Gladys performs her song “In Real Life” and a very special person comes to hear her sing it. will the very sensible side of Gladys’s character win the day when an film star shows a romantic interest in her?
Read by Natasha
Picture by Chiara Civati
Written by Bertie
Gladys spent her summer in Teddington. Much of the time, she sat at her desk and looked out of the window, seeking inspiration. The parked cars grew hot in the sun. Occasionally, a near tropical downpour would rinse the dust off them as effectively as a car wash. The postman delivered gas bills and a boy shoved fliers for pizza deliveries through letterboxes, but nobody was at home to pick them off the doormat. A mangy fox sniffed around some empty dustbins. When the bus stopped on the corner, two old age pensioners got on, and one old man got off. Often Gladys thought, “Is this how I am going to take the world by storm? By looking out at an empty street?”
Life came back to Teddington in the first week of September. Mostly it returned on board a budget flight from Southern Europe, and sometimes in an overladen estate car pulling a caravan back from Cornwall. School was starting up again, but Gladys was staying at home. It felt strange to think that Sara, Jay-Jay, and James would be stringing their sixth form ties around their collars. She thought of the classroom, and her favourite teacher handing out dog-eared copies of Othello to the smallish group who would be reading it for their English Lit A-Level. She could almost smell processed sausages and beans in the school canteen and feel the chill of the changing room, as she got ready for hockey. The only thing she missed, quite frankly, was the company of her friends. Actually, there was something else; there was the routine. There was the security of having your day planned for you. You just had to listen, take notes, and do the homework that was set for you. The conveyer belt would take you to your destination: university. The only question was whether it would be a good university or a second or third-rate one. Otherwise it was certain, and proven to work.
“The life I have chosen is a confidence trick,” she thought as she looked at her Facebook page open on her computer, waiting for somebody new to like her or leave a message. “I have to convince myself that I can do it, even though there is no sensible reason to believe that I can, I have to have faith… in myself. Is that foolish pride? Am I messing up my life, like everyone says?”
Hours went by when she just sat and thought. She wasn’t doing anything to advance her cause because she had temporarily stopped believing. Then she would force herself to sit down and start writing, and songs would appear in her notebooks. Some were rubbish. Some were good. It was all material she could use one day.
The standout song from this period in Gladys’s creative career is “In Real Life.” The seed of the idea came from the recording of “Are We There Yet?” at the start of the summer. It was the first time that Gladys got a real live band together for a session. They really made a difference, didn’t they?
[Play up a bit.]
Up until then, Tim the producer had helped Gladys to “fake it.”
These days you don’t even need musicians to put down a song. If your producer can play the keyboard, he can be the band. He can be a trombone and a string section if you want. Faking it has its advantages. You don’t have to rehearse the musicians. You don’t have to record take after take until it is perfect. Every beat is on the beat. Every note hits the right note. A solo starting-out performer like Gladys can sound like she has the London Symphony Orchestra at her beck and call – but does it sound real? Does its heart beat or bleep like a machine?
Arny, whose chest was still connected to all sorts of monitors and electrodes in Kingston hospital also had two little white listening buds coming out of his ears. He was assessing Gladys’ song, “Ghost Girl,” which was great, but had largely been “faked.” He texted her with his verdict.
“You can’t beat live musicians Gladdy. They give it something extra.”
Although Arny was old school, Gladys respected him and wanted to please her mentor. So when she recorded, “Are We There Yet?” She asked Tim to find some real musicians. The recording session took three times as long and cost more than three times the price. Half an hour was gone just setting up the drums and checking that each one was miked up properly. It was exciting to have a real live guitarist walk into the studio and tune up his Stratocaster. He was, well, one chilled out dude who did this twice a day for a living. He tried out a dozen different riffs until Gladys and Tim said that was the one they wanted. By the end of the session, Gladys could see that Tim’s computer had rows and rows of different takes on it for each instrument – a green wave of sound representing each run-through. The cost of the musicians and the studio time was going to eat into her savings. The result? Well you’ve heard the song. It was a whole step up, don’t you think?
She loved having a creative team come together, and this thought gave her the title for her next song and her first album. When she wrote the words to “In Real Life,” they turned into something a bit different. You see she was thinking about her chance meeting with Darren Wolf, the Hollywood actor. Do you remember that incident? How could you forget? Quite. He hung around in Gladys’ thoughts too. Sometimes when she looked out at that suburban street, she saw a cute little open top sports car pull up outside her house and Darren got out – but that was only in her imagination. Yet, if her best friend had asked her about her feelings, she would probably have said she didn’t fancy him at all.
She couldn’t quite match up the dashing Darren she had seen on the screen, and the slightly crumpled one she had met in real life.
“Yes,” she thought, “There’s nothing special about stars. They have talent, but so have loads of people who don’t make it. Their number comes up in the lottery of life. The entertainment industry showers money on them to make them look perfect, and we see them up on the screen all shiny and glittering. Quite honestly, it could be me. Yes, it could be… if only…”
That was why she wrote her song, “In Real Life” – It was inspired by Darren Wolf, though probably not in a way that he would like.
Her own funds were running low. It was the last recording she could afford for the time being, but it was worth it.
Then something happened in the real world that changed her luck. An email dropped into her inbox from one of the clubs she had contacted at the start of the summer.
“We have a cancellation for Friday night. Can you fill in for us?”
It was from The Spiral – actually quite a snazzy venue just off Bond Street in Central London.
She wrote back quickly before they could ask anyone else.
“Always glad to help out. Fortunately, I’m free. I’ll do it.” Then she thought and added, “By the way, how much do you pay?”
She was surprised how swiftly the reply came back. “You’re booked in for 9.30. Fee is 60 pounds. You pay your own expenses. One free drink per musician.”
She called Tim at the studio and told him the news. They would have to play for next to nothing, but it would be fun.
This time it really was a great crowd; Gladys could say that and be sincere. The clubbers had come out to dance and shake it down it in the first five or six rows. She gave them something to move to, because her upbeat numbers were tight and funky, thanks to the new drummer and bassist. For the first time she felt glamorous up on stage, and was using her arms a like an Indian dancer, swaying her hips, and smiling naturally. Her eyes flirted with the crowd. She sensed that the musician enjoyed the whole togetherness of it, and were really into the groove of her songs. Her music brought everyone together. It was an ecstatic feeling. Yes, this was why she wanted to sing.
Then, at the end of one number, she sensed that a group in the crowd were looking not at her, but at someone in their own ranks. Who was drawing their attention? At last she caught sight of him. It was Darren Wolf. “Yes,” thought Gladys. “He kept his word. An A list Celebrity has turned out to see me!”
But oh, for a moment she regretted that she was about sing her next number.
There was nothing to do but to go for it and giving it her all.
[Play Up “In Real Life”]
Perhaps it was the venue; perhaps it was having a famous person there to see her. Most probably, it was the new musicians – but this was by far Gladys’ best performance yet. As she walked off the stage there was something waiting for her on a chair just out of sight of the audience: a big bunch of roses. She had seen them as she had come on, but had assumed they were for somebody else. This time she took a closer look and saw that they were for her.
“Oh my,” she thought. “I don’t know if this is good or bad.”
Darren found her backstage and gave her three kisses on the cheeks in the French style. He told her that she was great and asked if she had any plans for the evening.
“Thank you for the beautiful roses,” she said. “I’m sorry; I have to go back with the band but…” She didn’t quite know how she should finish the sentence.
“Can I call you?” He asked. He was very polite, but he obviously didn’t expect her to say, “No”.
“Well… Well why not?” Thought Gladys. “He did give come to see me, and he sent me flowers.” She gave him her number. It was the first time she had ever given it to somebody who was probably going to use it to invite her out on a date.
Gladys slid her guitar case into the hatchback of Tim’s car. He had parked on a yellow line, and could leave it there for the rest of the evening. The backing musicians were in an elated mood, and heading off to another club. In her other hand she held the roses. She turned to her friends Sara and Jay-Jay and said, “Shall we go and get some tea? “ Although it was late, they found an Italian place that was open. They ordered ice creams. Of course, there was one topic that Sara and Jay-Jay wanted to discuss and it wasn’t her performance on stage. It was who had given her the flowers?”
“Well,” said Gladys, “Have you seen Bitten?”
“Of course – we went with you, don’t you remember?” Exclaimed Sara.
“Great film,” said Jay-Jay, “And that was one dishy vampire.”
“Funny you should say that,” said Gladys, “because these flowers are from Darren Wolf.”
“No!” Said Jay-Jay, in disbelief.
“You’re kidding aren’t you?” Demanded Sara. Both were giggling and exclaiming so loudly that other people in the cafe were noticing.
“I’m deadly serious,” said Gladys. “No pun intended. But he’s too old for me.”
“What do you mean he’s too old for you? He’s famous!”
“He’s 26 and I’m 16. I haven’t had a boyfriend. It can’t be right.”
“You need to lighten up,” said Sara.
“Let me go on a date in your place,” begged Jay-Jay.
“Yeah tell him you’ve got two hot friends; Blonde and Brunette.”
Gladys didn’t smile. She was considering the situation. “Well if he does call me, perhaps I could ask if we could just be good friends.”
The girls looked at her in wonder, not for the first time, as if she was from some sort of far off and distant planet. What made Gladys tick? They had known her for years, but they still didn’t quite get what she was about. Well at least they would have something to talk about at school on Monday morning.
Yeah! first comment… really this series is amazing but Bertie you must writemore stories about Gladys after the series, will you?
Niisha Abby —
August 21, 2014
Hi Nisha Abby, yes you really and truly are the first to leave a comment. Making Gladys is actually quite expensive, so we shall have to see… if it proves really popular when the site traffic picks up in September then yes, maybe.
I love this series! I was wondering if you could do more biographies, i absolutely adored the one on Cleopatra, maybe you could do one on…… Leonardo da vinci, or maybe mozart, or beethoveen. Please reply! Thank you!
Hi Starr I would love to do more biographies. I thought people weren’t that interested, so thanks for the prompt. We are doing one which Elizabeth is writing for us, but that won’t be out until nearer Thanksgiving.
LOVE Gladys new song in this!!! By far the best one yet by far!!! XDDD
August 23, 2014
I WAS SO NERVOUS!!! When I saw the small square of Gladys looking sad with the bunch of roses, I was SO scared that Arnie was gonna die!!!!! Im really relived that he didn’t!!! Bertie, could you make sure Arnie lives through his heart attack??? I’m really quite fond of him!!! 🙂
August 23, 2014
Dear Meggles, I don’t want to give too much away, but Arnie does not die in this series, and I expect he will live into the next series if there is one. I think perhaps Chiara made Gladys look a bit too sad with the roses. She’s more uncertain what to say, I think.
As a parent, I am a little concerned about the direction these stories are taking. Gladys is only 16 and new she has a tattoo and is contemplating dating a 26-year-old MAN! My daughter is 12 and Gladys has become quite a poor role model for her.
August 29, 2014
Dear Kelly, I am glad that you are following the story so attentively. As far as the 26 year old man is concerned, I think you should see how the story develops. Her friends think she she should go out with him – – but does Gladys? Gladys is extremely hard-working, reliable, intelligent, and dedicated to her career. And she is nearly always much sensible than the average sixteen year old. The tattoo was a lapse on her part – and she is quite regrets it. It’s pretty clear she feels she was pressured into it, and sees that as a fault in herself. I know you don’t mention smoking, but give her credit for her strong opinions against that. One of the real themes of Gladys is about finding people that she can trust and who are as reliable as she is – and she makes mistakes, and most importantly, learns from them.
Anyway I promise you that a 12 year old girl will be subjected to many more dangerous influences than Gladys, both from the media and real life, including her friends at school. If you listen to the words of pop music these days….. and as for TV, cinema, teenage fiction, digital games… the darker side of the internet. . I assure you Gladys is not going to lead her astray.
I have been listening to you stories for months now and I love them! I download them onto my Kindle Fire HD. I have read the Katie stories and listened to the whole Waking Beauty series. Now I have finished the chiX and Gladys Alone but I hope this isn’t the end. Please keep writing. I am not so keen on some of the songs but most of them are quite good. I have some questions about storynory. Where is storynory recorded? Do you write all of the stories? Who started storynory? And now I have questions about Gladys. Does anyone find out about the tattoo? Does she ever meet the cute boy in the queue from the talent show again? Will she catch up to Laura? And finally, does Gladys change herself to become what everyone wants her to be? Please try to reply.
August 29, 2014
Hi Emily, I’ve seen your comment and all your questions – thank you so much. I’m a bit stressed out with some website problems at the moment but I will reply tomorrow.
Dear Bertie I would like to ask advice my parents have split and my dads got a secret girl friend he only told me yesterday but I knew all along how should I respond??? Please give me tips PS I LOVE your story’s
August 29, 2014
Dear Anon, I am sorry you are having family troubles. I am not sure how much I can help. I think you must keep a very calm head, even when your parents are getting emotional about all this. You should be a rock of support for your mum, and realise that even your dad finds the whole situation difficult. It will take time to settle down.
A very lovely story……. Bertie is this story of Gladys a real one???
August 31, 2014
songs. Iove it very mach
August 31, 2014
I think the change of the website is great but I like the other formate better because it’s easier for me to find series of gladdy and see if new stories about her have arrive matey you coud change it a it
Yolo queen —
September 1, 2014
Dear Peace Out and Yolo Queen – Why was it easier to find the Gladys series on the previous version? It’s very high up on this one. Let me know, so I can see if I can fix it.
I will be making more changes in response to what people say – and I am thinking of moving more recent stories higher up the home page… there are loads actually, lower down.
I never said this………. my gosh I love da music so, so much!
nisha abby —
September 14, 2014
I have a q how will I find my comment now does it come in alfabetical order or does it come first or last?
nisha abby —
September 14, 2014
BEST MUSIC EVER.
I love it
September 29, 2014
Natasha your voise is very nice
Thanks for reading
September 29, 2014
Hey we or going to be firsts kiss on the lip
September 30, 2014
And a love blossoms
October 2, 2014
Wow I can’t believe that Gladys got a movie star at here performance!!! By the way this is the older sister
nt the little brother
Country Kids —
October 4, 2014
I love this story!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This rocks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!12345678910
October 5, 2014
I love this story
October 13, 2014
okey this history is good (gusta esta historia)
October 15, 2014
It is hmm let me say this in one way supercalifragillisticexpialidosios cool love it awesome wow amazing ok that was not one word lol plz reply thx btw I’m mr army dude I just added pink fluffy unicorns to it and more Gladys more Gladys more Gladys more Gladys yes more plz lots more I listend to all of them but this one more Gladys plz 🙁
Mr army dude loves pink fluffy unicorns —
October 23, 2014
Mr army dude loves pink fluffy unicorns —
October 23, 2014
This is the best story
October 27, 2014
Very romanticke baby
Love it !!!!!!!!!!!!' —
November 3, 2014
i love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
November 8, 2014
November 8, 2014
i love the picturs
November 8, 2014
I love this series so far!
I like a lot of these story’s !!!!!!
November 19, 2014
Very interesting! I like it its verry good! It has so much detail! I love it ten out of ten verrygood I like It! Its so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
December 2, 2014
December 14, 2014
This story was so gaert
Love it —
January 7, 2015
i’v been listening to storynorey since i was 3! This story is awesome !!!
January 15, 2015
Wow glady making here way there
January 18, 2015
my songs are much better. glady has good ones too!
January 19, 2015
I’ve listened to this story lots of times and I love it very much!
April 3, 2015
This song reminded me of Gloria by Patti Smith. I don’t know why.
May 22, 2015
I love Gladys can you make more please??
August 4, 2015
What about a gladys story where the chix reunite and invite gladys to join them
August 15, 2015
sooo… when will glady find a other singer and have a singing partner? ( it could be a poor street singer?)
August 24, 2015
I love you stories can you please make it make more Gladys stories can you make a new Gladys story I love you always are the best and I can’t wait to hear another one of your new glasses and one of your new stories can you make a story about a trip or Sadie and can you make a story about Colin ?Sadie the Swan?, you and Princess Beatrice in her stepmother can you do it pretty pretty please
September 5, 2015
I loved it!!!!!!!!!!!!!??
November 10, 2015
you did great good job you did the best story i every herd from a person love it plz do more
December 11, 2015
Hi Bertie thx 4 entering so many amazing stories I love them. I used to listen to them all the time and then I forgot about them but I love them again, mostly yours I personally love the CHIX because I love singing, Gladys is so inspiring although I don’t like her songs or voice so do not take it offensively her voice is too classic.
From the Fish and Wolf show!!!!
January 5, 2016
February 8, 2016
really nice i like the song
February 16, 2016
I LOVED YOUR SONG SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! MUCH
March 8, 2016
I loved your song
Soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo9oooooooooooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo9oooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
April 12, 2016
when will you make another CHIX/Gladys Alone? one about her making a band with daren wolf maby? ;D
June 29, 2016
Hi Bertie I love the chiX and Gladys so maybe you could make them do a combined gig or something
July 23, 2016
so sad i don’t like sad storys
juridi arellano —
October 20, 2016
OMG love the chiX do you like my song boomerang Bertie????