I am a man who derives considerable enjoyment and satisfaction from transforming myself into a woman once in a while.
I decided to try and write about it in an effort to see if I could work out why I do it. That hasn't really happened over the years I've been keeping and maintaining this blog but instead I've learned to be at peace with my unusual habit instead. These days I perform as my alter ego at cabarets, comedy clubs and anywhere else that wants me. I recite dubious poetry and sing a variety of odd wee songs.
On Monday the 17th of January I released a new single. It was meant to be on the 28th but due to an admin error it came out earlier than expected. I’ve came to terms with this as I would have been unable to keep up with all the necessary advertisements anyway. I’m rotten at self-promotion and always have been. It has nearly been a year since my last album ‘Pity Party’ and the stats are slowly decreasing with each release so I decided to try something different this year. I plan to release a song a month and ‘Religious Ecstasy’ is the first of this experiment.
I wrote it around the time of my birthday last year when my thoughts turn more inward than at any other time of year and unusually for me it came out really easy. I’ve been having problems in recent times with songs. Melodies and tunes I have plenty of but something to sing over those melodies – that’s another matter.
In lieu of typed lyrics here is a scan of the final draft from my current notebook. There is also a chart at the bottom of the page which details the layout on my 16 track recorder and the whereabouts of all the overdubs.
The photo for the cover was taken by my friend Deborah O’Leary who can found on various sites operating under the name @pixels.glasgow
Aside from being found on all the usual streaming sites you can also get it from my Bandcamp page where you will find my entire discography. Not only that but you get an exclusive Bandcamp-only bonus track which is a cover of the T-Rex song ‘Life’s a Gas’.
My life doesn’t feel like it has changed too much since Lockdown, as far as my day to day working existence is concerned. The commute to my job still happened it’s just that there were less passengers joining me. Creatively though if affected me most. We weren’t able to do live shows anymore which had become my raison d’etre these past few years. A chance to go out as Anna and have fun on stages at the same time. I did some online shows but they weren’t the same. Part of me did enjoy the fact that some of them allowed you to pre-film your set and send it in which was less stressful than hoping the internet didn’t cut out during your livestream.
Instead, over these past 15 months or so I’ve been honing my self portraiture and editing skills in the house. I even managed a little outdoors shoot back in September, sort of as a trial run for a proper photoshoot in that area with a professional. I got some good shots! I can’t remember if I’d shared them here before but anyway…
You see I really wanted to give modelling a try. I’d worked with photographers before and really enjoyed the experience so I couldn’t wait for Lockdown to end. Having joined some groups in Facebook and contacting local togs via Instagram I amassed a list of folk that I would like to work with and who were willing to shoot me. It was a little difficult as not everyone is perhaps comfortable with what I do – ie a man dressed as a lady. Here are some of the highlights of the last 3/4 months of shoots.
That first one with Paul was a great wee session. It was partly in aid of my friend Evelyn who needed a model as part of her portfolio for college. She had prepared a short pinup style wig and brought some props so we shot that look too. The next week I met up with Rhys who goes under the name Boundless Photography and shot in the Botanic Gardens for about an hour just before it rained heavily. I love some of these pics!
In May I took the unusual step of taking 3 weeks off of work. I was pretty fed up and wanted to fill it with vegetating and creative endeavours. To that end I managed to arrange 3 shoots during that time. Sadly covid travelling restrictions killed one of them, and the rain rained on my pinup picnic shoot with the amazing Femme Castratice (which hopefully one day we can rearrange). That left one but it was a great one! A lady called Karen whom I met over Facebook wanted to take me to this lovely woodland stream and an abandoned waterworks. I couldn’t refuse! The dress was from Poundland and the headband cost more than the dress 😄
Karen also suggested I climb into an upturned bin and naturally I obliged!
In June I had another week off which I populated with another 3 photoshoots. Again all with people I’d never met and they were all great fun too. On the Monday I met up with Jasmine of JLD Photography in the Merchant City in Glasgow. We had a wee wander and took some informal snaps. The dress I’m wearing was bought from a charity shop in Liverpool a few years back.
On the Tuesday I met up with Deborah O’Leary of Pixels Glasgow in the grounds of my work. The scene of my self shoot from the Autumn. I knew she liked old buildings so lured her to the one near my work. We got on really well and I feel sure we’ll remain friends and hopefully create some more fab art together soon! This time I wore my new green playsuit from Poundland 💚
Finally on the Friday I met up with Roslyn Walker, a model and photographer I had long admired and was excited to work with. We met in Victoris Park in Glasgow. I managed to smap a strap on my gorgeous Collectif dress getting out of the car but we shot around it. I was so very pleased with these images and consider some of them to be publication worthy 😍
I have a few more shoots lined up in the coming months and I can’t wait to share them with you. Not sure if I’m deluding myself but I kind of don’t care. Hopefully I’m breaking the mould in some way – bloody moulds 😄 Who needs them?
Another larky album from Anna Secret Poet- drag chanteuse and mischief maker, that’ll be hilarious, right? After all, she has a way with a zinger and a singalong punky chorus. No, actually. This album, which was recorded during lockdown, is full of introspection. And it’s really wonderful. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still filled with […]
I decided to treat myself to some new dresses the other week which coincided nicely with some time off work. Lockdown has been busy for me as I’m a key worker so time to glam up is very rare indeed especially with the lack of shows and performing. This resulted in a very lively home shoot which I’d like to share some highlights of in this very post!
The first dress is a Hellbunny one which I have coveted for over a year. Funds made from some recent online gigs contributed to these wonderful purchases. I wouldn’t normally spend around £40 on a dress but this one had foxes on it and is stunningly cute 🧡🦊🧡
The whole vintage pinup style has been floating my boat in quite a serious yet playful way of late. Around April I invested in a wig highly reminiscent of Bettie Page and I can’t stress how much fun I’ve been having with it!
The next outfit was put together around a skirt I purchased from Primark for £3. The top and shrug were both from previous sales there over the years. I wanted to recreate that demure 50s preppy look I sometimes see on Instagram…
The next look I tried was with a polka dot top I’ve had for years and a black skirt I’ve had for like 10 years (which sadly is very tight these days lol). I ventured out onto the stairs for more natural light.
I should point out that these photos have been edited slightly here and there but nothing has been to my physical person. I only ever play about with lighting, contrast and saturation and in some cases like the above I have softened the image slightly. It gives it a more classic look I think!
Next up was another Primark dress, this one I inherited from my wife last year. It didn’t photograph so well but I got a few good shots in it…
For the last outfit I tried I switched to a red curly wig that I have had for 4 years now and is in bad shape but I love it for these pinup looks. Especially with this polka dot wiggle dress from Collectif!
Finally I have playing around with a couple of apps and editing myself into a variety of situations – mainly horror – and I thought you may like to see them if you like that sort of thing 😉
I sincerely hope you are all okay! I’m trying to be around a bit more again and get back into posting so I hope to catch up with you all soon 😘
***Another article within a week of the last one? What could this mean? Have I suddenly become less lazy? Or am I just underemployed because of the lack of gigs due to Covid19? Probably a bit of both to be honest. But also I bumped into Anna Secret Poet last week and she kindly sent me this LP a few days ago. So I though to myself, let’s spin it up and see what we have. Gender bending Rock ‘n’ Punky stuff for a start as well as some other genres on this damn fine 12 track LP – “No Brainer” is what we got.***
“No Brainer” LP Cover
Back in December 2018 when people could still attend gigs sans hazmat suits and a measuring tape/cattle prod combo I was down at the 13th Note, Glasgow to see a few bands play. As I walked into the sound check…
Looking forward to finally sharing it with the world – can’t believe I have to wait another month. I’m planning on bringing out an E.P. in the interim featuring the title track and some intriguing outtakes 😉
I got blue hair the other day. After initial doubts as to whether or not I could pull off putting together an outfit ended up being a lot fun! First I started out with a cute sweater and black skirt combo…
…but that was perhaps too cutesy. On the advice of some friends I was encouraged to rock it up a bit. I dug out my fishnets, disco boots and New Look tartan dress and prepared to do so 🖤
I always knew there was a rock chick inside of me pleading to be let out! I ended up wearing it out to my show at The Ice Box later that night. It wemt really well and I think my outfit may have had something to do with it 🤘
Also in the last week my new video went live on Youtube. It’s the title track from my forthcoming album ‘No Brainer’ which was filmed by Iain Mutch of WalkerandWilliam in Victoria Park, Glasgow. Follow the link below to view 😉
On Monday the 6th of April I plan to unleash my latest album called ‘No Brainer’. I’d like you to know that the making of it has equally caused me great stress and unfettered joy and I can’t wait to share it!
Here’s how it’ll look…
The photography was done in the summer by a wonderful husband and wife team called Phil and Ange of Them! Images. They came out so well I had to use them on my next release even though I hadn’t conceived it at that point. Indeed they ended up informing the title and the forthcoming video as well so that session provided the germ of inspiration that was needed.
The songs featured are variously about anxiety, goth girls, drunken confessions, the mystery of the missing sock, fake smiles and voyeurism. A little something for everyone hopefully!
The final tracklisting is as follows;
POKE THE BEAR
A WEEK WITHOUT WORRY
WHERE DOES THE OTHER SOCK GO?
DRUNK ENOUGH TO TELL
EVERYBODY’S CHECKING EVERYBODY ELSE OUT
I recorded it at home apart from one track where I went to a rehearsal studio so I could record real drums. For the most part I’m pleased with how it sounds. Vocals are always the hardest to do especially when I’m belting it out at full volume.
It should be available across all the usual digital platforms from April along with all the rest of my discography. Just search for ‘Anna Secret Poet’ and you’ll find me!
Recently as I spend more and more time on Instagram and less time here (sorry WordPress) I find myself drawn heavily ever increasingly to the pinup scene. The fire has also been stoked by spending time around a fair amount of burlesquers at my gigs too and I really really want to join in! A couple of weeks ago I had another photoshoot – which I shall share in another post soon I promise – but last week I decided I wanted to actually plan a specific shoot based around a pinup look. To that end I elected to hop onto eBay and search for some gorgeous dresses. I watched a handful (that I sadly was outbid upon) but gained a lovely blue Hellbunny polka dot dress with a halterneck. It arrived 2 DAYS LATER! What service 😊Happily its arrival coincided with an empty house and I was able to try it on unhindered by the constraints of time. I would have to get a petticoat at some point but I’d worry about that later. Swiftly I de-haired my legs, face and chest and was ready to begin. There was no question about stockings and suspenders – they were an absolute must 😉Truly it’s one of the most magnificent dresses I’ve ever owned and I instantly felt like I had to share it. I decided I’d wear it at The Dragopticon Show that Friday! To wind down I changed my hair for a straighter style and dressed down. I ended up taking a few saucy photos about the house which is always fun. Here are some of the highlights 😘It was just like old times! Going out dressed up is fun to an extent but it’s much more comfy in the house. I was able to pack my suitcase in readiness for the Friday show at the Britannia Panopticon. When the day came around I was able to purchase a petticoat en route. A lovely lady called Holly, who was coming to the show, informed me that her shop sold them so I dropped by to do just that. I’m so glad I did as it made the dress sing even more!A bonus was I called my wife who was with my sister and her partner and they were just about to order food around the corner so I was able to pop out and join them 😄 I may have turned a few heads!The night went swimmingly. In charge was Alana Duvey who was as amazing as ever! Also on the bill were Dharma Geddon, Pebblez, Dorian T. Fisk and Alfie Ordinary. Official photos will appear at some point but I have one or two audience ones to share here for the moment…Chris Grayson managed this one of me which I rather like 😊My sister Diane took a few phone pics tooI also managed to get a wee selfie with her too at the end!Here are links to my 2 sets on Youtube! Thank you to Fiona McCann for filming them. You can also see everyone elses from the main Dragopticon page 😉Anna Secret Poet, Dragopticon 2/8/19, Set 1Anna Secret Poet, Dragopticon 2/8/19, Set 2
I feel I should point out that my intended shoot has yet to take place. I have not decided who to work with and where so these amateur efforts don’t count 😜
Hours after sharing my last post I received a phone call to tell me my father had passed away. Something I knew I would have to face at some point but I wish it had been much further in the future. 59 is too young! I know he would have enjoyed playing at being the grumpy old man shouting at children and waving a stick. Me and the family were fortunate to have spent a nice afternoon with him the day before in his bowling club. It was their opening day and we’d been invited as we was vice president this year. Tea, sandwiches, cakes and affordably priced alcohol aplenty. At the time I was thinking I might not go but ultimately I’m glad I did. My last memory of him is giving him a big hug before we left. And so it ends. This would be the chief reason for not attending a viewing the day before his funeral. I prefer to remember him laughing than in a coffin in a place of grief. I would have to get up close and personal with the coffin anyway the following day as myself and 5 other men carried his remains into the crematorium for his send off. I was heartened that he had such an amazing turn out. They reckoned it was somewhere in the region of 250 people. A squad of folk from his work had hired a coach so they could all attend!
I’m nowhere near over this but I’m hoping that talking about it helps. My wife has been brilliant and so has everyone else. Also I’ve been attempting to keep myself busy these past few weeks. During this time I managed to complete the recording for a mini-album/E.P. that I’d planning for a little while. I’ve also finished the artwork and set a release date. It should go live on Monday the 6th of May across all the digital and streaming platforms. As usual I shall make a limited quantity of physical CDs just incase some people are interested in taking a copy home.
I elected to dedicate it to my father as I think he would have liked it – especially track 2 which is a ska song about biscuits 😉
Fortunately I’ve had no shows this month and it has enabled me to sort out some new material so that when I do start up again I’ve got new songs to get excited about. It keeps me on my toes as learning new songs for me can be quite stressful as I have such a wandering mind! Next month in May I have 4 lined up so far…
Without shows there technically wouldn’t be a reason to get all dolled up but this month I have managed a couple of brief sessions. Both were justified I feel as I didn’t want to get rusty and I had some new clothes to try out (a corset and a dress). Here follows some home posing which I do miss. Getting dressed in work toilets and so forth isn’t as relaxing 😄
The corset worked out very well. Once I’d managed to squeeze it on it was very comfy and kept my lumps and bumps in place haha! Burvogue I think it is, I got it from Amazon 😉 This yellow dress is from TK Maxx. It’s longer than I would normally wear but I’m excited to don it when it’s properly summer.
After that I dusted off my curls for another outing. I think I’ve fallen in love with them again, especially when teamed with this jacket 😍
And yes…it was warm in here!
The reason for the bra is that I had been trying to simulate a cleavage effect. You can see it in the first yellow dress photo but not so much in the others. Plus it was warm! 😄
Follow this link to Anna’s Soundcloud to have a little listen to some of the tracks from my new CD. I’ve been putting one out every few days to hopefully build up a sort of interest for it. When it comes out proper I’ll no doubt bang on about it on here.