Author Topic: Dianne really needs to get some braces  (Read 8973 times)

Offline Sparky

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Re: Dianne really needs to get some braces
« Reply #15 on: 18. November 2023, 17:17:27 PM »
Chapter 9

After Jenny took a look at Dianne's braces, Jenny suggested that they should post pictures of the four of them online.

"Not in this headgear you aren't!" said Dianne quite emphatically!

"Aww, Dianne, such a spoilsport..." replied Jenny with a big smile. "Tell you what, let's start with a picture of me, then we can do some pics of you guys."

Dianne took a picture of Jenny, then Jenny did pics of the rest of them, then got Angela to take one of all four of them. She started by posting the closeup picture of her mouth, without any comment. Very quickly they got a few comments.

"Ah, Jenny's got new ligs..."

"They are bright!"

.. and that sort of thing.

The four girls were chatting with David and Angela (this is PRIVATE orthodontics: you pay loads, and if there's still time, you get to have a nice chat!). A few minutes later, Jenny posted a similar picture of Carol.

"Hey, that's not Jenny..."

"Well, who is it then?"

"I'd say Linda"

"Nah, that's not Linda, looks more like Carol to me"

"But Carol has retainers..."

Then the third one, of Linda.

"Now THAT looks like Linda. I bet Jenny is playing with photoshop!"

Then the one of Dianne...

"Well, Dianne needs braces..."

"They are playing with us...."

By this point, the chat was starting to get busy. Finally, Jenny posted the four pictures of each of them, full-face and smiling, showing off their braces. This one definitely confused everyone.

"Ok, time to put you out of your misery...." posted Jenny, along with the picture of ALL of them.

"No way!"

"What's going on?"

"They ALL have braces?"

"Like the bright colour though! All the same!"

"So, today was the day for Dianne to get braced, and the rest of us decided that we needed to support her... so we ALL now have braces!" posted Jenny.

"Don't you DARE mention the headgear!" said Dianne.

"Don't worry, you can do that in your own time. You'll have to come clean at some point, and it's not really THAT bad, honest. I've been there!"


Offline Sparky

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Re: Dianne really needs to get some braces
« Reply #16 on: 21. November 2023, 03:10:33 AM »
Chapter 10

"Hello, this is Eleanor... who's that?". Eleanor Rigby is the secretary of the CJDL fan club.

"Hi there, Eleanor, it's Dianne, from your most favourite girl group!" said Dianne, with a very slight lisp. She'd had her braces now just over a week, and was getting quite used to them.. well apart from the the lip-bumper and headgear, that was going to take a bit longer. For a phone call like this, she took them both out anyway.

"Oh, hi there.." replied Eleanor, excitedly. "Sorry, I obviously didn't have your name in my contacts list, so I just saw the number! So, what can I do for you this evening?"

Whilst Eleanor had met all the girls at their 'Fans Evenings' (the first one having been in Birmingham, and was detailed in Carol's story), and had also chatted with them all on other occasions, she didn't have all their private numbers.

"You've never been to the 'CJDL Mansions' have you?"

"No, I haven't...."

"Well, you busy this weekend?" asked Dianne.

"Umm... no!". Eleanor guessed, quite correctly, that she was about to get an invitation!

"Well, we thought it would be fun for you to come and join us here: we were thinking you could come over either before or after lunch on Saturday, then we can all go out for a meal in the evening. You then stay over, and join us for Sunday lunch, going back either Sunday afternoon or evening. Interested?"

"Hell yeah! It would be nice to see you guys again. Anyone else coming?"

"No, just you. We'll all be here, and I have no doubt that Callum and Paige will be around at least part the time. I'm assuming you don't have a boyfriend?"

"No I don't... just me!"

"Ah, that makes it easier for everyone! You're out near Slough, aren't you? Do you have a car?"

"That's right, and yes, I do..."

"We're in South London, so I'll guess that's what? 45 minutes to an hour for you?"

"Probably about that."

"Ok, I'll email you the address here - I don't need to tell you that such info is NOT for public use, do I?"

"Of course not..."

"And let us know if you'd like to join us for lunch, we don't mind either way."


Offline Sparky

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Re: Dianne really needs to get some braces
« Reply #17 on: 22. November 2023, 01:03:33 AM »
Chapter 11

"Hey, Paige, Eleanor from the fan club is coming over on Saturday and Sunday, want to join us, it could be useful?" asked Dianne. Paige knew that they were asking Eleanor over for more than a social event.

"I can make Saturday... Family luch on Sunday, doesn't happen that often, so I daren't miss it, if I don't want to get written out of mum and dad's wills!!"

"Oh good. Either dress smart-ish, or bring something nice with you: we're going out for dinner."

"Oh nice!"


Offline acornjohn2001

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Re: Dianne really needs to get some braces
« Reply #18 on: 22. November 2023, 07:49:53 AM »
You are such a teaser, Sparky!!! I love your stories!

Offline Sparky

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Re: Dianne really needs to get some braces
« Reply #19 on: 26. November 2023, 18:20:48 PM »
Chapter 12

It was a little after 2pm on the Saturday when the doorbell rang: Eleanor had decided to come over after lunch. Callum answered the door.

"Hey, Eleanor, great to see you, come on in! The girls are working on something down in the music room. Want a coffee?"

"Oh, yes please! Boy, the roads are busy today, so a coffee will be VERY nice! My bag's in the car, shall I bring it in now?". Eleanor was looking around: from outside she had realised that the house was fairly big and impressive, and the inside was similar.

"Yes, if you like... I can show you up to your room. I'll be in the kitchen - making your coffee - which is through THERE... just drop your bag here, and come on through."

Eleanor went out and got her bag, which she left in the hall, then joined Callum in the kitchen.

"Nice place.... Dianne jokingly called it 'CJDL Mansion' when she called me, and from what I can see, it's not that far off..."

"Yeah, we have eight bedrooms, although one of them's a small office at the moment, and an acre or so out the back. The main reason we bought it was because of the music room: the previous owner had an informal recording studio built, although we don't do that, we just use it as a very nice rehearsal space. Anyway, do you like your coffee black or white? Sugar?"

"White with one sugar, please...". The coffee making machine was gurgling away, making the second of two coffees, and Callum added milk and sugar to the first. When the second one was done, he led her back to the hall, putting the two coffees on the table. He then grabbed Eleanor's bag, and led her upstairs.

"So, your room is this way" explained Callum, as they went right at the top of the stairs. "That's Jenny's room... then there's Dianne's...". Finally they reached an open door. "You're in here."

"Thanks. Where's the bathroom?"

"Ensuite, that door over there. Just leave your bag for the moment, you'll have plenty of time later."

"Ok, just need to go in there a moment..." explained Eleanor, popping in to use the loo. Callum waited outside the room, and didn't have to wait too long.

"Come on, let's go meet everyone else!". Callum took Eleanor downstairs, then along the corridor to the music room. With the music room's door closed, you could hear just a bit of noise: the room had been well designed to keep the noise in. Callum opened the door: the four girls were actively working on a new song, so were able to stop pretty quickly.

"Hey, Eleanor!" shouted out Linda. "Come on over and say hello!". As Eleanor walked towards them, she saw Dianne sitting at the drums, wearing headgear, and couldn't help staring at her. She knew as well as all the other fans that all four of them had braces, but they hadn't said anything about Dianne wearing headgear!

"Yeah, it's headgear, have a good stare!" said Dianne. The comment was made half-jokingly: whilst she was pretty relaxed about it in close company, she was still a bit embarrassed about it when someone new saw her in it. "Sorry, I shouldn't have said that, should I? I'm still getting used to it. I will admit that my respect for Jenny went up hugely when I started wearing this!"

"Sorry, I shouldn't have stared like that in the first place, it's just strange seeing an adult in it. My little sister had headgear for a bit, she hated it, only ever wore it at home, and even then, not if we had visitors. How's it feel? I'm guessing you must be pretty used to it by now..."

"Used to it, yes. Still self-conscious of it though. The stupid thing is that I had headgear when I had my first lot of braces, over 10 years ago, so you'd think I'd be ok with it!" replied Dianne.

"Yeah, she's a LOT more relaxed about it than when she first got it." commented Jenny.

"So, you all have braces now... what's the REAL story behind that then?" asked Eleanor.

Jenny explained how the three other girls in Northern Girls had got braces to support Meg. "So, We all decided to do the same for Dianne!"

"So, Carol, I'm assuming your braces aren't really doing anything?"

"That's right, just acting as retainers."

"Ok, Jenny already has braces, so what about you, Linda? Your teeth always looked ok."

"They weren't all that bad, actually, but I do have a slight issue. Although I wouldn't have bothered getting them if it weren't for wanting to support Dianne. So, we're gonna be 8 girls, onstage, in braces!" said Linda.

"That is going to be worth seeing!"

"Well, I think Eleanor deserves to be allowed to take a selfie with us four," suggested Jenny, "You know, maybe it's time for you to go public with your headgear: what do you think, Dianne?"

Dianne gave Jenny a bit of a dirty look. "Look, Dianne, one day someone will catch you in a picture, maybe in the background without you realising it. That's the whole reason I went public about mine: it was done on MY terms... I was in control."

"I'm not really convinced..." said Dianne. Eleanor was about to say something, but realised that it would be better to just leave it to the girls.

"You know, Dianne, it's not really THAT big a deal. Hell, I remember when you had bright pink hair for a while..." said Carol.

"Yeah, well THAT was a fashion statement!"

"So make THIS a fashion statement too!" suggested Linda. "Hey, I have an idea: when Eleanor posts the picture, she could ask others who have headgear to post pics of themselves - in their headgear - to show their support..."

"I'll bet no one will...." commented Dianne, still being a bit negative.

"You won't know if you don't try, and I'll bet they will!!" said Linda, being far more positive.

In the end, Dianne let Eleanor take a picture of them all, with Dianne in her headgear. Of course, the fans were a little surprised, but with Jenny having historically 'set the trend', there were no negative comments, and a small number of fans DID post selfies with headgear.

So, what were you guys playing, I didn't recognise it."

"We've been writing quite a bit of new stuff, you'll probably spot of few changes of style, because Linda has been writing some of the songs... So we're practising the stuff we're pretty happy with, and actively working on some others. Plus we've been working on some songs for all eight of us to play: Northern Girls are coming over again in a couple of weeks, so we want to have something to work on with them!"

For the next hour or so, Eleanor watched and listened as the four girls continued to work on some of their new stuff.


Offline Sparky

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Re: Dianne really needs to get some braces
« Reply #20 on: 28. November 2023, 13:01:24 PM »
Chapter 13

It was just after 3 when Jenny's mum, Lisa, came in to the music room: on seeing her, the girls stopped playing. "Just done some tea and scones, it's in the lounge." said Lisa.

"Oh, thanks, mum!"

The girls put down their guitars, and everyone went into the lounge. Jenny helped her mum pour the tea and hand out the cake.

"So, what do you think of 'CJDL Mansions' then?" Dianne asked Eleanor.

"From what I've seen, it's rather nice, I think you're lucky to live here!"

"Well, we don't ACTUALLY live here, we all have our own places, although we do live here when we're working on stuff" said Dianne, "like we are at the moment."

"Yeah, but you're right, it's a nice place to 'work' too. I'll be honest, back when we were looking for a place, when we first saw that music room we all realised this would just work for us so well. It's so much better than having to rent a rehearsal room!" added Jenny

"So who actually owns it then?" asked Eleanor.

"It's joint thing... mum and dad, Carol, Dianne and me." replied Jenny. "The thing is that, whilst it's home for mum, dad and Callum, it's an 'office' for us all too."

"I wish I worked in an office like this!" said Eleanor.

"You know, I don't know exactly what you actually do, work-wise...." said Dianne, grateful that Jenny had managed to get the topic onto 'work'.

"Oh, I work in the office at the warehouse for one of the big supermarkets, making sure the stuff we order actually arrives, and then schedule it all onto the trucks going out to the stores. And it's DEFINTELY nowhere near as nice as your office!!"

"Oh, ok. you like your job?"

"It's 'ok'. Gets a bit busy at times, other times it can get a bit boring... I just feel I could do something... well, more interesting"

"Ah, so that's why you enjoy doing the fan-club stuff then? Something different, more interesting?"

"Yes, it is a bit different, not that it doesn't get a bit stressful at times. I mean, most the time it's something I can easily do what's needed in the evenings, but occasionally - like when you wanted me to dig out the longer-term members for Birmingham - I spent part of a weekend doing that. There's lots I think we ought to do, it's just that there's not enough time to do it. I mean, Paige has been a great help on a few occasions..."

"What if we could make a bit more time for you?"

"What? How you gonna do that?"

"Ok, here's a leading question...". Dianne held up her left hand, palm up: "Working for the supermarket". Then her right hand: "and working for the fan-club". She moved her hands like a balance. "Which do you enjoy more?"

"Well, the fan-club, no question!"

"Any particular reason why?"

"Well I get to chat with you guys occasionally. And the fans too, they are a really great bunch... And I get to do stuff at my own pace most the time."

"Ok. You see, we have a few ideas for the fan-club, and that's going to mean quite a bit more work for you, so we were wondering... how would you like to change your job?"

Eleanor looked at Dianne, clearly a bit confused.

"How would you like to come and work for us, full-time, running the fan-club?"

"You kidding me?"

"No, not at all. After those special fan meetings - you must admit, they WERE fun, weren't they? - we realised that we can monetise the fan club a lot better than we have so far, and more than enough to pay for you to run it. Originally we were thinking part-time, but we quickly realised it needed someone full-time."

"Monetise it? As in charging people to join and that sort of thing?"

"No, I don't think we want to charge anyone to actually join. We want to sell 'bonus stuff'. Some can be simple: custom signed stuff for example: we came across some stuff from our old tours, I'm sure some of the fans would love that, and be willing to pay to have it. Then we could do premium fan meets. Back-stage tours. Come to the sound check.... We're pretty certain people will pay for that sort of stuff. It's not charging people for what we already do, it would be new stuff."

Eleanor had a big smile on her face. "I like it...."

"We thought you might. The thing is, you know how the fan-club already works. And I'll be honest, part the reason for getting you here was so we could interact with you in a more relaxed setting, and see how we all got on. You're a bit like Paige: once you got over that initial 'hey I'm meeting my heros' stuff, you seem pretty relaxed around us, and that's what we need. So, would you like to change your job?"

"I guess part of it would be what I get paid, but yeah, I'm definitely interested..."

"Ok, so, when we've all finished having tea, you have a chat with Brian, work out how much we need to pay you, then go away and have a think. I'll warn you now, it's not going to be a 9 to 5, Monday to Friday job, you're occasionally going to need to do stuff in the evenings and at weekends. Kinda like today. But when that happens, you just take some time off some other day to balance it. Oh yeah, how would you feel about being away from home for a bit?"

"Away from home? Staying and working here, do you mean?"

"Well, yes, that too, but if you come and work for us, we'd want you to join us on tour. There's gonna be a lot of fans to talk to! Look, speak to dad. Also speak to Paige, she understands how things work. Think about it, and only say yes if you want your life to change!"

Dianne was normally the quieter one of the four of them, but the others had managed to persuade her to take the lead with Eleanor, and she felt good about the way she had just handled it all. She just hoped that Eleanor would actually say 'yes'.


Offline Sparky

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Re: Dianne really needs to get some braces
« Reply #21 on: 30. November 2023, 03:44:23 AM »
Chapter 14

"Paige, would you like to stay with us too, please?" asked Brian. They had finished their tea and cakes, and Brian needed to talk with Eleanor... and Paige it seemed. The others left the lounge to go back to the music room.

"So, Eleanor, you like the idea of working with us then?"

Eleanor was smiling again. This was a BIG decision for her to take: she needed to go and have a chat with her parents for a bit of a sanity-check, but she had a good feeling about things. Of course, a lot would depend on how much they would offer her. "Yes, the idea appeals a lot. It would be quite a change..."

"I was a little hesitant when they offered ME a job," commented Paige, "but, if I'm honest, it's the best thing I ever did.". Brian had asked her to share her experiences with Eleanor: they had substantial plans for the fan-club, which would need someone working full-time. They knew Eleanor did a good - and more importantly, conscientious - job, had always seemed very able to do whatever they asked her to do, and they had no doubt that she would be able to get up to speed very quickly with any new stuff. "Yes, you'll end up working weekends... I mean, I'm sort-of working this weekend, but don't worry, there's plenty of flexibility, take days off in the week. Much of the time you'll be able to do a lot of your stuff from home, at a time that's good for you. But when we're touring, or do other stuff, you'll have to accept that your normal life just goes on hold. I mean, when we went up to Birmingham at zero notice and the girls played with Darkest Knights, well that was just full-on and crazy, but it was so much fun at the same time!"

Paige and Eleanor chatted for a few more minutes, and as they did so, Brian felt even more so that Eleanor would be a really good fit for the team.

"So..." said Brian. "Paige and I took a guess at the sort of salary you're on now, so if I were to offer you this much..." and he mentioned a figure, that was probably about 25% higher than what they thought Eleanor was probably on now. "... then I hope we can persuade you to join us."

Paige looked at Brian, as she realised that the amount he had said was more than she was paid. Quite a nice amount more.

"Of course, the problem with offering you that much is that it's more than we pay Paige. So Paige, you've been with us a while now, and everyone agrees that not only do you fit in really well, and you do a great job, we'd all be sad if you were to leave us, so how about I pay you the same amount as Eleanor too? Whilst she's not as experienced, she is a bit older, so all in all, I'd say that's fair..."

Paige smiled: this was completely unexpected, and the extra money would come in very useful. "Thank you, Brian!" said Paige.

"So, Eleanor ignoring everything else, is the money good enough for you?"

"Oh, the money is absolutely fine, it's definitely more than I'm on now. It's all just a bit of a shock that you're offering this to me, I need to think about it, and speak with mum and dad, get their take on it."

"Of course, and I have no doubt they will warn you all about getting involved in the pop industry! And yes, who knows where we will be in 5 years time, but you could say that about many 'more stable' business these days! They are very welcome to call me for a chat, if that helps. But on the other hand, the job IS for you, not them!"

They talked a bit more about the practical aspects, like making sure she updated her car insurance for business use, and getting her a laptop.. all assuming she wanted to join them, of course.

"Well, Eleanor, it's been nice to be able to meet you in a more relaxed environment. I hope you enjoy the rest of this weekend!". Paige took her back to the music room. As they walked in, the girls stopped playing.

"How did it go?" asked Carol.

"Yeah, fine, I just need to have a think: as I told Mr Stevens, it's a big decision for me..."

"Absolutely, but for goodness sake, call him Brian will you! So, we've got an hour or two before we need to get ready to go out: would you like a proper look around the 'CJDL Mansions'?". Jenny smiled as she called the house 'CJDL Mansions': whilst the house was a reasonable size, to be quite honest, it was nowhere NEAR big enough to be a mansion. Or creepy enough!


Offline Sparky

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Re: Dianne really needs to get some braces
« Reply #22 on: 06. December 2023, 13:04:25 PM »
Chapter 15

They all chatted as they walked around, ending up once more in the music room. "So, Eleanor, can you sing? How would you like to sing along with us to something you know?"

"Umm, well, not 100% sure on my singing, but I'd love to sing with you...".

"Ok.. Paige, want to join in too?" Often if Paige was at the house, and things were a bit quiet, she would go and listen to the girls rehearsing, and she had sung along with them on a few occasions. Ok, so she wasn't a great singer, but that didn't matter, it was still fun.

They played a couple of their already-released songs that they could both sing along with: it turned out that Eleanor was actually a slightly better singer than Paige.

"Hey, I have an idea" said Eleanor, "you could charge fans to sing karaoke with you, on stage, at your concerts..."

"Interesting idea" replied Linda, "although the big problem is that a lot of people THINK they can sing, but really can't, and that would be embarrassing - for us and them. Hard for us to say 'sorry, you're crap!' You're lucky, you're not too bad....  No, we'd need to somehow pre-select who sings with us"

"Tell you what," said Jenny, "it could be a great way to thank our tour team, let them sing something with us. That way, not only can we check them out, we could actually rehearse with them..."

"The problem with that is that you end up stirring up some resentment... 'why does he get to sing with you?' sort of thing."

"Of course, so maybe we could make a sort of competition of it..." suggested Dianne.

"In what way?"

"Well, get 3 or 4 of them on stage, and randomly choose one of them, you know, pull a bit of paper out of a hat..."

"Hey, we could play a song that's NOT one of ours, and one of us randomly does a duet with them... so select them randomly, and select one of us randomly. There's no reason that they can't pre-select a song, then we can rehearse it with them. The others that don't get chosen have another chance the next day."

"Do you think the fans would go for it?"

"No harm in trying, if it doesn't work, we could just drop the idea. But I'd like to give the idea a try, it could be great fun!" said Jenny. "But Eleanor, keep coming up with ideas like that. You probably know a lot better than us what our fans would like us to do. Same with ideas for the paid-for 'value adds' for the fans."

They had just started to play again, when the music room door opened, and Ben and Tom walked in. This weekend was a bit of a strange one: most weekends, the girls would have gone back to their own places, to spend time with Mike, Ben or Tom. Yes, some weekends would be spent at the 'Mansion', in which case the guys would have arrived on Friday and stayed the weekend. But the girls had decided to treat this Saturday as pretty much a normal 'work day', as they wanted to spend time with Eleanor, to decide if they were REALLY happy with her joining them. So they had told the guys to come along late afternoon. Tom and Ben went over to the girls, giving their respective girlfriends a hug and a quick kiss.

"Hey, Eleanor, nice to meet you again!" said Tom when he spotted her. "I heard you were coming today." He turned to Carol. "Did you?"

"Yes, we offered her the job...."

"And? Did she accept it?"

"Not yet, but she hasn't refused yet either!"


Offline Sparky

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Re: Dianne really needs to get some braces
« Reply #23 on: 09. December 2023, 16:41:28 PM »
I know it's time to get on an post another episode when there's already another TEN threads above this one!!!!   :)


Chapter 16

Mike turned up around half an hour later: Dianne went over to him and gave him a welcoming kiss, although Linda could see that their interaction wasn't as 'friendly' a kiss as you might have expected.

"So, had a good afternoon?" he asked.

"Yes, actually. Eleanor has come up with an interesting idea: doing karaoke on-stage with some of the road crew..."

"I could see a few of them liking that idea, although don't limit it, I bet some of your other support staff, like the ladies that do your hair and makeup, might also be good." suggested Mike. "You ladies need so many extra staff compared to us men! So, what you been up to?"

"Well, earlier we were working on some new stuff, but we were just doing a bit of 'karaoke', with Paige and Eleanor providing the vocals! Hey, want to join us for a quick song?"

"Yeah, why not!" Luckily there were still 2 drum kits in the room, one acoustic, one electric. Whilst Dianne tended to use the electric kit, sometimes the others would use the acoustic set, for example, if Dianne was coaching one of the others.

"Hey, Callum, what's the time?" asked Carol when they finished the song.

"Hmm, I would say it's time to stop playing, and go get ready: I know how long you lot can take when we're going out!"

"Cheeky bugger!" said Jenny.

"How is it cheeky, when it's true? Look, I can be showered and dressed and ready in maybe 20 minutes: I can't remember the last time it took you less than an hour!". Jenny glared at her brother, but at the same time knew that he was absolutely right! But she had longer hair than him. And if they were going out, her makeup needed to be 'just right'. And it takes AGES to choose all the accessories - ear rings and that sort of thing! For a moment, she had a very strange and worrying vision in her mind: Callum with long hair, dressed up in a cute dress, with earrings, necklace, bracelet and so on. She quickly cleared her mind!

So, 4 girls in braces: it was an amazing sight when they all smiled at once. Whilst Dianne had been wearing her lower lip bumper, headgear and elastics earlier on, there was NO WAY that she wanted to wear them when going out for a meal! So she just looked like the other three girls, with a simple mouth full of metal braces. Everyone had dressed up reasonably smartly, the ladies probably more so than the men, and they were now all in the mood to go out for a meal together: it had been a while since so many of them had got together to do so, so it was a bit of a special occasion.
In total, there were 12 of them (4 girls, 3 boyfriends, 2 parents, and 3 others!), so Lisa - that's Jenny and Callum's mum - had ordered two large taxis to take them to the restaurant (and bring them back later). The restaurant was one of those slightly-up-market ones, not in the town centre, so it was suitably quiet and discrete, allowing them to have a reasonably interruption free evening. Yes, one table nearby was a family with two teenage kids, a boy and a girl. The boy, probably about 16, was definitely looking over at the table of 12, and was whispering to his younger sister.

Dianne spotted them, so got up, and quietly went over to the kids. "Hi, guys! Something says to me that you think you know who we are....". The boy had a big smile on his face. "So, I'm Dianne, does that help you confirm who we are?" The boy nodded: he was too star-struck to actually say anything! "Look, you are both very welcome to come over for a minute or two and say hello, and I'll bet you'd love to take a selfie or two, wouldn't you?"

"Yes please.... mum, can we? Please?". He looked pleadingly at his mum and dad.

"Go on, but don't be a nuisance!". Two very happy teenagers went over to the CJDL table, and the girls introduced themselves. "And this is my dad and mum, they are our managers. And this is my brother, Callum. Hey, you a member of our fan club?"

"No, I'm not..."

"Shame on you, you should join: so this is Eleanor, she actually runs the fan club!"

"Hello..." said the girl.

"You should join up, we're planning to do a whole load of new stuff" explained Eleanor. With a couple of selfies taken, two very happy teenagers returned to their table.

"You guys are just too nice to your fans!" commented Eleanor.

"Yes, I know," replied Dianne, "but when you see smiles like those, two or three minutes of our time is a very small price to pay!"


Offline Sparky

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Re: Dianne really needs to get some braces
« Reply #24 on: 12. December 2023, 13:35:15 PM »
Chapter 17

It's the following weekend: Eleanor got in touch during the week to say that she WOULD take on the full-time job, and that she was on 4 weeks notice, so would be joining them in a month's time.

Linda had been over to her parents for Sunday lunch, but now, mid- to late-afternoon, was back at her own flat, and she was taking the opportunity to give it a bit of a clean and tidy up. Yes, even pop starts have to do that sometimes! Although, like the others (and probably as a result of the other 3, she DID have a cleaning lady who came in once a week). Her phone buzzed, to tell her she had a WhatsApp message. It was from Dianne, asking if she was at home, and whether she could come over.

'Yes, I'm home, and you're very welcome to come over. When you gonna come?'

'Pretty much now, if that's ok?'

'Sure, see you soon!'.

Something felt odd: why would Dianne want to come over on a Sunday afternoon? Surely she'd be with Mike? Well, she'd soon find out. About 25 minutes later, Linda's doorbell rang. She pressed the button to let Dianne into the main door downstairs, then opened the front door of the flat. Normally, when they met, Dianne would be smiling, but not today.

Dianne was wearing her headgear, elastics and lip-bumper, and was not looking very happy.

"You ok? Braces getting to you?" asked Linda. Dianne said nothing, just shook her head. Were those tears that Linda saw in Dianne's eyes? "You look like you need a hot drink - or would you prefer something stronger?"

"A tea would be lovely..." replied Dianne, in a not-so enthusiastic voice.

With the tea made, they both went into the lounge. Dianne sat on the settee, so Linda sat next to her. Dianne unhooked her headgear strap, then removed the facebow, putting them both on the small table next to her, where she had put her cup of tea. She picked up the tea, and took a sip.

Linda leaned over, and put an arm around Dianne. "So, kiddo, what's going on?"

Dianne took a deep breath. "Mike and I have decided to split up...". Linda had guessed that Dianne and Mike were going through a bad patch, but this still came as a shock. She put her other arm around Dianne, and hugged her.

"I am SO sorry, Dianne...."

"Thanks... It was a pretty mutual decision..."

"Anything in particular cause it?"

"No, I think we've just fallen out of love. We've been talking about it the last couple of weeks, and decided last night to finally split up. He's around my place collecting his stuff together, which is why I wanted to get out..."

"Yeah, makes sense. Well, you can stay here as long as you need to."

"Thanks. I was actually going to go over to 'CJDL Mansions' later on, I think I could do with people around me..."

"Would you like me to come over too?". Recently, the 4 girls would go over to 'the mansion' on a Monday morning, after spending the weekend in their own places, with their respective boyfriends. Well, except Linda that is, she's not actually had a boyfriend for a while. Most of the time she didn't mind, she was happy with her own company, and would go and see her parents, or even meet up with some of her friends from school or college - although she'd not done that recently. 

"Yes, that would be nice, thanks!"

Anyway, Dianne and Mike hadn't actually been a couple all THAT long: she remembered back to how it all started... it was shortly after Jenny had sung with Three Play, and they were having a meeting with them at Jenny's place, to see if they were interested in taking their music a bit further, going into a recording studio and stuff. She had chatted with Mike a couple of times, and she had been looking at him in the meeting. Jenny had spotted her looking at Mike - now what was it she said? Ah, yes, '... looking at Mike like a bloomin' puppy dog!', and had told her to ask him out to the pub! She smiled at the memory.

"Ok, what you smiling about?"

"I was just remembering how it all started, it was before you joined us..." While Linda had heard the story of the Three Play gig several times, and had seen the video, she hadn't heard about what happened after, so Dianne explained about how, back then, not only had all three of them jammed with Three Play a few times, they offered to help them get a record deal, but the guys eventually decided to stay as they were - probably a good decision. And how she had asked Mike out to the pub.

"You know, I'd often wondered exactly how you and Mike actually got together, I knew it was after Jenny met Ben, and she had played with Three Play. Awww, that's so sweet!"

They chatted for a while, mainly about Mike and Dianne.

"Hey, wanna help me make some scones?" asked Linda

"Scones? You bake?"

"Yeah, of course I do. I'm assuming you'd like to stay for tea: I have some bread in the freezer, but if there's two of us, it's worth making some scones."

"It's been a while since I made scones, I must have been what? Fifteen, maybe sixteen!"

"Come on then!" said Linda, and lead Dianne back to the kitchen. Before doing anything, she got 4 slices of bread out of the freezer. "There's a bag of flour in that cupboard up there" she said, as she turned on the oven, then got the butter from the fridge. "Ah, scales up there..." she said, pointing. Linda opened another cupboard, and got out a large mixing bowl.

"Ok, we're gonna just do a half-amount, so 4 ounces of flour...." She put the bowl onto the scales, zeroed it, and added the flour, then some sugar. She went to another cupboard. "Baking powder....".

"How much butter?" asked Dianne.

"An ounce, but nicer to be over than under!". Dianne cut off the butter. "Just shove it in the bowl!" Linda took the knife, and used it to chop up the butter, then started to rub it into the flour.

"Hark who's looking all domesticated! Hang on, I gotta get a picture of this!". She went and found her phone, took a picture of Linda in her apron, and posted it online.

"Ok, put the butter back in the fridge will you, then grab an egg and the milk..."

"Egg...." said Dianne, passing it to Linda.

"Thank you!". She made a well in the middle of the flour and butter mix, then broke the egg into it, followed by some milk: while she did this, Dianne took more pictures. After adding some more milk, she finally had a dough. "Right, I reckon it's time YOU did something.... third drawer down is a pastry sheet, the rolling pin and some cutters..."

Dianne put the pastry sheet flat on the worktop, then put her hand into the flour, not only putting it over her hands, but sprinkling some over the sheet and rolling pin. She took the dough from the large bowl, and put it onto the sheet, and started to roll it out.

In the meantime, Linda had quickly washed her hands, and got her phone out to take a picture of Dianne doing the rolling.

"Big ones or little ones?"

"Oh, big ones!". Dianne took the cutter, and cut out several scones, which Linda put onto the baking tray. She then gathered up the excess dough, and re-rolled it. "This brings back a few memories, mum loved baking..." said Dianne with a smile. Linda posted a few more pictures of the scones, about to go into the oven: of course, their fans were making all sorts of fun comments.

"Right, into the oven with them... and while we wait, you can wash your hands, and I'll get the kettle on..."

Just over 10 minutes later, Linda took the scones out of the oven.

"Wow, they look amazing!" said Dianne, taking a picture. The scones were well risen, and slightly brown on the top.

"Shame I don't have any clotted cream, but I do have some nice jam...."


Offline Sparky

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Re: Dianne really needs to get some braces
« Reply #25 on: 20. December 2023, 14:28:45 PM »
Chapter 18

With a couple of sandwiches and the scones (along with butter & jam), and a fresh cup of tea, they went back to the lounge.

"So, did you tell the others yet?"

"No, I guess I should..."

"And then what about the fans? And the press, for that matter? You need to be in control of the news. We could just do a live stream..."

Dianne finished messaging the rest of the team. "So, you really reckon we should do a live stream? Like now?"

"Why not? And DON'T worry if you start to get emotional, it will just show that you're human, like the rest of us. I'll do everything, and I'll ask you questions..."

CJDL had proven so many times now that being in control of their news, and being proactive, was the best way to do things. It stopped so much speculation, which meant they had a lot less stress in their lives. Good or bad, they knew it wasn't worth hiding stuff, it WOULD be found out.

Dianne took a sip of her tea. "Now?"

"Why not, we can start by letting them watch us eat our sarnies, and putting jam on the scones!"

Linda had a quick sip of her tea, then got out the tripod, and set it up to hold her phone. Next, she got her tablet, logged into their stream, and put up a message to say they would be streaming soon. Same on the phone, but she initiated the stream, leaving it on the "stream will start in 5 minutes" message.

They both started eating their sandwiches, as Linda watched the countdown on her tablet.

"Ok, you ready?" she asked.

"Bit late now...."

"Hi everyone!" she said as the stream started. "Tell you what, these sarnies are good.... Ok, let's start with the 'rules for todays stream'. First of all, it's just Dianne and me here, and I have a tablet, so it's no use going mad on the chat, we won't be able to keep up... so if someone else has asked a question, don't let's have another 50 of you asking the same thing!"

Carol had a quick look at the comments, which, mainly because the number of people watching was still quite small, she was actually able to keep up with. Lots of hearts being posted, and a couple of people asking what the stream was about.

"Someone is asking why we're streaming... well, we do have an announcement to make in a few minutes, but Dianne and I thought you could all drool and watch us eating the scones we just made!"

Dianne picked up the plate with the scones on, and cut it in half, then spread some butter on both bits. Linda opened the jam, and passed it over, letting Dianne dig in, and get some jam for the scone...

"Tell you what," said Dianne, "I'm VERY impressed with Linda's baking skills. They look yummy....". She took a bite of the scone. "Oh my god, this is delicious!"

"I bet they're all gonna want the recipe now... I'll try to remember to post it for you all."

They spent the next couple of minutes finishing their sandwiches, and eating a scone each. By now the number of viewers had gone up. Dianne's phone beeped.

"Ah, hi Jenny and Ben... they just joined us!" said Dianne, waving. They both had some tea to clear their mouths.

"Ok, thank you all for joining us. Ok, first a message aimed at the TV and press guys: you are very welcome to use the contents of this stream in your news, you know the normal terms and conditions, copyright CJDL and all that stuff."

"So, Dianne, I believe you have an announcement to make?" prompted Linda.

Dianne paused a moment, and took a breath. "I just need to tell you all that Mike and I have split up...". Linda and Dianne sat silently as the comments went wild, a combination of shock, plus sending love to Dianne.

"Ok, so you and Mike have split up..." said Linda. "Did you guys have a big argument or something?"

"No, not at all... I guess we just 'fell out of love' with each other. We've been chatting through things the last couple of weeks, and finally took the decision to split up last night."

"Oh, no.... it sounds very civilised, but I'm sure it still hurts?"

"It does! Look, can I just make one thing clear: Mike is NOT at fault in any way, so please, no nastiness towards Mike!" There were tears in Dianne's eyes.

Linda passed a tissue over, then took Dianne's hand. "There's a LOT of love for you coming through on the chat...."

"Thank you all so much!".

"I just saw a question wizz by, it was something we talked about earlier... how you first met Mike. That's if you're ok talking about it..."

Dianne smiled. "That's fine. So, we need to go back to just after our first major tour, so several months before Linda here started to work with us. Jenny had met Ben, then a couple of weeks later Carol and I went around to Jenny's to work on some new stuff: that was the Saturday when Carol, me and Ben were in the audience at the pub, and Jenny did THAT song with Three Play."

"I've seen videos of it..."

"Yeah, so you have to imagine the scene, a load of people into rock, and this girl comes on the stage in a white frilly dress, not to mention the headgear! Then takes Dave's guitar, and plays a blatant rock song. So, later that night, Jenny told Ben who she REALLY was..."

"Hey, how did Ben react - he must have been a bit surprised?"

"He just took it in his stride. I mean, you know Ben, he's just a normal guy, but isn't phased by our strange life... I guess that's why Ben and Jenny just work. Anyway, back to MY story..."

"Sorry, yeah, go on..."

"So, following day, we all went over to 'the mansion' for lunch, and in the evening we three met up with Three Play, told THEM who we were, and ended up jamming together. Over the following couple of weeks, we all got together a few times, then we all had a meeting at Jenny's: so Dave, Johnny and Mike, Jenny and me. Carol, Brian and Lisa were on zoom, and we we talking about whether Three Play needed a manager, whether they wanted to go into the recording studio and so on. So I'm sat there, eyeing up Mike..."

"My imagination is going crazy... go on..."

"Well, you have to admit, he IS pretty good looking. So yeah, with both of us playing drums, we'd practiced together a bit, and I DID kinda fancy him,. So there I was, looking at him, and Jenny looks at me, accuses me of looking at Mike like a forlorn puppy, and pretty much TELLS me to invite him to the pub..."

"Which I'm guessing you did?"

"Of course. It was the first time we'd been together but alone, if you see what I mean."

"Yeah... I'm just so sad for you that it didn't work out so good..."

"I'm not going to complain, Mike was actually a great person to be with, and he understood our lifestyle to a greater extent than most people would... Yeah, I'm gonna miss him: Mike, if you're watching this: THANK YOU! Thank you for some really great memories!"

There was a bit of a pause. "Maybe time to move on: there's a few people here asking how you... well we, both of us... are getting on with our braces? And properly describe what we have."

"Must I?"


Offline Sparky

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Re: Dianne really needs to get some braces
« Reply #26 on: 27. December 2023, 00:16:01 AM »
Chapter 19

"Yes, you must! Look, why don't I start?". Linda turned to the camera. "So, my teeth weren't actually all that bad, apart from these two premolars on the left: they are a little bit twisted." She got up, and was going to try and show people on the phone's camera while it was in the tripod, but instead removed the phone, and passed it to Dianne. "Ok, Dianne, start by getting close to my mouth."

Linda smiled, letting everyone see her teeth with braces on. "Unlike Dianne, I don't have any bands on my back teeth, just brackets." She pulled back her cheek to show her molars. "Now, these top molars here...." Dianne tooke a close-up of where she was pointing. "... they aren't quite straight, so inside my mouth I have a couple of tiny screws with some elastic stuff between them and the teeth... wanna see if you can show them?"

Linda tilted her head back, to allow light into her mouth, and Dianne managed to show the screws and pieces of powerchain. "So they are there to help rotate those two teeth."

"Doesn't it feel a bit weird having those in your mouth?" asked Dianne. By now she was just holding the camera, and pointing it at Linda.

"For the first couple of weeks I couldn't stop playing with them, with my tongue. But my mouth seems to have pretty much accepted them now. It's still a bit odd when I eat, and yes, food does get stuck in them."

"It doesn't seem to have affected your speech..."

"I think I had issues for a few days, nothing major, and I'm pretty much used to them now."

"How did you find the brackets when you first got them?" Dianne asked Linda.

"Yeah, you were lucky there, you knew what to expect. In my first week I used a ton of Bonjella to kill the pain, where I cut my cheeks and lips with the brackets. But it's not so bad now... Ok, must be your turn now! Why don't you start by explaining what happened to you as a teen."

"Oh, ok.... so I had braces when I was about 12: I had bad buck teeth back then, and I ended up having removable plates for a bit. And, yes, with a headgear to go with it! Then I got metal brackets, like we both have now, then the dreaded retainers."

"Removable plates? I'm guessing something like the retainer that Carol had?"

"Sort of, but a lot more plastic, It wasn't all that nice to wear, and made me sound like a complete dork! The retainers I had weren't great, but were a lot nicer."

"So you ended up with nice straight teeth... so what's happened that you need braces again?"

"Our ortho said it was partly general facial growth, but mainly the effect of my wisdom teeth coming in."

"So you had to have your wisdom teeth out? How was that?"

"Not as bad as I feared... they're pretty much healed now."

"Was it painful?"

"Not really, just 'discomfort', which painkillers seemed to fix. Then a couple of weeks later, I got those tiny separator things, so she could fit my molar bands, they were actually worse than having the teeth out! You and Carol are so lucky, not having molar bands!"

"So your braces - anything special about them?"

"No, not really, take a look...". As she smiled, Carol took some close-ups.

"Molar bands?"

"Oh, ok...". She pulled back her lips, letting Linda see the metal bands on her front molars.

"Of course, you also have something else. In fact two something elses..."

"Must I?"

"Yes, you must!!! Come on, everyone already knows that you have it. Just be brave!"

Dianne leaned forward, and picked up several bits from the table. "So, first of all, I have this thing: it's called a 'lip bumper', and goes in the bottom...." As Carol filmed her, she put the lip bumper into the two tubes on her lower molars.

"So, what does that do then?"

"My lip pushes on it, and it is pushing back on my bottom molars, to try and make some more space at the front for my front teeth." Dianne's voice had changed a bit as a result of her having something in the bottom front of her mouth.

"Does it hurt?"

"No, it doesn't. It felt really weird to start with, but it DOES have the advantage of keeping my lip away from the braces. Ok, I guess you want me to show them all the next bit now, don't you?"

"Of course! Don't be shy!"

"Ok, so this is my facebow, it goes in like this..." Dianne had put the facebow in enough times now that she no longer needed a mirror. "And this is my headgear, it has a load of straps on it, doesn't it!"

"Yeah, why one like that, most of the pictures I've seen are just a neck strap?"

"From what David explained, the neck straps pull down a bit. And the other ones, the ones that go over the top of your head, they pull up a bit. But this one is set up to just pull straight back... let me show you."

Dianne put the interlandi headgear over hear head, with the two plastic 'c-clips' just in front of her ears. She found the two elastics with her fingers, and stretched then, fitting them over the hooks at the end of the facebow.

"And don't you have some other elastics to go with that?"

"Ah, yes, half a moment..." Dianne stood up, and went over to get her bag, out of which she pulled a small plastic bag, filled with tiny elastic bands. "So my headgear does two things: not only does it move my top teeth back a bit, but it pulls againsy these, which in turn help to pull back my lower teeth, but a couple of teeth forward from where the lip-bumper is plugged in. With Linda continuing to film, Dianne pulled out two fresh elastics, and fitted them.

"So what's wrong with the ones you took out earlier then?"

"Oh, they tend to stretch, so don't pull as well. These things cost nothing, so whenever I take them out, I just throw them away, and put new ones in. And I only wear the elastics if I have my headgear in...".

Linda panned back, showing Linda with her headgear on. "Smile, so they can see your elastics!". After that, Linda put the phone back on the tripod.

"Question from online: 'we could hear the lip bumper affects your speech a little, what about the headgear and elastics?' Well, from what I'm hearing, no, almost not at all - Dianne?"

"Yeah, I think you're right. The lip bumper gets in the way a bit, and whilst the facebow is kinda between my braces and cheeks, it doesn't seem to have the same sort of effect. As for the elastics, they seem to make no real difference... although you could argue that I can't open my mouth so easily, and that has a slight effect."

"Another question: 'how do you keep your braces clean?'. That's easy, we both have water-pics, don't we? Jenny told us about them, they make it so easy!"

"Yeah, I remember as a kid always needing to floss, but the water-pics make is so much easier! Any more braces questions there?"

"Yeah, 'how long will you need them?' Well, mine should be under a year, then retainers. What did he say for you, Dianne?"

"Oh, about six or eight years, wasn't it?" They both laughed. "No, luckily not THAT long. He said about 18 months or so, depending on how cooperative my teeth were!"

"'What about Jenny and Carol?' asks someone else. From what I remember, Jenny's treatment is almost done, and Carol only has her braces acting as retainers, so I'm rather assuming they'll both get them off after our tour. To be honest, I wouldn't have got braces, and Carol would have just kept her retainers, except for the fact that we wanted to all support Dianne!"

"'Eight of you on stage in braces - that's gonna be quite a sight' says someone. Yeah, that's gonna be fun, and I'm sure we'll get plenty of publicity out of it too. Ok, I think we've talked about braces enough. Now, can you all slow down there on the chat, so I can actually read your questions!". The chat quietened down a bit.

"Ah, someone here asking if we're working on some new music yet, and another asking if we're looking forward to working with Northern Girls. Yes, we've been writing some new stuff, some for us, and some for us to play with Northern Girls..." said Linda.

"What Linda hasn't told you is that SHE has written several of the songs herself. From my perspective it actually feels a bit strange..."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, historically, Jenny tended to come up with the music, leaving Carol and me to sort out the lyrics. But you, you're doing both. Ok, yeah, sometimes we also work on the lyrics with you, but with Jenny, we're having to pretty much do the whole job. Your lyrics are pretty much there, just need a tiny bit of polishing. You know, when you started with us, you'd hardly written anything, but now you seem to have found your 'writing voice'!"

"Yeah, I know I wrote a few bits at college, but I went on to be a session musician, so I just played stuff that other people wrote. But recently, I've discovered that I actually enjoy the writing. I guess it kinda started when we were over in Korea, with Braces Buddies."

"So, to answer the first question: yes, we've been busy writing and practising a load of new stuff. And yes, I'm very much looking forward to playing with Taylor, Erin, Kate and Meg. It's a bit of a challenge, because their music is a bit 'rockier' than ours, but I think that's half the fun of it, it's making us think a bit different" answered Dianne.

"Oh, yeah, but as some of you know, my *personal* music choice is more their stuff than ours."

"Of course, you're an anime and a BabyMetal fan, aren't you?"

"I would LOVE to play with BabyMetal! That would be so cool! Although, pedantically, I'd be playing with the 'Kami Band'! Not 100% sure I could keep up with the girl's dancing!"

"Please explain...."

"Well, the guys playing the music are known as the 'Kami Band'... there's actually TWO Kami Bands, one for when they play in Asia, another for when they play in Europe and over in the US, although I believe that the members are session musicians, and seem to come and go over time."

"Session musicians? You'd fit in well! Ok, so who's BabyMetal?"

"Some places seem to call the 3 girls and the Kami band together as BabyMetal, others seem to think of just the girls as being BabyMetal, with the Kami Band being their backing band. But who really cares, I love their Kawaii music."

"I read yesterday that they are playing at Donnington Park later in the year: got your tickets yet?"

"Really? Hadn't picked up on that yet. I need tickets!!! Gimme tickets!! We just missed out on their last visit, it was when we were in Korea. Tell you what though, I'd love to have a stage costume something like what they have!" They both smiled at the idea. "Hey, any idea if they are planning on doing Glasto? If so, maybe we could persuade them to let me play with them? But I guess I need to answer the question: yes, I'm very much looking forward to playing with the Northern Girls girls!"

"Ok" said Dianne, "I reckon it's time to wrap things up. Maybe we can do one more question... here, let me take a look!". Linda passed the tablet over to Dianne. "Ok, guys, cut out the noise for a moment, just want to see one last question from you!". Several questions flew up the screen. "Ah, here's one: 'any idea when Jenny and Ben are getting married?' You heard anything Linda?"

"No, nothing. Knowing Jenny, it wouldn't surprise me if they got married at Glasto, that would be so her, wouldn't it?"

"It would, but I think I read somewhere that you can't ACTUALLY get married at Glasto."

"Really? Oh, that's a shame, that could have been fun! So apart from that, sorry guys, we have absolutely no idea when those two will finally tie the knot, although I have no doubt that they WILL! Ok, so on that note, I think we need to say goodbye!!!".

The tablet's screen went mad with 'goodbye's' and hearts etc.


Offline Sparky

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Re: Dianne really needs to get some braces
« Reply #27 on: 02. January 2024, 14:44:36 PM »
Chapter 20

Dianne was actually smiling. "I enjoyed that, it was fun!"

"You didn't mind about the question about how you and Mike got together then?"

"No. As I said, I don't really have bad feelings towards Mike."

"So, what next?"

"Well, I had been thinking about going over to 'the mansion' tonight. Wanna come with me?"

"Yeah, why not. Need to tidy up, and quickly get packed, not forgetting to leave a note for Joan." Joan was an older lady who went to all four girls places once or twice a week, to keep their places tidy.

A couple of hours later they were back at 'the mansion', and after quickly unpacking, and chatting with Brian, Lisa and Callum, headed down to the music room.

"You know, it's been a while since just you and I had the chance to play together like this" commented Dianne. "Hey, want to have a go on the drums?" Whilst Linda had learnt the basics of drumming and a lot more about keyboards at college, she had spent pretty much all of her time with the guitars, and unlike many others enjoyed playing bass as much as the more normal 6-string guitars.

"Sounds like fun..." Linda sat at the acoustic drum set, while Dianne was at the electric set. "Hey, weren't you going to get a new drumkit sometime?"

"Yup, it's on order, should arrive early this week!"

"Oh, nice. So what's going to be different?"

"To be honest, probably not a lot. I tried it out in a shop, and it seemed to be a bit more 'responsive'... I'll be able to do some really delicate stuff that I don't seem to be able to here. And a few new 'voices' too. Luckily the interface isn't that different from this one... Oh yeah, comes with a small keyboard too, which lets you trigger stuff like gongs and so on from the keyboard."

"Ah, right, a musical keyboard, I was thinking of a PC keyboard!"

Linda started to play a very simple rhythm on the drums, and Dianne joined in on the bass: whilst they both had the ability to 'play a tune', they had both spent a lot of their time setting down a 'backing beat' with the drums or the bass, and that's what they did now.

As they played, Dianne called out a few ideas for Linda to try on the drums, which Linda enjoyed trying.

"Hey ladies... you seem to be playing the wrong instruments!" said Callum with a smile as he came into the music room. "Mind you, it IS sounding good!"

"Some join us if you like..."

"Yeah, why not!". Whilst Callum was nowhere near as good a musician as any of the girls, he did enjoy jamming with them occasionally.


Offline Sparky

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Re: Dianne really needs to get some braces
« Reply #28 on: 03. January 2024, 21:23:21 PM »
Chapter 21

In preparation for their upcoming tour with Northern Girls, as well as their new album, the girls had been busy writing some new songs... some just for them, some they were working on jointly (currently online, but soon in person) with Northern Girls.

The four girls had been rehearsing for about an hour, Callum and Paige were both there too, Callum looking after the tech, plus both of them giving bits of advice on the songs. Dianne had noticed that Brian had walked in, and had gone and sat down on one of the settees. This was a normal thing: Brian didn't like interrupting the girls when they were rehearsing, so was happy to sit and listen to them until they either finished the runthrough of the song, or simply decided to stop. Besides, he liked hearing the progress they made as they developed their songs.

"Hi dad!..." said Jenny a few minutes later when they finished playing, "want us to come over?"

"Please! Paige and Callum too..."

Dianne could see that Brian had what seemed to be 'official papers' in his hand. "So, what's up?" she asked, once they had all sat down.

"It's a solicitor's letter, claiming copyright breach."

"Ah, right, serious stuff. So, what have we allegedly done?". Dianne had seen this before, and knew that copyright issues were never a 'done thing'.

"They claim that CJDL have used words from their client's song..."

"Ah, so lyrics for a change, rather than the music. Which song?"

"That's the problem, it's your current single, 'Get working'"

"Oh crap, I did most of the lyrics for that" said Dianne. "So, what have I copied then?"

"Fiona Lewis, 'Escape the city'... they claim you pretty much copied the whole of the third verse..."

Carol got her phone out, searched for, then played, 'Escape the city'... While it was playing, Jenny was using her phone to find out about Fiona Lewis. As they listened to the song, Dianne's jaw dropped, and she put a hand in front of her mouth. She was silent for a few seconds as she realised what she had done."Oh f***... in fact double f***". Everyone looked at her.

"Dianne!!!" said Carol.

"I'm sorry, but yeah, now I hear that again, I realise where I got the words from..."

"What do you mean?" asked Linda.

"So, that song's from what, 5 years ago? I listened to it when it was in the charts... ok, it didn't get especially high, but I liked it. So when I was working on 'Get Working', I felt the words I used in the third verse felt good... but I never made the connection. I can't deny it, I lifted pretty much the whole of the third verse from her song...

"So, sounds like we need to pass it over to Amanda, get her to negotiate?" said Jenny. "Look, Dianne, don't worry, it's a worst nightmare for all of us, it happens..."

"Yes, I'll call Amanda. Any background stuff you can dig out might be useful..." replied Brian. They talked for a moment.

"Guys, would it help us if we just had a word with Fiona Lewis herself?" suggested Linda.

"I like the idea, but how on earth we going to get in touch with her? As soon as her manager knows it's us, he'll do everything to stop us speaking to her. Unless you 'just happen to have' her private phone number?"

"Actually, I do!"


"I have Fiona's personal mobile number...". The others looked puzzled.

"How on EARTH do you 'happen to have' her private number?"

"Well, about 18 months ago, so a bit before I started working with you guys, I toured with her for about 3 or 4 weeks, I played bass and did some backing vocals."

"And you're now gonna tell me that you propped up the bar with her too?"

"Yup, I did. Whilst she's a little older than us, we just seemed to get on pretty well, so we socialised a bit during those 3 weeks."

"Ok... think she'll remember you?"

"Depends if she saw the news when I joined CJD, and made the connection. Look, what's the worst that happens? She tells me to speak to her lawyer and hangs up? Anything else is a possible win for us. And I know you Jenny, it's not just about not paying, or paying the minimum possible, it's about getting a better outcome, where both sides actually gain from it. That was the idea behind your copyright agreement with 'Young and Easy' wasn't it?"

Jenny smiled, remembering what had happened the year before last: yes, THAT sort of solution was a much better one. "You know, Linda, I'm so glad you joined the band, in SO many ways! Yeah, call her...."

Linda got her phone out, found the number, then dialled it. With her phone on speaker, they all waited for a reply.

"Hello? Linda?" answered Fiona.

"Hey, Fiona, hello there, long time no chat!" replied Linda.

"Yeah, must be getting on for 2 years, when you toured with us! Hey, I hear your life has changed a bit - how's it going?"

"Yeah, I'm part of CJDL now, it's a bit different from when I was doing backing guitars and vocals! And I've also started writing some stuff of my own now!"

"Oh nice! So, something tells me this isn't just a social call..."

"Umm... no.... Fiona, do you have 5 minutes?"

"Yes, sure, go on..."

"We - that's CJDL - just got a letter from your lawyers."

"Oh, don't know anything about that yet, what's it about?"

"Ah, ok... Fiona, I'm gonna let Dianne explain... Dianne?"

"Hi I'm Dianne..."

"Hello there, Dianne, what's the issue then?"

"Well, remember your song 'Escape the city' from about five years ago. It seems that, when I was writing the words for our current single, 'Get Working', I managed to steal some words from your song."

"Oh... how many words?"

"About a verse's worth. And I am so sorry, and it goes without saying that we'll settle up with you...."

"Oh, right.". There was a slight pause. "As I said, I actually don't know anything about this yet, I assume my manager must have done it."

"Hello, Fiona, it's Jenny here! Look, whilst we could simply just 'pay you off', I'm thinking we could get a much better outcome for ALL of us..."

"What do you mean?"

"Ok, let me ask a very blunt question: how's your music career doing right now? Would it help if we could give it a bit of a 'boost'?"

"Ok..." replied Fiona, "I'm starting to see where you might be going with this, do go on..."

"Well, I can think of a few ideas, depends on what you're up for. Joint TV appearance? Sing with us? Do a guest appearance on our tour.... To be honest, I think we just need to get together and work things out."

"Hmmm, yes... Look, let me call my manager, and find out what's going on, and I'll call you back, definitely within the hour."

"Thanks, Fiona!". Linda pressed the red button to end the call.

"Well, that went pretty ok!" commented Paige.

"Yes, it did, all things considering." replied Brian. "I just hope she's as positive after speaking with her manager.


Offline Sparky

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Re: Dianne really needs to get some braces
« Reply #29 on: 11. January 2024, 15:05:04 PM »
Chapter 22

About 40 minutes later, Linda's phone rang: it was Fiona calling back.

"Hi Linda, it's Fiona..." said a voice that sounded pretty friendly.

"Hi Fiona, thanks for calling back. I guess you've had time to have a chat with your manager?"

"Oh, yes, and he was pleasantly surprised to hear that you had called me directly. More importantly, we both think that we should get together with you all, and talk things through."

"Absolutely!" replied Linda. As she was talking, she was walking back to the music room where everyone else was. "So, would you like us to come to you, or you're both very welcome to come here..."

"Well, my place here is a bit small... I don't suppose you guys happen to live in a large mansion, do you?"

"Not quite THAT big, but plenty of space for you to join us!"

"Ok, so where are you?". Linda explained roughly where they were. "Oh, that's not too bad, it's only about 20 minutes from here. When's good to come over?"

By now Linda was sat on one of the settees, next to Brian.

"Hold on a second!" She put the phone on speaker. "Brian, it's Fiona on the phone: I suggested that she could come over here with her manager to talk with us all... when's a good time?"

"Hello again, Fiona, Brian here, I'm the band's manager. To be honest, you can come any time you like..."

"Ok, in that case, why don't we come straight over? We'll be coming over separately, and my manager, Jim, will take a bit longer to get to you."

"Sure, you got something to take a note of the address...?"

After receiving the first call from Linda, Fiona had spoken with her manager, then spent some time reading up about CJDL. Whilst there wasn't a lot of details available, she saw about the two copyright cases that CJDL had been involved with, and that they had been solved amicably. She also read that Jenny especially was quite a vocal supporter of artists rights regarding copyright, which possibly explained Jenny's earlier positive attitude.

She was very interested to hear what ideas they had: her career had slowed down a bit in the last 3 or 4 years, and a boost right now would be very welcome, especially if it was from a band like CJDL who seemed to be doing really well.

Jenny had mentioned a tour, and it didn't take long for her to find out that, in a few months time, CJDL were planning on doing a joint European tour with a Canadian band: one or two guest appearances at their UK appearances would be rather nice, and might up her approval ratings... and that would mean the posibility of a new single to go with it.

She also briefly read about CJDL's visit to Korea: they certainly seemed to enjoy working with other people.

While they waited for Fiona and her manager to arrive, they organised cups of tea and coffee (come on, it's England, that what the English DO!) and went and waited in the music room. It wasn't long before the doorbell rang.

"I guess it's probably better if I go and meet her, as I'm the one who knows her!". She walked back into the main part of the house, and opened the front door. "Hi, Fiona, lovely to see you - sorry about the circumstances though! Come on in!"

"Hello Linda, you are looking good! Nice house...."

"Yeah, it is, isn't it? Sadly it's not mine, it's owned by the otehrs, plus Brian and Lisa... they're Jenny's parents, as well as being our managers. Anyway, we're all down in the music room..."

"Music room? Sounds nice!"

"It is actually, it's a lovely place to rehearse in." As Linda took her into the music room, she could see Fiona's eyes light up.

"Wow, this is nice.... I guess you can stay here too, in the house?"

"Yeah, so much better than having to rent a rehearsal space and travel every day. Anyway, let me introduce everyone. So, this is Brian and Lisa, our managers - and Jenny's dad and mum. Jenny. Carol. Dianne... so we four make up CJDL. Then we have Callum - he's Jenny's brother, and looks after technical stuff - and looks after us more generally. And finally this is Paige, she does all sorts of stuff to help us out. Hey, did you see the Netflix series about our trip to Korea? Paige did most of the camera work for that! Everyone, this is Fiona!"

After introductions, Callum poured her a cup of coffee from the still hot cafetiere.

"So, do you do any recording here?" asked Fiona.

"The previous owner used to, but no, we just rehearse here. It's so nice being able to just 'live' here while we're working on new stuff though." explained Jenny.

"I see you have a tour coming up, so I'm guessing you're working on some new stuff?"

"Definitely. We'll be in the recording studios in.... two weeks time, isn't it?" replied Linda.

While they spoke, Dianne noticed that Fiona was looking at them all. Well, not Paige or Callum. Or Brian or Lisa for that matter. Just the girls. Looking at their faces. Dianne smiled, letting Fiona get a good clear view of her braces.

"Fiona, can I start by apologising again for stealing your lovely lyrics! I loved 'Escape the City' when you released it, so I don't know how I didn't spot what I'd done!" said Dianne apologetically.

"Well, you know what they say: 'imitation is the sincerest form of flattery', so I guess I should be very flattered by the fact that you used my words. I listened to your song on the way over, and I must admit, the words fitted the song so nicely. So, I am very happy to accept your apology, thank you! And thank you all for not trying to 'wriggle out' of what's happened."

"I guess I'll need to speak with your manager" said Brian, "but it goes without saying that we will pay you suitable copyrights. However, I believe the girls have some ideas they want to share."

"Fiona..." said Jenny, "before we start coming out with ideas, maybe I should ask a very fundament question: what do YOU want? What's important to YOU?"

"Well, on the phone earlier you made a rather hard hitting comment - actually it was a question - but it kinda summarises everything."

"Oh, which bit was that then?"

"You asked 'how's your music career doing right now?'"

"Ah, yes, that one... sorry to have been so blunt!"

"That's fine, but it rather concentrated my mind. Yes, things HAVE been rather quiet recently, and I'll be blunt too: I could do with a bit of a boost, so any ideas you have would be appreciated. I would love to release a new single, but without 'a bit of assistance' I don't imagine it would do too well."

Jenny picked up a piece of paper. "Funnily enough, top of my list was 'Joint Single'. You've probably realised that we quite enjoy working with other artists, so a joint single would be a lot of fun for us to do. However, from a purely practical perspective, I don't think we'll be able to do anything with you until after our tour. Right now we're working on a load of stuff for our new album, and we're in the studios in a couple of weeks time to record it, then it's gonna be full-on tour prep with Northern Girls until the tour starts. However...."

"I'm ok with waiting a bit, so what's the 'however'?"

"Second on my list was some sort of 'come sing with us on the tour'. So, a bit further down the list is 'TV appearance to talk copyright': if we do something to stir up interest, then maybe you sing 'Get Working' with us, or we sing 'Escape the city' with you.... or even both!"

Fiona smiled: these were great ideas, all of which would make her more visible, and visibility equals performance opportunities equals income. "So, I know you have a big European tour, I'm assuming you'll be doing a few UK dates?"

"Well, in effect we'll be starting with a UK tour" explained Linda. "A couple of nights at the O2, then around the country, including Scotland, Wales, and we're hoping maybe even Ireland. Not forgetting Leicester..."

"Leicester?" asked Fiona.

"Yeah, my sister lives there: we've never played Leicester and I promised we'd do a full gig there for her!" explained Carol.

"So, after that, around Europe, then finish with a couple of nights at Wembley Arena. So there's gonna be plenty of chances for you to come and appear with us without having to go abroad." suggested Linda. She knew that Fiona's main following was in the UK.

"Ok. Jenny, you mentioned TV..."

"Yeah, so with a new album coming out, and a tour happening soon, we'll be able to get onto TV quite easily. If we add in a 'copyright controversy' into the mix, there's a few more possible appearances!"

"You probably haven't heard about what happened as a result of Jenny sueing 'Young and Easy' when they stole some of her music. She ended up working with them, then we all invaded one of their stage shows as 'the copyright police', which was great fun! Hey, you could do that to us! But Jenny went on TV with them a couple of times, talked and sang with them, did them all a lot of good."

It was then that the doorbell rang again. "Sounds like your manager just arrived" said  Linda starting to get up. "What did you say his name was?"


"Ah, yes, I remember now, I'll go let him in: would one of you like to get the kettle on again?". Linda had met Stuart when she had toured with Fiona a couple of years ago.