Friday, November 07, 2014

Dapper Laughs and Julien Blanc.

In 1979, I recall walking into work in my boyfriend’s dad's pub in the notorious area of The Calton in Glasgow. There seemed to be not many street lights outside and it felt very dark. The pub was full of drunk, young and old men. The only woman in there (other than me) was an ancient old prostitute who sat alone singing into her glass as the guys looked on laughing.

This was the same bar in the early 80s where some of its regulars had gang raped another drunk vulnerable woman and after getting bored with her, slashed her flesh so much that she almost died. Nicholas Fairbairn the infamous politician had to resign as he declared her gang rape and assault as 'not worthy of a trial' as she was a 'damaged woman'. It took a kind hearted lawyer to bring the first civil law suit to jail my customers and they served prison time. It was the Carol X case. Her rapists were guys who drank in my bar.

What am trying to say is some of the Glasgow men back then in The Calton didn't really respect women much. I witnessed this every day in that bar. Women were treated with utter disdain, abuse and I even witnessed women running away from the 'grabbing' men who all laughed heartily at their 'attempted assault'. The guys openly discussed the size of my breasts and sometimes when I ventured out into the main bar area to clear up they would make an effort to curtail their behaviour as my boyfriend's dad was not to be messed with, so I effectively was 'off limits'. I was safe.

Yet I was constantly shocked at the way they spoke about women, for example I had a guy in our bar who used to say he "Tarzaned" women, which was a reference to Tarzan grabbing a woman and swinging her away. 'Tarzaned' can be equally read as raped. Things slowly changed, the area changed, lots of those original guys became heroin addicts and were now not so cocky and either died or faded away or just gave up on life.

The 80s came along and new customers with families and jobs and self employed business's started using the pub and they weren't as 'grabby' or sexist or misogynistic as their predecessors.

But there was still an element of old school sexism in the air. Good news was - it was changing.

It's 2014 and we now have Dapper Laughs and Julien Blanc in the media telling us how to grab women by the throat for a dating technique or  openly laughing at women and asking to 'smell their gash' and generally being demeaned by men in groups. I thought that was done.

 I had hoped the term 'Tarzaned' was an isolated Glasgow urban myth....but its back and people now pay to hear it. Maybe I should open a 1979 theme bar and have men grabbing women as blokes laugh at the hilarity and we can have Dapper Laughs Vines on a loop, girls can giggle as they are throttled near the juke box and women can scream with pleasure at being noticed as they try to hide the smell of their gash near the boys!

Or men like Dapper Laughs and Julien Blanc can grow the fuck up and people who pay to see them can realise that one day their own daughters, sisters and female pals will suffer from this perpetuated 'lad syndrome' and maybe one day if things change WOMEN ONE DAY can walk into a bar without fear or humiliation from badly raised stupid men.

So thanks for reading, if you want follow me on twitter @JaneyGodley for updates and daily shenanigans.

Sorry my blog's have been less regular than promised...been hectic.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Booking a Comedy Club...hence am a promoter!

Wild Cabaret is a stunning venue in Glasgow's Merchant city.

Not your usual comedy venue that boasts a dark cellar and angry hipster barman whose girlfriend looks like a Govan version of Uma Thurman and they argue every time you try to introduce a nervous new comedian or he decides his 'mates band' are playing that night, just when you get a decent following.

The carpet doesn't smell weirdly of a deep clean from folk in hazmat suits or even stick to your feet and they have more than an angle poise lamp to light up the stage.....and you get paid in cash on the night! Weird eh?

What is going on with all this professionalism Godley? I hear you ask.

Well Glasgow boasts great comedy nights and there should be sticky carpets and angry barmen and weird lighting, that's how comedy works as well, trust me, it's where I learned my stripes playing.

But Wild Cabaret in Candleriggs is a bona fide cabaret venue with proper posh food and waiters who walk about so well dressed I constantly think they own the joint and keep suggesting new ideas about comedy to their confused faces as they try to take orders. They ignore me and smile. Bless them. I love the place.

It can be a hard thing introducing comedy to folk who are trying to order truffle laden ox blood marrow boned sausages. You are trying to explain a story about mild near death masturbation as they whisper "medium rare please" but we are getting there.

Am joking about the sausages but not about the masturbation joke as there is a white rope above the stage for those folk who dress like cats and do cabaret at the weekend, which I am assured is awesome and it keeps triggering my joke about men who choke themselves during a 'pleasure session'. Some people laugh.

Some Thursday's it's full other times it's not as busy, but we are getting a good solid crowd and it's my job to programme it and am rubbish at that part. I don't mean we haven't had good comics but I wake up at 4am in tangled sheet panicking that I haven't booked any acts that week and so grab my phone and check again and again.

Scottish comics have emailed me suggesting their availability and I forget to put them into a file to get back to them, so now people think I don't like them and you know how well liked I am to begin with, it's a vicious circle.

I am trying to make sure I get everyone on, the pay isn't stunning but at least in these climes of comedy clubs being crap at paying people, you get cash on the night.

I forget every week to announce the line up on social media and then I remember and hastily send it out 500 times just to make sure am annoying people all over the world as well as at home.

The owner of the club is brilliant and takes on board all the suggestions I come up with and even has posters of my giant face around the city centre on bill boards. 

The staff are fabulous and move between the tables like members of the CIA taking orders and rarely shake a cocktail when folk are onstage, in fact one barman shakes his thing in the side kitchen for convenience and often makes cocktails in there as well (BOOM BOOM).

We have awesome deals on like the £15 (was £30) two course meal with a glass of wine AND comedy ticket for Thursday nights. That's a cracking deal eh? If you just want comedy its £8 and you sit on beautiful seats or in a stunning booth!

There are no sight line problems and the toilets are fabulous and don't double up as the acts room, we have a great green room back stage with our own loo.

The problem is, trying to merge posh food and a beautiful room with stand up...they can be weird bedfellows but I don't see why it can't happen.

Why does comedy club food have to be fried and flung at you with cheap cutlery and plastic glasses?

Why can't we eat salmon mousse from beautiful plates and drink from crystal glasses and still laugh?

We will and we ARE! So come down to Wild Cabaret JUST COMEDY on a Thursday night, you will see half price offers on facebook and twitter.

I will be the frazzled panicky woman staring at a white rope above the stage trying to avoid a strangly wank joke.
 
So thanks for reading, if you want follow me on twitter @JaneyGodley for updates and daily shenanigans.

Sorry my blog's have been less regular than promised...been hectic.




Thursday, September 11, 2014

Swearing


Picture the scene, I walk out of a gig at Edinburgh fringe, it's raining and am laughing and saying goodbye to some folks and I get straight into a cab as someone shouts "Loved the show Janey" and the taxi driver asks "Are you a comedian?" I reply quite proudly "Yes I am" and I forgot in my elation that I usually don't speak about comedy in taxi's as I know what he is going to say next...I forgot and before I could think another thing I heard him say the inevitable "Do you swear?".
 

I have my stock answer "I don't swear anymore than the male comics or less than the local priest".
 

That usually makes them look into their mirror and then I hear him say "Ah...your one of those feminist women" as if the only way I could possibly answer them back is because I have a political agenda and some buckwheat sandals that I wear as I breastfeed foundlings on my lactating pendulous braless titties.
 

"No more a feminist than most of the male comics but usually more than the local priest, have you ever asked a male comic if he swears?" I add and hopefully this will end this painfully awkward corner we have talked our way into.
 

I just pull on my headphones (always great to get out of these situations) and nod to music as he mouths some shit I cannot hear but his eyebrows look knotted and angry.
 

I don't know why 'swearing' is something that female's have to be told not to do. Is it really that bad? Has anyone ever really hated Kevin Bridges, Frankie Boyle and Billy Connolly's language onstage to the point where they discuss with a pursed mouth?
 

Dara O'Briain says the word 'Feck' live on television, we all know it means 'fuck' does Dara get belittled for being an uneducated ill-informed swearer? No, he doesn't he is one of Ireland's most intelligent funny men.
 

So it is a class issue? I have seen very well spoken middle class English women swear in comedy and somehow it is more acceptable, especially if said by 'apparent slip of the tongue' or by the medium of a 'puppet' (see Nina Conti's filthy mouthed Monkey).
 

Does my swearing sound worse because I am a working class Scottish woman?
 

If I was a Oxbridge graduate swearing onstage would it be seen as 'urban and gritty' like a hipster getting angry at a flat tyre but in my accent does it sound really harsh and filthy and all you hear is a slovenly washer woman taking us back years with her filthy language?
 

Recently I attended a "Vote Yes" event for Scottish creative's.
 

All lovely people, authors, musicians in a Glasgow basement.
 

The male author swore, the musician had some choice language in his songs and not a word was spoken, but the female (who spouts the values a gender equality independence group) got up to introduce me she told the audience...
 

"Next up is comedian Janey Godley, she might use offensive language so if you are easily offended, please bear this in mind".


I walked to the stage so angry. I know she didn't do it to hurt me but despite being part of a gender equality group she was hardwired to apologise for a woman before that woman spoke. She never apologised after the men onstage swore. I never got that chance. The audience were told I was probably going to be offensive.
 

One day this will end.
 

So thanks for reading, if you want follow me on twitter @JaneyGodley for updates and daily shenanigans.