Tag Archives: transformation

Not so Secret Poet (or Dressing for Money)

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 three photos were taken by Kayliegh Bissett, a talented young photographer who documented the night ❤.

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 BĂŞ 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!

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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?

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!

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 ÂŁ600 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 ÂŁ1 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

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

Cassette Glam!

This post is just a short one, really just an excise to show off some pictures I took today. My friend Deedee gave me a dress before Christmas. It was one that didn’t really fit her and she thought that I may want it. It’s not my usual style but I may have found a way to wear it.

Yesterday I bought a radio cassette player second hand. A proper 80s one! I’ve been on the lookout for one for a while as I still make the odd mixtape and it means I can now play them whilst cooking dinner and dancing badly. I had an idea this morning for a photo opportunity with the tape player and the dress. There wasn’t long to capture it as I had a bunch of other chores to do but I got a couple of good shots that I can maybe use as press shots or whatever.

Firstly, some pics of the dress…

At this point I switched to my DSLR as I prefer to use that. It works better for indoors…

Enter the cassette…

This next shot is my most favourite one!

Then I decided to try a few sitting down…

I’m really pleased with how they turned out especially the ones with the flash. I wouldn’t normally use it but it helped the glittery bits stick out 🙂