In the Glasgow cabaret world, one of its finest documentors is a lady called Amy Irene Marquez and I’d been dying to work with her for ages. She has been responsible for some of the coolest portraits I’ve seen these past few years and I finally got the chance to work with her in February. I confess I was a bit shy, as I still am around photographers. I guess I’m so used to taking photos by myself. It is different on my own especially as I hold back less. We got on very well though and we managed to get some really nice photos in such a short space of time. I hadn’t really thought of a concept as such but I had brought along a few things in my bag, namely my ukulele, a replica human brain and my portable cassette player with headphones and a couple of tapes. Sadly we didn’t factor in the brain but if there is ever another time I get some photos done I plan to include it.
You can check out her work on Facebook and Instagram 😉
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 😄. 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!
I really want to share one of my new poems with you. It was only written a week ago but I’m really pleased with it so when a chance to dress up and film some came up it was included. I call it ‘Mobile Phonies’ and it’s about that modern day problem, you know the one I mean!
Next time a poem is lucky enough to be filmed I plan to make it more dynamic with editing and everything. I acquired a new software the other day and it’s a lot more user-friendly than the one I used to use. I need to make it more of a video as I guess static shot videos are harder to concentrate on these days.
I also came to the realisation that the 6th (or was it the 7th?) of March was the anniversary of Anna’s first night out. The original post documenting it can be found here https://annasecretpoet.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/annas-alive/ . Since then I’ve technically only managed one other and that was under the guise of a gig. I quite fancy another one at some point as I’m not sure I was sufficiently relaxed enough to enjoy the previous two. Watch this space! Upon pondering this I happened upon a little verse I wrote on the day of the first outing that I had completely forgotten about. It is untitled and I think I wrote it during my lunchbreak that day.
Senses sharpened I open my eyes Thoughts turn to My iminent disguise Will I be accepted? Will anyone care? I must have thought it over Several times Every few days I would change my mind A nice skirt and top Or my red houndtooth dress I never anticipated This trivial stress I don’t want to out-femme My partner in crime But I do want to have An outrageous time Maybe make some new friends Outwith my comfort zone ‘Cause before I know it I’ll be on the bus home
I’ve got a little time to also share a few photos from my little video shoot on Saturday night. I hope to have some gig news for the next time fingers crossed. Until then, take care X
Hello there! I do hope you are all well, I’m all sore from a gig last night. Not a poetry one sadly but a solo guitar and shoutin’ style gig. It’s been a busy old week rehearsing for that one so I’ve been more or less taking a break from the soul searching poetry nonsense. As I sort of hinted at in my last post regarding my Youtube channel, I did a special session last Friday where I filmed the remaining 7 poems that weren’t up so you can now view my full repertoire such as it is. It was a fun session and I really got into it as I haven’t really had much physical practice. It’s mostly all been going on in my head. A bottle of wine was consumed in the process helping me relax and fueling me to read all my remainder (I had only intended on reading my brand new one ‘Huff’).
Yesterday I also got to see the pictures my friend took. I look pretty awful in a couple of them but it’s because I’m in the zone mid sentence and so on. Also I really should have brushed my hair before I went on lol! So courtesy of GAK Photography here they are…
Next time I’ll probably wear a different wig! Not sure when that will be but I hope to arrange something before the summer. There are loads of spoken word nights in Glasgow so I’m also thinking of infiltrating one of them but the matter of where to change would present a minor problem 🙂 In the meantime I’m just going to hunker down and expand the secret poem book as best I can.
One of the other things I did was join Instagram last weekend. I’ve met some colourful characters on that I can tell you! I really had no idea that you could send messages over it and so far they are the most irritating aspect. I’ve had to do a whole lot of blocking and declining I can tell you. I can be found under annasecretpoet – what else I guess?
Lastly I got a nice new camera during the week, a Canon DSLR. A rather complex beast but one I’m determined to master. Hopefully that means I can now provide high quality imagery in general from now on. The zoom is INCREDIBLE! I finally got to take a picture of the moon the other night and you can even make out the craters on it…
I must fly now as it is nearly lunchtime and a mighty hunger has descended upon us!
So I actually did it! Last Friday I took to the stage and dramatically recited some poetry Anna-style. Filled with excitement and a little bit of terror it was all over in a flash…and then I got changed and we went home.
In my plans the previous week I had decided to get changed in work and walk to the venue which I estimated to be around 20-25 minutes away. It’s a cafe so it doesn’t have a backstage so reportedly the performers fight over the disabled toilet. (Funnily when I did get changed to go home there were remnants of the burlesque dancers strewn around; glitter and boa feathers. A colourful restroom indeed). And this I did! Echoes of the last night out reverberated in my mind only this time my confidence was a few notches higher. I spent less time getting ready than that previous ocassion, about 45 minutes. I had chosen the toilet nearest the exit I was intending to use and before leaving I slipped into my comfy ankle boots – well I wasn’t going to wear my good red pumps en route. Especially as it was bloody raining. Luckily I had my umbrella.
The walk was very exciting as at the last minute my intended route changed. I was going to go a back way that would exchange a main road for something quieter but I thought what the hell! My umbrella would protect me. By the time I got to the Rio Cafe I must have looked a state. My eyeliner was running and I was rather warm but I soon climatised. My wife and her friend were already there and must have got a wee shock at coming face to face with the mad poet so soon. We had dinner and drinks and talked whilst many other folk arrived. I was really chuffed to see several friends turning up including my sister and her man. I think my set itself went well, there was applause and some laughter (which was intentional on my part). The ‘Stuck in a Dress’ poem went down the best I think. I could have done more but the well was dry and I dismounted the stage in a daze. One of my friends is a photographer and documented some of the proceedings. I had hoped to include some but haven’t seen them yet so I may include them in the next post. Here are a small selection – the lighting wasn’t very good sadly…
Someone we know also did some HD filming and uploaded a compilation of the night to Youtube which you can view from here…
I can’t wait to do it all again! I’ve been working on some more material and working out what else I can wear. I reckon I’ll use different hair next time too – something that frames the face better. There’s no sign of another gig yet but I’m working on it. I had such a close shave that I took the opportunity to do some make-up practice the next morning. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it! I want to master liquid eyeliner you see, does it look okay?
I have suddenly become very busy in the past week because I have my first Anna gig to prepare for! It takes place in just under a fortnights time at the 8th Birthday Celebrations of Spangled Cabaret – a highly respected and versatile font of cabaret in the west of Scotland. Terrified doesn’t even cover it!
Luckily ever since the inception of this idea (a mere 4 weeks ago) I have been endeavouring to stickpile material and I have around 7 poems and 3 unfinished or awaiting redrafts. My set will probably only be about 5 mins or so at a guess so that’s maybe 3 poems. It should be fine. I had a chance to dress rehearse quite literally on Saturday morning and filmed some of it too so I could watch it back. If it’s okay I would like to share one of the videos with yourselves. I have 3 on my Secret Poet YouTube channel (of which the url escapes me) but this is of my favourite one, ‘Stuck in a Dress’ which is based on a post from last year. A big shout out to http://www.burnseleanor21.wordpress.com for providing me with the best line – the pretty cage one X
I also found time to do the usual…pose about, lounge about…that sort of thing. Inevitably some photos ensued, this time using the ‘house camera’ which these days is a rare event indeed. Here are some of the highlights.
I don’t really know what’s happening in the last 2, wig was probably too tight or something. Getting a bit delirious!
Shameless plug alert – I also made a Facebook page which I would be most honoured if folk ‘liked’ it. Amusingly since inaugurating it last weekend I’ve had 10 unlikes but that’s probably just down to people deleting their profiles in shame, as some no doubt do periodically. It can be found at http://www.facebook.com/annasecretpoet
In the meantime I have the chance of one more rehearsal and my aim is to finish at least one more to try out at it. Then a week after that it all gets pretty real! I hope you’re all having a lovely weekend/week (delete where appropriate) X
After my last post I feel I was able to describe my newest idea more adequately to people and set about pitching it to various people. Not just people who I know could make it happen on a venue level but friends as well. Hearteningly nobody has said ‘don’t do it!’ yet. A couple of days ago I bought a flowery notebook to house the poetry. I have been trying to visualise various small details like that other than just how I shall look. That has also fired my imagination! Character is very important and so I’ve decided she’s a kooky and neurotic librarian with delusions of grandeur. That’s not to say I’ll deliberately let her read awful poetry.
On Tuesday I had a ‘fitting’ for my outfit and tried on 4 of my recent dresses though in truth I don’t think there’s a contest. The winning dress is a grey one I bought for a couple of pounds out of British Heart Foundation. This one is originally from George.
I may team it with glasses as in this next pic but I’m not certain. What do you reckon – too stern?
Although you can’t see I’m also wearing my new red point toed pumps. I’ve decided they should be the only colour in the ensemble.
The other dresses I got included a fetching purple one which is probably more night out than librarian but I like it anyway. It is from Dorothy Perkins originally.
This other one is lovely but made me a bit sad when it didn’t zip all the way up. I really like it though so am going to look into getting it taken out. A first for me. It’s from Marks & Spencers (good god of course that’s not where I got it) and other than the dots it’s principal selling point was the original price tag still being on it. It read: £49.50. I got it for a fiver so I was delighted.
The origin of the last one escapes me. It is longer than I’d normally like but feels so nice on. I reckon this could be another contender for the librarian as it has a floaty summer casualness to it. Real fashion people do forgive my relative ignorance in describing female attire in general. I’m still learning – it is all dead complicated 😄
With the outfit more or less sorted I can now think seriously about content. I have already been pondering possible banter and gags to compliment the poetic content. I’m no comedian sadly but I do want there to be humour. Not of the acerbic kind but daft and occasionally surreal humour. By far my favourite kind. I truly cannot wait to get a date sorted which hopefully is a good sign. Maybe that could give me something to write about…or perhaps I may just share another poem. It’s possible I may end up with a few spare in the coming weeks.
An idea has taken hold of me. That’s often the way it is with me and ideas. I wonder if everyone else is the same. As well as being a prime example of pure inspiration I’m extremely surprised I hadn’t thought of it a whole lot sooner. Drag Poet!
Let me explain, for some time now I have become increasingly dissatisfied with my music. In particular the way that I have not found an audience in the 20 or so years I’ve been doing it. Creatively speaking it is wearing me down. I have had the honour of playing at a couple of cabaret nights in Glasgow in the past year and have been struck by the diversity of talent on show. It’s made me feel normal and relatively uninteresting when at heart I know for a fact I’m anything but normal. I’ve seen poets, magicians, burlesque dancers, boylesque dancers, bizarre comedy routines and da da-esque singalongs to name but a few things and I want to join in! Up until now I’ve been unsure of how. In late 2013 I began to sneak crossdressing into my stage attire (sneak perhaps id too subtle a word…) albeit without hair and make-up and it’s mostly went down okay. My last solo gig in particular was brilliant – because I did 2 sets I got a costume change and found a willing and extremely open-minded audience. This combined with my recent Twitter explosion and reminded me of the fact that I’m Anna Secret Poet and perhaps a poet I should be. A poet in drag! It was one of those ideas that arrived fully formed and I even know what poetry I would recite. Dubious poems, daft poems, modified song lyrics like what I have shared on this page in the recent past. My look would be easier still as I already have a look. Bookish, trying for elegance and only vaguely succeeding. My best comparison would be Tommy Cooper who was seemingly inept but had flashes of genius. I guess I should be concerned with discovery etc but I’m not overly worried as I’d be doing this amongst arty and open-minded folk in arty open-minded places. Who knows, the first time may be an abomination and there may be no further ones.
A purely selfish upside could also be that it would fulfill my social desire for a couple of hours as the set itself would only be 5-10 minutes at a guess. It has almost been a year since my inaugural outing and I have wanted to recapture it. In fact I feel sure I’d be able to top it which I admit wouldn’t be hard. Finding willing participants for a secong outing has been difficult, not only that but I know it would probably not go down well at home. It’s a pity as I know I’d be careful. The last one was planned with almost militaristic precision. Anyway with regards to my idea I would like to try it regardless. If it works then great but if it doesn’t then at least I’ll know or be able to revise it. I wouldn’t want it to be one of those notions that gets buried away like so many others – some deservedly some not. Being a confirmed overthinker it’s likely I’ll spend the rest of my life wondering what it could’ve been like. I’m going to ponder on it some more and perhaps run it by some of the cabaret people I know. Also I’d like to reassure you it won’t be a piss-take!
It’s funny how you always assume it’ll be ages until the next time you get to dress up and then all of a sudden several hours fall into your lap. Can you keep a secret? My work every year grants us a secret half day in the month of December exclusively for Christmas shopping purposes. It doesn’t get noted in official paperwork or even on the yearly planner in the office. I often wonder what other people do with theirs but I guess they must do something Christmassy, it is a decent opportunity for those who need to catch up with it. As it turns out my house was going to be empty between 2 and 8pm and these situations don’t require much thought for me. I was especially excited as it would be a chance to try out my new black knee high platform boots…
…and maybe make another purchase during my shopping trip. But alas I was a good (lady)boy and resisted the myriad temptations, in particular a black and white plaid skirt and a black chinese style blouse which I know in total would only have cost £6 but I do need to keep an eye on the old wardrobe. Some of it does need to go, I think.
I took my time getting ready. I like to pick choice garnents before getting made up but I’m assuming everyone does that. Believe it or not that’s a recent development. I picked out a thin grey jumper, a short stretchy black skirt and a black crochet dress that once belonged to my wife. I almost sold it on eBay a while back. It was only when I was taking the pictures of it I changed my mind and put it back in a drawer all safe and snug. I also chose to wear my favourite black hold ups. You won’t see the tops in the pictures but I know they’re there 😉
It was fun, the boots were brilliant. Certainly as high as I like it. Will need a bit of practice walking in them though to be fair. They were only £20 with an added £4.95 for postage and packing which doesn’t seem bad to me. With someone like myself they should last a while though as they’ll probably not leave the house or get worn very often.