The Cabaret Season Has Reopened

The summer has been most quite in terms of cabaret and burlesque, however the performance season has opened with a bang.

The month kicked off with the fabulous Luscious Cabaret – which has the streamline Step into a world of friends you never knew you had if you have never been you really should. I have been shooting their for about 18 months and I have never seen a dud performance.

Then I was asked to take some pictures for Usod, better known as United Shapes of Drag at the RVT

And then I shot the award winning Busty and Ginger, again at the RVT, how can my life get any better. Well at time of writing I am still to shoot Burlesque Idol – a fantastic return to cabaret and burlesque.

Bye Bye 2018

Its been a rock and roll year for the UK and for me. I think that I have shot more photographs that I have ever have in the past despite more than several trials and tribulations on the personal front.

I thought that as 2018 has dragged to a close, or is dragging to a close. It was the right time to have a quick retrospective of my photos.

So join me in trying to find the one photo that sums each month of this wierdly, terrible and strange year.


Burlesque Idol Jan 18

This is a comped shot from the first Burlesque Idol of 2018. I loved the basic shot of the performer Athena Thrillme. Then I wondered what would happen if I copied and pasted her across the shot. This is one of my fave shots of the year.

You can see the whole of this particular Burlesque Idol by clicking here.


February is my birthday month, I wasn’t really feeling very festive, but still managed to take a few photos. It was blooming cold and I got locked out of a hotel in a snowstorm, which was interesting experience.

One good thing that happened, was that I was able to pursue my interest in daylight portraits. In order to improve my skill and experience, I went on a photography course with Weekly Imogen where I was lucky enough to shoot the eponymous Imogen and work with Mark Wilkinson. If you get the chance to go on one of their courses, do it. Its def worth the money.

A photo course with Imogen

You can see the whole set here


March was one of the busiest months of 2018 for me, I went to Germany, I went to Scotland. I got around. Looking at my Flicker list I took loooooooooots of photos.

The highlight of the month was a family trip to Aberdeenshire. For those that know me, will have observed that I have a Scottish surname. My grandfather emigrated from the North East of Scotland to London in the 1930s. He maintained strong links with his hometown – Huntly. We took a trip to see the family seat and frolic a little in the snow.

One of the places that we visited was the now derelict Tarlair Lido in Banff. As a child my grandparents took my sister and I there and I remember how cold, cold, cold it was. It was abandoned by the local council as it was too expensive to keep open, and there is now a campaign to restore and reopen it.

While I would like to see it reopen – it has an excellent derelict quality. It is eerie, wild and silent. I would make a great place for contemplating the world. If there was time in the day for contemplation.

Anyway, I realise that I have really wobbled on. Let’s go to the picture.

Tarlair Swimming Pool

As usual you can see all the pics here and here


Surprisingly, I remember April as being a super wet month, despite 2018 being one of the hottest years on record.  I wasn’t very well in March and April and I don’t appear to have taken that many photos. But I did manage to squeeze the Lady Luscious cabaret in to my month. If you have never been to a cabaret, go to Lady Lush. Its amazeballs.

Onyx Fatale

This is a pic of Onyx Fatale, all round super woman and winner of the 2018 Burlesque Idol. She is an astounding performer, if you get the chance to see her perform – just do it.


So having gone from pissy rain weather to super warm and that start of a famous heat wave. I also felt better and back to myself. I was on my travels again, Germany and the US but it was closer to home where my fave pic of this month was shot. Indeed, I liked this shot so much that I have it in AO paper size on my wall at home. If you like it too, I can print you and sell you a copy too.

Vaisakhi Reading 2018

This fine gentleman was celebrating Vaisakhi with other members of the South Asian community in my current home of Reading. It was a fantastically warm day, and the colour and the noise of the procession, which went on for about 4 hours had to be seen to be believed. You can get a flavour of the whole thing by clicking this link here


I haven’t published many pics from June on my Flickr site. I am not sure why that it, my memory of June that I was super busy taking pictures, perhaps it was because I doing paid work for other people and didn’t want to post them.

What I did do was take some self-portraits. The pic itself is a tadge stark now I look at it.

Self Portrait Test

It shows a tubby bloke, who is a bit Burly ( get it). The pic also says something about the sort of pics I like to take. I shows a tubby bloke, with bags under his eyes. He looks careworn but defiant. This fits with the way that I want to take pics, I hope that it is true to life, not airbrushed but real. This is me, the way I am, struggling through, biting bullets and trying to be the best me I can be. The awesome Tempest Rose has a lot to say about being yourself, and one of her key expressions is #Fuckthatshit. I like to think that this a picture of a bloke as he is, broken, weak, defiant, surviving and able to say #Fuckthatshit at the appropriate moment.


Ok I am going to cheat and put two photographs up. My blog my rules…….

I went to three major demonstrations in July. The famous Anti-Trump Demo to welcome the great man to London. Lots and lots of people, possibly around 500,000 marched to Trafalgar Square. The day after a much smaller number of demonstrators had a greater and more violent impact as a small number of demonstrators tried to demonstrate their support for Donald Trump and the then jailed Tommy Robinson.

The pro-Trumpers and pro-Tommy Robinson’s were angry, violent dangerous and a bit fat. I mention this as one of the insults that they threw at me was that I was a bald, fat cunt. When you see the pics you might see the irony. See all the pics here

One of the protesters punched me in the mouth towards the end of the demo, but things were already wound up when one of them, I think also the man who threw the punch also pushed my camera back into my face when I was taking a picture.

Pro-Trump Demo This was some of the chaos caused by the Pro-Trumpers Pro-Trump Demo

And these were some of the fine gentlemen who felt strong enough about their own sexuality and personalities to call me names.

Pro-Trump Demo

Just another cheeky shot from the same day, this time with the Anti-Fa demonstrators trying to create their own chaos.

Anti-Fa Demo July 18

Have a look at all the pics from the demos here or here  or here or here


I had a fantastic August taking photographs. I shot a wedding in Germany and spent a fab couple of days taking photographs in a small village to the North of Berlin.  Went to the Notting Hill Carnaval and took lost of photos for people.

But, the picture that I want to highlight is one I took on my way back from Berlin. I saw smoke rising from a wood next to the motorway. I went to investigate and found an informal migrant camp like the old Jungle Camp in Calais, but less fun.

I decided to have a look to try and understand a bit more about the refugee problem. It was a Sunday afternoon and social workers were in the middle of food distribution. The residents were doing Sunday sort of things and I found this man giving his son a hair cut. They had travelled from Syria and were hoping to cross to England. They were proud and dignified, but lived in shit and squaller instead. I like the way that the man stares in to the camera as does the son. I can see their human pride and dignity. Are they still there? I don’t know.

Dunkirk Migrant Camp

You can see all the pics here .


Again, I took had lots of commissions, but the pic that I am happiest with is a portrait of trainspotters at the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway in Cheltenham. The observant amongst you, if you have struggled down this part of the page is that the spotters are still there despite the locomotive having already departed.

It seems like it is a metaphor for Brexit Britain. The trainspotters are all gathered round a train that has already been departed and they are looking at an element of the past. They are looking backwards into the future.

Glous and Worcester Railway


As a photographer I thought it was important to shoot at the Peoples’ Vote march in London. There were around 700,000 people marching in favour of a 2nd Referendum. But, and this is a big but the picture that I want to feature is of the most photogenic man on Instagram. Paulus – he is the amazing MC of Little Lady Luscious Cabaret at the Albany.

Little Lady Luscious Oct 18


I am the Burly Photographer, I am a bit Burly and I take lots of pictures of Burlesque and Cabaret shows. Infact you might say that Burlesque is my passion, you might say that but you can definitely say that my real passion is steam railways. I could drive a steam engine before I could drive a car. In November I spent a fine weekend in Swanage and luckily enough the steam railway was working. So I was luck enough to take a fine pic of a steam engine at Corfe station. You’re welcome…….

Swanage Railway


Lots of commercial shoots, 3 Burlesque shows, 1 conference, a saxophone orchestra and a few other things.

So I can’t show you those pics, but I can show you the burlesque book I published.

So that’s my year. What will 2019 bring – who knows?

A Little Cabaret, A Little Burlesque

I happened to be in Kings Cross on Tuesday and found myself at the most amazing Vicious Von Vixen’s Vaudeville at the Central Station pub, Wharfdale Road, London.


The quality of the burlesque and boylesque is amazing. Its a small space that is really, really worth going to. You will not be disappointed.

So, I actually was just going out for a drink with a friend around the corner, and hadn’t really intended to take pictures. I happened to have my camera on me and was so glad that I took some pics:

Dolly Trolley The most amazing Dolly Trolley was on first. Followed by the most vivacious Valerie Savage Valerie Savage

Then the slightly scary Evelyn

Alisa Evelyn All ably MC’d by Herr Von Vixen himself Vicious von Vixon

Roman Ackley took us all to Transylvania

Roman Ackley And Valerie Savage and Ed Addison, kept us all guessing with their double act Valerie Savage and Ed Addison

And we were finished off by Australia’s favourite son, Trash Valentine

Trash Valentine

HOB Fresh March – Harry Potter and the Rhinestone Merkin

A long title for a mad-fantastic evening of Burlesque at the Rolling Stock Bar in Shoreditch. Tempest Rose’s House of Burlesque hosted their latest fresh show “Harry Potter and the Rhinestone Merkin”.

Vaguely based on Harry Potter it was a crazy evening of top quality burlesque and cabaret. It was a once only show, which was so good that you really shouldn’t have missed it.

HOB Fresh March - Harry Potter and the Rhinestone Merkin HOB Fresh March - Harry Potter and the Rhinestone Merkin

HOB Fresh March - Harry Potter and the Rhinestone Merkin HOB Fresh March - Harry Potter and the Rhinestone Merkin

HOB Fresh March - Harry Potter and the Rhinestone Merkin HOB Fresh March - Harry Potter and the Rhinestone Merkin

HOB Fresh March - Harry Potter and the Rhinestone Merkin And as usual you can see the full set by clicking on the picture below: HOB Fresh March - Harry Potter and the Rhinestone Merkin

Lock In – Way Out

I have been shooting at the most, absolute, amazeballs, strange, wild and exciting event I have ever been to.

I shot at the House of Burlesque – Lock In at the Vaults under Waterloo station. It was a barmy, crazy, amazing evening. I left before the end and still didn’t get home until 5am in the morning. I was most exhausted at the end of the event.

You couldn’t believe the event, unless you were there. Its going to be on until March, so if you get the chance, have the energy and want an evening of wildness. Get your arse down there.

Have a look at some of the pics…

The Burly Photographer – Famous In Fife

There are a many great things in Scotland, Glasgow, Whisky, Shortbread and the Beano comic. Now this great list can grow by 1 – The Burly Photographer. More than 70 years ago my Grandfather travelled South to London to make his fortune and now my pictures are returning North, taking Burlesque with them – As a fully paid up Puritan, I am sure my Grandfather (to be said with an Aberdonian accent) would have approved.

The former Burlesque Idol competitor, Brandy Montmartre is using some of the pics that I took of her in the competition to promote her gigs and to generally make her mark on Burlesque in Scotland.

And Now for Something Completely Different – Vaginas

Yes I did say vaginas….not so long ago, I made a short teaser video for the Beside Ourselves Collective theatre company who produced a play about the hypocrisies of the way girls are taught about sex in evangelical churches. The play was outstanding, I have actually seen it a couple of times, first at the Reading Fringe and second at the Peoples’ Theatre in Camden.

Both times it has had me in stitches.

If you go to church and have young people who attend, this will def be something to show. It certainly puts what I got taught about sex at the churches, I have attended (Yes The Burly Photographer can be found in church sometime) in some kind of context.

So here’s the video, I put together. – Enjoy- BTW those ARE vaginas

Beside Ourselves Collective Promotional Trailer from Theburlyphotographer on Vimeo.

Life is a cabaret

I was in Frankfurt last weekend as the photographer for the Alte Liebe bar in the heart of Frankfurt’s bar district. The evening consisted of Burlesque from the amazing Coco Nobel, and MC and even a trapeze. How on earth you get a trapeze into a bar, I don’t really know, but they did it.

Alte Liebe Cabaret Frankfurt

Coco is amazing and as she is London based, if you get a chance you should go. Her act is brilliant and she is captivating.

The trapeze was astounding and I still can’t see how they got it in.

Alte Liebe Cabaret Frankfurt

What you can’t see from the picture is that the trapeze more or less takes up the whole of the bar. I still can’t see where all the bits went.

As with any German cabaret there was an MC. In this case there were 2 MCs.

Alte Liebe Cabaret FrankfurtTony Riga and Chantal Chabraque captivated the audience with their cruelly funny sense of humour.

Magicians and dancing girls (217 apparently) made up the rest of the company and you can see all my pics by clicking here.

Alte Liebe Frankfurt Party December

Wilde about poetry…

Saturday saw me taking pictures at an utterly spellbinding event. The London Poetry Brothel’s  Wildean evening, with poetry, music, mystery and absinthe. The poetry brothel is an outstanding experience, and it possibly the most sensual thing that I have ever been involved in. The costumes are visually stunning, the poetry accessible and exciting and the atmosphere of the Arts Theatre in London makes your skin tingle.

The most stunning part of the evening are the private poetry readings. It is difficult to describe how it feels to have poetry recited at you while you are blind folded so you will have to go to the next event to find out what it is like.

It is an event not to be missed under any circumstances.

I have embedded the Brothel’s FB page so that you can see the event in the round.