Tag Archives: mtf

Livin’ My Pinup Dream!

Recently as I spend more and more time on Instagram and less time here (sorry WordPress) I find myself drawn heavily ever increasingly to the pinup scene. The fire has also been stoked by spending time around a fair amount of burlesquers at my gigs too and I really really want to join in! A couple of weeks ago I had another photoshoot – which I shall share in another post soon I promise – but last week I decided I wanted to actually plan a specific shoot based around a pinup look. To that end I elected to hop onto eBay and search for some gorgeous dresses. I watched a handful (that I sadly was outbid upon) but gained a lovely blue Hellbunny polka dot dress with a halterneck. It arrived 2 DAYS LATER! What service 😊Happily its arrival coincided with an empty house and I was able to try it on unhindered by the constraints of time. I would have to get a petticoat at some point but I’d worry about that later. Swiftly I de-haired my legs, face and chest and was ready to begin. There was no question about stockings and suspenders – they were an absolute must 😉Truly it’s one of the most magnificent dresses I’ve ever owned and I instantly felt like I had to share it. I decided I’d wear it at The Dragopticon Show that Friday! To wind down I changed my hair for a straighter style and dressed down. I ended up taking a few saucy photos about the house which is always fun. Here are some of the highlights 😘It was just like old times! Going out dressed up is fun to an extent but it’s much more comfy in the house. I was able to pack my suitcase in readiness for the Friday show at the Britannia Panopticon. When the day came around I was able to purchase a petticoat en route. A lovely lady called Holly, who was coming to the show, informed me that her shop sold them so I dropped by to do just that. I’m so glad I did as it made the dress sing even more!A bonus was I called my wife who was with my sister and her partner and they were just about to order food around the corner so I was able to pop out and join them 😄 I may have turned a few heads!The night went swimmingly. In charge was Alana Duvey who was as amazing as ever! Also on the bill were Dharma Geddon, Pebblez, Dorian T. Fisk and Alfie Ordinary. Official photos will appear at some point but I have one or two audience ones to share here for the moment…Chris Grayson managed this one of me which I rather like 😊My sister Diane took a few phone pics tooI also managed to get a wee selfie with her too at the end!Here are links to my 2 sets on Youtube! Thank you to Fiona McCann for filming them. You can also see everyone elses from the main Dragopticon page 😉Anna Secret Poet, Dragopticon 2/8/19, Set 1Anna Secret Poet, Dragopticon 2/8/19, Set 2

I feel I should point out that my intended shoot has yet to take place. I have not decided who to work with and where so these amateur efforts don’t count 😜

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As long as there are biscuits!

Hours after sharing my last post I received a phone call to tell me my father had passed away. Something I knew I would have to face at some point but I wish it had been much further in the future. 59 is too young! I know he would have enjoyed playing at being the grumpy old man shouting at children and waving a stick. Me and the family were fortunate to have spent a nice afternoon with him the day before in his bowling club. It was their opening day and we’d been invited as we was vice president this year. Tea, sandwiches, cakes and affordably priced alcohol aplenty. At the time I was thinking I might not go but ultimately I’m glad I did. My last memory of him is giving him a big hug before we left. And so it ends. This would be the chief reason for not attending a viewing the day before his funeral. I prefer to remember him laughing than in a coffin in a place of grief. I would have to get up close and personal with the coffin anyway the following day as myself and 5 other men carried his remains into the crematorium for his send off. I was heartened that he had such an amazing turn out. They reckoned it was somewhere in the region of 250 people. A squad of folk from his work had hired a coach so they could all attend!

I’m nowhere near over this but I’m hoping that talking about it helps. My wife has been brilliant and so has everyone else. Also I’ve been attempting to keep myself busy these past few weeks. During this time I managed to complete the recording for a mini-album/E.P. that I’d planning for a little while. I’ve also finished the artwork and set a release date. It should go live on Monday the 6th of May across all the digital and streaming platforms. As usual I shall make a limited quantity of physical CDs just incase some people are interested in taking a copy home.

I elected to dedicate it to my father as I think he would have liked it – especially track 2 which is a ska song about biscuits 😉

Fortunately I’ve had no shows this month and it has enabled me to sort out some new material so that when I do start up again I’ve got new songs to get excited about. It keeps me on my toes as learning new songs for me can be quite stressful as I have such a wandering mind! Next month in May I have 4 lined up so far…

Without shows there technically wouldn’t be a reason to get all dolled up but this month I have managed a couple of brief sessions. Both were justified I feel as I didn’t want to get rusty and I had some new clothes to try out (a corset and a dress). Here follows some home posing which I do miss. Getting dressed in work toilets and so forth isn’t as relaxing 😄

The corset worked out very well. Once I’d managed to squeeze it on it was very comfy and kept my lumps and bumps in place haha! Burvogue I think it is, I got it from Amazon 😉 This yellow dress is from TK Maxx. It’s longer than I would normally wear but I’m excited to don it when it’s properly summer.

After that I dusted off my curls for another outing. I think I’ve fallen in love with them again, especially when teamed with this jacket 😍

And yes…it was warm in here!

The reason for the bra is that I had been trying to simulate a cleavage effect. You can see it in the first yellow dress photo but not so much in the others. Plus it was warm! 😄

Follow this link to Anna’s Soundcloud to have a little listen to some of the tracks from my new CD. I’ve been putting one out every few days to hopefully build up a sort of interest for it. When it comes out proper I’ll no doubt bang on about it on here.

Fluffy Jumper Dress

The other week I had a half day from work amd went for a stroll around the charity shops of the west end of Glasgow. I didn’t see much but I did pick up this gorgeous jumper dress for £4! It’s soooooo comfy but it’s scandalously short. I found some time a few days later to try it out…

I decided to try teaming it with a belt I’ve had for ages but not used. I think it looks ago but I reckon I prefer it without.

Cheeky! Sorry, just trying to cool down. It is a rather warm piece of clothing 😉

This is my newest guitar! It’s a lovely Tanglewood electro-acoustic I purchased last month. I had only nipped out to go to the Post Office! 😄 I needed a new one anyway. This one is considerably lighter plus you can plug it in which my other one sadly couldn’t do. Not bad for £79.99!

Before defrocking I decided to film a quick video of me running through one of my latest songs – ‘Vinyl Schminyl’

Marquez Studios Photoshoot, Feb 2019

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 😉

Stream me if you wanna!

There have been some exciting developments in the past couple of weeks! I’m pleased to announce my album ‘Tits of Steel’ has gone live on multiple digital music platforms as of a few days ago. For me that makes it like a real album and I can’t be happier 😊.

Some of them I freely admit I’d never previously heard of but it’s nonetheless good news. If anyone is unable to come to gigs or get a CD off of me in person it’s the ideal way to share it.

‘Tits of Steel’ on Spotify

‘Tits of Steel’ on iTunes

‘Tits of Steel’ on Bandcamp

These are just 3 links by which you can access it – I share the Bandcamp link again because you can purchase it cheaper from there. It’s £7.99 everywhere else. But everywhere else except Bandcamp you get a bonus track not on the original release – ‘Bonus Sausage’ – a live favourite!

Other than this I’ve done a few shows already this year and they’ve went well. It’s always good to spread the word and have a little drink when you’re doing it. Here are some photos from the last few weeks, including a new dress and wig plus the return of the curls ❤

I’d gotten that dress before Christmas but this is the first chance I’ve had to try it on in the house with hair and make-up. The wig is new too!

It was great fun to dust off the curls, I ended up getting a lovely positive reaction from them by posting some of these pictures. So much so I decided to wear it to my Queer Theory appearance on Wednesday last!

Some photos from my look at Komedy at the Yesbar in January. I komposed a song especially for it called ‘Koming Down From Christmas’ as that was the loose theme of the evening. I was particularly pleased as it means that along with my Halloween song I now some holiday themed material I can roll out again in the future 😄. Also on the bill were Oliver Coleman, Eilidh Ella Anna and the incomparable Amelia Bayler.

At that night we were all handed a January Survival pack handcrafted by Amelia Bayler – it includes a teabag, Berocca and a chocolate Hobnob. I haven’t had the heart to rip it open as yet 😄

Oh I should point out that a few days after that gig I was reunited with my lost bag from Christmas – bless you First Glasgow! Contents intact, money, fan, make-up everything ❤

My next show was supporting Schande, Jesus and his Judgemental Father and Marble Gods at the Flying Duck in Glasgow. That night I rocked my dogtooth skater dress again! It was put on by Spite House and I can’t recommend their nights enough. They ALWAYS have top quality acts!

…and the morning after I had a little dress up to work on some new material in character so to speak 😄.

My next outing was to a place called the Dram and it was ran by Eilidh and Curtis who approached me at Komedy to come and do a wee turn. It was a great night and there was the added bonus of some improv courtesy of Improv Killed My Dog. There’s not enough of this happening so I would definitely check them out if you get a chance! Eilidh done a set too as did Gavin Reid who impressed me by producing a baby doll attached to the end of a pole and forcing it into audience members faces so they could kiss it 😄.

The last show this month (so far she says optimistically) was at Queer Theory in Nice n’ Sleazy. I consider it one of my spiritual homes as they were one of the early nights to ask me back multiple times and for that I’m very grateful. My look didn’t quite go to plan. The skirt I chose didn’t work with the top and my back-up skirt was too short and probably exposed my hold ups a few times. This was actually the first time I’ve been out sans heels by the way! I wore my Doc Martens instead – going for comfort this time.

It was the busiest I’ve seen Sleazies in years. It also turns out I kind of new the soundman from years ago in Barfly when my old band You Can’t Eat The Word Food played there. Typically the Queer Theory line-up was awesome; Katy Dye, Ms True Love Waits, Kavita Bhardwaj, Sarah Scott, Miss Leggy Pee, King Biff and Black Doves were also in attendance. Sadly I had to leave early as I was exhausted but I had a brilliant night indeed! My next projected appearance is Spangled Cabaret in its new home The Blue Arrow on the 5th of March 😉

Busy Anna

I don’t think I’ve done a proper post in a few weeks so I’m going to attempt it now whilst sharing some more pics. March is a busy month for me performance-wise. I have 6 Anna gigs in total and that’s me done 3 already. The first one was a hotly anticipated Bowie tribute night I participated in for Cabaret Against Cancer and that was fantastic. I shared a bill with some incredible and glamorous folk that night I can tell you. It was ran by Tom Harlow and Kim Khaos under their Glitter & Grind Revue moniker and also featured Paul Puppet (who also compered), Jack Squat, Markee De Saw & Bert Finkle, Amber Skyline, Raven Rose, Tootsie Annie, The Great Aziz, Jakob Martyr and The Drag Queens of Glasgow who included Alana Duvey, Dharma Gheddon, CJ Banks, Lacy Rain amongst others. In the end I believe we raised just under £600 which was to be split between 3 cancer charities. I didn’t get to sing unfortunately but I did get to write a Bowie poem which I shared the other week and can be viewed here What’s Your Favourite Bowie?

My look was a grey t-shirt with sequined stripes, black flat panelled skirt, black platform boots and a red wig.

I changed into the platform boots when I got to the venue, obviously 😄.

Top photo was by Jamie McFadyen and bottom pic was by Steve Kinnon.

I even got to join in on the finale which was a rendition of ‘Starman’. Knowing I wouldn’t get to bring an actual instrument I cheekily brought a maraca with me so I’d have something to do…

The week after the gig I returned to an idea I’d had a few times before about printing a little pamphlet of some of my poems. A lot of them had been typed up already so it wouldn’t take an enormous effort to corale them together. During the week I set to work. I cobbled together a cover image, proof-read the poems so there weren’t any embarrassing spelling mistakes, printed them as an A5 booklet on two sides of the paper then stapled it all together. I ran off 30 copies which may seem optimistic but I reasoned I could recycle any that didn’t sell. Oh yeah I planned to sell them for £1 if I can. I called it ‘Vicious Fruit’.

The next gig was a night at McChuills again and it wasn’t very good. It’s primarily a rock venue and there was a birthday party in that night so it was rather doomed as far as spoken word goes. I felt sorry for the comedians – at least I had a guitar. I forewent poems and went straight to songs throwing in a raucous cover of ‘I heard it through the grapevine’ for good measure in amongst my normal nonsense.

A few days before, my phone died and I made do with a dubious tablet bequeathed from my mother. I used that to take the grainy images of my outfit you see below this sentence.

I left before the end as I’d had a long day with no lunch or dinner…unless you include cider as dinner! I had to retain energy for the next gig which was the very next night. Thankfully I was able to procure a new phone and recommence social networking activities as normal. Also the camera on the phone is especially good quality. Particularly so when you flip the lens round for Selfie Mode (yes it’s actually called that!).

The gig was at the Western Baths Club and was ran by Scott MacPherson as part of the Glasgow Comedy Festival. This venue was the scene of an unfortunate heckling incident when a woman stopped me during my ‘Let’s Dance’ cover to tell me that what I was doing was a disgrace to the memory of a great artist and I should be ashamed of myself 😄. Also on the bill were Gabriel Featherstone, Kavita Bhardwaj, Natalie Sweeney Potter, Fergus Mitchell and Craig Dolan. Apparently the Bowie incident from last November was a talking point for weeks afterwards. Scott referenced it by wearing a t-shirt of David Bowie with his finger on his lips as if to say “shhhhhh”.

That gig was a lot better! I got to close and end the show which was nice. I do it again in a fortnight which should be interesting…I do hope I can find more material to bring. The second half was funny in particular as it was more improvised. It was called Comedy Lotto. There were a load of numbered balls  and random picking of subjects to talk on, much like ‘Mock the Week’ or ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’ sort of thing. Incidentally I sold 5 copies of my pamphlet at this gig so I was well pleased. They cost nothing to produce so I’m in profit already 😊.

Another week till my next one which is a horror inspired cabaret at The Blue Chair hosted by Gabriel. It’s called Shoggoth! Hopefully I’ll get off my arse and come up with something entertaining to bring along 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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