Burlesque-filled birthdays and my weekend as an ad hoc tour guide


My favourite outtake from the shoot with Tom.

Celebrating The Riding Room’s first birthday with headliners, Kim Khaos and a chalk-blocked Tom Harlow.

Please take a moment to appreciate Tom’s handmade birthday candle fascinator.

Not to sound accusative, but that cocktail umbrella was never seen from again after this performance…



This is Kim’s 1-800-Hitwoman act, a “sleazy tribute to Robert Rodriguez’s Machete“. Appropriately enough, we’d just watched the movie together a few days earlier.

On the way home, I had the worst craving for a Big Mac, and so ended my ten-plus-year streak of never having entered a western McDonalds. As added value, we were also able to watch a man being arrested while we ate.

John is doing Victoria’s makeup for her wedding (in just two weeks!) so the two of them arranged to do a trial run at her place before the big day. This would probably have gone a lot smoother if we hadn’t downed three bottles of prosecco in the process; leaving them comatose on the sofa, and me watching Sex and the City reruns ’til 3 in the morning.

Wilfred’s birthday presents from mum. Apparently crazy cat lady is hereditary.

This is the very lovely Sachiko, who was visiting from Dundee and seeing Glasgow for the very first time. She’s friends with my oldest besties Colin and Kim (who, coincidentally, are getting married in three weeks) and since she’s still not confident in her (actually very good) English skills, I offered my services as a Japanese-speaking tour guide.

Sachiko’s a big art buff, so we met at the School of Art before heading out to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. An organ recital and stroll in the park later…

…we trekked over to the Botanic Gardens.

I really need to expand my knowledge of Glaswegian attractions.

I was inordinately proud of myself for titling this photo “Bird of Paradise” over on Flickr and discovering after the event that it’s the actual name of the plant.

I experienced a moment of truly British frustration within the Botanics, directed towards a group of girls who would not keep to the designated directions when walking around the greenhouses. It wouldn’t have been so bad but for the fact that they were pushing an armada of prams in front of them, meaning that everyone else had to step aside in order for them to keep going the wrong way entirely.

I can see your halo (halo) halo.

The next day, we attempted to visit the Scotland Street School Museum…which, as luck would have it, was closed for that day only.

Undeterred, we walked all the way back into town and went to The Lighthouse instead.

I realise this is the viewing platform that the lift goes up to, but I’d like it stated for the record that we also climbed the massive tower staircase to the outdoor one.

And onwards to the Gallery of Modern Art.

I definitely experienced this feeling during my years as a teacher.

I’m due for a camera upgrade in the near future, and Kim suggested that I’d make more money selling my old one if I painted it silver and passed it off as modern art vs. reselling it as an actual working camera. Not coincidentally, one of the sculptures in this very gallery was a straight-up spraypainted camera.

One of the upper levels is currently a Niki de Saint Phalle exhibit – a French artist and sculptor who graced the pages of Vogue as a model before suffering a severe nervous breakdown. During her recovery, she developed her own style of collage and sculpture, and this original form of self-expression helped her to overcome her personal crises and health problems. Throughout her life, art became her means of coming to terms with feelings, emotions, dreams and nightmares.

I didn’t notice until Sachiko pointed out to me that the black half of this face is made up of toy soldiers and animals.

The Great Devil, aka the only clue that the artist who produced the vibrant sculptures upstairs…

…was also responsible for this unholy nightmare.

“Put yourself in the picture!” And so we did.

This was also the day I discovered the the GoMA’s mirrored entrance and tympanum were also designed by Niki de Saint Phalle.

We parted ways after an art-filled weekend, though were reunited one short week later for a photo treasure hunt on the other side of the country. Story forthcoming.

John and I somehow managed to buy near-identical anniversary presents. His suspicions were probably aroused the day I came home smelling of the exact Tom Ford fragrance he’d been hinting at for months.

Our Victorian skyhook, Moby, one particularly beautiful sunset.

If it fits…

…I sits.

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