Tag Archives: crossdressing

Anna’s Valentine Poem

‘Anna’s Valentine Poem’

 

I can’t guarantee chocolate

or rosey flowers

or ceaseless passion

for uncountable hours

but you can have my attention

and my utter devotion

…and all those other

gushy emotions! ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

ajb

*This poem is dedicated to my wife xxx

Sinister winking, Jesus as a woman and looking to the future in general

Sometimes I hate having to title things, I may come back and change this at one point retroactively. I actually did that with my first four posts as I had originally only given them dates as names. They were even harder to name as they were almost themeless ramblings – I say almost as crossdressing was the main unifying theme.

Well I’ve had a few more outings since my last post proper. One of those was as an extra in a Black Doves music video being filmed partly at the Rio Cafรจ in Partick. The story was set in the sixties so I donned my wig with prominent bangs and wore a polka dot dress…

This was another after work activity so I got dressed in my usual toilet and popped along for a few hours. I had to stop off in a nearby Sainsburys to pick up makeup wipes so that was officially Anna’s first shop visit. Damn the lighting is unforgiving in those places! Amusingly I also passed a couple of folk from my work on the main road. One clocked me and the other didn’t. The lady who did was full of compliments the next day which did brighten the otherwise tired and hungover morning I was to have afterwards.

Aside from the band themselves and some of their friends I was joined by singing sensation Violet Duff who looked amazing as usual and a very dapper looking Paul Puppet. He is the vocalist in a band called ‘Scunner’ of whom I’ve had the pleasure of playing alongside a few times over the years. He is also the man behind Spangled Cabaret and therefore the first person to give me a chance. What a guy!

The next gig I had was on Saturday the 17th of December at the Sinister Wink. It was awesome to once again be guests of The Creative Martyrs at the Bungo in the southside of Glasgow. Also joining me was Miss Innocence Bliss, one of my favourite burlesquers and a lovely person to boot. I learned a Christmas song as it was technically a Christmas gig. I don’t normally do festive songs but one of my exceptions to the rule and ticker of obscure boxes is that old Go Go’s classic ‘I’m gonna spend my Christmas with a Dalek’. It’s a real song honestly, it’s from the sixties at the height of Dalekmania. Gabriel Featherstone popped along too which was cool, he’d brought along his friends Chris and Boo too. Whilst I was chatting to them upstairs before the show a lady from my work arrived with some friends for a drink. Instictively I waved over and she eventually realised who I was – I often forget I must look so different all dressed up. We had a lovely brief chat and she joined her friends again.

As you can see I went for that Mrs Claus that I did last year when I had a little Christmas shoot. A couple of other people took photos. This next one was by Emma Fork.

A lady called Ruth EJ Booth took a few crackers too and she has kindly allowed me to share them here :).

A great gig overall. I did my usual mixture of poetry and music and generally had a ball. Thinking to myself that that was me until New Year. Wrong! On the Monday I received a wee message from Dean from Black Doves about doing a turn at the last Queer Theory of the year on the Wednesday. To me that was a no brainer as I’ve been loving the whole being offered gigs thing these days. There have been a couple I’ve sadly had to turn down but that’s not bad considering how many I’ve said yes too.

I met my friend Deedee for dinner upstairs in the venue before the gig. Nice n’ Sleazy was the place, a Glasgow stalwart, one of the few. I just had chips I must confess as I was being a cheap ass. It was compered as usual by the incomparible Callum MacLeod. Joining me on the bill were Kavita Bhardwaj the comedian (and a good pal of mine these days), Ruby Waters (a brilliant drag artiste – one of her acts was ‘Alien’ themed and saw her dress up as Ripley!), Boris Gay (not sure how to describe Boris Gay but I thoroughly enjoyed her), the Black Doves (who brought some sparkle as usual) and Zyna Hel (who was sonically mesmerizing and gorgeous to behold in equal measure).

I snapped these pics backstage. They turned out okay actually, there was a wee ledge I could rest the phone on to do so. Someone was taking pictures so hopefully I’ll get to see them in the new year. It was getting late and Deedee offered me a lift up the road which I duly accepted. She dropped me off at a roundabout 15 mins or so from my house. She wasn’t local so I didn’t want to bamboozle her with directions. Also she gave me a dress which she had purchased recently that didn’t fit. Walking up the hill to my house in heels with a guitae and suitcase is not something I want to repeat any time soon I can tell you!

Queer Theory Photos

This is a follow up to my last post as since then I very gladly received 15 high quality images from Dean Darkie Cargill of Black Doves fame from my last gig. Photos were taken by a friend of mine, a very talented chap called Martin J. Windebank. It’s rare for me to have photos of Anna taken by someone else and the fact that they are great images makes them even more special…

Then I switched to the guitar after the poetry as I often do…

I really love the one shot from below when I’m in motion. Cracking stuff! I also found myself lurking in a couple of other photos. This next one is me with my friend Deedee and her friend Emma…

That’s a blurry one of me laughing my head off at something. The blonde lady on the far right is Tom Harlow who put on a showstopping performance that night as his alter ego Harlow.

Some footage from my last Spangled gig has surfaced on Youtube also, courtesy of Jon the Hat. It’s basically footage of my 3 songs from that night; 13 Stone’a’luv, Bonus Sausage and Catch the Tiger. Here’s a handy link to view it xxx


Also excitingly it seems I’ll have 2 gigs before years end, a Christmas cabaret with The Creative Martyrs as well as the New Years comedy night I’m doing. I’ve also confirmed my first proper drag show appearance at the end of January. Dragopticon at the Brittania Panopticon, which is the oldest surviving music hall in the world. A very interesting historical place! Originally closed in 1938 but reopened in recent years still in the same state as when it closed, hermetically sealed. I’ve been meaning to go for ages so now I have a definitive excuse :).

Surprise gig joy!

As you all know I’ve become very busy of late! My inability to say ‘No’ is very strong indeed…except for a cabaret I was offered on the 2nd December which I had to turn down for practical reasons. I’m attending a wedding reception and my wife may very well kill me if I do the gig instead 😄.
This past Wednesday I was intending on attending Queer Theory again which I had last played in June. It was a fab night and I wanted to make sure I popped along again in an audience capacity as I’d missed a few crackers in the intervening montha. One of my friends Deedee was meant to be going too so I promised I’d meet her there. I advertised it as such on Facebook as I was looking forward to it. Most excited was I to then receive a message asking if I wished a little 10 minute slot as someone had pulled out! I managed to scrape a wee set together and had to make do with the decrepit guitar I usually leave in work but I set off in high spirits.

Compered by the highly irreverent Callum McLeod I shared the stage with some sensational folk again! A.Crow, (on top form, I’m a big fan of her words) Harlow (spectacular as always), Gabriel Featherstone (such a funny guy – I wish he did a full show one time), Black Doves (who were astonishingly brilliant this evening) and The Three Gentlemen (who were it seems from the future and a perfect way to end the evening).
A large number of photos were taken by a chap I know called Martin Windebank and I look forward to having a peek at those soon. I shall some when I get them – he has a fantastic eye so he does. I don’t get many ‘action’ shots but I’ve a feeling he’ll have captured some keepers.

Twenty gigs down – another milestone!

…or is a mill-stone?

I’ve been a very busy bee in the past 10 days as I managed to clock up another 4 appearances. All memorable in their own way and the overall experience has made me question it all again. I am enjoying it there are no quibbles as far as enjoyment is concerned but I’m not really sure I can keep it up. Anna taking over my performance life has been both blessing and hindrance. I have met a whole bunch of new friends and plus done things I never thought I’d ever do, mainly involving being out in public regularly en femme. It has relegated my ‘man side’ a bit though and I’m frustrated at not being able to have completed many new songs this year. I can count 2 since last November. That may change as I have been given the opportunity to join a band as purely a musician and not a frontman. The idea of being a tad anonymous appeals greatly just now.

The Glasgow Festival of Burlesque gig was fantastic. Probably my favourite of the four which is nice as it’s the one I’ve had booked the longest. Some great cast members including Talullah Belle, Tootsie Annie, Nymph O’ Maniac, Trixie Whipp, Tom Harlow, Raphael Risky…annoyingly there are 2 ladies whose names I did not note but when I find out I’ll amend this accordingly. All hosted and ran by the unstoppable Roxy Stardust! Here’s a grainy pic of us enjoying complimentary cocktails. Roxy took it with her new selfie stick.

I only took a few pics myself before heading out. It would have been ace to have gotten some pics with the ladies but at least there are a few photos of the curtain call which were subsequently shared on Facebook.

I should point out that I changed when I arrived at The Riding Room, into black stockings, suspenders and glittery heels ;). I changed my planned route to the gig also and got off the train a stop early. Just thought I’d take a stroll through George Square and feel the wind on my legs briefly.

My friend Deedee came along with her sister and they took a few snaps which I’m pleased to share!

The next gig was at the Western Baths Club two days later. Apparently it’s the second oldest baths in Europe and as it’s title suggests it’s a members only club. This night was called the ‘Comedy Cake Showcase’ and was ran by Scott McPherson and compered by Kavita Bhardwaj. It’s great to share a stage with these folk again, Gabriel Featherstone was there too as was Natalie Sweeney Potter, Iain MacDonald and published crime writer Chris Dolan who read extracts from his recent novel.

I was on last and folk enjoyed my act to the extent that one last song was demanded! I gave them ‘Let’s Dance’ by David Bowie and as I had just finished the chorus and began verse 2 a woman appeared in front of me informing me that what I was doing was an insult to the memory of a great artist and I should be ashamed of myself. Now I wasn’t expecting that! Cue pandemonium and chaos as everybody else in the room disageed vehemently. I wasn’t upset, more angry as I dearly love and miss David Bowie. I reckon he would have taken a dislike to this woman too. She was asked to leave I understand but the night kind of ended on a downer. Well it would have done had it not been for the amazing moral support from my peers and loads of random hugs and kind words from bewildered attendees. Also sold a few CDs – they’re supposed to be free!!

The next day I attended a friends wedding which was a lovely day all round. Fatigue began to creep in a little at this point. The day after that I was shaving and slipping into another dress. Back at Spangled Cabaret my spiritual home but in a new venue. A bar called Dukes in the Yorkhill district. From the moment I walked in I could tell I’d love the place. Electronica, jazz, funk all mixed up on the playlist. I got changed in the Gents this time which was an amusingly cramped experience.

A great night and a fantastically intimate venue. It was especially nice to see Violet Duff again, a very lovely and talented lady indeed. Overseen by the puppet master himself Paul Puppet who in particular did a great tribute to the late Leonard Cohen. Also on the bill were The Guru (wondrous and amusing in equal measure), Lala (awesome acapella) , The Creative Martyrs (sublime as ever), Innocence Bliss (who gave an approaching customer quite an eyefull right up against the glass front door!) and Laydee Rocket (whom I have yet to find the appropriate words to describe).

I’d definitely love to play there again, hopefully one time next year…

The last gig of the four was my twentieth Anna Secret Poet appearance. It was an odd one too. A return to McChuills in Glasgow for a heady mixture of music, poetry and comedy. I got changed at my sisters this time as there wouldn’t be a suitable place at the venue. I took the opportunity to take a couple more pictures during the transformation process.

The journey itself was uneventful. No doubt folk stared but I was none the wiser really. Even took a couple of pictures waiting for and then aboard the train.

I look dead happy don’t I!! 😄

The gig itself was okay but I probably didn’t ‘feel it’ if I’m to be honest. The gig was ran by Robert Winning and a chap known as LJ.  It was great to see Kavita and Scott again plus there were some great comedians on the bill including Scott the Redman Redmond, Christopher KC and John Callum Carruthers. There was another poet and she was called Mary Nicolson. Apparently it was her first gig and she was really good. Her stuff was short and to the point. I made a hash of trying to talk to her though but perhaps we’re on completely different wavelengths. There were musicians too; Scott Wishart, Rose City Blues and Bunker Monkey. I didn’t stay till the end as I knew a bus home on a Saturday would take an age so I set off in search of the elusive bussy beast.

What’s next? A gig on New Years Eve which I confess to be kind of losing love for conceptially. A little break might restore my verve we shall see.

New friends, outfits and gigs oh my!

I have had a busy bunch of weeks since I last posted. Visitors to the web edition of my page will notice that I got the hang of ‘widgets’ and now my page looks a lot more interesting. Also, two more gigs under my girly belt! Of varying quality it has to be said. I’m speaking of my own performance of course – I can be pretty harsh on myself a lot of the time. The one I did a couple of weeks ago was superb. That was the one where I said the dress code was: Fierce. I panicked and dug out a little black dress for the occasion. Sadly I haven’t seen any pictures from the evening as the lady running the night is on holiday but I looked a little bit like this…

I had a whale of a time and was especially happy to be able to hang out with Talullah Belle and Gabriel Featherstone. A dancer and a surreal comedian respectively. Also on the bill were Innocence Bliss, a very lovely lady indeed with a cracking sense of humour, the band Reality TV, who were a nice bunch of chaps and their fanbase were very kind towards us too. I found out afterwards that I’d missed a photo opportunity with the ladies in their entourage as I’d got changed back too hastily. It was ran by a lady called Yasmin who was really lovely too and compered by a drag artist called Diana Fire. Things got quite tense during a part of her act when she produced a knife and cut her tights off…also slicing into her shin. Twas a fierce looking wound to be sure. We were assured once some whisky was doused on it and it was bandaged up it’d be fine but I’m still not convinced.

After the gig Talullah was able to put me in touch with a lady who runs nights in the bar she works in. A rock bar in Partick called Rockus. I’ll be appearing there on Wednesday the 14th of September so I’m really looking forward to that too. I seen Gabriel again on Thursday last as I was appearing at his cabaret night in The Blue Chair called ‘The Boiling Dolphin Cabaret’. That was a good night too but I don’t know if I was on top form or not. I only did songs eschewing poetry as I wasn’t in the mood. I wore my trusty polka dot dress that I’ve had for a couple of years now. I felt dead pretty in it! As there is only one toilet there I had to get changed in work again but I’m cool with that now, I’m starting to enjoy it. I had my first ‘windy dress’ incident on the way to the station which made me giddy for a short while after. Arriving well before everyone else I had the chance to relax and have a meal. There weren’t many other people there so I wasn’t hassled and was able to converse with the owner. A Tasmanian lady called Lorelle – she was a formidable person indeed. Her brownies were outstanding!

I shared a stage with Amelia Bayler and Donald Henderson, 2 very funny comedians. I was taken with Amelia in particular, such confidence. Also there was a close-up magician and mentalist called Paul M Distefano. He was amazing! Amusingly one of the people he chose to do a trick on turned out to also be a magician (apparently they didn’t know each other). The gig was sparsely attended but I’ve come to enjoy those ones more. The intimacy is brilliant fun plus no one can hide or talk haha! 😄 (or eat nachos).

Outfits have been on my mind recently too. I needed some new ones and as well as purchasing some nice dresses myself, a good friend of my wife passed a few onto me. Pictures will follow…oh yes.

These are two that I have purchased at charity shops over the last fortnight.

I’m very excited about the next three I’m showcasing! These are the donations from my wife’s friend. The one at the end is especially fabulous ๐Ÿ™‚

Isn’t that peach one exciting? It’s got stage written all over it! Can’t wait to wear it out (once I’ve solved the VPL problem lol).

Hopefully I’ll have some more things to write about soon. Definitely enjoying bringing Anna to life in more social situations these days. There may be opportunities for nights out in the next couple of weeks. I won’t say anymore incase I jinx them!

Have a fab weekend everybody X

For the love of ‘Dare’

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I decided it would be fun to try and write something different. I’ve not really written about music very much. I had to in school as part of my Higher and then Sixth Year Studies and it was difficult. Funny as music is one of my favourite things. In casting about for a suitable subject I thought I’d challenge myself to write about one of my favourite albums, ‘Dare’ by The Human League. We both turn 35 this year and out of the two of us it’s perhaps ‘Dare’ who has weathered the intervening years best. I have a strong relationship with it. I can go for ages without hearing it and then when I do it’s as if we’ve never been apart. It’s honestly the first music to ever make any sort of impact on me, second only to ‘Upstairs at Erics’ by Yazoo which of course is in a similar vein. The fact we are so close should make describing why I like it much harder than say describing why I like something I have only heard recently.

From what I’ve heard from my mother and other relatives as a toddler I had a special fondness for ‘Don’t you want me’ (who doesn’t?) the final track and biggest hit from the collection. While I do remember this to an extent I can say that as a whole all of those eerie synthscapes are etched into my brain and I love it as a whole, as it was no doubt intended. I’m a big fan of the art of album making, not just recording but the final sequencing and creating a journey. Deciding what to leave in and what to remove or swap around. If I listen to an album that’s exactly what I’ll do, I rarely skip tracks. In that sense I guess I’m very old fashioned. I can’t fault the tracklisting for ‘Dare’ at all, I only hope that one day I can make something this good.

“Everybody needs love and adventure” (The Things that Dreams are Made of)

In preparation I listened to it again the other day, and indeed as I type it’s gracing the turntable, and it still sounds fresh. I began to make a little list in my mind of the things I particularly enjoy. This includes Phil Oakeys voice somewhere near the top – so recognizable! I love the occasional dip into a pleasing baritone. The clarity of the recordings is superb too. There aren’t far too many overdubs and the songs have room to breathe. The subjects of the songs are great too, some of them are a bit dark in retrospect. As a youth I was moved to seek out the rest of their catalogue and found that their earlier albums were a bit dark too if not more so. I also noticed the pattern of including a diverse cover version amongst the originals. Their cover of ‘You’ve lost that loving feeling’ from their first album ‘Reproduction’ is astounding. ‘Dare’ contains a short melancholic keyboard rendition of the theme from ‘Get Carter’. It was played on a Casio VL-Tone which I only found out years later and is a keyboard I actually own. My first keyboard in fact – I received it as a present for Christmas 1987. The same instrument appears on a few other songs most notably playing a lead melody on ‘Open your heart’. To this day if I ever have the keyboard out the pull to play those tunes is very hard to resist indeed.

dare

The artwork is also amazing – it looks like a fashion magazine. Apparently this was the idea. I’d stare at it for ages as I would with most of my parents’ other LPs. Now that was an education. I found it slightly spooky because the photos of the band members were all cropped in such a way that you couldn’t see their hair. Also the androgyny of Phil Oakey must have resonated with me – a man wearing make-up with longish hair (I say ‘ish’ as it was only long on one side). The fact that the cover is almost all white suits the music. Precise, clean, fuss free, almost sterile. Catchy too, remember 4 of the 10 tracks were hit singles.

Knowing about the the history of The Human League as an adult makes me appreciate it even more. To find out that after 2 albums the original line-up disbanded leaving vocalist Oakey and visual guy Philip Adrian Wright with just the name. With a tour looming they were forced to forage for some new members. Jo Callis from The Rezillos and Ian Burden were drafted in and Phil Oakey found a couple of teenage girls at a local disco and convinced them to join. I wonder how the former members felt when they seen the success that the League went on to achieve in their absence. The other two of course went on to form Heaven 17 and had hits of their own, interestingly with a singer called Glenn Gregory who apparently almost joined The Human League before Phil Oakey stepped in. Hmmmmm.

“In darkness, where my dreams are all too clear” (Darkness)

I think the album’s also special to me for being amongst a few firsts. When I got my first record player in 1986 my parents let me have their copy as they knew I loved it so much. Therefore it’s officially the first record I ever owned (the first one I bought with my own money that I won in a Valentines card competition was Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’). I no longer own that particular copy, it became unplayable and the cover deteriorated. I have re-bought it 2 further times, again on vinyl and then CD. Also I’m pretty certain that vocalist Joanne Catherall (the brunette) was one of my first crushes. There is one picture of her that I adore, from the back of the ‘Love and Dancing’ album which was a selection of primitive remixes. That album’s worth checking out as it was all edited by hand before samplers became prevalent. It was a curious back cover as it had individual portraits of all the key personnel so you got to see not only what the other members of the band looked like but also the producer and engineers. Joanne looked especially lovely in her picture. I remember when we got the ‘Greatest Hits’ video collection in the late eighties it was particularly thrilling to see her in some of the videos. She looked amazing in the one for ‘Love Action’.

joanne

I realize I haven’t really described the songs very well. Who was it that said ‘Talking about music is like dancing about architecture’? I don’t think I’m qualified to do such a thing sadly. Amusingly another thing I noticed when I revisited it was that the majority of the songs start with a lone drum beat to set the scene. Programmed of course, I believe there aren’t any real guitars, bass or drums on ‘Dare’. Apparently Jo Callis did use his guitar to reshape some of the soundwaves and create keyboard sounds. Far out man! The lyrics are deliciously loopy too at times. A highlight being

“Stroke a pocket with a print of a laughing sound” (The Sound of the Crowd).

As I mentioned earlier the subjects of the songs are nice and varied, not all your usual love fodder. Even back in their first single ‘Being Boiled’ Phil Oakey was singing about the plight of the silkworm – whilst the b-side talked about a malevolent circus who takes over the world…I think that’s what it’s about. Without going into too much descriptive detail, which I’m sure other folk on the internet have done better, I’ll briefly outline the themes present on the album as a whole; The assassination of JFK, simple pleasures and ambitions (plus a nod to Norman Wisdom and The Ramones), infidelity, fears and darkness, sympathy and authority, jealousy and romantic obsession. Good to see that the contents are educational. It’s been there since the beginning of my life so it is a lot like a third parent. My dad left when I was 12 but ‘Dare’ never left.

“But there’s no future without tears” (Open Your Heart)

I’ll always return to it. It’s a comfort thing, like ‘Ghostbusters’ or ‘Highlander’. Those things never fail me. They’re always there, unchanged, non-judgemental. And you need that. ‘Dare’ is like a big analogue hug to me. I’m not sure when I shall next listen to it but I know it will happen!

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