Tag Archives: genderbender

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! 😆

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?

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The Health Service Drove me to Drink

I’m a decent person I like to think

but the NHS has drove me to drink

I’m not saying I’ve never drank before

but recently I’ve been drinking more

I tanned a bottle of cider last night before tea

whilst trying not to let it get to me

my rum intake has dramatically increased

in an attempt to subdue this many headed beast!

 

If I had to offer advice to a novice

I’d tell them not to work in an office

they’re definitely not for the faint of heart

they’ll most likely tear your soul apart

like a Cenobite or a spoiled angry child

they claw me with drivel and drench me in bile

it’s a nest of vipers with little respite

try not to move suddenly or they’ll bite!

 

Perhaps they were once decent like me

or am I overdosing on diplomacy?

Surely they weren’t always as difficult as this

forever lost in a crimson mist,

grumpy, unstable with tempers short

I’m sure you know the sort

I do wish they’d stop and consider

the plight of my poor liver

 

*Obviously this ode is not directed at the Health Service itself – as an institution it does some sterling work. It’s primarily aimed at figures who are corroding this great organisation from within 🙂

Marching to April

Clip clop clip clop I go!

It’s been a busy bunch of weeks since my last entry. My Shoggoth appearance was good fun. That was a cabaret put on by Gabriel Featherstone as part of the Glasgow Comedy Festival and also featured The Creative Martyrs, Tootsie Annie, Markee De Saw, Jim the Hobbit and Gabriel himself. It was sparsely attended but I would call it intimate amd I’m quite comfortable with that kind of audience. Often that forces people to be more attentive which is good for me but for the burleque dancers perhaps not so much. I wore a pretty floral dress, black shrug and my black boots. I looked a bit like a school teacher!

I popped to work to get changed as it meant I could take my time and I do rather like the brief train ride and mingling with the crowds in Glasgow.

A few days later I was back at the Britannia Panopticon for a special Spangled Cabaret. It was part of the BBC6 Music Festival Fringe so my tiny name appeared on a poster thus…I’ve circled it so you can see 😊.

I love being on posters, no matter how tiny. I shared a bill with some fellow poets including Stephen Watt, A Crow and Elaine Gallagher. Also appearing were The Creative Martyrs, Scunner, Markee De Saw + Bert Finkle, Dharma Gheddon, Miss Hells Belle, Tom Harlow and Kim Khaos. Paul from Puppet who also ran the show was interviewed beforehand and a portion of it was broadcast the following day was quite exciting. I got changed in work again as it was easier. This time I wore a purple jumper dress with POCKETS and my black boots again.

Excitingly I popped into Tesco Express, which is a mini-supermarket, on the way to the venue and was able to hear my shoes clicking on the tiled floor. Such a joyous sound! Normally I listen to music when I’m out and about so I can zone out a bit but I couldn’t resist.

The gig itself went well though I don’t think it was as busy as Paul had hoped. Everyone who was there enjoyed it though and satisfyingly I sold another 3 copies of my book. Galactic Carnival, AKA Debbie who works at the Panopticon took some photos and here are the 3 I’ve seen of me.

I really love the black and white one! In fact my friend Jenny B-Side photoshopped it this morning…

Excitingly when I was hanging about I spied a familiar face on a poster for The Big Variety on the 15th of April…

Friday and Sunday seen me debuting with a newly joined band called The Well Happy Band. I can’t recall if I’ve mentioned them before but they’re the happiest band I’ve ever encountered. In male mode I play bass for them. They’ve a mini album coming out soon that’s worth checking out. You can follow this link to their website The Well Happy Band.

On Saturday in between those gigs I once again found myself at the Western Baths Club for another Comedy Lotto. Tiredness prevented me from opening and closing this show so I just opened it instead. I think I went down okay. I got to read a new poem called ‘Microphone Banter’ which was okay. If I get into a regular habit of sharing more poetry I may put it up. I’m working on another more epic poem just now about waiting for a bus at night and all the things that come into my head. It happens a lot just now and I may as well right what I know eh?

For once I was quite pleased with my look that night. I felt rather cute and someone even bought me a drink lol! I wasn’t sure about the wig when I first got it but I’m warming to it now. I always find with wigs it’s not just the make-up but it’s finding the right outfit to go with them too. Like that curly one that let me down in February – that was a difficult one to dress for.

We were lucky at this gig to also have some fine female comedians on the bill. Natalie Sweeney Potter (a firm favourite of mine and such a lovely lady), Sarah Jayne-Judge (feisty and very sharp in the best possible way) and Charlotte McDonald who had some cracking stories and observations. Scott McPherson was there too being that it was show, Fergus Mitchell who was on top form again and who had actually brought his 2 sons with him as they had never seen their dad do stand up before! I believe they were impressed 😊. Lastly Gary Faulds, son of an infamous bankrobber apparently. A funny guy to the core, I only sat in his company briefly but it was an approarious pleasure.

Next up is an all day event at Nice n’Sleazy in Glasgow. A takeover by Spite House and Queer Theory so it should be great fun. I’m on that poster too!

Arty Anna

It’s been a funny few weeks since the Drag-Opticon gig. I think it’s because I have a lot on in March that I may be becoming anxious about it. I pulled out of a gig the other week at the last minute. It was after work and I’d just finished getting changed to go to the venue and upon looking in the full length mirror I did not like what I saw. Cue a massive crisis of confidence which culminated in me clambering back into my drab clothes and sitting on the floor propped up by the door. I don’t know if it was my choice of outfit, the hair and make-up, my loss of faith in my material as it was a comedy night I was appearing at. It could have been all of the above. Suffice to say the homing instinct kicked in and home I went. I only managed one picture from that session and here it is, I don’t like it that much but I guess it’s relevant to this particular situation.

Matters improved for my next appearance which was 4 days later. This performance took place at ‘Dr Sketchy’ in Stereo, Renfield Lane, Glasgow. It was unusual in a number of respects, the first being that it was at 1 in the afternoon, it was a paid gig and that it involved life drawing! Usually they have burlesque dancers and folk like that and the idea is that you do your act then you pose for the audience to draw you. Tremendous fun but also challenging. I’m not terribly great at staying still but I managed fairly well. It was so warm under those lights. I think I did 4 poses in total; one where I stood holding my guitar, one sitting down reading a book, one with me holding an opened umbrella and another where I lay on a blanket propped up against the back of the stage.

I think Nicola, the lady running the show took this one during my first pose. Here are a few pics showing how I actually looked. If I do say so myself I reckon I looked a lot better than my previous attempt.

Sadly I never got to see any of the drawings, I was hoping people would share them to the Dr Sketchy Facebook page but to no avail. It was also a first in that I shared the bill with a pair of life models. A married couple from the USA who seem to be travelling about the place, seeing the sights, appearing naked in the basements of bars for strangers to draw them. If I was wearing a hat I’d take it off to them! I had brought a sketchpad with me so I could join in so I relished the opportunity to give it a try. They did 6 poses I think and I drew them all but only one or two turned out well enough to share.

I’ve never drawn naked people before. I always prefer drawing animals or things as I find the human face particularly difficult – lips especially. Luckily the lady had wild hair that more often than not cascaded over her face and made it a bit easier. I’d definitely love to go again sometime!

A new wig arrived last week too so that was more than a bit exciting. It’s very close indeed to the shade of red I’ve been seeking for several years. For the benefit of non regular readers of this blog I shall briefly explain that I have long been trying to find a suitable replacement for my first brilliant wig. A gorgeous long auburn one with prominent bangs. This one doesn’t have the fringe but the shade is almost the same.

It’s bloody tight though haha! I must have a big head though to be fair. Next gig is ‘Ashes to Ashes’, a cabaret tribute to David Bowie at the Polo Lounge on the 1st of March. I’ve been asked to provide a special Bowie poem which I have been dutifully working on for the last while. It’s more or less done and probably just needs a wee touch-up. Here is the poster for it, it’s very smart indeed!

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! 😉

 

ajb

*This poem is dedicated to my wife xxx

Life is Officially a Drag (in the best possible way)

I began my 2017 gig schedule in one of the coolest venues I’ve ever been in – and I mean that in both terms of temperature and ‘wow that’s cool!’. The Britannia Panopticon is a culturally, historically and aesthetically significant place. Apparently it’s the oldest surviving music hall, built in the late 1880s and closed in 1938 just before the war. So barring the odd superficial embellishments here and there it is pretty much as it was when it closed its doors to the public all those years ago.

I was there for an evening of drag, an event amusingly titled ‘Dragopticon’. It’s my first such billing and I admit I was a tad apprehensive. Most people involved with it hadn’t seen me before so I hoped I’d be able to get through it all without making an arse of myself. I really enjoyed rambling about backstage surrounded by top hats, corsets, bric-a-brac, rolls of pianola paper (if that’s even how you refer to them). The host Alana Duvey immediately put me at ease and I met the others one by one who are all part of Glasgow’s thriving drag scene. What a beautiful and inventive bunch! My fellow cast members included…

Alana Duvey herself

alana-duvey

Dharma Geddon

dharma-gheddon

Ru Jazzle

rujazzle

CJ Banks

cj-banks

and

Ann Phetimine

ann-phetimine

The format was that we all got 2 performances, 1 in each half, and I was truly blown away by them. The whole gig is up on Youtube having been filmed by an eager audience member. Here are links to my 2 sets…

 

My wife and sister came along as did my old friend Rachel and her brother Stuart. They had a blast too and were seriously talking about attending the next one. A lady took professional photos of everyones performances as well which I shall share here also. I took them from Facebook so the quality is not so great. She goes by the name Galactic Carnival so I thank her most graciously for the images and for letting me use them.

I even got to debut a new song called ‘Star Wars Pants’. A joyous celebration of my Star Wars underwear. Well I hadn’t intended to but I stupidly mentioned it on mic and I was cajoled into doing it. Also I was most pleased to see a lady called Carrianne and her friend pop along to support me. She’s a lovely lady I encountered at Queer Theory a few months back who graciously leant me her plectrum earring as I was plectrumless at the time. Brilliant stuff!

I also managed a few amateurish snaps of my own after I got ready and was hanging about backstage…

There was a milestone as well a few days ago on the 5th of February. The anniversary of my first gig! I sure have came a long way since that first outing. Here’s to another year 🙂

Dick Pic

‘Dick Pic’

Sometimes my inbox is a scary place

Sometimes there are pictures – but not of a face

Or kittens or vegetables or castles or palaces…

But raging stonners and laughable phalluses!

A dick pic is not going to win my affection

I don’t care if you can achieve an erection

Everyone’s braver behind a mobile phone

I doubt if you’d be so cocky if we were alone