And so this is Christmas…

Mrs Clause

Another year over, and what have I done?

Well, In January I hibernated with my new boyfriend and flirted with romance – which was nice. I also wrote a bunch of stuff which stood me in good stead for the rest of the year.

In February I wrote and performed a short play with actor and comedian, Garry Dobson, about Internet dating, Plenty More Fish, at The Scottish Storytelling Centre for the wonderful Jo Caulfield’s Speakeasy. Jo hosted the show beautifully and the play went down very, very well.  I was delighted. I also wrote and performed a brand new Robert Burns-inspired one-woman show, Mice & Women, directed by John Paul McGroarty, which I previewed over two nights at a small theatre in Leith. The first show was ropey so I sat up all night long and rewrote it. The next night, I nailed it. Then got crazy drunk in The Port O’ Leith Pub with the audience. Then went to the Casino. Yes, it was one of those kinda nights.

With John Paul McGroarty in The Port O’ Leith
Keara and JP in Port O Leith

Two days after Valentine’s Day I ditched my new boyfriend for not sending me a Valentine card. And also for being an arse! He agreed with me that he was an arse so we decided to stay friends. We are not friends!

At the end of the month I hosted shows for The Gilded Balloon at Eden Court Theatre, Inverness and The Gardyne Theatre, Dundee – and fell in love with the work of two young and very talented comics, Bec Hill and Ray Bradshaw. They made the 100 miles across the Drumochter Summit at 2am almost bearable by creating a string of Your Mum jokes on a loop for nearly two hours! That’s talent! That there is talent!!

With Vladamir McTavish, Bec Hill and Ray Bradshaw
With Bec and Ray

In March, I debuted Mice & Men at The Glasgow Comedy Festival, and was also invited onto Janice Forsyth’s Culture Studio along with festival director, Tommy Sheppard, to talk about The Glasgow Comedy Festival, Glasgow banter, Glasgow audiences, The programme of events and, of course, my show.

I also hosted a large dance show at The Armadillo, my first time performing on that amazing stage – courtesy of the wonderful Sharon Quinn for Dance OK. It was an amazing night with so many wonderful dancers. Then back to Sharon’s for a brilliant all-night party for, Aiden, her son’s 18th birthday celebrations. Just magical.

Sharon Quinn and Sisters

Back at The Glasgow Comedy Festival I did my first ever pop-up comedy show in the foyer of The Citizen M Hotel which was chaotic and great fun. Then I spent a few days with my Glasgow family and friends. I revisited The Grand Ole Opry after a 25 year absence. I was once a waitress there and used to get up and do the charity song, occasionally.  Everyone I knew was dead or nearly dead. But I did reacquaint with some lovely old friends. “If it ain’t country; it aint music” they say down there. Well… talking of music that isn’t country…

In April I was cast as the brash Barbara Sinatra in a new musical-drama, Sinatra: The Final Curtain. Barbara was a challenging role as she didn’t appear to be a very nice person – she was a social climber and gold-digger. Pretty much the antithesis of me so I went deep into research for her to try and find a human side, assisted by her 600 page tell-all autobiographical tomb boldly entitled, Mrs Blue Eyes. Fascinating stuff! Sinatra was an angry, controlling, hygiene-obsessed drunk man! Allegedly. And his last wife was a gold-digger.

Me as Barbara Sinatra
Barbara In Fur

The play went on to enjoy a full run at The Leith Festival in June, which was just lovely and I made some wonderful new friends.

Barbara Sinatra with Frank (AKA Moray Innes)
Barbara with Sinatra

In May I became a regular cast member on Lach’s Antihoot Radio Show, where I performed a wide range of characters including a radical feminist; a woman giving birth using only a Birthing Clown (played by Lach, who’s wife informs us that he did actually once be a Birthing Clown! He hasn’t denied it) for pain relief; an old woman with Victorian Torette’s who blurts out ‘ankles’ and ‘pantyhose’ instead of our modern swear words; a very drunk Jo Frost from off of Supernanny; a little girl guising on Halloween; and many regular guest spots as the favoured Mistress MacKenzie (see @MistressMacKenz) – my old radio show character. And many, many spots as myself in stand up mode as well as storytelling guise.

Me as Snudge
Keara as Snudge

A little later on in May I was commissioned by BBC Radio Scotland for my first ever radio series, The Shark’s Mouth, which  made me leap with joy and cry with fear in the toilet of a posh hotel. I got over 100 ‘likes’ on Facebook for the BIG BOAST announcement. Why that matters I have no idea.

I then wrote and recorded the four character monologues, produced by the very talented Gus Beattie for The Comedy Unit, which were then broadcast on The Janice Forsyth’s Culture Studio in November & December. I needn’t have feared. They were very well received. Listen again here and judge for yourself: The Shark’s Mouth

My summer was taken up with family parties including a four-year-old’s birthday party involving tree climbing, falling over and chocolate cake and a 40 year olds birthday party involving dancing to Grand Master Flash, falling over and chocolate cake.

The Fringe freaked me out and I took a panic attack in one of those artist’s VIP bars where everybody is talking about themselves loudly and waving flyers and cards in your face whilst spitting saliva on you and periodically looking over your shoulder.  And no one is actually listening to anyone. I locked myself in my flat and refused to come out  until the End of Festival parties. I went to all the parties.

Come September, I was drained, as always after the Fringe. And I have to add, I wasn’t even doing a show but still it destroyed my soul.  However, we were back at Lach’s Antihoot Radio Show sharpish on the 4th September – like the true pro’s we are. The subject: Flyerers Anonymous and Fringe Fatigue. It was very cathartic.

More shenanigans down at Henry’s Cellar Bar, along with a range of other gigs and things throughout the months of October, November and December kept me on the edge of excitement.

In October I wrote and performed a brand new story about the vandalization of my face, which I presented first at Lach’s Antihoot and it went down a storm.  I then did it again at The Speakeasy at  Scottish Storytelling Centre to some laughter, a few raised eyebrows and a couple of walk-outs (although, I still maintain that was caused by the sweary performance poet who came on after me rather than my beautifully crafted but edgy story).

In November, I wrote and performed a live stand up benefit gig at The Stand Comedy Club, Edinburgh’s for Children In Need, alongside some of Scotland’s finest comedians. This was hosted by Sanjeev Kohli and was broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland.

Stand Up For Pudsey at The Stand Comedy Club, Edinburgh
Keara Stand Up for Pudsey

My routine about me giving short shrift to some Leith children coming guising to my door at Hallowe’en was dropped from the broadcast because the euphemisms still weren’t ‘family friendly’ enough. Still, it’s a story best experienced live. And away from small children.

Once my mini-series aired on BBC Radio Scotland In mid-November I went into annoying promoter mode, making sure everyone who should hear the show did hear the show. And even those who didn’t. Or refused. Or couldn’t. Or ignored me because they have a normal job. I. Made. Them. Listen! I have ways of making them… No I don’t. Sadly. No I don’t. All I can do is ask, politely, that you click on the link and enjoy: The Shark’s Mouth

In November, I launched my own cabaret club, Keara’s Comedy, Cocktail & Cabaret Club which was far, far more successful than I could ever have hoped for or imagined. But my hard graft and years of experience paid off and thus another long-held ambition was achieved. Get in!

We are shooting for a regular monthly gig from March. Check in: Keara’s Comedy, Cocktail and Cabaret Club

In December, I performed live at The Storytelling Centre once again, this time for Feeling Kind of Funny, produced by Richard Melvin’s Dabster Productions and beautifully hosted by the lovely Julia Sutherland, which was UTTERLY AMAZING! Followed by a radio interview to discuss the dark side of comedy. Which was UTTERLY HARROWING!

This show will be broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland in January 2014. I shall listen to it myself quietly before sharing. I’m feeling kinda funny about it, to be honest.

I’m joking! I’m very excited about it. My bit will be going out on the 16th January. Don’t worry, I will remind you!

When I look back over any year it’s not my work achievements that immediately spring to mind – which is possibly why I feel the need to catalogue them here. It’s not the gym sessions I did, the days I did the housework, the days I stayed sober and turned down party invitations. It’s always, always, always the people who shared part of my journey through this life with me. Those who were kind to me. Those who made me laugh. Those who laughed at my stuff. And those I partied with.

Manus Fortieth

I made loads of new friends in 2013! Like LOADS!!! I also reconnected with some really special old friends. Which is always nice.

I also fell in and out of love – which is never a good idea. I also fell in and out of lust – which is never a good idea. And, as is my pattern, I also dated a bunch of freaks – which is never a good idea. And in fine moments of strength, I blocked a few people from my life – which is always a good idea. And it’s all good for material.

I spent loads of lovely time with my family; became a Godmother for the second time but first time to a beautiful baby boy; tried positive affirmations to combat my recurring Black Dog, which worked. Sometimes.

And after almost beating a rubbish food intolerance thing I felt more well physically than I had done in ages.  With my newly returned health I did an epic amount of socialising involving cocktails in the park, orchestral pyrotechnics in The Gardens, festival nudity in the street (not me), cross-dressing in a Dive bar (yes, me), and drinking in some classic quiet bars with some very classic people.

With Lach and Bernard O’Leary at Henry’s
Dive with lach and Bernard

Okay, 2014, bring it on. I am ready for my close up!

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