2013 has so far proven a year of burlesque, birthdays, and sometimes both at the same time.

Boxes and clean laundry: guaranteed cat magnets.

Alf’s favourite hobby is finding the most expensive thing he can and using it as a pillow.

John’s birthday!

I’m still inordinately proud of finding that She-Ra card.

Dinner at The Butterfly and the Pig.

A lovely evening, but for the fact that we were both deathly ill from standing outside Menergy the week before.

I didn’t actually manage to finish this, which – in retrospect and full health – is now my biggest regret of 2013.

Look who I ran into in Edinburgh!

Mine.

Persian traybake.

Begone, before someone drops a house on you, too.

En route to further adventures in cat-sitting.

Thundie! I’m not sure if he remembered us, but he started purring like a fiend the minute we got in the door.

Mali was also far less terrified than on our previous visits (which is to say that she actually stayed in the room this time).

Typical Saturday night, vajazzling a pair of ruby slippers.

Boy-drag Dorothy and Twiggy. We’d dressed up in accordance with the “icons” theme for a burlesque night Kim invited us to at the Glasgow University Union: a theme which all of about four people adhered to. Awkward.

Man of the hour: the fabulous Mr. Tom Harlow. This was our second meeting, the first having occurred in a sex shop the week before. Naturally.

And Miss Kim Khaos, who should already be more than familiar with. This was actually my first time seeing her perform, and had I known the tables were going to be arranged a mile from the stage, I probably would’ve rethought the fixed lens.

El Tigre.

Not gonna lie: I killed my throat singing along to Part of Your World.

Kim kreepin’.

This is the face of a woman who just walked the length of the West End on a swollen knee and discovered that there were zero bars open.

Take-home points for the evening: if, in the very literal sense, you powder your nose as an homage to Judy Garland, people will generally just assume that you’re doing coke. Also: no amount of PVA glue will keep glitter attached to your shoes for an entire evening. Those things looked fucking leprous by the end of the night.

Have you ever seen the wolf cry to the blue corn moon?

Mint cupcakes, courtesy of Mumma Khaos. If everyone I took pictures of brought me baked goods, I would be a very happy, very obese man.

My birthday card from John. Made entirely from stolen office supplies!

He also took me to Ichiban for my birthday, where – to my lasting excitement – I discovered they now sell 黒ゴマアイス (black sesame ice cream). We bought another three to take home.

Any gift that comes wrapped is also a gift for Wilfred.

Mum came through the following day and we went to the Willow Tea rooms…

…where I immediately asked to be moved tables so we could have a window seat. The view more than made up for that fact that the waitress probably spat in my food.

Afternoon tea!

Celebrating Tom’s debut solo show at the Virginia Gallery (where, alas, photography was verboten) with yet more burlesque. This is the very talented Miss Hell’s Belle, on stage at Tom’s regular place of employ, the Riding Room. As it turns out, they also do the most amazing candy floss cocktails: deceptively potent in spite of their name since those, in combination with the free wine from earlier, ultimately led to this. Do you ever look at pictures from the night before and just?

Despite being of above average height, I am forever destined to look short in pictures because all the men I know are between 6’2 and 6’5. Speaking of one such, John had, at this point in time, just begun a one-month stint working in Inverness (Glasgow – despite its reputation as the murder capital of Scotland – having ironically failed to provide him with enough post mortems). He was due home that weekend for a visit, however, and so I’d intended for this to be an early night. I say intended because Tom gave me a guided tour of the downstairs area just before we left, and this somehow led to us sticking around and dancing for a further three hours.

All of this would have been fine, of course, except that my phone had also chosen to spontaneously die at some point in the evening. As a result, John came home, panicked at my absence, and proceeded to leave me an increasingly frantic series of texts and voice mails until I eventually returned in the wee hours of the morning and allayed his fears that I was lying dead in a gutter.

Two surprises awaited me when I got home the following week – my birthday present from John (he wasn’t weeks late, the game just hadn’t been released yet) and our tickets to see Drag Race superstar Manila Luzon! God of War: Ascension, by the way, proved the exact opposite of Tomb Raider: a fun multiplayer saddled with a painfully unnecessary solo campaign. It’s like the developers thought to themselves, “Can we squeeze another GoW title out on the PS3?” without ever stopping to ask if they should.

That weekend: Spangled Cabaret Club at the Flying Duck. On arrival, I was manhandled by the girl at the door, who insisted on me paying the entrance fee and having my hand stamped before I was allowed to say hello to the friend standing five feet behind her. This policing continued throughout the evening, and – for her own sake – the bint better have had prosopagnosia because if she’d asked to see my hand stamp one more time, I was going to fucking fist her with it.

Tom’s penis is so mobile my camera can’t even capture it.

(One half of) The Creative Martyrs. These guys were incredible.

Kim Khaos, khomplete with new khostume.

After her performance, she was offered drugs as recompense for her damaged nipple pasties. I can only assume that the culprit had been sampling his own wares since those same pasties had, until that point, been adorning a stationary mannequin, which he still managed to dismember three times in swift succession.

Kim’s 21st! a.k.a. a surprise birthday party that she actually helped plan. Thankfully one of us was still surprised, because the invite said 7 o’clock and no one else turned up ’til 8. At least I had fourteen bowls of pistachios to keep me company.

As the night wore on, Jenn became increasingly drunk and just started yelling “Happy 21st Bukkake, Kim. Happy 21st Bukkake, Kim! HAPPY 21ST BUKKAKE, KIM!” at the cake. It was wonderful.

The Sugar Babies Revue Burlesque Show, hosted by Wild Card Kitty.

Miss Leggy Pee (and Charlie). I was originally told that she was a ventriloquist which is, I think, why her lip-syncs and puppetry – whilst undeniably impressive – have never quite enthralled me the way they do the rest of the audience.

The Raffle of Rubbish! I didn’t win the chicken pie in a tin, but I did receive…

…this sexy bastard! Due, in no small part, to some sleight of hand on Mumma Khaos’ part when dishing out the prizes.

John (returned from Inverness the previous day) also won a combination of his two favourite things: ducks and toiletries.

The Bird is the Word.

Vendetta Vain, villainous vixen of the striptease scene.

Leaving a trail of popped balloons in her wake.

The ladies on either side of Vendetta were making their burlesque stage debuts that very evening.

That very morning, by the way, I was awoken by John: home for less than 12 hours, and already informing me that he’d accidentally spilled tea on my laptop. Having suffered three spontaneous hard drive erasures in as many years, I was – for the briefest of moments – apoplectic with rage, though we were able to assess that the damage was actually limited to a touchpad that had ceased to function. Fuelled by contrition, John went on an emergency trip to buy me a mouse, and I meanwhile stayed home trying to back up everything on my computer using keyboard shortcuts should the damage prove to be worse than we realised. Thankfully for both of us, it eventually dried out and started working exactly as before – probably just as well since we were then able to get afternoon tea at Fifi & Ally’s and not a divorce.

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