? You never seem to talk about your parents..."

"I think I've just wanted to protect them from all the press attention. So, my dad is an accountant at a big accountancy firm. Mum also used to be an accountant - till they married and had us kids. They met at work, but mum became a full-time mum when she had my sister, Rosie. After having us two, she did a lot of great stuff in the community. Rosie's 4 years older than me, got married when I was 18, so she was..... twenty two, I was finishing at college. She now has a couple of really lovely kids, and whilst we don't get to meet up in person that much - she's up in Leicester now - we keep in touch, and get on well....."

"So, have your parents always supported your life of music?"

"Not all the time, no. There were a few harsh words exchanged after my year at music college... We left college so full of hope and enthusiasm, but that wasn't enough."

"What do you mean?"

"We had problems getting gigs, and trying to get ourselves a record contract.  We were all working part-time, I worked in a couple of shops, then a café. Eventually we got a residency at a holiday camp for several months, that was actually good for us. Finally after that we got ourselves a record contract: Jenny's mum & dad were already acting as our managers, so they made sure the record company didn't rip us off."

"Ok... so you got a record contract... I guess that led to you recording your first record? How did it do?"

"It bombed, got nowhere near the charts. That was a really low point for us. But the record company seemed to like us, so we got a second chance, and they pushed it a lot more: that one made the top 40, so they let us do yet another one, which got up to number 5. That felt really good, plus the record company was VERY happy! And it got us noticed too, that's when we started getting on TV, doing interviews and playing our song."

"Then your next one made number one!"

"Yeah, that was a very good day for us! Made up for the many not so good days we'd had on the way there. Overnight, life went from being reasonably busy to going completely crazy!"

"I bet! Of course, that then led to further hits, and a couple of tours.... Ok, let's leave it there just for the moment, and listen to some music....". Tom introduced the next bit of music. "You ok with how things are going?" asked Tom, off-air.

"Yeah, I'm fine, absolutely fine...".

"Can we go back to your mum and dad, then maybe chat about your ex-boyfriend?"

In any other interview, she would have said no, but Tom was being really relaxed about things, letting her explain stuff, without any pressure. Besides, he sounded very sexy, and looked rather sexy too. It was mainly when he smiled, showing off his metallic teeth.

"And we're back chatting with Carol, from CJDL. Carol, you said your parents weren't too happy with you becoming a musician... can you explain a bit for us?"

"There was a bit of a feeling that 'music isn't a proper job'... and 'how can you hope to live as a musician?' 'Musicians are poor', that sort of stuff. And in the early days, they were right, we were struggling. Of course, the joke of it now is that I'm probably responsible for generating far more money for people around me than my dad ever could. You know, when we're out on tour, we're keeping all the stage crew in jobs, then there's all the venue staff, and the hotels and restaurants near the venues and even local transport... they all stay in business because of bands like us. Having said that, without all those amazing people, we'd be nothing!"

"So your parents are ok with things now?"

"Yes, although I thing they sometimes still struggle to understand exactly what we do. They could probably cope better if I had any sort of 9 to 5 job." Carol chuckled. "Maybe next time we're on tour, I should take them along for a couple of days, let them see what we actually do."

"Yes, I suspect they might get a bit of a shock, I know it can be hard work when you're on tour. Now, while the music was playing earlier, I mentioned your boyfriend, your ex-boyfriend should I say - John wasn't it?"

"Yeah, John and I met soon after we finished at music school. We lived together for a couple of years, we had a really good relationship...."

"So what happened? I believe you don't have a boyfriend right now..."

"It was just before our first tour, he was having problems coping with my new lifestyle, you know, all the media attention and stuff, and to be honest I can't blame him. I chose this life, but he didn't. It was actually a reasonably amicable break-up. Hey, tell you what, John, if you're listening, get in touch, it would be nice to say 'hi' again! Even if you have a girlfriend, just bring her with you!". As she was talking about John, she was subconsciously looking at Tom. Well, more at his metal smile.

They continued talking between the music, and the first hour passed very quickly.

"And welcome back to 'Afternoon-time' here on Croydon Radio, with me Carol Danvers! Oh, and Tom's here too...."

"Thank you, Carol..." said Tom slightly laughing, letting Carol see his attractive smile once more. "So Carol has brought her guitar with her, so we thought we'd stop talking for a bit, and let Carol play us something!"

"Yes, I think you guys understand how important music is in my life. So, whilst Jenny usually writes the music, and then Dianne and I work on the words, this is one where I've written both the music and the words. It's still a bit of a work in progress, so it doesn't really have a title yet...."

Carol started to strum her guitar gently, then started singing. As she finished, Tom, and the two others in the studio clapped their appreciation.

"Hey, Linda, if you're listening in, call the station... and if you're NOT listening in, then why aren't you?". Carol and Tom talked for a bit more.

"Ah just got a message to say that there's someone on the phone for you...." said Tom. "Hello Linda?"

"Hello there Tom, I assume Carol can hear me?"

"Hi Linda! Yes, I can. Hey, go get your guitar, then put your phone on speaker....."

"Already ahead of you on that one..... I have a feeling you'd like to play something together?"

"Yeah, how about that one we wrote together the other week... up for it?"

"Sounds like fun..."

"Well, you lead, and I'll follow you, because I suspect you won't be able to hear me once you start playing!". It was very clear that Carol and Linda were enjoying themselves.

"So, Linda, welcome to the show! Carol said you've been trying to write some music together...."

"Yeah, so up till I started working with the girls, I was a session musician, so played other people's music. When I started working with.... no, wrong word! When I started PLAYING with CJD, whilst I was helping them 'tweak' their songs, I still wasn't writing. So Carol invited me over to make me write something."

"Well, from the sound of what you just played, I'd say it went ok!"

"Thanks, Tom. And Carol will be very happy to hear that her jump-start has inspired me, I'm working on another song at the moment!"

"Oooh, nice, look forward to hearing it" said Carol.

"So, Linda, you're the 'new girl', how does that feel?"

"It's not as bad as you might think. For a start, I knew Carol, Jenny and Dianne when they were in the upper sixth: I was in the year below them - back then they called themselves 'just 3 girls' - so we had met before. And then, before I officially joined the band, I'd been working with them for most of six months. But I still feel like I'm 'the new girl' a tiny bit!"

"I was talking with Carol earlier about how her parents reacted to her becoming a musician, can I ask how your parents have reacted?"

"Yes, I heard that. In many ways I think it was easier for my parents: I gently eased into being a session musician and singer whilst doing other work, then I started playing full-time with the girls, and then going on tour with them... I think that gave mum and dad a chance to get used to my new lifestyle."

"And have YOU got used to it yet?"

"It's not really kicked in yet! I guess I started to get used to it on the tour."

"Any brothers or sisters?"

"I have a younger sister, so early 20's, and when she heard that I'd joined CJDL, she went absolutely wild! She was so pleased for me."

"Ok, so a slight change of tack: who do you listen to when you're not listening to CJDL then?"

"Oooh, good question. Ed Sheeran, Billie Eilish.... oh, and Aziya is someone new I just started to listen to."

"Yes, I've heard of her. Tell you what though, I've got some Billie Eilish here, let's take a short break and listen to her latest song...."

Tom had another brief chat with Linda, before she left, then Tom asked Carol about her musical tastes.

"Oh, I hate to admit it, but I like Ed Sheeran too. Then I guess there's people like Taylor Swift and Rihanna. I mean, there's some really great singers and groups around right now..."

"So, if someone were to walk through that door, and offer to sing with you, who would it be?"

"Oh, definitely Ed Sheeran!". As Tom smiled at Carol's response, once again she took a look at the lovely shiny metal that adorned Tom's teeth.

Offline Sparky

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Re: Carol
« Reply #21 on: 07. January 2023, 23:10:45 PM »
Chapter 10 - still on the radio


They continued chatting, as well as playing music, both were enjoying the show.

"So, while that last record was playing, you pulled out a small audio recorder, and started playing your guitar..."

"Yup, inspiration hit me, want to hear it?"

"Of course....."

Carol started strumming again... "I'm on the radio today.... la la la.... I'm in Studio One, playing this song.... la la la......". She played a bit more, then stopped. "I need to get Jenny, or maybe Linda, to look at the tune there.... who knows, maybe it will be our next number one?"

Just then, the studio door opened - which is something that should never happen, not when someone in the studio is live on air - and in walked Jenny, followed by Ben.

"Jenny!!! Ben!! What are you guys doing here? I guess I should explain to the listeners that my band-mate, Jenny, has just this moment walked into the studio, with her fiance Ben!". Jenny walked over to Carol's microphone.

"We heard you on the radio, so thought maybe we should drop by and say hello!"

"Jenny, Ben, welcome to the show.... what an unexpected surprise! Let me play some music while we get you guys sorted out!" said Tom.

One of the other guys at the station found another couple of microphones on stands for Jenny and Ben, and they all lined up opposite Tom.

"You're listening to Croydon Radio, I'm Tom Daly, and with me today is Carol Danvers, along with a couple of surprise guests who have just dropped by, Jenny, one of Carol's band-mates, and her fiance, Ben. Hey, Jenny, could I ask you a question?"

"Sure, fire away..."

"The story is that you and Ben met through a dating app... is that actually true?". Tom knew it was, because Carol had already told him when they were at the pub, but it made for a good opening question.

"Absolutely! We'd just finished our first tour last year, and were all having a few weeks down-time... partly to recover from actually doing the tour, but also to give us a chance to start working on some new material. I was getting a bit bored, so put my profile up on a dating app..."

"Something tells me that it did NOT say 'pop-star wishes to meet'....!" said Tom, smiling, showing off his metal.

"No, it was pretty non-descript" explained Jenny.

"If I remember right, it was something like '24, works in an office, but likes music, films and being with people'. Which, in hindsight, was actually the truth," added Ben, "Jennifer didn't actually tell any lies... she just left a lot out! I mean 'works in an office'??!!".

"Well, that's true! I have an office where I write my music....." said Jenny. "And don't forget the picture!".

"Yes, her picture, whilst rather nice, was NOT of 'Jennifer, the pop star'!

"So you had no idea who she was when you met her?"

"None at all. I'm not into the sort of stuff CJD were doing back then, so I'd never seen her picture or anything. Besides, Jennifer is actually very good at making herself not look like herself, if you know what I mean! But she looked rather cute in her picture."

"So when DID you find out who she really was?"

"About two weeks later!"

"Yeah, the famous 'gig'..." said Carol.

"Do explain..." asked Tom

"Through Ben, Jenny had met a small local rock band, Three-Play, and ended up playing a couple of songs with them at a local pub." explained Carol. "Of course, her performance was simply perfect! That was the first time I actually met Ben: Dianne and I were at that gig too, hiding in the audience with Ben. And I guess that's where Dianne first met Mike, her current boyfriend - he's Three Play's drummer. Anyway, after the performance she pulled off that night, there was no way she could keep her identity secret from Ben any more!"

"Yeah, that was a fun night. So intimate compared to where we normally play," commented Jenny.

"I'm guessing you were a bit shocked by that revelation, Ben?"

"A bit, yes! But it suddenly explained a lot of things."

"Now, earlier on when I was asking Carol about her ex-boyfriend, she told me that they split up because of the band's fame - that doesn't worry you?"

"No, not too much... I've discovered that these guys are actually amazingly normal people underneath. Also, Jennifer sort-of shields me from the worst of it. I still work part-time, my boss has been really good about giving me time off to be able to be with Jennifer. "

"Which reminds me, Ben..." said Jenny, "you're going to need some more time off... Carol, want to hear some hot-off-the-press, not yet confirmed news? But whatever you don't tell anyone, especially anyone listening in on the radio!" She whispered that last bit loudly, with a big grin, fully aware that they were, indeed, live on air.

"Go on..." said Carol with a smile, and also whispering loudly. "I'm I'm all ears, and I'm sure noone else is listening!"

"How do you fancy a trip to Korea?" asked Jenny.

"Korea? I hope you mean SOUTH Korea? What's happening?"

"So, remember that song we did ages ago, 'Sexy Yellow Rollerskates'? Anyway, we tweaked it a few months ago for a K-pop girl group, and they've gone and made number 2 with it in Korea! And they're expecting it to make number 1 next week. So their production company have just been in touch with dad - oh, for Tom's sake, I should explain that my dad is our manager - and they would like us to go over there to perform on TV with them."

"And when might this be?" asked Carol.

"Probably next week... So, what do you think?" asked Jenny.

"So we get to be a K-Pop band?" Carol started to giggle. "Oh, yes! Definitely yes!!!" she added very excitedly.

"I will admit, I hadn't thought of that angle - it's gonna be a bit like we were a year ago, with our older music, won't it? I think we could have some fun over there!" said Jenny.

"Actually, your saying that raises a question:" interrupted Tom, "after your first tour, your music style started to change - what caused that then?" Whilst he knew the answer - again, Carol had told him at the pub - it was a good question for the listeners.

"Ben!" said both Carol and Jenny in unison.

"Ben?"

"Yes, not only was Ben definitely not into girl bands, but it turned out he WAS into indie-rock and that sort of stuff, so I started to listen to some of HIS music. BOOM! My head just exploded with ideas! So, yeah, blame Ben!". Jenny leaned over and gave Ben a big hug.

"So I'm guessing that's related to the gig you guested at, with Darkest Knights?"

"That was a special birthday treat for Ben! He absolutely loves Darkest Knights, but I couldn't get any normal tickets to their gigs, so my brother Callum got some back-stages. One thing led to another, and I got the band, along with the crowd of over 10,000, to sing 'Happy Birthday' to Ben! Then I played a couple of songs with the band!" explained Jenny.

"That was quite a night!" said Ben. "Not only did I meet the band, but then Jennifer went and played with them. The best birthday present ever!"

"Sounds fun! Let's just pause there for a moment, and play some more music. You're listening to Afternoon Time on Croydon Radio, with me, Tom Daly, along with my special guests, Carol, Jenny and Ben...".

"Korea?" asked Carol, "You for real?"

"Oh, absolutely... sounds like you're definitely up for it."

"Yeah, so where we staying? And who's the band that's got the hit with our song?"

"Oh, come on Carol, I only found out about it like 30 minutes ago! We all need to get together and discuss it. With Korea being something like 7 hours ahead, we need to do an early morning call tomorrow. Anyway, we can talk about it more after you've finished here."

The record ended. "Ok, so I just added 2 questions to that long list I created before the show. The first one is to Ben: I noticed that, whilst everyone else calls her Jenny, you call her Jennifer? Any particular reason?"

"Yes... when Jennifer made her post on the now infamous dating app, she did it as Jennifer. Then, when we met, I continued calling her Jennifer... she never corrected me, and I guess it's the name that's now stuck in my head. Besides, I rather like it!"

"And so do I!" added Jenny. "He's actually the only person who calls me that name, and I'm not planning to tell him to stop any time soon!"

"Ok.. so the other question: you just mentioned about maybe going to Korea: have you actually played abroad before? I apologise, I really should have checked on that..."

"It's ok, we'll forgive you!" said Carol. "And the answer is actually yes, on our first tour, which seems so long ago now, we did several dates over in Europe... The Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Germany and a couple of other places too."

"Do you actually ENJOY the touring?" asked Tom.

"That's a hard one to answer. There's good bits and bad bits. The good bits are when you're on stage, actually performing, that's when we come alive... but also when we meet our fans. The not-so-good bits are having to live in hotels, living out of a suitcase, moving on every day or two. I know Jenny struggles with that bit..."
 
"I hear you have quite a good reputation for being willing to meet your fans..."

"That's mainly Jenny's doing, but yes, it's actually rather nice to meet them in small groups. Jenny's the one that does the social media, and organises most of the meets, but she's trained them well: they know that, as long as they behave themselves, we'll chat with them, and do selfies with them. One of the best bits is when we're staying in a hotel for a couple of nights, and we can organise a 'fans breakfast', for any fans staying over at the hotel."


After chatting for a little more, Jenny and Ben left Carol to continue the show with Tom. In the third hour of the show, Tom got a few callers on the phone, and a few questions online too, and Carol answered their questions.


"Well, sadly time has just flown today, and we're at the end of our time. Carol, thank you so much for coming along and chatting to me, it's been a realy interesting and enjoyable afternoon!" said Tom, starting to wind up the show.

"Yeah, I've enjoyed it too, I hope your listeners weren't too bored!"

"I'm sure they weren't! So thanks to all our listeners for joining in today. After the news, Brian Smith will be with you, and I'll be back with you again tomorrow at 1 o'clock, see you all then...", and he started his last record.

A few minutes later, with the news going out, they were done. A middle-aged lady walked in to the studio.

"Ah, this is Anna, our 'Head of programming'. Anna, meet Carol."

"Nice show there, Tom, well done! And nice to meet you Carol, thank you for coming in and being so open, it was amazingly interesting, picking up on your inside stories!"

Carol looked over at Tom yet again: all through the last 3 hours, she had been looking at him: he was rather good looking, a lovely smile, and what was inside that smile was good too. And his voice, that was rather nice too....

"Hey, Tom, you in a rush to get home?"

"Not especially, why?"

"Fancy going to grab a coffee somewhere?"

Offline Sparky

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Re: Carol
« Reply #22 on: 08. January 2023, 17:50:34 PM »
chapter 11 - planning for Korea


"You fancy him, don't you?" commented Jenny.

"Pardon?" replied Carol.

"Tom, at the radio station. I saw the way you kept looking at him! I will admit, he is pretty good looking, and his voice is rather nice too...."

Carol couldn't actually deny it, yes, she DID fancy Tom. Something rotten. And for the very reasons that Jenny just said. Plus, for some strange reason, she also found his braces to be strangely attractive... although she was certainly not going to admit THAT to Jenny. No, far too weird!

"Hello Carol!" said Jenny's mum. "We listened to you on the radio today - you came over VERY well. Sounds like you enjoyed yourself too!"

"Thankth... and yes, it wath quite a nicthe way to spend an afternoon.". As she spoke, she smiled enight for Jenny's mum to see a wire across her teeth.

"Oh, do have braces too?"

"Sort-of, thethe are retainerth, I need to wear them for a month or two." Carol decided to not try and explain WHY she needed them. Oh, and if you're wondering why Carol didn't lisp while she was in the radio: well, she didn't want to sound like a dick-head, nor raise any un-needed questions, and simply hadn't worn them.

So, yes, all four girls had come over to Jenny's parent's place to have dinner, and talk about going to Korea. They had all brought an overnight bag, so they could stay over, making it a lot easier for them to have an early morning conference call with the Korean production company.

Of course, come dinner time, Carol needed to remove her retainer. Still feeling a bit self-conscious about it, she went to the downstairs toilet, took advantage of being there, then put her fingers into her mouth, and pulled down on the retainer's clasps, to remove her retainer. She spent a moment looking it it: made of clear pink plastic, it had rather a lot of wires on it: as well as the normal molar clasps, there were c-clasps that went around her front pre-molars, as well as the labial bow with the strange springs on it. With the extra clasps to hold it in place, it was actually reasonably comfortable. With her retainer out, she rinsed it, then put it into the retainer box that she had in her bag.

"So," started Jenny's dad over dinner, "I had an email and then a short phone call earlier today from a company called 'MPC': they are media production company based in Seoul. One of their many groups, Jelly Fish, are the ones that wanted to record 'Sexy Yellow Rollerskates'. Anyway, they recorded it, and it seems it has gone viral, and today went straight in at number two in the charts, and they reckon it's probably going to make number one next week. They are rather hoping that you guys might be interested in going over to appear on TV, and sing the song with them."

"Oh, come on, it won't just be 'sing the song on TV', what else do they want us to do?" asked Dianne.

"From what I could gather, as much as you can in the few days you're there. They also mentioned something about maybe doing a short spot in some sort of local music festival."

"All the way to Korea for 'a few days'? If we're going, we need more time there, I want to have a look around, feel the culture. Didn't you see that TV series recently, that popular UK presenter went there, and he loved the place!" said Dianne.

"I was half thinking about that, but I was also thinking about something else too." said Carol. "These Korean production companies actually spend a lot of effort to train their kids: singing, acting, dancing and so on. What I'd love to do is spend a couple of weeks with them doing some dance training: it's been AGES since we bothered anything serious, and I think we need to 'up our game' a bit...".

"Yes, I like the idea," said Linda, "I mean, you guys have done a bit of training relatively recently, I've done nothing since college. Think they might be up for it?"

"There's no harm in asking," replied Jenny's mum, "maybe you can offer something in return? I'm thinking maybe some sort of song-writing masterclasses? Or hints and tips for anyone coming to perform in Europe?"

"Jenny, you've been uncharacteristically quiet: what's your thoughts?"

"Yes, I'd definitely like some time to see the place... although I think I'm only going to be interested if Ben can come along."

"Very fair point. And the dance classes?"

"It would be interesting to see if they are interested in that: if they are, then I'm up for it."

"And Dianne, would you want to ask Mike along?"

"If he's willing, yes."

"I'm assuming that Callum would come with us?" said Jenny.

"Yes, absolutely, and I was thinking that Paige might want to come and 'document' the visit."

"Ah, yes, 'CJDL do Korea', I bet she'd like that! Of course, if we stay longer, I guess that means they'll want us to do more stuff?" said Carol.

"Yes, and for which we will be suitably recompensed. Effectively they will be the equivalent of 'the tour company' we use when you guys are on tour, so they'll be organising everything, and the more they make, the more we make. But I also understand that it needs to be fun and interesting for you guys too. So, if you're on TV, I guess you'll want to sing?"

"Silly question, dad! Of course we will!!"

"So, what do we know about the group... Jelly Fish didn't you say?" asked Carol.

"Yes, Jelly Fish. All I know is they are like you, 4 girls, early 20's, but I was told they should be joining us on the vidconf tomorrow, so you'll have a chance to talk to them."

"Yeah, I mean, if we don't get on with them, or if they don't speak good English, it's gonna be a bit of a bummer! Any mention yet about where we'll stay?"

"I'll make sure the hotel is good, don't worry..."

"Korea's quite a long flight, I think we should be insisting on going first class!"

"Yes, I was rather assuming that too. We managed in business class for the short European flights on your first tour, but we were on a tight budget back then. But no, I agree about going first class. Anything else coming to mind that we need to ask?"

"A couple of practical things:" said Callum, "we'll need interpreters pretty much all the time. Local mobiles. Transport easily available. Decent WiFi wherever we are."

"Good thoughts there... anything else?"

"Well, if they want the girls to preform live, then we'd need to think about instruments: I mean, taking guitars isn't a big deal, but not keyboards or drums. Also headset mics and that sort of thing - from what I've seen, they tend to use hand mics."

"Good comment, let's see if that becomes relevant first, and if it does, then you can liaise with them on the details."

"Definitely going to need my audio recorder," said Jenny, "I have a feeling that the change of surroundings is going to inspire me!"

"Maybe Linda will get a bit more inspired too...." said Carol.

"Hey, stop picking on me!" replied Linda.

"Not picking on you at all! You proved today, when we played together on the radio, that you can write good stuff, so soak in what Korea can give you, maybe work with Jenny too. I think you've got some good stuff inside you!"

Offline Sparky

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #23 on: 12. January 2023, 18:46:22 PM »
Chapter 12 - the video-conference call

"Hello, can you hear us ok?" asked an asian voice in very clear English. The same as where the girls were, in asia a whole group of people were gathered around a table

"Yes we can." replied Brian (that's Jenny's dad).

"Oh, good. So, I'm Kim De-Jung, we spoke on the phone yesterday!"

"Ah, yes, hello, I'm Brian, Brian Stevens, this is my wife Lisa, we manage CJDL. Would you like everyone to introduce themselves?"

"Why not, that sounds like a good idea!".

The four girls introduced themselves. "And this is my brother, Callum, he looks after anything technical for us... and this here is Paige, she does anything that's media related for us. By the way, she asked me to check that you don't mond her filming us all: if we come over to Korea, she wants to film us, with the view of putting together a program of 'CJDL does Korea!'"

"Well, thank you, and nice to meet you. And no problem with you filming there, Paige!  So, I have the 4 girls from Jelly Fish here with me..." The four girls from Jelly Fish introduced themselves: Ahnjong, Min Jee, Taeyang, and Yun Hee.

"Nice to meet you all!" shouted our four girls: everyone was smiling.

"So, I'm assuming from the fact that you are all here today, that you are definitely interested in coming here to perform with Jelly Fish?"

"Yes, we all talked about it last night," replied Brian, "And the girls are pretty much up for anything you'd like them to do while they are in Korea. However, Carol came up with something, and I think as it was her idea, I'll let her explain..."

"Yeah, can I start by you a question, De-Jung: would I be right in saying that you guys run a sort of 'training school' to train up people like Jelly Fish to be performers?"

"Yes, we do..."

"So, I was thinking that it was silly to come all the way over to Korea for just a week. So I was wondering if there was any way we could come to your 'school' for a couple of weeks and do some dance and choreography lessons?" 

"Oh, yes, that's a very interesting idea! I have no idea if it's possible, but leave it with me, and I'll ask."

"We were thinking that maybe the girls could pay for their 'tuition' by giving some masterclasses of some sort to your students, share their own experience. And of course, if they are there for longer, that gives you more opportunities for extra TV appearances, and that sort of thing." said Lisa.

"Yes, I can see a lot of possibilities, and a lot of positives, I'll go and talk to people about it, and get back to you as soon as possible. I guess I'll need to speak with you, Brian and Lisa, about the money side of things, but I think whatever we can do with be worthwhile for all of us. Ok, so next, I have a question about your accommodation...."

"Yes, go on...."

"So, the obvious option is for you all to stay in a suitable hotel, but there is another option, and if you are going to be here for a few weeks, I think you'll like this. Yun Hee, maybe you can explain the idea?"

"Hi everyone! So, all four of us share an apartment, it's provided by the company, and it's really quite nice, we each have a large room, and there's a lounge and a kitchen area we all share. And at the moment, there's an empty apartment next door to ours, and we thought you might like to stay there instead. I think you might prefer it to a hotel, plus then we could all spend time together, have breakfast and dinner together, that sort of thing!"

Our four girls looked at each other: clearly the idea was very appealing.

"How big is the apartment?" asked Brian.

"I think it's the same as ours, so 5 bedrooms..." said Yun Hee.

"Yes, 5 bedrooms, they can be either doubles or twins: would that work for you?" said De-Jung.

"One for me and Ben... one for Dianne and Mike, one each for Linda and Carol, so  that's four...  so that leaves just one for Callum and Paige... that's one short!"

"Hey, Linda, fancy sharing?" suggested Carol. "that way there'd be a room each for Callum and Paige"

"Yeah, why not... as long as you don't snore...." replied Linda.

"It sounds like the girls like that idea!" replied Brian.

"Oh, that's great!" said Yun Hee.

"Mum, dad: Sorry, I guess you two will just have to 'slum it' at a nice five-star hotel!" said Jenny.

"Yes, there's a hotel not far away from the apartment. I'll follow that up for you. So, the next thing on my list was the festival appearance: we've tentatively persuaded the organisers to give you a 30 minute slot: is that going to be ok? To be honest, we were lucky to get even that at such a late stage as this."

"I'm ok with that," said Carol. "what about you guys?". Everyone was happy with the idea: yes it was a very short set, but he was right, at this late stage they were lucky to even get a slot. "I guess Callum will need to talk to someone about what we'll need on the technical side?"

"Yes, I'll give Brian the contact details for that. Ok, next... ah yes, flights: you said there's 10 of you in total didn't you? We've reserved 10 first class seats on the Korean Air flight out of London on Sunday afternoon, so you'd be here on Monday afternoon: does that work for you?"

"Most probably. We can all discuss it, and get back to you if there's a problem."

"Ok, that's good. The actual TV appearance will be live, on the Thursday evening, so that gives you time to recover from the flight, then the girls have suggested that maybe you can work on your dance routine on the Wednesday and Thursday?" said De-Jung.

"Don't worry," said Taeyang, "there will be plenty of time to other things those two days too!"

"So, is there anything else you need to ask us?" asked De-Jung.

"I have a couple of things. First of all, none of us speak Korean, we'll need interpreters..."

"Yes, good point. Luckily we all speak good English, so that will help, but I'm sure we can make sure there's always someone around, maybe some of our students can help?"

"That sounds good. Another thing was transport: with 10 of us, plus several of you..... that's a lot of taxis..."

"No problem, we have contacts we use a lot that have small busses, we can usually get them quite quickly... we use them for the bands a lot."

"Ok, yes, that sounds good. And mobile phones: any chance you can lend us some local phones for us all to use while we are there?"

"I'm sure Samsung would love to give you some of their latest phones, leave that with me!" said De-Jung with a smile. "Anything else?"

"Not at the moment, but I'm sure we'll think of things..."

"Of course, just let me know. Ok, why don't I go and see if I can talk to something about you four coming to our school... while I do that, I suspect the girls might like to get to know each other...".

For the next half hour, the 8 girls, plus Callum and Paige all chatted, exchaging WhatsApp and Zoom details, then De-Jung re-appeared.

"Ok, good news: I've spoken to our school, and they would be very happy to give CJDL some dance training, and they also like your idea of sharing their experience with the students: it's not often we get someone that can share their knowledge of what happens in Europe... we can discuss the details of all that over the next few days, and even after you get here."

"Yes, that's great news!" said Carol.

Offline Sparky

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #24 on: 20. January 2023, 17:17:54 PM »
chapter 13 - 'We're going to Korea!!'

"Oh, goody," said Dianne, "I have an excuse to buy some new clothes!"

"Absolutely!" said Jenny. "Hey, Linda, now you're a full member of the team, you need to get a few more clothes in your wardrobe too... so fancy coming shopping with me?"

Carol wasn't at all surprised by their comments, those two enjoyed any excuse to buy new outfits for when they would be 'out on display'. But Dianne did actually have a good point: they would be using this 'mini-tour' to get themselves publicity: they were currently pretty unknown in Korea, so it wouldn't take all THAT much effort to up their online sales.

Jenny turned to Carol. "So, they like your idea of us doing some dance lessons... and I must admit, I'm looking forward to it: you're right, we really do need a good 'refresher'!".  Carol smiled: it was nice to get such positive feedback from Jenny. "Hey, Carol, why don't you have your retainers in?"

"God, you sound just like my mum used to be: 'Did you remember to brush your teeth properly? Don't forget you need to brush your retainers too. Why aren't you wearing your retainers?'" said Carol in a silly voice. Jenny was right though, she should put them back in, so she found her bag, and took out the retainer box, and opened it.

"Wow, those are fancy retainers!" commented Dianne, who happened to see them as Carol opened the box.

"Yes, they are. I noticed one of my teeth seemed like it had moved a tiny bit - I'd broken my old retainer trying to put it in - so I went and saw Jenny's ortho. He gave me these, they have some extra clasps to hold it in place, and these springs are applying a bit of pressure to hopefully move the tooth back. However, not had them long, so I still have a lisp - which is why I left them out. I didn't want to sound like a teenage dork!". Carol by now had the retainers in her hand, and she put them into her mouth, clippinbg them into place.

"Tho, if noone has anything planned, how about we go to the muthic room and play a bit: it's been a few weekth thince we've all been together." thugethted Carol (damn, she's making ME do it now!!!).

"Yeah, I'm up for that" replied Dianne.

They spent the rest of the morning in the music room. The first thing they did was to listen to Jelly Fish's version of their old song, 'sexy yellow roller-skates': whilst it was amazingly similar to their own version, they had made a few small changes, so it made sense to make sure they could sing the new version without making any silly mistakes.

Jenny also played them a couple of ideas she's been working on, and Carol persuaded Linda to play them what she'd been working on recently.

"Tell you what, Linda..." said Jenny, "I'm liking your style.... it's pretty similar to our recent stuff, but slightly different enough to make it interesting... What I'm saying is: don't stop, keep trying out ideas! I'd really love to have someone else in the band that can write music, and I'm thinking we ought to spend a bit more time together!"

"I guess you'll have plenty of time when we're in Korea... I mean, we can only practice dancing for SO many hours each day!" said Carol.

"You know, the more I think about it, the more I'm looking forward to going to Korea," said Dianne. "We're gonna have a load of time together, staying in one place, and without the pressures of being on tour. I think we should all make a big effort to work together on some new material: I'm sure we're going to get inspired both by the place, and by their music."

Lisa, Jenny's mum, came into the music room. "Lunch is ready...."

"Oh, thanks Mrs S!" said Carol. They all went back into the main house, and into the dining room, where Jenny's mum had done them all some simple lunch. Having sat down, Carol realised that she needed to remove her retainers, but she'd actually left her bag, which contained her retainer case, out in the music room. Whilst she could have gone and got it, she didn't bother. Instead, in full view of everyone, she put her fingers into her mouth, and removed her retainers, and put them on the table, in front of her, feeling a little bit of 'excitement' as she did so, knowing that everyone else could see her retainers.

"So, Brian, has anyone told the press yet that we're definitely going to Korea?"

"No... why don't you call up your friend at the radio station, let him know... I'm sure it won't be long after that that the world knows!"

So, about an hour later, at about 1:30, Carol calls Croydon Radio, knowing that Tom will be on the air. The other 3 girls, plus Paige (who is filming all of this) are with her, and Carol has the phone on speaker, so everyone can hear..

"Hello, Croydon Radio!" said the voice that answered the phone.

"Hi, this is Carol.... Carol Danvers...." said Carol. "And you ain't gonna believe that unless I say something like 'I went out for a coffee with Tom after the show yesterday'".

"Hello Carol! Wasn't expecting to hear from you again so soon." replied the voice, "It's Ravi here..."

"Oh, hi Ravi! Look, I thought Tom might like a bit of exclusive breaking news about us going to Korea... Any chance I can speak to him?"

"Hold on Carol, I'll just have a word with him". She heard a click, then heard music, which she assumed was what they were broadcasting. Just over 20 seconds later, there was another click.

"Hi Carol..." said Tom.

"Hi Tom!" said Carol.

"Hi Tom!" said Jenny.

"Hi Tom!" said Dianne a bit louder as she was a bit further away.

"Hi Tom!" said Linda.

There was a laugh from the phone. "I'm guessing all four of you are there today? Hi everyone!". Of course, Tom was a bit chuffed: today he was talking with all four of CJDL! So how are you today?"

"Well, apart from having to get up stupidly early for a vid conf, I'm fine. I have some news, I thought you might like another bit of an exclusive...."

"I'm assuming it's about Korea?"

"Yup?"

"For broadcast?"

"Absolutely!"

"Tell you what, let me put you onto the desk, and we can have a chat in the next link... that ok with you?"

"Sure...". Another couple of clicks, and she heard music again... it was kinda like calling the local council, and being stuck on hold! At least the music was reasonable, it sounded like it was Lewis Capaldi.

"Pointless there from Lewis Capaldi, topping the charts this week. Well, remember yesterday
I had the pleasure of Carol Danvers - one of the girls from CJDL - in the studio with me for the whole show, well, she's just called me, she tells me she has some interesting news to share with us. Hello there, Carol!"

"Hello Tom!" said Carol again.

"Hi Tom" said the three other girls.

"And hello also to Jenny, Dianne and Linda, who I believe are all with you today..."

"Yeah, we're all round Jenny'th parent'th place, in the music room, it's actually the firtht time in a few weeks that we've all been together, so we were trying out a few new thongs earlier on."

"Sounds like you guys are enjoying yourselves. Now, first of all, thanks for coming in yesterday, not only did I enjoy it, but it seems many of our listeners did too."

"My pleasure!"

"So, yesterday on the show, your band-mate Jenny dropped by, and we heard you 'secretly whispering' rather loudly something about going to Korea, and I believe you've called in to give us an update?"

"Well, that'th athuming your listeners would like an excluthive bit of confirmed newth?". Carol's lisp was, by now, reasonably soft, with some words causing her more issues than others, but it would probably be another week or so before she was fully used to wearing her new retainers. (I'll stop typing her lisps now, you can just imagine them....)

"Oooh, yes, definitely...."

"So, I can officially confirm that we, that's CJDL of course, have been invited to go over to Korea: Jelly Fish - they are a K-Pop band - are currently at number 2 in the Korean charts with a single that we wrote: 'Sexy Yellow Roller-skates", and they fully expect it to be number 1 next week. And they want us to perfor m with Jelly Fish on the Chart Show program..."

"Wow! Now we spoke after the show yesterday, and you said you were hoping it would happen, so how you feeling about it?"

"Oh, yeah, it's gonna be such fun! Not only will we be performing on TV, it seems there's a small festival a couple of days later, so we're going to be playing at that too. And then we're going to stay over there for a couple more weeks, and do a bit of dance training. And I'm sure they'll line up some radio or TV appearances too." explained Carol excitedly. "It's going to be the first time we've done anything outside Europe."

"I have a feeling you guys are going to be working hard, but also having a lot of fun. So how has the press reacted so far?"

"Well, they haven't: you're the first to hear about it!"

"No way! So you're telling me that we just got an exclusive from you?"

"Yup!"

"So, let me get this right: CJDL are about to go to Korea for a few weeks, you're going to be singing one of your songs on TV with... ah, yes, Jelly Fish, then performing on stage at a festival - is that by yourselves or with Jelly Fish?"

"It seems they've squeezed us in for 30 minutes, and I guess we'll be onstage by ourselves... Jelly Fish are now one of the headliners, so I guess there's a possibility we my drop by for their set."

"I must admit, I've never actually heard of Jelly Fish, who are they?"

"Like us, there's 4 girls in the band: um, half a second...". Jenny was scribbling, and passed the paper to Carol. "So, they are Ahnjong, Min Jee, Taeyang and Yun Hee. I'd say they are a couple of years younger than us. We met them online this morning, and had a nice chat with them all, we all seemed to get on pretty well."

"Ok. So then you said something about dance training?"

"Yeah, things are a bit different over in Korea compared to here in England. They have large... I was going to say 'record companies', but they are a lot more than that, they are 'production houses': they train the kids up.... some of the kids start as young as 14... not just as singers, but as performers, dancers and actors too. So I thought it was time we brushed up on our dancing, so I asked if we could stay a bit longer, and join their dance classes. And they said yes."

"Nice one! So how you all going to cope being stuck in a hotel all that time?"

"We won't... well, Jenny's mum and dad will be, but we're going to stay in an apartment, next to the one Jelly Fish live in."

"Oh, my... what a thought: eight girls all together for... what is it, three weeks?" said Tom, laughing.

"I think it's going to be fun being all together again. Looking back over the last year, the only time we normally all get together for more than say a week, is when we're on tour together.. but then you're getting stressed... performing, and going to a new hotel every few days. This is going to be quite different. And it's going to be interesting being immersed in Korean culture - I can't wait to try out some of their street food!"

"Is it the sort of thing that's likely to inspire you to write some new stuff?"

"Hey, Tom, Jenny here... I have a feeling my head is going to explode with new ideas when I see Korea..."

"Hi there, Jenny! Hey, is Ben going with you?"

"Of course - I mean, how could I survive three weeks away from home without him there to keep me sane?"

"Well, girls, Carol, thanks for the call, and thanks for the exclusive news. Hey, make sure you call us when you're over there! In the meantime, I'd better get back to the show. That was Carol Danvers there, with the other girls from CJDL. Sounds like a prompt to play you their current single...."... Tom started the music, and there were a couple of clicks.

"Hey, Carol, ladies, thank you SO much for that!"

"No problems... it's nice to help our local station... something tells me that Ravi is about to be very busy editing that bit down, and putting it online! Hey, you free after the show again today?"

"Yes, but only if you let me buy the coffees, if that's what you were about to suggest?"

"It was... ok, I'll see you after the show!". Carol hit the 'red button' to end the call, at which point there were a few 'oooh's from the others.

"You really like him, don't you?" said Jenny. "Go on, admit it...". Carol was thinking about Tom, and that smile of his. And what was inside that smile.

"Yeah, I guess I do. I mean, it's alright for you and Dianne, you've both got someone, but Linda and I are both single. Well, I'm assuming Linda is still single?"

"Don't bring me into this!!" said Linda.

The four girls were definitely enjoying being back together again.

Offline Sparky

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #25 on: 01. February 2023, 15:39:50 PM »
Chapter 14 - More about Tom

Carol arrived at the radio station just before 4pm, when Tom's show ended. She waited outside the studio until he had switched into the news: she had noticed yesterday that those few minutes before the news seemed to be a little more stressful for Tom, probably because he needed the switch into the news to sound good, without the previous record over-running.

"Hiya!" said Carol as she walked in. Like yesterday, Carol was dressed very casually, wearing a pleasant blouse, and jeans. Her long brown hair fell nicely around her face, and down to her breasts: it's style wasn't anything special, no fringe like Jenny now had, since she got her hair cut short. Plus she wore minimal makeup... it was all part of trying to not look too much like a pop-star, and strangely, most of their fans respected this: if they were dressed up as CJDL, then they expected their fans would want their attention, but dressed like this they tended to keep their distance. And if one of their fans DID approach one of the group, they tended to be very 'cautious', and would ask very nicely. Well, most of the time!

"Hey, Carol, nice to see you again. So, you're all off to Korea... I guess you'll be busy the next few days getting ready - so when you actually flying out?"

"We fly out teatime on Thunday, tho we get there mid afternoon on the Monday." said Carol smiling. She was smiling for a couple of reasons: first, she was actually quite excited about going to Korea, in fact, the most excited she had been for a while - it's not quite so easy to get as excited about touring around the UK the second time around. And the second reason was because she'd just seen Tom's smile... and more specifically the metalwork on his teeth. "Tho, any feedback on our newth yet?"

"I don't really know, I've been stuck in the studio pretty much all the time since you rang, let's go ask Ravi.... But before we do that, I have a question: I didn't realise you had had braces recently. I mean, on the show yesterday you mentioned you had braces as a teenager..."

"That's becauthe I've not actually had braces rethently. However, a few weekth ago, I thpotted that one of my teeth seemed to have moved, and when I put my retainerth in, the top one was very tight, and I actually broke its wire. Tho I went and saw Jenny'th ortho, and he's made me a new one, with a few extra bitth on, to hopefully move the tooth back a bit."

"Ah, ok! I can hear that you still have a bit of a lisp, I guess your tongue is still getting used to it?"

"Yeah, that'th right." Carol was kinda glad Tom had mentioned her retainers, because that meant she could now ask Tom about his braces. "Tho how come you got braces ath an adult then?"

"Well.... as a teen, whilst not perfect, my teeth weren't bad enough to get braces on the NHS, but in the last couple of years, they've got worse: my ortho thinks it might be related to my wisdom teeth finally coming through. What do you think then? Do they make me look nerdy or cool?"

"They actually thuit you well, so more cool than nerd! Your brackets are tho much thmaller than mine were though, had them long?"

"About 3 months so far. I was surprised how comfortable they are, I was expecting them to catch my cheeks more: I remember back at school, the kids that did have braces always complained about that. Anyway, you going to let me buy you this coffee?"

Just like yesterday, Carol and Tom had a very pleasant chat over their coffee. Carol was telling Tom a bit more about going to Korea.

"When I rang in, you said I should call your show from Korea: you serious about that?"

"Why not? It could be fun for everyone! Assuming you're ok with it? Although rather than using the phone, we have some high-quality audio link software we use over the internet, probably better to use that."

"Ok, so what you thinking of, just a chat?"

"If you would like to sing something, or do something with the other girls, or even the Korean girls, then that's ok too: the feedback we've had after yesterday's show was surprisingly positive, and to be honest, it's nice to do something that not just 'play another record' or 'read out about a local event'. Yesterday became quite 'personal', and people seemed to connect with that. I mean, Linda calling up, then Jenny and Ben dropping by, that was such fun, and was great radio!"

"Yes, I enjoyed the afternoon myself too... as you say, it was something different.". Carol was thinking that whilst Tom now knew quite a bit about her, she knew very little about him. But should she ask him? It's really the sort of stuff you find out when you're in a relationship, although maybe she could ask some simple stuff now. "You know, you know loads about me, but apart from your name, and what you look like, and the fact you work at Croydon Radio, I know nothing about you..." she said, slightly nervously.

"Well, my name is Tom, Thomas Aaron Sharpe. I'm 23, I was born and brought up in West London, but moved down to Croydon last year, to work on Croydon Radio. I have a brother who's a couple of years younger than me. Dad works at the council, mum is... well, a mum, she helps out at a local charity. How's that for a potted biog?"

As Tom spoke, Carol looked at him: she didn't understand why, but his braces looked... well, both cute and sexy.

"Definitely VERY potted! Come on, tell me a bit more. Like... um... what sports did you do at school?.... what do you do in your spare time? That sort of stuff..."

"Well, at school I played soccer: I wasn't great at it, but I enjoyed it. Of course, in summer we all did a bit of athletics too. What do I do in my spare time? I sometimes go and join in the 5km Park Run on a Saturday morning, but I socialise with a few people I've met, also play games with them."

"As in online games?"

"Some of that, but we quite enjoy silly games - for example, you ever played 'Dobble'?"

"No... what is is?"

"A very simple, but fun, card game. When you're back from Korea, I'll show you...".

The two of them chatted for a bit longer, with Tom telling Carol a bit more about himself.

"Well, I need to go get some food to cook myself some dinner" said Carol.

"You cook? You don't go out for dinner?"

"Of course I cook! It's bad enough when we're on tour, having to eat a mix of really crap stuff and rich hotel and restaurant food... it's not healthy to eat out so much, so yeah, I cook. Tell you what, when I'm back from Korea, I'll cook you dinner..."

"So what do you do? Sausages? Fish fingers? Ready meals?"

"Yes, all of those, but most of the time it's a bit healthier, like a casserole, or chops and a load of veg.... Ok, yeah, sometimes a pizza or a chinese...". Tom smiled: Carol actually sounded to be surprisingly normal.

-----

The rest of the week, and the weekend flew by, there was so much to do. We may joke about 'Carol needing to buy some new clothes' but if she was going to be seen in public a lot over the next 4 weeks, she needed a load more clothes. When you're on tour, you're either sleeping, relaxing with the rest of the band, rehearsing / doing sound checks or performing, and only occasionally 'going out'. The trip to Korea was going to be quite different, they would be on TV, mixing with people, going out and all that sort of thing. Their actual performing would be pretty minimal.

While the girls  made sure they had enough clothes, Callum and his dad were working out the practicalities of travelling: getting the girls guitars ready to go on the plane to Korea, getting a load of SD cards for the cameras, and hard drives to copy the video too (if you remember, Paige was going to video the girls, for a 'CJDL do Korea'), spare cameras, lightweight tripods and so on.

Plus Callum needed to make sure that there was a suitable drumkit for Dianne, and keyboards for Jenny, for the festival they were playing, along with headset mics.... it's amazing how much needs to be done!

Whilst they would all have liked to fly first class over to Korea, the reality was that first class is STUPIDLY expensive, plus there's only 8 first class seats on the plane, so they were all booked into 'Prestige Class' seats, which were almost as good, and luckily still gave them 2 quite large suitcases each. All the tech kit & instruments had to be booked in seperately, and paid for extra. Mind you, most of the girls still had problems squeezing everything into two large suitcases!

Carol called Tom on the Saturday morning. "Hey, what you doing today?" she asked him.

"Not a lot...."

"Well, I need to do a bit more shopping for our trip, so why don't you come and have lunch with me... My treat..."

To be honest, Tom was slightly surprised. Having a cup of coffee with Carol after his show was one thing, but this was a step up from that, and it raised a few questions. Tom actually enjoyed chatting with Carol, he was enjoying her company, but was Carol the sort of girl that he fancied? That was a difficult one, he'd never dated a pop star before! But at a personal level, as 'Carol the person', she was someone he would certainly consider dating. It was the other 80% he knew little about. Carol the pop star. Carol all dressed up for her fans. Maybe he was just thinking too much about things? Carol was probably just being friendly. yes, that was it...

"Ok, sounds like it could be nice..."

Lunch was actually rather nice for both of them: much of what they talked about was the trip to Korea, and how Carol really MUST call into his show while she was there.

"I need to get a couple more bits, you're welcome to come along with me if you like... and if you do, but you get bored, you can leave at any time..."

"Yeah, ok, why not?  I'm interested to see the sorts of places you shop."

Carol chuckled. "Oh, it's not THAT exciting!"

A few minutes later, as they were walking through the shopping area, they passed one of those 'party costume' places.

"Hey, let's go in here....." said Carol. There was one outfit that she fancied having: she wasn't QUITE sure when she would wear it, but if they actually HAD it.... oh YES, they did! Carol tried it on: now we're not talking high-quality costumes here, it was much more about the look.

"What do you think?" she asked Tom.

"Yes, it does suit you, you just need to get your hair right now..."

"Oh, I'm sure they'll have the matching wig..." A quick word with one of the shop assistants, and she had the matching wig. She looked at herself in the mirror: it was just PERFECT!

Offline Sparky

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #26 on: 04. February 2023, 02:53:50 AM »
Chapter 15 - the flight


So far, their experience had been really good: whilst "Prestige Class" was Korean Air's version of "Business Class", it was supposed to be much closer to First Class than most Business Classes. At check-in, despite the large queues for economy check-in, they only had to wait about a minute at the priority checkin, and despite their large amount of luggage, they were dealt with quickly and politely.

They were also able to use the priority queue at security: those of you who have been through security on a Sunday afternoon at Heathrow will know the queues can get quite long, but again, there was little delay, and they were dealt with courteously.

They knew that, whilst the fancy shops would be nice, they also knew that many of them would be stupidly expensive, so after a brief look around, they had headed to the lounge, where a very pleasant surprise awaited them: space, luxury, nice food, you name it, it was there! Whilst they had all had a nice lunch before leaving Jenny's parents home, and they knew they would get a meal once in the air, there was a big gap in the middle, so most of them tried some of the food at some point.

With their flight being at just before 7, they had arrived early as advised ("just in case...."), and still had most of 2 hours to wait. Luckily, Ben had been practical, and had bought some small silly games with him, and they managed to spend most of 30 minutes playing "Dobble", before moving on to playing cards.


It was at about six when a Korean Air representative came over to them. "Good evening everyone. I'm afraid there is a very slight delay to your flight, no more than 10 to 15 minutes, meaning you'll not need to leave to get to your gate until a little after half past: it's only a 5 minute walk to your gate from here. I'll come back and let you know when you need to go." As she smiled, Ben took a look at her teeth, and he was certain that she was wearing clear aligners!

As they got to the gate, there was a call on the PA for any Prestige Class travellers to board, so they got to go straight onto the plane, where they were welcomed by one of the cabin crew, and shown where their seats were. The seating in Prestige class is in 'pods', which are in pairs: they had managed to secure a group of seats adjacent to each other. Clearly Jenny was with Ben, her parents were together, Dianne was with Mike, leaving Carol, Linda, Paige and Callum: Carol had chosen to sit next to Paige, so Callum was next to Linda. The pods were surprisingly comfortable, with their own large screen TV with a very fancy remote control, plenty of space to put stuff, and a very comfortable seat that looked like it could lay completely flat.

It was DEFINITELY better than economy class!!

Prestige Class seats are split into two areas, with a dozen seats at the front, just behind the 8 first class seats, and the other 40-ish seats being in the next section, behind the galleys. They were in the front section, and there were only 3 other passengers there, so they were nicely secluded.

They had hardly sat down when another member of cabin crew came over, welcomed them, and started pouring out glasses of juice for them all. "I'm sorry, we can't serve the champagne until we're in the air!" she explained.

Carol checked her watch: they still had over 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time, and she knew that would really mean more like 30 to 45 minutes before they actually took off. They were, of course, all quite excited, and they were all talking to each other.

Finally, they could feel the plane being pushed away from the gate, and a few minutes later, the engines started, and they started to taxi. Again, if you've ever been to Heathrow late on a Sunday, you'll know there's often white a queue for take-offs, so they weren't airborne for another 20 minutes, after which the engines were running at full throttle, and they climbed.

Suddenly, Carol could hear Jenny singing one of their songs. "They're playing one of your songs on the 'chart channel'," explained Ben. The others quickly put on their headphones, and 'tuned in', and all four of them sung along to their song!

About 15 or 20 minutes after take-off, the engines were throttled back, and the plane continued it's climb more gently... at which point the Cabin crew came over with champagne and a small 'snack' - a bit of fish with asparagus. At the same time they were given a menu, and asked to choose whether to have the 'Western Menu' or the 'Korean menu'.

"Well, I'm definitely going Korean!" said Jenny, "I wanna get in the mood...". Carol and Paige also went for the Korean option.

Of course, when the food came, Carol was wearing her retainers, so needed to remove them: luckily there few others around, so she removed them discretely, and put them into her retainer case, in her bag.

"Your retainers don't seem to worry you that much, do they?" said Paige, "and I can hear that your lisp is almost gone now!"

"Yeah, you soon get used to them." replied Carol. Paige knew about why Carol had them, and also knew she's had full braces a few years before. "Hey, did you ever need braces?"

"Yes, I had a thing called a twin block, it helped my lower jaw to grow a bit more."

"A big chunky thing? One of the girls I knew at school had one of those, she hated it! I guess you got normal braces after that?"

"No, I didn't... my teeth were actually quite straight, so I never needed them. Just had the twin blocks for about 9 months."

They were not disappointed by the food: the quality was excellent! After a salad appetiser, they had their main course, followed by a couple of crackers and some cheese, and finally some fresh fruit with ice-cream. All assisted with a glass or two (or maybe it was three?) of wine! And unlike what you got in economy, it was served on proper plates, with proper metal cutlery!

Whilst they were all quite excited, and had been talking about all sorts of things, with dinner now behind them, Carol was starting to feel tired: by now it was after 9pm (so 6am in Korean time) and it had actually been a long and tiring day.

Carol put on the noise-cancelling headset on, playing some gentle music, as she lay back, and with the nice blanket over her, she closed her eyes. The meal and the alcohol all helped to let her fall asleep. When she woke up an hour or two later, the cabin was dark, with all the window blinds down, and lots of people were asleep. For her part, Carol had just had a bit of a strange dream, and while she had forgotten most of it within a minute or two, there were a couple of bits that she remembered. Flying... as in her flying through the air, not in an aeroplane. And an enormous friendly shaggy dog. She looked over, and saw that Paige was asleep, so she let her mind wander a bit, and as she did so, some words started to come to her.

Carol got up, and went to the locker, and got her bag down: it contained things like her makeup kit, her tablet, but it also contained her laptop, which she got out, turned on, and started to type in the words. They were a bit messy to start with, but after a while she had the basis of a song: two verses and a chorus.

"Hey, what you doing?". It was Linda: she had spotted that Carol was awake and doing something on her laptop.

"Oh, hi Linda! umm... some words for a song....". She wasn't lisping if only because she'd not bothered to put her retainers back in again after dinner.

"Let's have a look then..." Linda read the words. "Interesting, where did THAT come from?"

Carol explained about her dream. "Hey, I have an idea: would you like to write a tune to go with it?"

Linda smiled. "Why not, I'll give it a go!"

"Actually, I have an even BETTER idea! I'm also gonna get Jenny to write some music for it too: I would love to see what the two of you come up with... promise you won't talk with her about it, I really want to see if we can have two very different songs from the same words!"

Carol copied the document onto a memory stick, which Linda took away with her. She also copied it onto another memory stick, and went over to Jenny, who had her noise-cancelling headphones on, and was also working on something on her laptop. She tapped her gently in her shoulder, and she pulled the earphones back.

"Hey, what you up to? Writing something by the look of it..."

"Yeah, I've had one of my 'inspirational moments' - I guess we're closer to God when we're up here, as 35,000 feet!". Linda looked at the screen: what she saw looked FAR more complicated that what she would normally expect to see. There seemed to be 4 different staves of music, and multiple lines of words, all at the same time.

"Looks kinda weird..." commented Carol.

"Yes, it seems to be pretty complicated, I haven't quite got my head around it, it's coming to me in bits, and I've been told to 'take my time, it will all become obvious'. What I can say its going to be a 4-part acapella, with each of us singing different things some of the time. But, apart from sleep, what else is there to do, we still have about 8 hours to go before we get there! So what's that in your hand?"

"Ah, well, you're not the only one getting inspiration! I had a bit of a strange dream, which inspired me to write some words..." she said, passing over the stick. "I've also given this to Linda, I thought it would be interesting to see what you could each come up with by yourselves. No conferring allowed, of course."

Jenny smiled. "Yeah, I'm up for that, probably won't be tonight though, I feel I need to finish this off first!". Jenny plugged the memory stick and copied the file over to her laptop, then took a quick look. "Oh, interesting! It's going to be fun to see what Linda and I come up with."

"I'll bet they will be totally different!". Carol looked at Jenny's screen again, where the music was, and started to sing one of the lines of music and words in her head... then tried the second, the third and the fourth. Wow, her mind was trying to imagine how they would sound together - it was a VERY interesting combination. "This one's going to be interesting though, isn't it? Very powerful words, and a strange musical construction. Something tells me this won't be something we can learn in 5 minutes!"

"No, you're right, but I have a feeling that God is giving me something a bit special this time, something that will challenge us a bit. And I don't know about you, but the idea of having a challenge sounds like fun to me!"

Offline Sparky

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #27 on: 04. February 2023, 23:01:40 PM »
Chapter 16 - they're there!


When they landed in Seoul, it was late afternoon, and they had to get through passport control: after that it was straight through to the exit... their luggage (of which there was quite a bit, by the time you include guitars, other technical stuff, and a large number of suitcases for the large number of clothes they would need over the 3 or so weeks they would be in Korea) was specially 'tagged' and the ground staff would get it through customs, and delivered to their bus. In addition, they dropped off the bags they'd taken on the plane.

They were of course being filmed by Paige: she had been fiming them a bit on the plane, plus all the way since getting off the plane (well apart from in passport control - they don't like that!), and would follow them as they 'met their public'. Callum had a bag full of extra camera cards and batteries, as well as a spare camera that he was occasionally using to film from a different angle.

Once 'landside' (but before they went through that last set of doors where they assumed most of the press would be, and maybe even a few fans) they were met by 4 photographers, who were instantly taking pictures of them. Jenny knew exactly what she needed to do.

"Good afternoon everyone - do you speak English?" she asked. They all nodded. "In that case, we can spare you two minutes..... so why don't I introduce everyone... Let me start with my mother and father: so this is Brian and Lisa Stevens, they are our managers. This is my brother Callum Stevens, he looks after our tech needs."

As Jenny introduced each of them, the photographers took pictures. "Next, hiding behind a camera, and currently filming you guys - oh the irony of it - is Paige, she works with the band, and looks after anything related to media. Dianne, over to you?"

"Ok, so I'm Dianne, this is my boyfriend Mike!" said Dianne.

"And this guy here is my fiancé, Ben". Jenny leaned over and kissed Ben, holding the pose for a few seconds, to make sure everyone got enough pictures. "So that just leaves the four of us..."

The four girls lined up, to allow the photographers to take pictures of them. "Hi, I'm Carol!". "Hi, I'm Jenny!". "I'm Dianne...". "And I'm Linda!"..... "And together we are CJDL!". Cameras clicked quickly as they quickly took up a variety of poses.

"Ok, time for us to go... thank you all..." said Jenny. She led the girls in a courteous bow to the photographers.

"No, thank YOU for making time for us!" and the photographers bowed back.

"So, do you know what is outside, waiting for us?"

"I believe a few more photographers, at least two TV crews, and probably a LOAD of fans...." said one of the photographers with a big smile. "Have fun!".

"Ok" said Jenny's mum, "We'll go outside first, Paige, you and Callum follow, because you'll be wanting some pictures of the crowds and their reactions when the girls come out. Then a bit of a pause, then you four come out. Ok?"

"OMG, I'm actually a bit nervous!" said Carol.

"You know, so am I! Isn't this fun!!" replied Dianne.

Jenny's parents, then Callum and Paige went through the big doors that led 'outside'. The four girls counted to 10. "Ok, let's do this!" said Jenny. As they walked through the doors they could see the fans. So many fans! And they all started screaming! The girls stood there smiling in front of the fans (luckily they were all the other side of a barrier!), letting them take pictures and videos.

Carol noticed that there were two TV crews in the middle, and went over to the first one: the interviewer came over to her. "Give me your microphone!" said Carol, pointing at it. She passed it over. Then she went to the second crew, and got their microphone too. Then, making sure the logos were the right way, she held them both up to her mouth. "Can you hear me ok?" she asked, looking at the two cameramen, who had headphones on. They both gave a thumbs up.

"Girls, over here!" shouted Carol. The four of them lined up, letting the cameras get good shots of them. Carol held the microphones in front of them all. "Hi, I'm Carol!", "I'm Jenny!", "I'm Dianne!", "and I'm Linda!". "And we are CJDL"!. Carol then held the 2 mics in front of her again.

"Thank you all for coming to meet us: this is our first time here in Korea, and it is a pleasure to be here, we're all looking forward to seeing your lovely country!". She passed the mics to Jenny. "We've come here to perform one of our songs with Jelly Fish, as well as play at the Park Festival next weekend!" said Jenny. "And I'm sure you'll see us on TV too," added Dianne. As Linda took the mics from Dianne, she spotted 4 girls coming towards them. "And look who has come to greet us!". As the 4 of them walked over to meet the girls from Jelly Fish, Linda passed the mics back to the TV teams.

As they met, they all hugged: needless to say, with all 8 girls now there, the crowd was screaming out rather loudly!

Luckily, where they were standing, there was plenty of space, so they didn't need to rush: they were ALL very aware that publicity was so important to keep their names in the news, and their songs selling. After posing together, Jenny and Carol went over to the crowd of fans: some of the ones at the front had autograph books, so she took a felt tipped pen out of her handbag (yes, they had expected to have to do this, so were prepared!!), and started to sign autographs. There was one girl, a couple of rows back, who had a placard saying "Wilcome CJDL!", so Carol motioned to her to come to the front, and took the placard off her for a moment, corrected the spelling mistake, and then all eight girls signed the placard, and passed it back.

Jenny indicated to the other 3 of them to stand back a bit: Jenny then put her forefinger to her lips, saying "shhhhh": the others did the same: strangely, the crowd actually went silent.

"Hello everyone..." said Jenny. As few people started to cheer, so the girls "shushed" them again. "Hello everyone, thank you SO much for coming to meet us! You know, it's so much nicer when you are quiet like this... want to try and stay like this for a bit more? So, why don't we introduce ourselves?" Jenny looked over at Carol, who knew exactly what they were going to do.....

"Hi, I'm Carol ..."

.....

"And we are CJDL!!". They let the crowd scream out for a bit, but then quietened them down again. Paige and Callum were both standing over to the side, filming all this, and enjoying every moment.

"Would you all like to meet a couple of special people?" asked Jenny: there was a quite gentle "yeah" from the crowd. Jenny waved to Ben and Mike to join them, then nodded at Dianne.

"This is my boyfriend, Mike...." said Dianne. A gentle cheer went up.

"And this is my fiancé, his name is Ben...." said Jenny. Another cheer.

"Do you think you can stay quiet for long enough to let the girls from Jelly Fish introduce themselves to you?" Again, there was a cheer, but without any guidance, the fans quickly quietened down again: the crowd was realising that, by staying quiet, the girls would talk to them nicely... Yes, Jenny really DID know how to control her fans! The four girls from Jelly Fish: Ahnjong, Min Jee, Taeyang, and Yun Hee all introduced themselves. The crowd had behaved themselves for long enough, and erupted once more, then quietened down again, letting the girls talk to the crowd again.

"You know, I think the girls from Jelly Fish should take some selfies of us four with you all.... now, how can we do this? Do you think you can organise yourselves in smallish groups, and come up to the barriers, and we'll stand in front of you? And once we've taken your picture, allow others in too? The crowd clearly understood English, and realised that, if they did as asked, they would get something special. Jenny had realised that the local stars, Jelly Fish, would have their own socal media that the fans would see, so was a better way than the CJDL team doing something.

At the same time, Ben and Callum got their phones out, and took some pictures and video too, which they would get Paige to post online for their UK fans.

-----

Eventually, they all got onto the band's bus - they hadn't rushed earlier because they knew that it would take some time for all of their bags and kit to get through customs, and brought out to the bus. Whilst they had already introduced themselves on the several video calls they had had, everyone looked different in person, so with big smiles, they all introduced themselves to each other once more.

"Wow, Jenny, I don't know how you managed to control the crowd back there?" said Min Jee. "I mean, they just did what you said!"

"It's a strange skill that Jenny seems to have: she manages to make her fans realise that if they are nice to her, she'll be nice back to them." explained Carol, "I assume you've all posted those pictures?"

"Of course, you should see all the feedback!"

"Tell them that, if they all behave themselves if they should happen to see us, then they might get more treats in the future..." added Carol.

Offline Sparky

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #28 on: 10. February 2023, 17:36:57 PM »
Warning: the worms in this story are probably well under the age of consent!!!! They are dead though...

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Chapter 17 - Korean dinner / the apartment

"Good evening! I'm Park Hon Su, we all chatted on the video call. So welcome to Seoul! I hope you all had a pleasant flight!". Hon Su was Jelly Fish's manager. They had left the airport, and were on the way to town, in a very comfortable bus / coach. "So, for the next few days, you'll be spending much of your time with the girls here from Jelly Fish, so do ask them if you need anything, but we'll make sure there's always someone nearby who can speak English while your here. I've given Callum a box, with all your phones in: they are a gift from Sumsang, and they are yours to keep. They are all set up with all the phone numbers you might need while you are here, use them as you wish - although I'm sure Sumsang would be very pleased if pictures got taken of you whilst you were using them!" he added with a smile.

Callum started to hand the phones out: they were the latest folding models, one for each of them, and better than the other phones they currently had.

"So, we thought that, rather than going to your accommodation first, then having dinner, we thought it might be better for you all to have dinner first, if that's ok with you?" Everyone nodded. "It just means that when you get to the apartment, you can just fall asleep without unpacking, if that's what you want! So, while you have dinner, your luggage will be taken to the apartment.... Mr and Mrs Stevens: if you can tell the bus driver what is yours, then he'll take it to your hotel, and leave it with the concierge. Your hotel is only 5 minutes walk or taxi from the apartment."

"What sort of place are we going for dinner then?" asked Callum.

"Actually, the girls chose it... Ahnjong, want to explain more?"

"Yeah, when we spoke, you were all saying you wanted to try loads of authentic Korean food while you were here, so we're going to a place we've been to many times. It's not particularly expensive, but it's nice, the food is really good and very much typical of what we eat here in Korea!" explained Ahnjong.

"So, when we take you to the apartment later on, we're assuming that you'll not be ready for us until tomorrow afternoon, but there will be someone nearby who can organise breakfast and lunch whenever you need it. If you get any questions, then our girls have your itinery too, and they're only next door, or you can call me."

As they looked out of the windows, they were pleasantly surprised how green everything was, and they could see the skyline of the city in the distance. As they got to the city, they could see it was so much more modern than London, all the buildings looked so crisp and clean.

Soon after, the coach pulled up: it was a wide street, with shops, cafe's and restaurants all around.

"It's that one over there" explained Yin Hee. Paige and Ben grabbed their cameras: Paige had been taking a few bits of the girls just looking out of the windows on the way there. Yin Hee lead them all into the restaurant, with Paige still videoing. "Ah, Yu-Eye, you made it!"

"Did you just say 'Yu-Eye'?" asked Linda

"Yes, she's helping produce our album."

"So, the same Yu-Eye that's written and sung loads of Anime OST's? Oh my god, I'm so in awe!" said Linda, VERY excitedly.

"Yes... I guess you'd better meet her. Yu-Eye, this is err...."

"Linda. I'm Linda! It's so amazing to meet you! I just LOVE your singing, especially all those Anime OST's! You have such a powerful voice!"

Yu-Eye was probably a little embarrassed, not expecting that 'one of the English girls' actually knew who she was.

"Ok, Linda, 'fess up.... how DO you know about this lady?" asked Carol.

"Don't you ever watch any Anime stuff? And listen to the amazing music in them!? I've actually been thinking I'd like to have a go at writing something like that myself, but I'm not sure quite where to start. Plus I suspect it would be far too metal for us to play!". Linda turned back to Yu-Eye: "Yu-Eye, it's so amazing to actually meet you!"

"And it's nice to finally meet all of you too: I will admit, I'm also a little in awe of how you changed your music style..." replied Yu-Eye.

"Ben!" replied Linda, Carol and Paige in unison.

"Pardon?" asked Yu-Eye.

"Ben's the reason our music style changed. Jenny fell in love with him.... and he likes Indie rock and that sort of stuff!" explained Carol.

They all sat down at a large table...all 16 of them. The meal was one of those sharing ones, so everyone could try a bit of everything.

Paige had stopped eating, and grabbed the camera again. "What's this one?" asked Dianne.

"Let everyone try it, then I'll tell you....." replied Min Jee.

"Oh, right, one of THOSE...!" said Dianne.

"Don't be scared, it's actually quite tasty!" said Min Jee. Dianne tried some of it - and discovered it was actually rather good.

After everyone (who wanted to, that is) had tried some, Diane asked again: "So, what did we just eat then?"

"Oh, just nice tasty worms...." replied Min Jee.

"WORMS?" said Carol. "WORMS??"

"I thought you liked them?"

"Yeah, but....."

"You need to be willing to be open minded, we have all sorts of great food that you guys aren't maybe used to. Hey, have you tried the Kimchee yet? Its the most important Korean dish! And don't worry, it's just a sort of pickled cabbage."

"Yeah, I did, it was nice...."

Everyone enjoyed the meal, although a couple of them were a bit worried about exactly what they had actually eaten! And Paige managed to capture several priceless expressions, as the girls had tried out the foods. So, it was then back to the apartment.


Their apartment was on the 6th floor of a modern building, and luckily Mr Park had organised that a couple of people had already taken all their luggage upstairs, so they didn't need to do anything.

"Wow!" said Dianne as she opened the door and walked in. The apartment was very modern, and she had walked in to the large 'common area', where there was a kitchen and large table on one side, and a large lounge area with TV etc on the other. Around the sides were several doors, obviously leading to the bedrooms and bathroom.

"Ours next door is the same." explain Min Jee. "We came in and checked the place out earlier, they've got you a load of food and drinks in the fridge in the kitchen, and the rooms are set up as 2 doubles, a twin and 2 singles...."

"Hey, check it all out, then come in to our place next door for a sit down and a drink...." suggested Yun Hee.

"Sounds like a good idea to me!" said Carol.

Of the eight of them, Jenny had actually slept the least on the flight, as she had been working on the new song. "I have a feeling I'm gonna have to crash out..." said Jenny.

As they looked around their home for the next few weeks, Yun Hee went back to their apartment, to get things ready.

"I think this is gonna be so much nicer for us than staying in a hotel!" said Carol.


Offline Sparky

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #29 on: 12. February 2023, 20:26:11 PM »
Chapter 18 - I need coffee

Carol was actually the first to wake up. She left Linda in their shared bedroom still sleeping, and went out to the kitchen to make herself a drink. She was wearing a rather nice dressing gown that had been provided, and was hanging on the back of the door.

"Good morning!" said a happy voice: it was Taeyang, who was sitting in their living area, drawing a sketch. "I thought I might as well do this in here, so someone would be here when you woke up. Sleep ok?"

"Yeah, not too bad, and thanks for being here. Yeuch! My mouth tastes disgusting - I got horrible retainer breath! I think I need a drink." replied Carol.

"What do you fancy? If you fancy coffee, then I can make us both some..."

"Oh, thanks, yeah, that would be nice! So, what's the time?"

"About 10:30. And thanks to you guys, we effectively have a day off today!"

"So, where are we? Today is... Tuesday?"

"Yup. After lunch we'll find out if we made number one. Then tomorrow and Thursday we need to practice singing and dancing together, ready for Thursday evening on TV."

"I'm actually looking forward to the dancing, if only because I KNOW it's gonna be such a different style to what we normally do. Now that we're playing our instruments most the time on stage, rather than having a backing band or a recording, it's not so easy to dance, and I guess we've got out of the habit. That's part the reason I suggested we stay on a bit, and do some dance classes."

"Makes a lot of sense," replied Taeyang. "Want any milk or sugar in the coffee?"

"No, plain black is the only way to drink coffee!"

"Well, don't worry to much about the dance routine, we specifically tried to keep it fairly straight-forward for you."

"So, how long have you been doing this then?" asked Carol, as they sat down together with their coffees.

"Me? I started at FY when I was 15. I mean, I wanted to be a singer since I was about 7 or 8, but I only signed up 4 years ago. Some of the kids started even younger: I think Min Jee was only 13."

"Really? Wow! So, what did you do you do in your 4 years?"

"Well, there's a certain amount of normal school work, including learning English and some Chinese... but on the performance side, we get to do everything: singing is the obvious one, but dancing, acting, and musical composition too."

"So how long have the four of you been together? As Jelly Fish I mean?"

"I was put with Ahnjong, Min Jee, and a girl called Su Lee almost a year ago. We worked together for about 3 months before they decided to move Su Lee into a different band, and that's when Yun Hee joined us."

"You four get on ok?"

"Yeah, it was a bit strained with Su Lee, but when she left, and Yun Hee joined us, things got SOOO much better! Hey, you used to be just three of you originally, weren't you? Like when you wrote 'Roller Skates'?"

"Yup, we three got together at college, and have been together since. But last year, when Jenny started writing our new style of music, we realised we needed a fourth girl in the band, so we employed Linda: she was a session musician back then, and she fitted in with us three really well."

"So you didn't know her before then?"

"Yes and no: she was in the same college as us, but a year below, so whilst we didn't really know her, she definitely knew us, and I think that helped a lot. We've all been working on her since she actually joined the band as a member to try and do some song-writing: as a session musician that wasn't something she ever needed to do. But she's written a couple of bits, and I think she actually might have some talent inside trying to escape... so do encourage her! have you written much?"

"Not really, that's not my strong point. Yun Hee writes a bit, but everything we've done since our debut has been written by someone else. Linda was saying last night that it's all very different over in England."

"Yeah, we don't really have the "music and performance factories" like you guys do. We all just went to a normal school then college, and took up the option to do some music, although that's not REALLY geared up for the modern music industry. Then onto a year at music college, then trying to find some work playing our music. Then eventually we got a recording contract, and recorded some stuff."

"Wow, I don't think I could do it like that. I quite like the way that our training is planned for us. I guess the big downside is that, whilst we now have a chart hit, and we're going to be touring, we won't actually earn much till our debt gets paid off."

"What do you mean?" asked Carol. Taeyang explained that, until they 'break even', FY take money from their earnings to pay for all their training, which could take 2 or 3 years... this rather shocked Carol.

"You know, I'm feeling kinda guilty. Yeah, our record company and tour company take their cuts, but the rest is 'ours'. Although I guess we are still paying the loan for our year in music college, and we did have to work part-time jobs for a while...." Carol smiled. "Yeah, probably NOT all THAT much different.

"The big downside is that they do control our lives a lot. I mean, Jenny wouldn't be allowed to date Ben over here. And they wouldn't let her have braces either."

"You're kidding? So none of you have a boyfriend?"

"Nope. And Yun Hee wants to get her teeth fixed, but they won't let her."

"Yeah, I spotted her teeth were a bit out of line, although they're not THAT bad. But why? That sounds stupid!"

"I guess they think things like braces might make us 'less desirable' for our fans."

"Now THAT is just crazy! When Jenny got hers, our fans went crazy! Even more so when she started wearing her headgear out in public, and on stage."

"Headgear?" asked Taeyang. Carol got her phone, and pulled up a picture showing Jenny on stage in her pink headgear. "She wore THAT on stage?"

"Yup. Crazy, but that's Jenny all over, but as I said, the fans loved it, and I have no doubt it helped us quite a bit."

"What about your braces then?"

"Ah, these are just retainers. I had braces long before we formed CJD, but recently I had to go see the orthodontist, as one of my teeth seemed to be moving a tiny bit. Only had these about... hmm, two or three weeks now. So I've not been out in public that much with them on. Maybe I need to post something about them sometime. And as for Yun Hee needing braces, I think maybe Jenny and I need to speak to someone, help them understand the positives."

"Me and you do what?" said a voice: Jenny had just come out of her room.

"Good morning!" said Carol. "How you feeling? Sleep well? You seemed to crash out just after we got here."

"Yeah, that happens when you pretty much miss a night's sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night to discover I was still in my clothes. By the way, these dressing gowns are rather nice, aren't they? So what was it you were saying we need to do?"  asked Jenny

"Ah yes..." replied Carol, and she explained.

"That's sounding pretty short-sighted of them. I'm guessing it's one of those cases of a rule that they made up years ago, but the world has moved on. Hmmm, I think we'll need to go a bit higher than their manager though, but I have a feeling that we might have some leverage. They're gonna want us to go on TV, aren't they? Do nice positive interviews..."

"Oooh, Jen, you can be evil at times!"

"No use having leverage if we can't sometimes use it. So, what does a girl have to do to get a coffee round here?"

"Sorry, I'll get you one!" said Taeyang.

"Thanks, err... errr...??"

"Taeyang"

"Sorry, Taeyang, there's a lot of names and faces I need to still match up, and I was only half with-it last night!"

"That's ok... what did you say your name was?" replied Taeyang laughing. While Taeyang made Jenny a coffee, she messaged the girls, to say that the 'new girls' were starting to wake up.