Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Watched 'Brief Encounter', that old Lovely Black and white film by David Lean and written by Noel Coward.

Starring Celia Johnston and Trevor Howard.
It really is a fantastic film and so well shot.

Although I cannot stop laughing at the whole thing, poor Celia plays a well kept middle class woman who lives in Bromley (Somewhere like that), her husband is a banker who wears a full three-piece suit at home (including waistcoat) and looks around 67 although he is probably only 26! 

He likes to stand near the open fire dressed in an axminster suit sweating buckets and puffing on a pipe.

They have two kids, a boy and a girl, both have cut glass English accents that I swear to God -Prince Charles would have struggled to maintain, I have never heard such upper class pronunciation!!

Celia also has a cook and house keeper. It seems her only duty is to go shopping for some vegetables and wander round Boots in a tight constricted wool coat with big buttons. 

Sweating lots is a feature in this family.

Can she do this locally? 
NO fucking chance she has to get a train into the nearest town.

In the station there is a proper tea room with a slovenly older woman who flirts with that bloke who played the working class dad in My Fair Lady...him that sang "I'm getting married in the morning" there is a coal fire (there is an open fire in almost every scene).

 The very common people in the train tea room are the only believable characters in the film.

This woman takes a train and picks up some shopping, a few books from 'Boots'?? Then she goes to the 'pictures'. 

The 'pictures' being the movies...this lazy bastard picks carrots, books and a movie...then stares at some local statues round town, then wanders home to eat the cook’s dinner.

Anyway one day it all goes very different.

She meets a doctor by chance at the well frequented train station and gets his attention as she gets a 'bit of dust in her eye'. 

He pokes the corner of a hankie into her eyeball....all being a metaphor for his cock and they are suddenly .....staring at each other.

Before long they are meeting up every week as she goes shopping and then off to the 'pictures' with her new friend.

I have never seen so many smokers in my life as in that picture house, (Jesus the smoke is so thick I am surprised that people can see the screen). It was like a smoking competition.

They start to get excited about meeting up despite both of them being married; Trevor explains that his wife is very small, dark and very frail. 
Which suggests he cannot have sex with her in case she breaks, but he never explains her illness, which is weird as he is a doctor. He could have told us the secretive bastard.

This is in the social era when if a woman 'looked' at another man in any sexual way she gets sent to a mental health sanctuary to get 'electric shock treatment ' Yet despite the social taboos they continue to keep each other company.

They meet up and they go into the country for a walk, have a wee boat ride, in which he falls into the water-then they both go to the boatyard to dry off and of course MAKE TEA (as if to go a whole day without tea would have been insufferable). 

She dries his sodden smelly socks over the hot stove (yet another coal fire) in the boat house as the poor boat house attendant sits in a bad mood as posh people have hogged his heat. 

They fall in love over the steam of wet woollen socks.

He tells her that their affair has driven him to leave England and live abroad as they can never be together. 

He suggests going to his friend's apartment for some quiet time and a last goodbye-(yeah right mate!) and leaves her to think about it when she refuses to come along. Celia strolls around the station debating whether or not to go with Trevor; it was a big dilemma for her.

Her head was saying “Go home bake cakes"

But her pussy was shouting “Eat Me!!”

Eventually she ends up in the flat (which was very swish and YUPPIE-ish for mid- 1940's) and sitting there with her doctor friend, the sexual tension was palpable...Just when you think they may actually touch knees- they are interrupted by the doc's mate (Who incidentally is the gayest man I have EVER seen in my life).

Celia flees the apartment by the back door in a running hysteria (how awful when one has to leave by the service entrance) and goes running through the streets hysterical, dishevelled and ends up sitting in the park smoking and crying pulling Kirby grips from her hair (this appears to be such unruly behaviour in Bromley that even a policeman stops to comment and check on her!)

She eventually phones her husband at home and lies easily about being out so late without an escort, (She should have fucked her doctor, she was a competent liar and could have carried it off).

She then walks to the railway station soaking wet and sad and meets Trevor in the tea room (he had been looking for her all over the statues and benches of Bromley frantically) and now is saying his final goodbye as he is going to emigrate to South Africa (Hopefully not to buy a farm coz that will surely end in tears, posh English farmers don’t fit in well, especially with a weak sick wife).

They are interrupted by a 'beastly but kindly? Woman friend (who talked too much-that would be my role in that movie!) 

Therefore, they don’t get to say goodbye properly! (they drink four cups of tea; I am convinced it's all the fucking caffeine that's making them so highly strung).

Trevor simply squeezes her shoulder as he leaves the tea room to catch his train home to his frail skinny wife with a nameless wasting disease.

Celia gets so upset she dashes onto the platform. The express train comes hurtling through and she contemplates suicide! 

But she can't do it as she is too posh and English also she knows there are dishes to arrange for summer picnics and socks to mend by a roaring fire.

(seriously lady -go home and touch yourself woman, get a grip)

Finally she goes home to her husband who is still wearing a three piece Wooster thick tweed suit sitting trying to do a crossword in a house with a roaring coal fire...(fuck he must be sweating & dying to strip off and sit in his vest like a Northern unemployed man that he has read about in the newspaper).

Celia sits and darns socks as she looks kindly at her fat woolly husband and thinks to herself...."I am just an ordinary housewife in an ordinary house...how did this happen to me?".

I will tell you why, you fancied another man, the thought of sleeping in twin satin covered beds with a man who is clad in wool and smokes a pipe who cannot fucking finish a cross word without interrupting your private thoughts was KILLING you. 

You wanted a blonde skinny dashing doctor who loves the movies, smokes fags and seems to work a three day week for the NHS and had time to hang out on boating lakes, and took you for champagne lunches, he even had a fancy Pied- a -Terre and a snappy gay friend....it's OK to admit it!

I think I will watch "To kill a Mocking bird " next and give my version of that?

Saturday, October 10, 2015

I still have a daddy

There can’t be many milestones in life other than getting married, having a baby and putting your dad into an old folk’s home.

I have now done all three.

The first two were easier than the last one.

For those who follow me on facebook and twitter you will already be aware of my dad’s slow slide into dementia.
Dad has lived alone for seven years since my step mum succumbed to cancer.

I have heard him having a stroke whilst we were chatting on the phone when I was in Los Angeles and managed to get him swift care. Since then the sly sneaking horrible bastard that is dementia has been crawling around his brain looking for wee spaces to hide in and reveal itself whilst he was at his most vulnerable.

Nothing is more soul wrenching than watching your dad feel terrified that he is a factory and nobody will help him get out.

We tried being with him everyday in his own home and the social care from Glasgow NHS and Glasgow council has been utterly brilliant the NHS mental health people are fabulous. Dad’s care worker Mark even counselled me when I sat in floods of tears outside my venue at Edinburgh Fringe. Dad had a bad day and called me hysterical. Mark called me and reassured me I was doing the best I can.

Dad was escaping his house and upsetting the neighbours with his constant vulnerability. My dad has great neighbours and they have all grown up together so it was hard for them to see the wee proud private man look confused outside their door.

I got emergency respite in a care home 66 steps from my front door. I can see him 5 times a day or more if I please. He looks peaceful and feels secure and now when he gets a dementia ‘attack’ the staff and I are usually there to reassure him.

Tonight I went to see him before I went onstage. He was lying on his bed listening to his radio; he smiled when I came into his room. I slipped my shoes off dropped off my jacket and climbed up beside him and he shuffled over. He hugged me and we listened to Dr Hook and Eagles songs.  I nearly feel asleep!
 “Janey you need to get to work” he said.

He seems ok. I feel ok. I still have my daddy.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Dementia Sucks

It’s 7am the phone rings. My husband immediately sits up and answers the phone. He is quiet, I can hear my dad shouting down the line and husband says “look, am on my way calm down”.

My husband has his clothes and shoes on the floor, ready to run like a criminal on the lam. He is dressed in seconds, his hair stands on end, he doesn’t brush his teeth and he belts out the door. He is going to sit with my dad who is convinced that today he is in a factory and is being held hostage. I have to get ready for a radio comedy show. I can’t go with him; I have to be funny in a wee while.

My dad has dementia. The smart wee Glasgow man who has blue twinkly eyes, who could build a radio from scratch when he was eight years old, who raised four kids and built a skateboard for me in 1967, was slowly having his memory and cognitive abilities eaten by a rabid shitty greedy thing called dementia.

The man who carried me over puddles, who explained sea weed couldn’t eat me despite my big brothers telling me it could, the man who tried to make sense of my mum being murdered in the early 80s and his second wife dying from cancer six years ago….this wee working class man who achieved 34 years of sobriety was crumbling in front of me. My heart is breaking.

It’s been two years of a quick sand effect of watching him struggle with the world interspersed with him locking eyes with me telling me how much he loves me and how proud he is of me. I still climb halfway onto his knee and let him rest his soft warm palm on my cheek as he sings “My wee Janey Paney” to me. He is still my dad.

Today we had to organise emergency care respite as he has been wandering outside and making everyone panic. Despite alarms and constant care attending, the minute he is alone he is out that door. He will soon move to a full time care home.

My heart hurts. Go fuck yourself dementia.