The review for my new album ‘Tits of Steel’ just went live on the NHC website. I’ve never had a review before…ever! So this makes it doubly exciting ❤
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 😊
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’ 😄
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 😄
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 😄
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
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 😊
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. £5 for a beer and a bourbon too 😉
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 😄. 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! 😄
The last eighteen months have definitely been a fun and interesting time. Taking Anna out of the house and into the real world has been a dream come true. I may need to change my name though as I’m a poorly kept secret. That proverbial cat escaped the bag some time ago and now even my mum and grandparents know now. I don’t mind at all in fact I feel relieved. I’ve certainly been kept too busy to stop and ponder it properly. These last few weeks haven’t been an exception. I was back at Spangled Cabaret on Monday the 8th of May alongside Markee de Saw + Bert Finkle, Alana Duvey, Raven Rose, Stewart Traquair, Aria Octavia and Obie the Comedian. As always the fabulous line-up was presided over by Paul Puppet. It all went very well I thought. I got a 15 minute slot and just filled it with songs, 4 I think it was. I sported a lovely floral blue summer dress with brown hair and black tights.
The next three shows I undertook were unique, for me anyway, in that I made some money from them. This excited and amused me greatly as I’m essentially being paid to dress up and sing a few songs!
My next engagement was the following Saturday at the Buff Club in Glasgow. I was to host an evening run by a fab band called Reality TV. This daunted me slightly but I emerged at the other end reasonably unscathed. I did get a little set of my own and at the end I joined the band onstage for a rendition of ‘Let’s Dance’. For this gig I wore my favourite teal skater dress with sheer tights – I did my legs for the occasion 😉.
This next photo is a selfie I took with Kerry and her pal Leigh, friends of the band Reality TV.
The next one was taken by Cate Soave during ‘Let’s Dance’ – I think I’m midway through singing the line “tremble like a flooooooower”.
The following Tuesday I was a guest of Dharma Gheddon and Alana Duvey at their night ‘Drag 101’ held at The Gilchrist Postgraduate Club in Glasgow University. That was a fab night! Also appearing were Lacy Rain, Frans Gender and Lucy Stewpid. I just got up and did a few songs again but everyone sang and clapped along to ‘Spoonful of Sugar’ which was marvellous. I managed to forget my guitar strap and had to fashion one from a scarf again. As a consequence of it’s fickle relationship with my strap holders I had to walk about with my guitar on all night 😄.
A selection of pics were taken during my performance by a lady called Frankie Hunter and they were pretty damn cool!
(L-R Dharma Gheddon, Frans Gender, Lacy Rain, Lucy Stewpid, me and Alana Duvey)
A lady in the audience called Joana Bê Esse took one of me too that I like…
Plus I posed for a picture with Diana Monte who was in the audience. She’s bloody awesome!
Next up on the Saturday I was in a pub in Govan called The Amethyst. This was for a night ran by The Creative Martyrs as part of the Southside Fringe and was a ticketed event. Seemingly bought mainly by a bunch of folk who hadn’t been to a cabaret before. Not enough whooping and hollering in the right places. I shared the bill with the Martyrs themselves, The Great Aziz and Raven Rose. It went mostly okay – I may have confused some folk as usual. My D string broke during the last song which is not bad going as I’ve had that guitar for 7 years without a breakage.
…post show toilet selfie. Seemingly a must these days!
Only one photo has surfaced from my performance, taken by the lady in charge who’s name sadly escapes me. It’s okay though as my name was wrong on the poster and differently wrong on the pub’s Facebook page so…
Most of my upcoming gigs are Well Happy Band related so I have time to sort out some new Anna material (hopefully). I worry a little that my next four gigs will be my last four and I won’t get booked again but I need to stop worrying about stupid shit like that. I’ll be hosting Queer Theory on the 14th of June which should be very interesting. I’ve already started making notes about the other performers so that all ready to go when the time comes. Just need to pick an outfit and that should be me!
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?
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 🙂
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!