Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Not Normal

I remember being normal. I was young and worked in a bar and watched normal people do normal things. 

Things like other normal people did. Normal is good, it's a safe place to be. It's the majority.

There were normal people working in normal jobs and who saved up for a yearly holiday and bought washing machines and normal stuff. 

We all came from the normal people, we didn't really know people who did anything different. Maybe the guy who lived in the bus shelter and liked to sing in the style of Al Jolson, he was a bit different but nobody wanted to be him. We liked being normal.

Then one night Jerry Sadowitz walked into my bar with brother Jim (who died a few years ago). Sadowitz did comedy.

This was early 80s nobody did shocking comedy about the Hungerford Shooter. He did. It was funny. It wasn't normal. 

It was literally hysterical and many people claim to be there that night Sadowitz first played the Weavers Inn. 

It became stuff of legend. 
They weren't there. I was there and three other people. It was a normal Tuesday.

He was a comedian and a magician, he did amazing stuff and people loved and hated his jokes. Mostly loved.

He went to the Edinburgh Fringe and did a show. Normal people went through to Edinburgh for the day and watched stuff and came home. He stayed there going onstage every night. 

Who does that?

Years later I stopped being normal. I gave up normality and became one of those people who check mic's and walk behind the stage and talk to people in charge of venues. 

I swapped a yearly holiday and started going for a whole month to someone else's house to stay (which was completely abnormal as I didn't know them) and started getting cold sweats standing onstage saying stuff. 

It wasn't normal. I met artists, actors, musicians and people who also never did normal jobs but travelled about the world talking to audiences and making money standing on stage.

Can you imagine walking onstage and seeing your favourite pop star or actor waiting to hear you speak? 

It's totally not normal. Billy Connolly watching me onstage as he sits with Ashley sharing a pot of tea will never leave my memory.

My daughter Ashley barely recalls normal. Even at thirteen she went to Edinburgh and stopped being a normal kid and became a comedian. 

She never went back to normal. She lived in a world where she understood phrases like 'black out curtains' 'Door splits' '60% in your favour plus a guarantee' and 'green room' that was never ever painted green.

When her teen pals were off to Ibiza for summer hols....she was organising flyering teams, helping the Underbelly guys in the press office and directing a play we wrote in my living room. 

At 16 she was interviewing Russell Brand and Ricky Gervais and getting Meryl Streep mixed up with Glen Close in a dark alleyway on the Cowgate. Poor Meryl Streep her son was in an Underbelly show and Ashley was to get a quote from her on camera....I often wonder what she thought of the tall Scottish teenager who asked her if she has spotted Glen Close.

My husband was never really normal, he quite happily upsticks and moved house for a month every year as he has some gypsy in his blood. He knew the words 'put up' and 'pull down' having been in a caravan carnival family before.

I love being a comedian.

I recall the thrill of standing in a room being nervous with a famous person off the telly being nervous with me. The normal people never see that.

So yet again we are off to Edinburgh Fringe. 

Ashley and I both have shows. 
We will do stuff normal mum and daughter's don't do. 

Like help each other get our room ready for a show. 

Like move into the 18th temporary house of our life. 

Watch each other onstage and organise each other's press release and record our weekly award winning 'only mum and daughter' comedy podcast.

In fact I have just realised.

We are normal...you guys who come to the festival and pay for tickets...that's abnormal you know why? 
Our shows are Free! 

See you in August.

Ashley Storrie is at 6.15pm and am at 7.45pm at Counting House.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

She lives in a Tenement

Five kids and she lives three floors up in a Glasgow tenement.

The old toilet on the landing is shared between three families, so that's 24 people with one cold, spider ridden Victorian loo with a flaky wall and a big key with a never ending queue and no sink to wash your hands.

Some keep it clean, some shit on the floor. Life in a tenement.

She can't leave the pram downstairs, so she makes the four toddlers hold hands and promise to walk slowly up in front and not to drag each other. She keeps an eye on them nervously as the wee one is not great at stairs.

She bumps the big pram up all the stairs, it wakes the baby. The baby is screaming. Two kids need a pee. The toilet is being used. She promises they can use the potty when she bumps up the pram.

The toddler wets himself. The potatoes under the pram fall out due to the bumping and she sighs.

She will need to send one small kid down to pick them up and hope he doesn't run off as she has to calm the baby, change a toddler, get the kids sat down and start peeling the potatoes for dinner.

The kids finally all get into the one bedroom flat. The baby is teething, they put her in the recess bed behind the curtain, that mammy alternates between watching the potatoes boil, keeping an eye on the sausages in the oven and making sure her two year old doesn't drown in the sink as she washes him one handed as she holds back a toddler from the oven.

She needs to drain the potatoes, she can't as the kids are getting washed in the sink.

The baby wakes up and all the kids need the toilet at the same time. They all take turns of the potty, and as the potatoes sit going mushy in the pan and the baby screams and the kid pees in the sink, the mammy holds in a scream.

She gets them all fed. She starts boiling water for the dishes as she has no hot running water, no washing machine and a two ring cooker with an oven. She sometimes heats up the kettle on the coal fire.

Her man comes home from work. He needs the dishes out of the sink and the hot water for a wash. The dishes go on the floor the toddlers start playing with greasy plates and knives as she soothes the baby and prises cutlery from sticky babies hands.

The kids all need washed again. She wipes them down, serves her man his tea, as she walks about with four toddlers in one room and baby on her hip.

They all need the toilet and she runs down the landing with four kids following her holding the greasy cutlery yet again and her with a full chamber pot and a screaming baby with some ripped up paper to wipe bottoms.

She makes the kids sing songs in the landing as she waits for the loo to get empty and starts the sluicing and letting the kids use the toilet. Two scream as they see a spider and she needs to change the baby.

She goes back into the flat, he has finished dinner.

She puts on more hot water to wash the dishes and to wipe the kids again.

Her man goes to the pub as he has been working all day.

She changes the baby, wipes down the toddlers and has to wait till they are all asleep before she washes herself and can manage to have a pee.

She hangs up the wet nappy's the clothes and the towels over the cooker tucks four kids into one bed and takes the baby through to the bedroom and when her man finally comes home drunk and falls asleep, she gets to breathe out.

The baby wakes up and her husband needs a pee. She is exhausted as she has to get up at 6am and take all the kids to her mammy's house so she can go clean the big houses till tea time.

She can't get decent wages because she has an Irish accent and she wonders if one day Irish immigrants will be able to get a fair days work.

She hopes her kids get a decent education and maybe one day they will have an inside toilet and hot water.

Good on all the wee Glasgow granny's and great granny's who worked and raised kids in the toughest of times.

Saturday, April 11, 2015


Just had a fabulous time at Glasgow Stand comedy club.

It's a brilliant comedy club and comics who know the circuit adore it, we all love doing The Stand Comedy Club. 
The sell out crowd were fabulous, the swell of laughter and applause lifted my spirits. I love my job.

I walk off stage and stand at the bar waiting to speak to the staff.

I am elated, it was a belter of a gig and I feel great that I did a good job.
A young man comes over  - I can see it in his eyes...he is going to say it and he does. 

He smiles, grabs my hand and blurts it out -
"My girlfriend at the bar" he points to a young woman in a blue dress who is waving at me "She normally HATES female comics but she loved you" He stands back and waits for me to be amazed at this news. He waits and I stare stonily at him.

My stomach sinks, he is smiling...he is expecting me to throw my arms in the air and yell "WOW I MADE YOUR SEXIST GIRLFRIEND HAPPY....FUCK ME AM SO GRATEFUL THAT SHE LIKES ME".
I stare at him and reply "She HATES ALL women comics? Even the ones she has never seen? Has she ever said 'I HATE ALL male comics?' has those words ever came out of her mouth?" 

He looked stunned "No, she has never said that, she likes male comics". He looks crestfallen that I am not utterly grateful.

I reply "She has never seen a male comic bomb?? Has she seen every male stand up and loved them all? Or does she generally just not like women in their chosen profession?"

"I am trying to give you a compliment" he whines with a hurt face.

"No, you aren't" I explain "First of all she can't speak for herself she has you to speak for her, so this isn't your opinion so am sorry I am saying this to you, but that isn't a compliment. Basically it means she HATES all my friends and my daughter who is a comic and she hasn't met them"
At this the woman comes over. 

He tried to make a face to tell her not to.

She doesn't read his expression as she is too excited to tell me how much she hates all women who tell jokes but not me.

I suspect her surname isn't Pankhurst.

Before she can speak I ask her "What do you do for a job?" she tells me she is a hairdresser as she touches my hair.
I shrug her off and say "I HATE ALL female hairdressers, every single one of them".

She is stunned. Her face is closing in on itself.

I say to her "It's awful isn't it when someone hates what you do for a living without ever seeing your work but just based on your gender? You're the woman who HATES ALL FEMALE COMICS"

She tries to explain "But I do HATE female comics but you changed my mind" She smiles hoping I am going to hug her for this news. Maybe we will swap friendship bracelets or punches...who knows? 

I stare at her and wonder how that can happen? How can a woman HATE all female comics and take the chance on coming to live comedy clubs and not worry she might be faced with a whole night of women comics....THE THING she clearly HATES. 
I am joking....nobody ever wanders into an all female comedy gig at a regular club, THAT never happens unless it's a charity night or something.

I say to her "Can you hear yourself? Why do you HATE all female comics? Did you see one woman who wasn't funny and you just judged a whole gender of comics based on that one experience? Have you ever had shit sex with a bloke and that one guy who ejaculated too quick made you judge all men based on HIS SHIT performance and that made you HATE man sex?"

She blinks and says "I don't think I like you any more".

I reply with a smile and throw up my arms "Good that's you back to HATING all female comics, I wouldn't want you breaking your golden rule of hating women now would I?"

I think I need to learn to deal with this better, but it happens to me and heaps of other female comics every week. I get exhausted dealing with it.

Way to Go SISTER.

PS- She also managed to tell me her female hero was singer from Girls Aloud Cheryl Cole (Ferndandez Versini or whatever man's name she took), the famous toilet boxer that got arrested for attacking a black female toilet attendant over a lollipop incident.