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Too Busy to Blog (The Four Year Itch)

I got an e-mail from WordPress recently congratulating me on my fourth year of blogging with them. I’d almost forgot about the page for a while to be honest as I often find myself too busy to spend proper time on it. Be that reading everyone else’s or tending to my own so please accept these digital apologies!

Originally I had started this as a means to feel better about my crossdressing. Or at least a bit less guilty. I find that the intervening years have indeed seen changes there and Anna as a character (which I suppose she is) is very public indeed. Far more public than I could ever have imagined in fact and comfortably so as I have married the proverbial closet to the music. And this is the reason I have been too busy to blog of late. My last batch of posts were mere placeholders as I have done a further 11 shows since September. I doubt if I’d be able to sustain my interest or yours talking about them individually and in depth so I just thought I’d share the different looks I sported for them instead.

Live photo photo from McChuills courtesy of Lee Cosgrove

Live photo from NHC Busker Rhymes Takeover courtesy of Rory O’bee

Live photo from Yellow Movement Sundays at McChuills courtesy of Carol McMillan

I was also asked host a show again, this time it was a night of ROCK music at the Classic Grand in Glasgow. Initially I was very nervous about it but ended up having a splendid time and making some more new friends ๐Ÿ˜Š

This has to be one of my favourite combinations. You can’t see my knee-high boots from this perspective but you get to see them in the next photo courtesy of Eddie McEleny.

The next gig I had there was another one of those rarities – 2 gigs in one night. I was at the Blue Chair to participate in an Extra Second event. The theme for the night was ‘Wholesome’ so I read a love poem and sang ‘Spoonful of Sugar’ then hotfooted it to the Classic Grand to play basd for the Well Happy Band. I decided to wear one of the band’s tshirts and pair it with a cute tartan skirt.

I don’t have any photos from this gig but John the drummer took this one and you can see me on the right there ready to rock out!

The next show I took part in was ‘Ghost Stories from Around the World’ which took place at the Britannia Panopticon. It’s fast becoming one of my favourite venues. All the other acts were all mini plays of a macabre nature and I elected to write a creepy song especially for the occasion. I called it ‘Annaween’ ๐Ÿ˜„

Photos courtesy of Galactic Carnival.

Then I supported Hacksaw, a punk band from Bristol, playing at the 13th Note on their 30th anniversary tour. That was a braw night! As mentioned in an earlier post I had brought out a new album called ‘Tits of Steel’ and I managed to sell a few copies at this which is awesome!

Live photo coutesy of Budgie McGubligan

Me and Eleanor Chalkey, the lovely lady who organised the gig.

Toilet roll fight during a song called ‘Bogroll’ (wish I’d thought of that!)

At the beginning of the month I was the November cover girl for a new online crossdressing and drag magazine called Gender Mag which was lovely. There was a full interview with me with full colour photos. They didn’t once mention the words ‘Anna Secret Poet’ but nonetheless I’ve decided it was a cool experience. Here’s what it looked like…

When time has passed a little I will publish the pages here or on Facenook as I don’t think you can get back issues with this mag ๐Ÿ˜„

On the 10th of November I had the excitement of two shows in one night again. The first was my return to Drag-Opticon at the Britannia Panopticon as usual hosted by Alana Duvey, Glasgow’s nicest drag queen. I sported a sleeveless boob tube type Wonder Woman-esque sequin clad dress with glittery heels and managed to mostly avoid a titty incident!

Live photos courtesy once again of Galactic Carnival.

I’m not sure this one went well for me…I forgot words for one song and rambled a little bit more than I’d have liked to. Also the finale was mightily embarrassing! Once everyone was onstage after the curtain call there came a chant for one more song. ‘Man I Feel Like a Woman’ by Shania Twain started playing and everyone started dancing except me. Not only can I not dance but I don’t like that song so it was a long 4 mins or so. In the end I just pranced about then clambered offstage with a rose in my mouth.

The next gig was at the Riding Room for the Glasgow Festival of Burlesque. With my good lady wife on tow we made it just in time to set up and belt out 15 mins of my usual nonsense ๐Ÿ˜„

These images were by Jamie McFadyen

My feet were killing me after all that but there was no rest for the wicked as I had another show lined up the next night. This time at the Glad Cafe on the southside of Glasgow. It was a comedy night called Crossmylaff (it’s near the district called Crossmyloof) and it was a brilliant evening. I elected to go for an office or secretarial look.

The last picture was taken by Andrew Ogilvie, one of the organisers alongside Fergus Mitchell. Two very funny guys indeed!

*Featured image was taken by Violet Duff

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GAK Photography Photoshoot 15/7/17

On a rainy Saturday almost 2 months ago I did my first ever proper photoshoot with an actual photographer. Having mostly photographed myself for years, apart from the odd live show, I was really excited and it didn’t disappoint. The chap in question was Gary Knox who is a fellow Whovian and an up and coming photographer. You can check out his Facebook page here GAK Photography.

I was able to get dressed prior to leaving the house which was good as it saved us a bit of time. We were aiming to really only spend a couple of hours doing it as the weather was most disappointing – typical Scottish summer ๐Ÿ˜„. The location we agreed on was an area known locally as The Saltings down in Old Kilpatrick. It’s a local beauty spot and nature reserve and for the most part lies between the banks of the river Clyde and a long abandoned railway line. We started out at some old ruins next to the Forth and Clyde Canal just before Bowling Harbour. I posed in what I assume may have been a window or a door in its heyday.

We then decamped to a long wooden bridge a bit further along that leads you from the main path of The Saltings to the cycle path next to the Forth and Clyde Canal.

Our last port of call was on the banks of the Clyde itself on a beach underneath the Erskine Bridge. There lies what I can only assume is an old lookout post or bunker which sits askew upon the sand. I don’t know how long it has been there for exactly but it has been a source of curiosity for as long as I can remember.

The last couple of shots were taken up among some trees just a few feet away from the beach. Have you ever walked on a wet beach before in heels? It was difficult but amusing!

Annaburgh!

I’ve had a great week so far!

On Monday I was at the Queen Margaret Union, Glasgow University, for Spangled Cabaret. A fantastic line-up as always featuring Paul Puppet, Earnest & Wilde, Stephen Watt, Tom Harlow, Raven Rose, Brandy Montematre, Professor Cogsworth and Lacy Rain. Though not extremely busy everyone that was there clearly wanted to be there so a great night was had by all. The awesome Debbie McCall (AKA Galactic Carnival) was there too and snapped some photos of us all. This is one she took of me ๐Ÿ˜Š

The legend that is Stephen Watt also gave me a lift home afterwards which is fantastic. It went on till after 11 and I would have got home at stupid o’clock otherwise. He also snapped a few pictures and took a short video as shown here.

Here are a few other pics I took after getting ready in a dark corner as everything else was locked (uni hasn’t started yet which would explain the sparse attendance…that and the Edinburgh Fringe more of which shortly).

On Wednesday I had a half day from work as I was going through to Edinburgh to do a little spot on a friends Free Fringe show. Natalie Sweeney Potter had kindly invited me onto the bill of ‘Funny Lassies’. I decided to make the day of it and justify the train fare. I got changed in work and headed straight for the train figuring it would save me doing it there and it means I could spend most of the day mingling with the crowds.

Apologies for the tartan spam! I just love this dress and I figured as I was heading to our nation’s capital I’d tartan myself up. I chose my knee high boots as they are comfy to wear for hours at a time.

I did a lot of walking as I had time to kill. Edimburgh is not recommended to be traversed in heels I should add and my calves are not happy with it. I’d say it was worth it though as overall it was a great experience and I didn’t once get any hassle. I popped into a few different places for a drink here and a bite to eat there without fuss. Possibly because at this time of year there are a lot of colourful folk about so maybe I kind of blended into the background a bit.

One of the highlights was bumping into a comedian I had the pleasure of sharing a bill with back in May, a chap called Obie. He was flyering for his show so I popped in to see that. Very funny guy indeed. Great crowd, nice intimate venue. ยฃ5 for a beer and a bourbon too ๐Ÿ˜‰

I had also arranged to meet up with Jenny Bside who is an entertainer mining a similar territory to myself. She is up from London to do a whole bunch of shows. Sadly I couldn’t catch her performance as I had to make the train and it was a long journey home. She stayed for mine though which was very kind indeed (plus she took these 2 photos).

Natalie wasn’t there as she took the night off but the Lady Shona and Lubna Kerr were. They were a couple of lovely ladies indeed and very funny too. It was a shame I wasn’t able to spend more time hanging out with them or be around in general. I had to get changed back to normal and hot foot it to the train station which was all up hill then down hill pushing past lots of slowmoving or inert people who conversely were in no rush at all ๐Ÿ˜„. I just caught a train after 9pm and after a change of train then bus I was in for about half 11.

I wish I’d taken more photos too – would have loved one with the castle in the background but I only managed one with Arthur’s Seat. Maybe I’d do it again but it would be ideal to have company next time as spending most of the day to myself was a bit tiresome. They could have carried one of my cases! ๐Ÿ˜„

Festivals, Photoshoots and Eyebrows oh my!

As I have been too busy to post in the last couple of months I thought I’d have a go today at sorting that out. June and July were fun indeed! In the middle of June I was at Eden Festival – my first proper festival experience. In spite of it being a total wash-out I had a great time. I was down with The Well Happy Band and we played a total of 3 gigs over the course of the weekend. In non Anna circumstances I reckon the Eden weekend would have merited a whole post to itself but I shall move on.

My first proper hosting gig went without incident thank goodness. I compered Queer Theory at Nice n’ Sleazy on the 14th of June. Apparently it is the first time it ever ran to schedule in fact! I elected to not hog the limelight too long and let the other acts get on with it. I doubt if I’ll be asked back to do it again though as I don’t think I’m host material. The first photos are ones I took myself backstage.

These were some of the better photos of me that night as snapped by Martin J Windebank.

On the 24th of June I undertook one of my odder shows. It was at a nightclub called Victorias in Glasgow and it was a benefit gig for a lady to raise money to buy a prosthetic arm. I shared the bill with some of my favourite comedians; Kavita Bhardwaj, Natalie Sweeney Potter, Aaron Wilkie and Andrew Ogilvie. Unfortunately given the venue’s reputation as a nightclub a lot of folk didn’t turn up for the comedy part of the evening which commenced sometime after 9. Lack of microphone stand led me to shout all my words out to be heard over my amp. Amusing I suppose. This is one of the few usable pics I took that night after changing.

At the end of June a window opened up for me to do a little bit of dress-up at home which is increasingly rare these days. It enabled me to try out some new outfits I had acquired recently from an aunt and some charity shop excursions.

I enjoyed all those looks, especially with fresh shorn legs! But my favourite was a tartan skater dress that I picked up earlier that day for the princely sum of ยฃ2.49 โค

I loved this dress so much I elected to wear it for my first proper photoshoot which I had scheduled for the middle of July. This was to be with my friend Gary at GAK Photography, a Glasgow based photographer who specialises in cosplay shoots. We did it in a local beauty spot on a very rainy day but the results were mainly satisfactory. At this moment I have only had 2 edited pictures from the shoot and they are reproduced by kind permission below. When I see more I’ll no doubt share them incessantly!

Here are a few odds and ends from the dress-up session in my house to mop them up so to speak.

Over the last few months I have been working towards writing some new songs with the view to having an album out before Christmas. I have now amassed enough for an album and only need now record them in the appropriate fashion. I’ve also been enjoying trying these new songs out live at my last 3 shows at The Blue Chair, McPhabbs and The Project Cafe. In particular my new song ‘Eyebrows!’ has been going down a storm. To this end I decided to bring this forward as a single to promote ahead of my album. I recorded it on Friday evening and paired it with an outtake from my last Chairman Cow album called ‘P.S. Smell Me’.

Here is a link to download and or stream it completely free of charge! Anna Secret Poet – ‘Eyebrows!’ Also this is the cover art for it, I took it at McPhabbs. I was so excited to pose with this antique telephone!

Here are some photos from the last 3 gigs, all of them by me except the blurry action shot which I guess is by Fergus Mitchell.

I’ve a busy week ahead next week! 3 shows on Monday (Spangled at QMU, Glasgow University), Wednesday (Funny Lassies at Kilderkin as part of the Edinburgh Fringe) and Saturday (Pride at the 13th Note Cafรจ). Also I’ve a wee photoshoot on Saturday afternoon with Galactic Carnival that I’m looking forward to immensely. I hope to be sharing loads more photos again very soon ๐Ÿ˜‰

Performance Anxieties

It has been a little while since I last did what I term a ‘proper post’. In my case that would be one which includes insightful sentences and isn’t just a pretty list of everything I’ve done and places I’ve been. Truth is that’s all I’m mostly able to do these days since taking Anna beyond the comfort and relative safety of the house. A nice relaxing session at home is rare and I would like to do that again sometime soon, away from natural light, sweaty bars and the uncomfortable scrutiny of strangers.

Since my last dialogue, discounting the two poems I published recently, Anna’s had four more outings and I would say they all went rather well. I’ll briefly share some imagery from them here.

These are from when I played Nice n’ Sleazy for the Spite House/Queer Theory takeover. It was a fantastic night! Some truly awesome acts played – too many to mention. The top image was one of three taken by my wife whom I enjoyed a fun date night with once I came off stage.

These two pictures were taken the next morning when I had an hour or so to myself. I was trying out another new red wig I had purchased the week before. Out of speed my makeup was minimal.

The pics with the houndtooth skater dress are from the middle of April when I returned to Allsorts Cabaret after nearly a year. That was a brilliant show too, hosted by the marvellous Markee De Saw and featuring Daiquiri Dusk, Innocence Bliss, Wild Card Kitty, Sharrow, Miss A. Tique, Ann Phetimine and MC Hammersmith. That last chap was particularly impressive with his polite freestyle rapping. He performed at Spite House too and he was able to do a whole rap where he encouraged the audience to hand him whatever they had about their person and he would include them in the lyrics. I handed him a bit pipe I found backstage! ๐Ÿ˜†

A week or so later another new wig came, this time in a shorter style so that I didn’t eat it whilst singing or get in my eyes (it does both as a matter of fact).

Later that day I headed off to the Bungo in the southside again to play with The Creative Martyrs, Haystack Monolith and Dasa Fon Flasa. I had a great night there too, Haystack and the Martyrs were on fine form. Haystack’s Slovakian friend Dasa was brilliant too – he did a great rendition of ‘Always look on the bright side of life’ in his native language. I have no performance videos or photos but I did take a few reference shots beforehand as I always do.

The next gig on the calendar was an interesting one. The first instance of Anna and The Well Happy Band being on the same bill. This happened at McChuills last night as part of Yellow Movement Sundays. It was billed as a jam session but that didn’t really some to pass as the turnout musically speaking wasn’t as great as hoped. I was on before the Well Happy Band so after I finished I crossed to the other side of the stage and picked up my bass. I was rather broken by the end of it. This is the only useable photo I took – which is a pity as you can’t see my cute skirt. Someone was taking photos so hopefully I can see them and share them at some point.

I called this post Performance Anxieties because I wasn’t sure what else to call it. I still get them big time but for a variety of reasons. Nervousness varies wildly depending on if I know the venue or crowd well enough. My main worry is my material. I always feel like I never have enough new stuff particularly in the song department. Happily I was able to deploy a new song last night called ‘Why won’t cheerleaders come near me?’. That seemed to go okay but I aim to get more soon. I’ve begun planning a new album for Anna. The last one was hastily compiled for giving away at gigs but I think with time and effort I could come up with something stunning, funny and hopefully musically awesome. I want to call it ‘Tits of Steel’. It was from a comment my friend Mercury said to me after my first ever gig, she told me I had tits of steel. I thought that was hilarious!

I also worry about not having enough or having too many gigs. Having a busy homelife makes it tricky to justify them sometimes and I know my wife does feel left out a lot of the time. I’m not sure I’ve balanced it right but sometimes it is hard to say know when people you admire offer you the chance to perform at one of their nights. Social media makes it harder as well as I see a lot of shows advertised where I think I’d love to play that night, I’ve never done it before it looks fun. You contact them but you get no reply and you think (well, I think) oh shit I must be rubbish because they don’t want me. I hate thinking like that but it’s difficult not to. There was an instance last month of one of my gigs being cancelled, and this was one I’d been lobbying for for nearly a year. I know deep down that it’s very unlikely I’ll be rebooked for another one and that chance has gone.

I’m playing again tonight, back again at my spiritual home Spangled Cabaret. Probably ditching the poetry as I have done on a few occasions. I wonder if anyone would notice if I stopped doing them altogether?

The Imaginatively Titled Post 100!

Hello there and welcome to my one hundredth post. Who’d have thought that was even possible…I wonder what the other 99 were about! 
I didn’t write one after my last gig as there wasn’t much to say to be honest. That night was the drugs themed poetry and spoken word night. I had written something specially, which I may share at a later date, but I’m not sure I was any good to be honest. It was a disappointing turnout – even the person running it turned up after the appointed start time. I also took the opportunity to try out mostly new material but the response was lacklustre sadly ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

The look I rocked at that night can be seen above, sort of a cute librarian style. As there were meant to be a lot of folk reading the start time was early and supposedly rigid. I got away 30 mins early from work and actually got ready and was out the door in that half an hour. Perhaps I shouldn’t have bothered. I ended up leaving early and was home for just after 9pm. Actually who am I kidding…any excuse to cut about in the outside world in a cute skirt and boots!

With Halloween approaching and the now traditional dress up and watch a movie in the evening with my wife, a dressing possibility opened up two days earlier. That would mean I’d also be able to make a few more poetry videos as well as try out some new shoes and outfits. If I don’t get to do Halloween I won’t be upset as I did make the most of that chance. A lady in work had given me an orange dress with zips up the side a couple of weeks ago. It wasn’t too bad in fact it was quite comfy.

Also I dug out a rather cute top I haven’t worn for a couple of years and paired it with a black skirt I’ve become fond of. A comfy outfit to wear for my videos which I shall also share when I’ve edited them. 5 new poems including one I’ve been working on for a few weeks about my Irn Bru addiction…

I should point out that I’m wearing stockings as well. I plan to wear them at my next gig so was just rehearsing putting them on.

Also I found time to take a few Halloween style shots with some cheap vampire teeth. It’s my dodgy attempt at a sexy vampire!

Hope that didn’t scare you too much! Should’ve put up a warning or something ha ha 😄. The Prisma app has a special Halloween filter this week actually. It makes everything blood red and shit your pants scary so I processed those pics through it to see what’d happen.

Aah that’s much better. Hell on earth don’t you think? I better be going now, I hope you all have a fun and relatively safe Halloween. Until next time…it’s back into the closet I go!

Sarcastic Kiss

Let me take up paper and write of forests

Leafy memories of varied significance

The purged sanctuaries and sacred hollows

Naked and exposed,

Let me close my eyes to see it fully

Lips pursed in a sarcastic kiss

Instantly thoughts jostle for position

Drowning out the icy wind,

Let me make an error to fix a mistake

Regretting regrets is my new favourite passtime

For all the forward thinking I can muster

The backward pull is always stronger