Monday, December 29, 2008

A Late blog is better than none!

So the tit pain turned out to be Mastitis, which is a Latin word for ‘brick smashed into breast’ I believe. The pain has been incredible, yet I had to work for weeks on end throughout December whilst clutching my boob in pain offstage and out of the vision of punters. I managed to get a doctors appointment today and he also took heaps of blood from me to figure out why I have been getting frequent hives and allergy symptoms for no real reason.

So other than pain I had a good Christmas, Ashley cooked wonderful food and stuffed us all up with yummy grub. I finally emerged from the warmth of my home and our constant telly watching to meet up with wee Abi, my favourite great niece. She is five and as funny as hell. We walked down to Glasgow George’s Square to enjoy the Christmas lights and festival event that they had on. We spotted a carousel and Abi begged me to go on it with her. She chooses a pink horse whose name was suspiciously and racially prejudiced. It was called ‘Darkie’ which made me giggle. I obviously took some photos of that.

Ashley has flu, which makes her sound like someone who has been living in a damp cellar for weeks, her cough can rattle the double glazing and she looks like she has been tied to a radiator and brutally assaulted on a regular basis. Though she did manage to comment on me wearing black leggings, “Mum you don’t wear them as trousers, you put a long top over them, and it’s not the 80s anymore”

I laughed and carried on wearing my leggings a la 80s style and ignored her comments, as she looks like a mental patient and has no right to slag my apparel.
I reminded her she used to wear a cream cardigan with red deer knitted all over it with pink flowery leggings, she reminded me that it was I who made her dress like that. So I laughed more. We forget how crazy we made our kids dress; just because they don’t have a say-so we indulge in strange outfits and dress our wee dolls up in the style we think is fine. I miss being able to dress Ashley up in ‘funky’ clothes.


As far as Christmas sales go, I have no intention of fighting pensioners in a busy town centre to buy shit I don’t really need, so shopping wasn’t a big feature this season for me. Pre-Christmas shopping was bad enough, I watched a mother slap her small kid and scream “Fuck up ya wee bastard, I am trying to buy you stuff and you are annoying me”. That did it for me, watching mothers assault their own young whilst spoiling them with toys made me balk at humanity.

Just to remind everyone in advance, in case I don’t write another blog for ages, I am in the BBC Scotland drama series River City on January 6th episode. It should be fun, if you fancy watching!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Big Late Blog Part (1)

Sorry my blog is late, we had internet issues- bit I saved up a diary and here it is below, the dates all apply. I am back home in Glasgow and am almost finished my Christmas gigs.

December 10th…

I am in Leicester doing my first week run of Christmas gigs at Jongleurs. First of all I have to say that the awesome apartments we are in are just the best ever. Our penthouse flat with livinginthecity.com is amazing, the size of the place is wonderful and it’s within walking distance of the city centre. I hate hotels and having to stay in one for a full week is just evil and feels like a prison cell with two people negotiating their way round a foamy double bed. That’s why I always stay in serviced apartments. Hotels also charge you unbelievable amounts for parking and internet, whereas with livinginthecity.com all the costs are included which is just perfect.

I woke up a few days ago with a horrible sharp pain in my right boob. It is incredibly sensitive and means I have to wear a bra at all times, as the minute my booby moves on its own accord its like a hot knitting needle being jagged into it. So I have to wear a really firm bra, even to bed which is torture as every woman with tits as big as mine knows the best feeling in the world is taking your bra off at night!

I have an appointment with the local hospital this week to get it checked.

Leicester is fine though Boots the Chemist did have an issue with my Clydesdale Bank ten pound note. Apparently the assistants have a screen where they check strange looking notes and the photo they have onscreen of the Clydesdale Bank note did not correspond with the one I handed over. So they refused to let me buy some painkillers which after reading the last paragraph you will know how much I needed them, and not a fucking situation with a ten year old shop assistant.

So, as the girl told me she couldn’t accept my note – what she actually said was “Get real cash and I will let you have your goods”

I merely grabbed the stuff and said “Call the police, because I have just invented a new crime called ‘legal shoplifting’ as I offered you the legal tender Sterling and you refused to take it”.

The girl stared at me and her bottom lip trembled, so I then whipped out my phone and took a photo of her, as I need to see that image on my laptop for years to come. I made a Boots girl cry, she should have considered her “get real cash” statement.

So they got a manager down to see me as I refused to leave until they resolved the issue. The teenage manager came down and tried to explain why Scottish money isn’t easily understandable, well I think that’s what she said but unfortunately with her really strong Somalian accent, I struggled to grasp the conversation and had to carefully word my argument without having a bout of racism, which to be honest was filling my mouth and had to be swallowed. The last thing I wanted to be was a racist as she had just been about my money which is Sterling as I kept pointing out.

The girl then said “We have to be careful in case it is a forgery”

“Well then if you think it’s a forgery, it is your civic duty to call the police and report such activity, I will wait here for them, meanwhile can I take some painkillers as my right breast is killing me and I need to take them” I uttered.

There a crowd of young Boots assistants gathered, they were a multitude of various nationalities, it was like being stared at by the kids from United Colours of Benetton poster. Suddenly I was the immigrant with strange money! I did like the tables being turned and it was quite insightful, then I stopped enjoying the irony as my tit pulsated and I screamed “Give me the fucking painkillers and take the fucking money or I will call the police right now”

They all jumped startled and finally gave me my change and threw the painkillers at me.

December 16th….

The comedy gigs are ok so far.
My tit still aches, in case you are wondering what the fuck I am talking about, my right boob has been aching like a cluster bomb went off inside the damn wobbly thing. Back in Leicester last week I bought a sports bra to sleep in as I cannot at any point go bra-less or the booby feels like a small angry troll is inside it and cutting all the elastics that hold my giant tit onto my ribcage.

So I am now in Nottingham and doing MC for Jongleurs all week. We are staying at lovely serviced apartments through City Pads Serviced Apartments and they are awesomely better than any hotel.Next door to the apartments is a BREAST SCREENING clinic. So I walked in and asked them to look at my explosive diddy and they told me that they don't have a walk in clinic, so I need to get a GP referral. Next to the screening clinic is a walk in health clinic, so I went in there- turns out that place is for methadone and drug users.

I explained my tit hurt and could I have methadone for the pain, I even clutched my sore tit to prove the point. They glared at me and pointed to the door. No sense of humour, these drugs helping people.

So I now know where the walk in tit clinic is and shall endeavour to get there some time this week before I die of tit pain.

Husband meanwhile asked me if my LEFT tit was feeling ok, which is typical of him.

Nottingham is nice so far, the audiences are fairly feisty but not mad crazy bastards....yet.

Big Late Blog Part (2)

December 17th…

Nottingham has been relatively fine. The lovely Steve Williams (who I think is fucking ACE and one of the funniest Welsh speaky type comics on the circuit) is just a blessing to watch, his Dolphin noises routine made me wee a bit into my knickers. Marc Theobald is wickedly wonderful and Smug Roberts makes me laugh from somewhere deep inside.

I had a nice night; the Nottingham police party were noisy chatty cunts and deserved to be shot at point blank range in the head. I was Mc and ticking along fine. Then a skinny nice bloke got up to go for a pee and I sung a wee song in a funny light voice " Look at the nice man in a tight shirt going for a pee" the man then theatrically danced (if I say 'minced' that would be homophobic trust me read on...) then I sang " he looks slightly gay" THE BLOKE at this point shouted "Slightly Gay?" and danced and laughed and I sung on "and he is off to go to the loo to arrange all the toilet rolls into a lovely pyramid" The audience giggled and we got on the second act and then went to a break.

I went for a ciggie when a woman came over to me and said "You are funny but do you know everything you said tonight was incredibly homophobic?"

I looked at the lady and gasped "Everything? Everything I said?"

"Yes, I am a dyke and I need you to know that you were really homophobic and because of people like you saying stuff we get beaten up in the street" she insisted.

"Ok, please tell me all the stuff I said that was homophobic as I take criticism like this seriously" I answered.

"Everything" she snapped.

"Ok...my stuff about laughing at the Asian terrorists setting fire to their hair in Glasgow terror attack, was that homophobic? Or was it me asking the pregnant woman about her baby? Was it my stuff about my daughter being middle class? Was it me saying I have been married 28 years and to keep sex alive I fuck other men? Was it me asking the two different police forces to fight each other for our entertainment? Was it me saying I look like an over friendly cleaner? Was it me saying my tit was sore? Was it me bantering with the sexy guy at the front and asking him questions? What exactly about everything I said was homophobic?" I asked her.

"Well it was when you said the guy going to the loo was gay" she blurted out.

"Well that was one thing not everything and he said he was GAY" I answered.

"You don’t understand you are being homophobic" she argued.

"Were you offended when I laughed at terrorists being shit at organising a terror attack and setting fire to their own hair?" I asked.

"No" she said.

"Well, then you only got offended at the one thing that you felt affected you, I find that offensive" I said.

So I went back on stage and apologised to the man who I suggested was gay, he laughed and took a bow and the crowd happily carried on clapping as I brought on Smug Roberts.

Later on as I was leaving the show the lady who had complained got me again and gave me another lecture about my homophobia, to be fair she was trying to be reasonable in her argument but in the middle of it she said "Now I know you are a lovely person and its good to see a woman go up on stage and do that job, you have great balls" at this I stopped listening as she was now being sexist but apparently me singing a wee ditty to a bloke who was going for a pee who danced about incited homophobic rage on the streets of the UK and I need to listen up and learn.

"When you say homophobic stuff onstage it gives people the right to abuse us on the street" she cried.

I stopped listening and tried to walk off stroppily but I was wearing wellies as it was raining and I just looked like a nutter trying to flip flop away from an angry woman in denim. I walked back and hugged her and told her I took on board what she said but I will always say stuff that is offensive to someone onstage, whether it be about their accent, their job "what media studies? Is that a job?" or whatever...I will offend someone, even a knock joke can be offensive.

Big Late Blog Part (3)

December 20th…

What can I say? Christmas brings the best out in people!
I expected madness, anger and general Christmas stupidity, but all in all it’s been ok. Last night the audience were pretty small but as MC they weren’t totally impressed by me. In fact it was one of those nights when a crowd of people stare at me wondering why the fuck I am still taking on a mic. There was a funny side to it as two big blokes at a table laughed loudly as their mates stared at them wondering why they were laughing at me and that made me laugh. Basically it was male dominated and during the day I had suffered my husband stare at me with seething hatred as I talked, I could see he was bored listening to me and now onstage I had 100 men stare at me with the same face. Nice!

Husband has a trick to get me to shut up, its called sex, now I cant possibly have a gang bang with hundreds of strangers in a comedy club for a few reasons. A) I am not Jodie Marsh B) Men don’t want to have sex with me C) I would probably talk through that as well and annoy them further.

Luckily the crowd were relatively cool with the acts and that’s what’s important as an MC, it’s not about ME ME ME…it’s about making the road easier for the comics coming on.

So tonight is Friday and I am hoping the crowd are lovely. I still have a sore right boob and haven’t had it checked yet. On top of that I have one blocked up nostril and that’s just such a pleasure to endure.

Meanwhile Ashley is back home and ordering the Christmas dinner, she is a great cook and I am looking forward to getting back to Glasgow.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Leicester & Tit Pain

I am in Leicester doing my first week run of Christmas gigs at Jongleurs. First of all I have to say that the awesome apartments we are in are just the best ever. Our penthouse flat with livinginthecity.com is amazing, the size of the place is wonderful and it’s within walking distance of the city centre. I hate hotels and having to stay in one for a full week is just evil and feels like a prison cell with two people negotiating their way round a foamy double bed. That’s why I always stay in serviced apartments. Hotels also charge you unbelievable amounts for parking and internet, whereas with livinginthecity.com all the costs are included which is just perfect.

I woke up a few days ago with a horrible sharp pain in my right boob. It is incredibly sensitive and means I have to wear a bra at all times, as the minute my booby moves on its own accord its like a hot knitting needle being jagged into it. So I have to wear a really firm bra, even to bed which is torture as every woman with tits as big as mine knows the best feeling in the world is taking your bra off at night!

I have an appointment with the local hospital this week to get it checked.

Leicester is fine though Boots the Chemist did have an issue with my Clydesdale Bank ten pound note. Apparently the assistants have a screen where they check strange looking notes and the photo they have onscreen of the Clydesdale Bank note did not correspond with the one I handed over. So they refused to let me buy some painkillers which after reading the last paragraph you will know how much I needed them, and not a fucking situation with a ten year old shop assistant.

So, as the girl told me she couldn’t accept my note – what she actually said was “Get real cash and I will let you have your goods”

I merely grabbed the stuff and said “Call the police, because I have just invented a new crime called ‘legal shoplifting’ as I offered you the legal tender Sterling and you refused to take it”.

The girl stared at me and her bottom lip trembled, so I then whipped out my phone and took a photo of her, as I need to see that image on my laptop for years to come. I made a Boots girl cry, she should have considered her “get real cash” statement.

So they got a manager down to see me as I refused to leave until they resolved the issue. The teenage manager came down and tried to explain why Scottish money isn’t easily understandable, well I think that’s what she said but unfortunately with her really strong Somalian accent, I struggled to grasp the conversation and had to carefully word my argument without having a bout of racism, which to be honest was filling my mouth and had to be swallowed. The last thing I wanted to be was a racist as she had just been about my money which is Sterling as I kept pointing out.

The girl then said “We have to be careful in case it is a forgery”

“Well then if you think it’s a forgery, it is your civic duty to call the police and report such activity, I will wait here for them, meanwhile can I take some painkillers as my right breast is killing me and I need to take them” I uttered.

There a crowd of young Boots assistants gathered, they were a multitude of various nationalities, it was like being stared at by the kids from United Colours of Benetton poster. Suddenly I was the immigrant with strange money! I did like the tables being turned and it was quite insightful, then I stopped enjoying the irony as my tit pulsated and I screamed “Give me the fucking painkillers and take the fucking money or I will call the police right now”

They all jumped startled and finally gave me my change and threw the painkillers at me.

The comedy gigs are ok so far.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Scary Man

I went into town this morning to get my hair done. It was wonderful, and my colour is amazing as my mate Katie does it, though the very young children who work there scare me endlessly. I swear to God they are all about 6 years old brandishing hair dryers and sharp pointy scissors. That can’t be good.

One toddler dried my hair and managed to bring my fringe straight down over one eye and asked me “how does that look?”
I stared at myself through one eye and sang loudly “I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar, when I met you” coz I did look very Human League-ish.

She was way too young to get the reference and looked about the busy salon making eye contact with other toddlers who were slapping bright colours onto adult’s scalps.
Big Katie came over and laughed out loud, she took the hairdryer off the small child and fixed my fringe for me, so I didn’t look special needs.

The day didn’t end there because I jumped on the wee underground tube train we have in Glasgow to get home. As soon as I sat down, a man in a pair of shorts and bright yellow tee shirt sat beside me. It is freezing in Glasgow, what was he thinking of?

Anyway, the scary man was sitting with empty eyes and clutching a Rubicks Cube and at every station (70 seconds apart) he mixed up his Rubicks Cube and then solved it every station we pulled into. I was really freaked as he jiggled his legs and shouted
“Beat that Luke Skywalker” whenever he solved the puzzle over and over again.

Passengers were all staring with frightened eyes, give us a terrorist bomber and we in Glasgow will kick the shit out of him en masse, give us a scary psychiatric patient clutching a Rubicks Cube and we piss ourselves in fear.

I leaned over, touched his arm and said “well done”. All the other passengers gasped and mentally begged me not to approach the man. The bloke screamed loudly, banged his head backwards against the window and shouted “don’t touch me”.

People ran up the tube grabbing their masses of Christmas shopping and all eyed me angrily for awaking the demon in Rubicks Cube man.

I just laughed out loud and sat there out staring him. “I am dangerous” he hissed at my face as he clicked his Rubicks Cube. The passengers all stared at him.

I jumped up, stamped my feet and screamed “I am CRAZY AS FUCK!” right back at him. He cowered in the seat sat quietly and now everyone was staring at me.

“He is not dangerous, he just wants to freak us all out and the best way to deal with him is to OUT-Nutter the nutter” I sat back down and yet people were still freaked out and now thought I was the nutcase. But I won and that’s all that matters and my hair looked nice and I could see people admiring it.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Aggression Onstage

It came to my attention recently that I was being too hard on a rowdy audience. I took a step back and had a rethink, I have never been over the top horrible to anyone in a comedy crowd - I have never walked out and said "You cunt shut up" with total malice and contempt in my voice-having said that if there are a bunch of blokes who are shouting "show us your tits " as soon a I step onstage, I have been hammered into them, then I pat their head for being good and get the audience to applaud their good behaviour much in the way i do with kids. My Scottish accent does make it sound harsher I know this.

Though it's odd when male MC and male comic's hit the stage and say to women " Your tits are gorgeous can I come on them later" or "You all look like hookers from here girls" "Shut up tart" "you gay boy you fancy me" "Hey cunt shut up I don’t come to your job down the docks and knock the cock out of your mouth" everyone laughs and so they should as it is all playful banter, it only seems to mean something bad when I say it.

When you MC gigs it is your job to control a crowd. If they are being nasty and mean to people and the show managers or staff ignore them, then really it is up to you to stop the screaming mad people so the acts can come on. Having said that it can be really horrible trying to shut up ten drunk men who scream in unison without having to give them a bit of dominatrix / be nice/ shut up/ yes I like sucking cock/ now shoosh/ type of banter back.

And Yes I have used the cunt word onstage but never screamed at someone in anger and fever pitch rage-but I also tell them immediately that cunt is a term of affection in Scotland and we call new born babies cute cunts.Strangely the men who abuse me most onstage and get a good tongue lashing back are the ones who after the show congratulate me for having fun.

Now the downside to that is, you don’t want to create an argumental slagging match as an MC as they shouters then think it is ok to do that with the acts coming on- so I tell them, if you need to scream out wait I come on and we can have a bit of a banter. It sometimes works, it sometimes doesn’t and sometimes people are just cunts and won’t shut up and shouldn’t be in a comedy club to begin with and the staff should sort them out.

My reputation has always been that I am aggressive, Michael Legge is convinced I have a penis and has said so in his blogs and I LOVE him for it, because it personifies exactly what I am trying to say...If I stand up to people and sort out a rowdy crowd then I cant be a woman I must be a man!That's fine and I like that theory.

I am not saying I get it right every time, I am not saying that every night I control, bite back and handle a rowdy crowd that I have been spot on the money, I am sure there have been nights when a confrontational atmosphere has seeped in because I answered back. I am just saying that I am learning as I go and I don’t have the advantage of being pretty or unthreatening, I am older, I am fat and I have an answer to loud blokes who don’t normally believe that women should be comics....that isn’t a bad thing.

I just hate it when an act has a hard time on my watch and I feel very responsible when it happens.

I am going to start wearing dresses, lose hundreds of weight, never swear again, I might pretend to be educated and own a pony, I will be quiet and demure, I will still be funny though, there's no reason I cant be, I am not sure yet...it might work and people will never ever call me aggressive again.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Me and George Clooney

My Facebook profile photo is the wee snap of me and the sexy George Clooney. You can go check it if you so desire, just type my name into Facebook search and you will clock me and the delicious man himself.

Now, loads of people have contacted me by email and asked me about the star crossed meeting of me and Mr Clooney or ‘Geordie-Boy’ as I like to call him!
It was at the BAFTA film awards in 2006 and I spotted him in my peripheral vision as he walking alongside me.

We were almost walking side by side as we both headed to the toilets. People were staring, taking photos and generally pointing and some sexy women even practically ‘presented’ to him.

I quickened my pace to get in front of him and out of the way so people staring didn’t have to suffer the wee Scottish woman in their much beloved photos. Just at that moment he quickened his pace as he probably need a pee. He ended up right beside me again and I was like a wee Geisha in high heels as well trying to totter off at speed.

He caught up beside me and I smiled, turned to him and said “Stop flirting with me George Clooney, you have been doing it all night”

He burst out laughing, a nice genuine laugh as he took the cheeky joke on board, he reached over and took my arm as if he was escorting me to the loos. That made me like him, as he could have balked and huffed off.

“Nice accent” he spoke quietly as he smiled and acknowledged the people he encountered on our way to the loo. It was now within sight, we both walked quicker, people cleared a path for us.

“I loved your movie Good night and Good Luck” I said.

“Thank you, what do you do?” he stopped in the doorway of the toilets.

We were now surrounded by make up artists who were giving women and men a free make up thingy, that I didn’t quite understand.

“I am a comedian” I answered as the ladies from MAC cosmetics gasped and pointed at George.

“Really? Like live stand up?” he asked as a woman started taking photo’s on her phone.

“Listen I really need to go to the loo” he interrupted himself.

“Do you need any help in there?” I giggled.

He laughed heartily and cheekily offered me to come into the gent’s toilet and the MAC cosmetic ladies all shrieked and clapped. He held the toilet door open and said “I dare you”

“I have seen a penis before” I shouted with laughter and headed off to the ladies next door to the gents.

We both came out of the loos at the same time. The MAC cosmetic girls were huddled round him and taking photos. George came over chatted a bit about comedy then the cosmetic girl offered to take our photo, George agreed and she took my phone. The reason I am pointing in the photo is that I was trying to point out where the fucking button was on the phone “fucking hell you mad bitch how hard is it to work the camera on a phone” I screeched and George kept laughing at me swearing at the dumbass heavily made up girl.

So that’s why I look aggressively mad in the pic and he looks laid back and happy.

He told me he liked women that swore in Scottish and asked me to say “fucking hell ya mad bitch” again, just so he could laugh again.

He kissed my cheek, held my hand tightly, then said “Good Night and Good Luck Janey” and headed off.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Castles, Charity Rabbits and other things

It used to be the strongest people in the town that defended a castle, men who poured hot oil over the stone walls or shot you with a fast arrow, not in Cardiff.

Their castle has a skinny job-seeker-trainee in acrylic who merely stepped aside when I walked past without paying £8 to see broken stuff of olden days.

The job seeker got all edgy and asked “Have you paid for the castle?”

“No, I think your national trust fund and private donations do that, but I haven’t paid to go in if that’s what you mean” I answered.

“Can you leave then?” he asked politely, so I did. I left politely.

I don’t see why we have to pay to get into castle’s I refuse to do it.

I took some pics of it from the outside. By the way before anyone gets all nippy about my not paying to get in to Cardiff Castle- I have never paid to get into Edinburgh Castle either; castles should be free, I pay enough tax to get into them for free, that’s all I am saying!

The only flight to Glasgow from Cardiff is at 8pm at night, so thankfully the hotel let me have a 3pm checkout, which is awesome as it can get frustrating hanging about Cardiff with its big expensive castle and cold whippy tear inducing wind.

I have booked my flight to LA in January, I am going over for ten days and am severely looking forward to that! A wee break is just what is needed in my busy life. In January I turn 48 years old which means by then I will have outlived my mammy by almost a whole year, which I have been anticipating since she died at 47 in 1982. I always imagined I too would die young, yet see me! I am still alive!

Last week I bought a goat, chickens and rabbits on the Stepping Stones Nigeria website as social conscience Christmas gifts for all the wee kids in my family. Wee funny great niece Abi, was rather unimpressed.

“So, you got rabbits for poor kids in Nigeria and then they eat them, what kind of nasty thing is that to give as a gift?” she asked. Bear in mind Abi has a rabbit of her own and it took us ages to explain to this lovely wee five year old the benefits of her giving up a Christmas toy so a small abused child can eat, she did eventually get it, but I can still see her face trying to make sense of it all.

When I showed her the website for the Stepping Stones Nigeria charity site, and explained all about small kids being abused as they were suspected of being witches and wizards, she gulped and took back every selfish thing she had said and begged me to pledge more cash. Poor wee soul. Kids here in the UK really don’t understand how really blessed they are until you point it out.

The good news is that some of my blog mates and friends have taken note of the link I sent them about the charity and have been sending cash and mobile phones to help out, so THANKS everyone- I appreciate you taking the time to help. Every penny will help a child and that’s a good thing!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cardiff is Madness

I arrived at the airport and got a cab to get into town; the cab driver was lovely and remembered me from my last visit. Then he proceeded to use his mobile phone with one hand and drive with the other, surely if he recalled me he would know I was a cranky confrontational bitch!

“Mate, if wanted to be in a car with a man driving dangerously with one hand, I would get an unlicensed rape taxi, so quit with the mobile and put both hands on the wheel please, that’s what I am paying for” I snapped. He called me something nasty in Welsh, I think? Is ‘moaney Cuntish person’ a Welsh saying? I don’t know…

On entering the Marriot Hotel, I spotted the lovely comic Bennet Aaron, he looked worried. He had good reason, seems our hotel booking from Jongleurs had gone suspiciously missing and we were now homeless. Do bear in mind that NZ are playing Wales at rugby and Cardiff town is like Bethlehem… no room at the inn.

So after much hand wringing and lying through their teeth, we were told the rooms were booked wrongly! Who knows? Bennet called Jongleurs and we are moved to the Future Inn (which doesn’t have space capsules, which quite frankly means the name is not befitting my idea of the future, I want a robot in my room that can wash my pants).

Anyway I am now in this hotel, the internet isn’t expensive but it is far away from the gig and I am pissed off. That will be another expensive cab journey to work! Arrrggghhh!

The good news is that this hotel has a digital juke box in the room and I am chilled listening to Crosby-Stills & Nash…not cool I know but I am old.

I do love Cardiff and I do love the job, but I hate all the shit that goes with it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Stepping Stones Nigeria

My dearest blogging mates, I don’t often write on my blog to appeal or ask for help as you all well know, but hear me out.

Whenever we think of Nigeria and charities, we always think ‘Scam Spam’ and switch our brains off.

I just watched a Dispatches documentary programme in the UK about children who are beaten to death or abandoned because some local nutter in the Nigerian Delta region decided for no good reason that the kid was a witch. Often the kids are killed, or the parents have to pay shed loads of cash to allow some local ‘Prophet’ (read con artist for prophet by the way) to cleanse the child.

The whole thing is absolute rubbish but the Nigerian Delta region is steeped in suspicious Christianity/ witchcraft practises for years now and the whole thing is exacerbated by propaganda films made by some crazy church leader who infects the brains of these poor people with arcane ideas of witches. They say kids as young as one year old can kill an adult with a spell! The sign of witchcraft in a child is crying at night and a high temperature, which covers just about every baby in the world to be honest!
Jesus would weep if he saw what these lying rats do in his so-called name.

Trust me you would only have watch five minutes of this British documentary and you want to get on a plane and rescue the kids yourself.

Gary Foxcroft is an ordinary bloke from England and he is the director of the charity, he was studying in Nigeria when he realised the problem and is dedicated to helping the children. The link below is the website, please click and help if you can?

http://www.steppingstonesnigeria.org/

It is a charity that rescues, protects and fights for the rights of these abused kids, please click on the link and see if you can help them in any way?

Thanks to all my blogging friends for any help on this issue.

Stepping Stones

My dearest bloggers, please click on this link and help kids who are being killed, they have been accused of being witches or wizards in the Nigerian Delta region…please help?
http://www.steppingstonesnigeria.org/

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Winter is coming

We keep getting told that an Arctic Blast is coming to the UK. Now that sounds like a cocktail to me, does it not? The weather in Glasgow was awesome today, those Autumnal leaves as a backdrop to my lovely city is just wonderful to gaze upon.

Ashley and I went out for a meeting in Glasgow with a TV person, not much I can write about here as nothing is ever set in stone until the ‘cheque hits the mat’ (as they say in my family), but exciting none the less.

We had a great lunch at The Rogano, which is one of Glasgow’s oldest and most famous restaurants. It has original Art Deco fittings and Ashley has been eating there since she was two years old. It was where she tasted her first real champagne and where she gulped her first oyster (not aged two of course). The food is great and they do amazing seafood as a speciality.

My dad and mum are currently staying at our lodge up in Balmoral; it is just beautiful at this time of year. I know Princess Diana famously hated Balmoral and the surrounding area, but I adore the place. Our place has an onsite swimming pool, the lodge includes a sauna, Jacuzzi etc…but I can never get the week off at this time of year to go visit. My dad meanwhile has all the time in the world to go there and he and mum love the place. He called me to describe the beautiful leaves, the glowing sky, and the sharp bright sunlight and made me all jealous. Though I am happy he gets to see it all.

I am busy here at home; husband and I are trying to get all the paperwork sorted for the next tax year and accounts. It bores me to death and makes me want to drink bleach and needles just to get away from it all.

Life is nice today; it could all go wrong tomorrow though!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

It’s a distorted cruel world that we live in

Two weeks ago a terminally ill girl won the right to refuse treatment after a hospital ended its bid to force her to have a heart transplant. Hannah has a hole in her heart and copes with various symptoms from previous childhood illnesses.

Hannah is aged 13 and had decided she wanted to die with dignity and fought for her right to do so, tooth and nail.

Hereford County Hospital child protection team contacted authorities and threatened to remove Hannah from her parents care if they failed to bring her to the hospital for the live saving operation.

Her parents were swamped by the might of the social services and hospital protection team, but the parents stood by their daughter’s decision and the case has been dropped. Hannah is now at home and preparing to die in her own time.

Meanwhile in the rather down market poor area of Haringey London, the social services, the child protection team and a paediatrician failed to recognise the systematic abuse of a 17 month old boy who was found dead in a blood splattered cot last year.

The wee boy named Baby P attended the hospital where a prominent paediatrician failed to notice his broken back and several broken ribs; he was allowed home to die at the hands of his mother and her abusive boyfriend. The doctor said the baby was ‘miserable and cranky’ two days before he died. I suspect his broken spine, ripped ear and numerous injuries might have made him rather upset.

Baby P had been the subject of many social services enquiries and was on the child protection register, and despite that, the social work team were at pains to keep the family together.

Haringey social services seem to have learnt no lessons from the Victoria Climbie case in 2000 when Victoria managed to slip through the social care net and died at the hands of her carers.

The court case surrounding Baby P has led Lord Laming to start an investigation into the issues surrounding his horrific death.

He said “It would be awful wherever it happened, but it seems particularly sad that is has happened in the same area where Victoria Climbie experienced this same awful cruelty and a terrible death and involved the very same services”

Social services do a sterling job when they get it right. Yet there are too many social protection workers who are determined to ‘keep families together’ and in the process manage to let real evil bastards slip through the net. Adults who are determined to torture kids will manage to dupe the authorities into believing everything is fine with their kid. Like the mother of Baby P, she smeared chocolate over his bruised face, yet the care worker couldn’t tell the difference between the dirt and the cuts. That’s appalling and worrisome.

I am sure Baby P would have said different if only he could have had a voice, he wasn’t allowed to speak, he couldn’t speak, he was battered and cowed like a small tortured animal.

The social services in Haringey need to account for what went wrong, yet again another ‘investigation’ will occur to please the government and the do-gooders will bleat their excuses. Someone somewhere let that wee boy down and that needs to be addressed.

Things won’t change unless you go live in Hereford, where it seems the social services are determined to get involved in the care and protection of your child.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What is Funny?

There is nothing I hate more than restaurant staff that ignore you and sit chatting SHIT for ages. I took my daughter out for dinner and we sat there starving. “Well, it’s not a secret anymore” the annoying blonde waitress giggled. “I knew you kissed him” squealed the red haired girl.

The red haired girl sat stroking the blonde girl’s hair and a big daft young bloke was plaiting the red girl’s hair. They were the tableaux of annoyance.

Ashley and I were the only people sitting down, so it wasn’t as if they had much to do, but a fucking menu would have been welcome. We were too tired to fuck off elsewhere. So I eventually shouted “Hello” and then acted nice as those bastards can pee in your food.

The food arrived and it was not too bad, but the staff need bludgeoned to death with a blunt spoon.

Today started with a call from the man who is supposed to fix my laptop and he was late, the insurance I took out on my laptop gives me home visits if it is fucked and my keyboard was worn out and the click button on the internal mouse was broke.

He eventually arrived as I was leaving. Husband was now in charge of the geek and I left the geek instructions. “Do not do anything that wipes out my memory, just fix the keys please?”

“I can’t guarantee that” he said smiling.

“No, you will guarantee that” I said not smiling.

“I can’t guarantee that your memory will be fine, but I will try. By the way I have parked my car in your private car park out the back will it be ok?” he added.

“Yes, it will be ok, but I can’t guarantee that, now fix my laptop with minimum damage to its well being” I said as I slammed the door leaving.

Husband gave me a hushed whispery telling off in the hallway. “Don’t be nasty to the bloke”

“Fuck off…and if he screws my laptop, you better go set fire to his car” I hissed back.

The rest of the day went fine. Had some meetings that went relatively well and hopefully will be fruitful as the year wears on.

Spent the night clearing out the hall cupboard which smells funny and none of us can figure out what the damn smell is. So every article was emptied out and washed down, but we still can’t figure out where the strange smell is coming from.

In the midst of the clear out Ashley found our old vinyl LP collection and demanded she get them. I told her “No” and she sulked. I have no idea why she wants them….probably because she thinks everything is really hers and can’t quite grasp why she can’t get everything she sees. I may bite her when she is sleeping and see how she likes that.

Had a rant about crap TV to my husband who sat there nodding. I mean seriously how can that much shite get commissioned? I can’t be the only person who screams at the telly. The thing is… everything I hate seems to be everything people on a UK comedy website forums LOVE… I know this because I googled the name of the show and screeds of adoration came up. I must be one of those people who hate things that everyone else just raves about! You know that feeling when you stare at a painting and everyone sees something that you just can’t? I see a big square red and brown box that a toddler with a squint may have painted with a potato stamper and other people see genius works of art and pay millions for it.

It’s all fucked. I hate that type of comedy TV sketch shit where a bunch of students have got together and created something that doesn’t have a punchline but has a ‘deeper meaning’ and annoying emotional-haired boys squeal with hysterics at it.

WHY? I don’t know….I am probably too old and dim to get it.

I also watched the Sarah Silverman sketch where she swims about like a mermaid then pees a bed and gets her friend and a policeman to come quick to her house because ‘There has been an accident” is the unbelievably bad punchline and I pulled a nose hair out to relieve my inner pain. Was that FUNNY…honestly? Really? People laugh at that?

It’s me that’s got it all wrong, I can feel people writing back as I type this telling me I am shit and a crap comic. They are probably right; I have no sense of humour.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Life sucks big time

Back in 1977 when I was 16, I was rather poor, scruffy and desperate to be pretty and popular, just like every other sixteen year old that didn’t own boobs or nice clothes, I was dreaming of a better life that never quite came to be realised.

Looking back I wish I had the wherewithal to scrape together a few hundred quid and had flown out to New York to hang out with musicians and artists. Imagine how different things would have been!

I could have palled it with Debbie Harry, witnessed the beginning of Rap music in the Bronx and maybe even became a famous artist for fifteen minutes. Instead I stayed in Glasgow and managed to buy shoes before the summer was out.

Life never works out the way you want it.

I really wanted to wear black eyeliner, ripped tee shirts and be a groupie for rock bands. Though I suppose breasts would have helped that issue, unless Gary Glitter was looking for young people to join his gang, then I would have been in with a big shout.

Being nearly 50 has made me realise all the ambitions and yearns have passed me by.

Debbie Harry now looks haggard and that’s probably how I look as well, but haven’t the guts to admit it to myself yet.
But she got to shake her booty in Studio 54 in New York, she watched Bianca Jagger turn up at the famous club on a white horse….a fucking horse….how rock and roll is that?

In 1977 I turned up at the community disco in a nylon top with cardboard in my shoes to stop the holes leaking rainwater into them.

Mind you I saw Bianca Jagger at an anti-war rally not long ago and she did look a bit old and tired….but she did get to live the life of a glam star, so she has earned the right to wear autumnal layers and ethnic beads, I don’t. I never got to be a rock chick or live the high life, it all sucks.

I wish I had headed off to California and got to visit the Troubadour club and listen to The Eagles, Jackson Browne and James Taylor sing live…way before they all became organic drug counsellors, fat and bald. I wanted to jump into Jacuzzis with them when they wore denim shirts and skinny jeans; I wanted them to dedicate a song to me, why didn’t I get to have mindless sex and a heroin habit with the groovy Americans?

I was too busy trying to avoid scurvy and head lice when ‘Hotel California’ was being immortalised to vinyl.

I am off to apply full strength expensive wrinkle cream and try on a dress that will never fit me again.

Youth is wasted on the young.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Life as we know it

Things worry me for no reason. Like the other day as I sat in a café in Barcelona, I was happily listening to my IPod and enjoying my music when I suddenly had an irrational fear that my dad might die soon. My chest went tight and I almost cried! What is wrong with me? My dad is in his mid-70s and doing well.

Last year he fell off a ladder trying to put up Christmas decorations and knocked himself out, other than that he is dapper and fine.

He does sometimes forget he is old and attempts to lift concrete slabs into his garden, or thinks he can trim the hedges with a big fuck-off electrical gadget and has to be stopped. His favourite game is the when the next door’s cat comes in and he torments it with a laser pen light. The poor cat gets exhausted running up and down the walls, dad laughs his head off as the thing looks insane trying to trap a small red dot.

His other favourite thing is to tell me who has recently died in his long list of old pals that I vaguely recall. It usually begins with.

“Do you remember old Jack who ran the pub at the end of the street?”

Me- “yes, he had a club feet didn’t he?”

Dad- “Yes he did …well he is dead”

This is a regular phone conversation for dad and after he takes great pains for me to recall some old bloke, he then tells me how and when and why that person died. It’s rather odd, but I suppose when you get old the roll call seems to be getting bigger.

He has a wicked sense of humour and when I embark on a big trip abroad I say to him “Dad, don’t die when I go away as it will haunt me forever”

He replies “No don’t worry, I will hang on till you get back then die in accordance to your busy comedy schedule, don’t you worry, I won’t screw up your life”

Dad has a better social life than me; he is rarely in when I call him. He goes out meeting his mates and often pops into town on the bus and cruises the pound shops for bargains. My wee lovely step mum says he buys bags of tat that he has to hide in his garden shed, as she is fed up with the nonsense he brings home and that makes me laugh.

He is addicted to McDonald’s ice creams (which he is NOT allowed and eats them quickly in case he is spotted), he drinks too much coffee and eats chocolate in the middle of the night and stashes his sweets around the house. Mum keeps finding them and gives him hell for it.

Dad doesn’t swear around mum as she quite rightly hates it but occasionally on the phone to me he will swear as he is telling me an anecdote and I laugh loudly because I know my step mum is near and she will nip his head off for the language!

He is a great story teller. I recall one tale about when he was a little boy during the Second World War. He was evacuated to some place up in the North of Scotland; he was about 6 years old. Apparently the people mis treated him and he was covered in sores. His mum was worried and she instinctively travelled to the farm and found him all skinny and ill. She wrapped him up and bundled him on the train and then onto a tram, she stuffed him under the seat to get back into the Glasgow city centre.

It was illegal to bring your kid back into the city during the war but she hid him under her coat as she got off the tram and that saved his life. She was incensed with anger at the farmer and refused to send him away again. Though he was finally settled in the Scottish Highlands with a good family till the end of the war and came home all fattened up and healthy.

When I was a kid he told me a scary story about a man with a wee black Scottish terrier who went into a tunnel under my school. Dad even pointed out a drain that led to this tunnel in the middle of the grass sports park so I knew exactly where the frightening place was.
He told me that as the man went deeper into the tunnel he heard a noise and went to investigate. A big dark clawing spectre appeared and chased the big man and he dropped dead with fear, but the wee dog came running out and it was now a WHITE haired Scotty dog. I was terrified from white Scotty dogs as a kid, and would scream when I saw one. I couldn’t even bear to go near the grassy sports park at school and I still have nightmares about it.

Years later, I told him how scary that tale was. “The story wasn’t set in your school park, it was a tunnel near the dirty burn, and I was trying to stop you going into the filthy water, how the hell did you get that mixed up with your school sports park? Is that why you were rubbish at sport? Did I ruin your chance to win an Olympic medal? You never did listen to me properly” he laughed.

Dad is funny.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Barcelona and the Shoe

I was in Southampton on Saturday night doing my comedy thing, it was freezing and nice. I got up this morning (Sunday) and my mate John had organised to drive me to Gatwick to catch the flight to Barcelona coz he is awesome and a good mate.

We got in the car at 7am (I hate mornings) and drove for about five minutes when his brand new car started making horrible ‘thudaa thudda’ noises which let us know his front tyre was flat. Fucking genius…all I need is to be stood in the freezing cold morning in Southampton with a flat tyre and a plane to catch.

We stopped outside a building and I stomped about swearing and getting stressed, I was so tired and it’s nobody’s fault that a flat tyre happened but I was mental. Then I noticed the building we were outside was The Samaritans and a homeless man was curled up asleep in the doorway. My problems seemed insignificant now.

So I shut my big privileged mouth and helped John drag out the spare.
It was a different tyre altogether, we were astounded…this was a brand new car for fucksake.

John called RAC who did come up quickly and the bloke explained that although the tyre looks like it came off a motorcycle, it is the spare and that’s what car dealers do nowadays, to save cash they give you a wee ‘baby’ tyre to get you home till you can replace it. The downside of this is- the big tyre doesn’t fit in the space provided! And you can only drive 50 miles an hour with a baby tyre…? What the fuck is that about?

Anyway, we did manage to get to Gatwick on time and I arrived safely in Barcelona. It had been raining but the weather was nice. The comedy bloke who had arranged for me to come over picked me up at the airport and took me to the hotel. I got in and decided to go straight out a walk. I pulled on a pair of flip-flops that I had packed and strolled out. I never took the name or address of the hotel and yes…you got it…I got LOST.

My toes started bleeding, as the flip-flops hated me and I wandered round tiny streets taking photographs, and then had to look at the photos to try to work out where I started my journey. I ended up a back alley that leads under a big parapet where homeless people hung out. They shouted stuff at me and I hobbled on, they sneered at me, and I hobbled on and then one man threw a big shoe and it smacked me on the neck. I now have a sore neck and bleeding toes and I am lost in Barcelona.

Finally I texted the comedy man who gave me the address and I found my way back to the hotel. So here I sit, I am hoping the gig goes better than
they day I have had.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dressed for what?

It was freezing cold in Glasgow. I put on a hoodie, pulled on a coat, dragged on a hat. It was one of those woolly ones that goes over your ears and has a toggle on top; it is blue with some Icelandic designs knitted in it and has two plaited ropes that tie under your chin. Basically it looks cool on a young Swedish blonde chic but on me it screamed ‘mental patient’. I didn’t care, it was cold and to top it all I wrapped a thick scarf around my neck and went out a walk with husband.

I was happy and then I bumped into a woman I know who is a dressmaker she was dressed for a cocktail party or a Sex and The City tribute night, I wasn’t sure which but she looked pale with the freezing wind biting her bare legs. She was with a dark haired hip bloke who was wearing a velvet jacket with nothing underneath and skinny scarf. He was chittering with the cold but looked very fashionable.

“Holy Fuck Janey you look like you are homeless dressed like that” the woman giggled. The skinny bloke’s frosty breathe pumped out as he guffawed at her comment.

“Really?” I sniped back “I am snug as a bug”

“Are you actually a homeless person?” the annoying bloke tried to see if the joke was worth repeating. I don’t know him, therefore it wasn’t funny and I wanted to kick his cold shrivelled balls.
The dressmaker laughed loudly and hugged him, throwing her arms up as if he just cracked the best joke in the world. Both of them fell about holding each other yelling their cocaine laughter louder as the cold air puffed from their gaping mouths.

The word vacuous never did fit a situation more than it did in this moment.

“Oh this is Tom, he is famous” the woman shouted at me as shouting is so in just now.

“Famous for what? Being a fuckwit?” I then laughed.

“No, he is famous for designing wallpaper” she nodded seriously.

He stared and waited for me to be amazed.

“Wasn’t that designed years ago?” I said.

“Yes, but he does amazing patterns on it” she added with a tone of seriousness usually reserved when announcing a Nobel Prize winner.

“Does he get a potato out and stamp on it?” I was now getting nippy and I knew it, I wasn’t letting the homeless jibe go.

“You should get Tessa to design a dress for you and you would look amazing, men would fall over you” he tried to get back to slagging me off.

“Actually I get laid a lot mate, yes even dressed like this, I get cock and you look like you do too, despite the shoddy 80’s velvet jacket, so thanks for the fashion tips, but I am happy in my woolly homeless gear”

I marched off.

Husband was standing looking in a shop window and missed the whole exchange.

“Do I look homeless to you?” I asked him.

“No, but that skinny hooker and the gay man looked drug fucked and freezing, did they say something to you?” he asked.

“Yes, they said I looked homeless” I spoke as pulled my scarf closer.

Husband pulled me closer and kissed my frozen cheeks “Janey, people are jealous because they know you are beautiful and talented, ignore them….though the hat is rather freaky, but you suit it, you are my wee freak”

We crunched through the frost happily, on the way back home we saw the skinny woman lifting up her designer dress and peeing behind a skip and the gay man screaming at her. Classy!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Taking the time

Last week I was incredibly busy. I had a guest part in River City, it’s a Scottish drama and it was really hard work remembering a whole bunch of pages of dialogue but the cast were awesome. I take my hat off to the lot of them including the film crew, it is really hard work. I can’t tell you what I play or the storyline for obvious reasons but my bit will be shown early January I think.

On Saturday past I was back in London as I performed at The Groucho Club Gang Show. I was pretty nervous as they were a real music crowd and doing comedy in the middle of a music night can be daunting, though the lovely Alex Zane and his mate did a wee sketch right before me, so the crowd were up for fun. I had an awesome gig and the talented John Culshaw went straight on after me. All in all a great time was had by all.

To top it all I met Daryl Hannah the famous US actress and she is a blessing to chat to. How amazing and warm a woman? Totally at ease and funny to boot.

This week I am at home, at the weekend I fly off to Southampton for Friday and Saturday and then onto Barcelona for a one night comedy show on Sunday. I will be living out of a suitcase yet again.

I have made some new wee videos and you check them out on YouTube, one is the ‘Sarah Palin Parody’ and the other is ‘Abi Strikes Back’ both are quite disturbing yet funny.

I am always slow with my blog lately as I am as busy as hell, but I do miss revealing my life here online and it hasn’t been as personal lately, so I apologise in advance.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Seafood Allergy

If you are allergic to prawns, never eat them, is all I am saying. Because I decided my seafood allergy was a one-off and chomped down prawns last Saturday night in Camden. To give you a broader picture and back story to the prawn situation, in 2005 at the Edinburgh Fringe I ate sushi and ended up in the Edinburgh emergency room two hours before my show. It wasn’t fun and the adrenaline stuff they gave me made me insane onstage, though I did get a stonking review for a show I don’t recall doing. Who knew I could do stuff about pregnant junkies appearing in the Bayeux Tapestry?

Anyway back to Saturday last week and the Camden prawns. After eating the said prawns I hopped on the 88 bus back to my flat in Westminster. My head really itched and my ears were burning and all the way on the journey I could feel lumps appear on my cleavage and upper body. I tried not to panic.

Just when I got off the bus at Marsham Street and entered the building, the concierge bloke looked at me and said “You ok Janey?”
I ignored him and ran to the flat getting the keys out quick, I looked in the mirror and there was Snippy the Lobster Woman staring straight back. I gulped down some anti histamines.

I ran back out to the concierge and he pointed the direction to St. Thomas’s hospital over the bridge.

Now emergency units are never fun on a Saturday night, I know this because I am from Glasgow and used to own a pub.

Nowadays the queuing system is high tech, you simply take a ticket from a machine like in the deli section of Tesco’s, watch for your number on the big digital board and you either get coleslaw or a doctor.

There was a wee box thing where a nurse sat and took the initial story from you. There was a big odd looking bloke sitting in it and he was quite well looking and happily swinging his feet and his relaxed manner indicated that he wasn’t sick, but wanted a woman in uniform to talk to. This was confirmed when I wandered near and heard him say “So, in 1987, I went to Australia”.

The nurse looked bored and I was getting red and lumpy so decided to indicate to her behind his back that he was a nutter and should be thrown out. But all she could see was a lumpy red blotchy woman making hand signals behind her patients back. Therefore I was the scary nutter and not him. After all he had been to Australia, he can’t be mad can he?

The other people in the waiting room sat patient (that’s why they are called patients I realised for the first time in my life). They were all too English to complain about the chatty fuckwit who was taking up far too much time. I got shouty is all I am saying.

“How long is his story?” I yelled.

The nutty man turned his head and stared at me, he looked angry and if he did have a mental condition and had a penchant for slicing people with a Samurai Sword (why is it always a Samurai?) then I was his next victim, at least in his head.

Finally the nutjob left the box and it was my turn to tell her a big story and I was excited and red. The waiting room got busier and I sat down in the plastic seat with my back to the crowd. I quickly explained to the bored nurse about the prawns and immediately pulled down my jumper to show her my boobs covered in red welts. She merely pointed above her head. I followed her finger and above her on the wall facing the waiting room was a big flat screen for security that had me on it showing off my lumpen tits to the people behind me.

I quickly turned round to the folk and shouted “I have a rash, I am not here to flash my tits, and I am not mental”

The nutjob who had been in before me tutted and pointed at me “She needs mental care” he said. I glared at him and he sliced a finger across his throat, just so I know he is going to kill me, because clearly my panicky rash wasn’t bad enough for me. I stuck two fingers up at him and the nurse stared at me. I needed to calm down she explained quietly.

The nurse assured me that the anti histamines that I took would work, or I could wait two hours to see a GP, but if I was going to die in an anaphylactic shock thing it would probably happen in that two hours, so it wasn’t worth my while.

I ran out of there and belted it across the bridge back to the flat. I had a gig in an hour’s time up at The Hob in Foresthill and had to pull myself together.

All in all it was an unusual night, my rash calmed down and the gig went great.

This time I spoke about Jesus being embedded into my cellulite when I was in New York. Weird things happen when I eat seafood…didn’t I tell you?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Flashes in the night

I have been in London for a week now and have been lazy writing the blog, so am sorry about that. Gigs, meetings and all manner of busy stuff have kept me away from my laptop. Here is what happened last week…

It was 2am in Soho last week and I searched for a cab. I spotted two scantily dressed girls shouting at a group of young guys, all had their hoods pulled up and wore dark clothing. The girls seemed to have some grievance but I couldn’t understand exactly what they were saying, their mix of cultures and accent had me baffled. But they were really hacked off about something.

Every now and then the girls would stop shouting and quickly chat to passing men, veering from screaming banshee, to alluring lady in one swift breath. They were touting for business in between publicly complaining, it was rather odd to watch.

The boys were shifty and were trying hard to blend into the dull walls of Soho. Some of them were really young looking, some were black, some were rather older bedraggled looking homeless guys, but they moved in a pack throughout the busy street. They split up, dodged cars, side stepped the clubbers and then came back together. It was a fascinating dance to watch.

I spotted a big bloke near me; he was obviously the main drug dealer on the kerb. The hoodies approached him, grabbed small deals and melted back into the darkness. Some threw their packages into car windows that were cruising on the busy street in Soho.
The young girls were still kicking off when the big bloke signalled to the hoodies to shut them up. Meanwhile the paparazzi were snapping at the celebs coming out of a launch party for a new private club. The famous actor and his wife smiled, the flashes of the camera lit up the dark street. I could see their shimmering white teeth glitter as the flash-light smacked off their faces, brightness in a second and dense darkness the minute the cameras stopped and the slinky dark hoodies slipped past them again and carried on their business.
The gossip magazine will print that photo and young girls in Glasgow, Hull and Birmingham will stare at the amazing couple in their glamorous life on the sexy streets of London.

The homeless who were lying on the street hugged their dogs close and the girls continued screaming and pointing. There was an air of menace, the dogs barked and their owners pulled blankets over them to comfort and not draw attention to themselves.

The young guys finally decided to tackle the noisy girls. They approached the girls in the way small boys poke a fire with a long stick, hoping that the sparks won’t jump out and set alight their sleeves.
Those girls didn’t shut up until that big bloke finally walked over and palmed them a deal.

The girls immediately huddled together in silence.

As they walked off, one of the girls lifted her skirt flashed her bare ass to the paparazzi that were leaning against the railings. “Photo me” she shouted laughing.

Photographers sneered at her, then lazily flicked cigarette buts into the gutter and waited on more celebs to appear, who wants to take a picture of a drug addled skinny girl flashing her wares?

Just then the photographers scrambled and pushed the girls out of the way, as Kate Moss came out of the new club. She ran to a waiting car as the camera’s flashed inches from her face and she almost fell. I saw that photo printed the next day and it looked nothing like it was in real life, Kate look amazingly awesome in a black and white dress and seemed to be smiling!

Life is strange through a lens, and even stranger in real life. I do love Soho.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I need more time in my life

It is all just slipping away from me, I sleep, wake up, read emails, pay bills, make phone calls, organise flights, sort out gigs, arrange accommodation, wash towels, fold clothes, I wipe down walls and scrub toilets, find Ashley’s tights for her, visit relatives, eat tomatoes, defrost pasta, match up socks, go onstage and sometimes I get to pee and have sex (make love…whatever…). I have had a crazy bad day.

To top it all off, I watched a documentary today about wee American kids who are Bible Thumping preachers. It was horrible! A wee blonde seven year old boy from the Mid-West whose parents took him to the streets of New York to stand there with a bible and shout at the Manhattan folks about Jesus! Oh and by the way he normally hangs about abortion clinics with his dumb ass father to scream “Don’t kill your baby” at women going in through the doors of the hospital. At one point of the documentary he was slightly prissy to his mother and the camera was averted whilst his mom slapped him as he screamed! You could hear her smack his flesh and you could hear him yell in pain. Yes…they are normal folks eh? These people need punched with a brick, leave them kids alone people!

Then we switched to a wee black eight year old boy whose grandmother believes he is the new Messiah. They dress this wee boy up like Luther Vandros circa 1987 and he preaches to these people at big conventions. Then the camera followed him upstairs of this big hotel and you could hear the granny say “You must thank your grand mother for the blessings she brings at the end of your sermon, how dare you leave me out”

Child exploitation I believe is what is happening right there. I find it horrific when young children stand up and scream “Jesus will send you to hell if you are a homosexual” what seven year old knows that shit? Adults should be jailed for manipulation of young minds for that kind of behaviour.

So I stopped watching as I realised throwing things at the telly and shouting “Fuck OFF” really loudly wasn’t helping at all.

Loved the gigs over the weekend at Glasgow Jongleurs, they really are cool to do. Some comics dislike Jongleurs comedy clubs and slate them as too corporate etc…but I like them. Comics can get prissy about Jongleurs and say things like “They are full of stag and hen nights and they are a big corporation”. Well most independent clubs I have worked in have had rowdy crowds but NO crowd control in place as they don’t want to throw people out; also many comics have no bones about working for the BBC which is one of the biggest corporations, its even got corporation in its name!
There is an element of snobbery when it comes down to it and I dislike hypocrisy- so comics who turn their nose up at Jongleurs should also refuse to do gigs anywhere that hosts party nights and never work for any big media company.

Jongleurs pay well, they don’t inhibit you from working anywhere else in the same weekend, they make sure the gig is well run and loads of people turn up to enjoy the night. Occasionally too many big parties do turn up and try to ruin it for other people, but it’s down to the MC and the staff to prevent that from happening. I love the gigs!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Can I ask you something?

Have you ever woken up talking to George Clooney and realised that you are licking the pillow and your husband is staring at you strangely? I have, just this morning actually.

Last weekend saw me in Dundee, St. Andrews and Stirling on my wee Scottish comedy tour. It was LOVELY and I love that people came out to see the show!

My great niece Baby Julia is my new BEST FRIEND, now that wee Abi has started school; I need a toddler side kick. Julia is as funny as Abi, though not as chatty, she acts quirkier. I went over to her house last week and their cat is all horny again. The cat is lying on the floor trying hard to look sexy and making those God awful noises that are basically cat language for “Touch my pussy please” but the scary thing is she does this to anyone.

Even the postman who was shocked as he handed me mail, as I opened my nieces door the cat squirmed out and showed the strange bloke her cat fanny.
She even showed it to the baby, who doesn’t touch her pussy but whacks her in the soft tummy with a big hairbrush and says “Bad cat”.

The cat shuts like a flick knife and runs off squealing more horny noises that make us shout “FUCK UP SQUEAK” but not baby Julia, she doesn’t shout that, she goes off in search of a new implement to whack it with. Don’t worry cat lovers, she isn’t really hurting the cat, mind you this is the cat that regularly attacks the baby and everyone else; because when this cat is not horny she hates everyone. She is Hitler/Courtney Love depending on the time of the month.

So I have been lazy with my blog, I know and I am sorry Life catches up with me at an alarming rate. Only yesterday I was 14 and desperate to find a way to get to Utah to marry Donny Osmond. I picked out a nice pair of Crimpolene flares and a Bay City Roller jumper to wear for our initial meeting. Then I woke up today and I am old, how did that happen?

I am in London next week and will performing at The Rainforest Gig at the Leicester Square Theatre. I will also be gigging around town at various venues.

Hopefully I will be sharper at updating the blog? I hope so…Janey

Monday, September 29, 2008

Very long overdue Blog

Two weekends ago I was in Bristol and I came upon a right bunch of nasty wee fuckers. You know the kind…the people who do anything to piss you off. Firstly I got off the plane and walked into the taxi office. It was mobbed but I asked for a cab to the city centre. The pinched face bitch behind the counter waved at the crowd in her office as if that was some indication to the waiting time. Like she couldn’t say “We are busy if you don’t mind waiting”.

I asked how much a cab to the city centre was and she replied “£24” and then she added “do you want to share a cab?”
Now I am all for sharing cabs and reducing my carbon footprint so I said “Yes, how much will that be?”

“£18” she answered. I looked at her and said “So, two people pay £18 each to share a cab but one person pays £24?”

She nodded and said “That’s just how it is”

“Well, let me tell you how it is for me, I will take one cab and then invite someone here to get in the cab with me to the city centre and ask for them for £12 in the cab” I snapped.

She asked me to leave the cab office. I dragged my ass and my luggage out, and headed for the city bus stop at the airport exit. There I met ass pain number two.

“No one better give me a twenty pound note as I don’t have change, I am warning you” the tiny faced arse bus driver shouted from his bus to the queue.

I only had a twenty pound note. I climbed on the bus and handed it to him. He shouted “I don’t have change, didn’t you hear my warning?”

“Well, here is an idea, why don’t you carry loads of change on you as you work with the public and you deal with cash, I am not getting off, so go get change” I sat down on the bus and made him get off and leave. Everyone behind me had twenty pound notes and the airport shop wouldn’t change their cash.
The wee fuckwit moaned and moaned but had to provide change for us all….as that’s his fucking JOB.

The good news is…the sun shone so brightly in Bristol. It was awesome and I love that city. Despite the eerie fact that most of the city was built on slavery money you can’t help but admire the architecture and the wonderful city buildings.

I had to leave Bristol on Saturday night straight after my comedy gigs and get driven to London in the wee small hours. That all went fine, I arrived at the Groucho Club in Soho at 2am and checked into my bedroom. I was staying at The Groucho for two nights and was doing a corporate gig the next day; I then get news that the gig was cancelled, so I looked forward to having two days off in London.

The bad news was that NO-ONE in the world can sleep in Soho as the noise is fucking unbearable. At 4am a truck drove up and then glass was tipped in and the crashing noise made me almost have a stroke!
Then the homeless people and drunks decided to have a big fight about a kebab they had found right under my window. You have no idea how long the kebab debate went on for, then a dog attacked them (I like to think I induced that to happen) and I presume the dog got the kebab and the drunks started screaming and ran off. Then two men of indiscernible race bickered on the special argument spot that was right under my window. It may be a special place that people come to fight, they all know where the spot is and wait their turn to scream their debate, despite the ungodly hours.

They left and two cats started hissing and screeching at each other, I would like to think they stood in a queue and waited for the ‘Argument Spot’ to become free so they could hiss loudly. I lay there awake the whole night. At 9am it went quiet for about an hour then the street became busy again. I never slept a wink.

As if the day could not get any worse, I got up and went to visit a mate, I got off a bus at Wandsworth Bridge and a woman threw herself to her death from the high flats and died in front of me.

A huddle of wee kids came round on bikes and one shouted “That white boy Steve’s mum has just killed herself” The teenagers stared and then one flipped open her phone, music blared out and some of them danced.

None of them seemed too affected by what they saw.

Why? Was it a weekly occurrence?

Seeing someone die in front of you is really awful. It made everything in my life seem fucking stupid and insignificant. Was this woman depressed? Was she pushed? Did she finally have too much shit in her life that she very publicly killed decided to end it all?

All of these thoughts rattled through my head until I reached my mates door and just hugged her for ages. I couldn’t bring myself to tell her what happened. Then I felt stupid for being so affected by it, it wasn’t me who died, I am ok, why am I so fucked up?

Life goes on – kids dance to music, buses keep running, people get their dinner ready, traffic speeds past and some white boy called Steve will be without a mother.


Last weekend I was in Leeds doing my comedy thing, it was all cool and I stayed at the new KSpace Apartments which were lovely and awesome. I really love staying in apartments as opposed to hotels. Husband and I end up fighting when we are stuck in one room.

Then on Sunday I was MC at The Scottish Comedian of The Year award in Glasgow. I just been driven home from Leeds, managed to get a shower and some slap on and went straight down the Glasgow Fruit market where the show was being held. My feet were sore and I was quite tired and fucking hell it was going to be a long long night.

All the comics were lovely but the winner is Scott Agnew, he is a bright young comic who features in ‘Make Me a Lady’ which is a big hit on YOUTUBE filmed by my daughter Ashley and features me in it as well. Just copy paste ‘Make Me a lady’ into YOUTUBE search and check him out.

I am so sorry this is a late blog, but I was so bloody knackered and busy.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Animals that bite back

There was an article on the news about some looney Spaniards that chase an angry bull and yes…you guessed it- the wee bull stamped on someone and badly injured them. Well, here’s the deal folks, keep back from angry agitated animals.

My favourite all time animals biting back had to be the white tiger in Las Vegas that clawed the skull off that scary blonde homosexual guy of Ziegfeld and Roy fame. I am not sure which one of the glittery frocked guys copped the injury, but it was totally fucking well deserved. That’s what you get for making a big jaggy toothed tiger dance to ABBA everyday. Here’s a newsflash guys, tigers are not meant to be living in a hotel in Nevada.

I once saw a man outside a supermarket in Glasgow with an eagle tethered to his wrist, the poor bird was wearing a leather gimp mask, and the freaky man was doing some wild bird display. When ‘Eagle Man’ lifted the bird up it pecked his face. I giggled and ran off.

Folk who go into a bears cave and then poke a stick at it deserve all they get. I know poor Steve Irwin did so much for ecology and wild life, but for fuck sake mate, what did you expect when you spent years jumping on a crocodiles back and swimming underwater near dangerous killer type mammals and fish-type floaty biters. Shit will happen.

I was taught as a small child that if you see a strange dog or cat, do not under any circumstances approach the damn thing. There was a reason for that rule and I bear the scars to this day. I once ran near a dog in the blistering summer heat of 1973 and the dog savaged my hand. It was stressed and I annoyed it deeply by screeching “Hello wee black dog” at the top of my squeaky voice.

I still can’t understand people who let their kids poke fingers through the cage of a parrot in a pet shop or the nutters who let kids lean dangerously over the pens of wild animals at a zoo. If the animals chomp at a kid, then parents should be jailed for neglect of their own children and the animal should get party thrown for it.

I think I have ranted enough, so there is today’s lesson from Aunty Janey- Don’t annoy animals- especially if they have the capabilities of biting your face off.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fights and flurry’s

September 11th was a really bad day; husband and I had a monumental fight. I left home in flip flops and it rained. To make matters worse Ashley got involved and screamed at us both (quite rightly). I stalked the streets of Glasgow (well, I flip and flopped the streets to be correct) and muttered angry words of hatred.

Why is it when you have a big marital fight and run out of the house, you meet fucking loads of people you know but really don’t want to chat with?
I met my accountant, a TV producer and radio host. ‘Great!’ I thought to myself, if I had organised to meet these people it would never happen, but give me teary eyes and soaking wet flip flops and there we go….meeting accomplished.

My hair was in a top knot (which I forgot about until I spotted myself in a shop window) and I was wearing a pyjama top under my jumper and yes…yet again the fucking flip flops in the rain. Did I mention that already?

Husband made me insane to the point where if I had had a gun I would have shot the fucker. I ended up walking about for ages then spotted him in the street as well. So we then had a big shouty fight in the street. People stopped and stared. Stupid people asked if we were ok and other people pointed at the crazy woman in flip flops and funny hair. Husband merely muttered and stomped about angrily. I got so exhausted we headed home and slept like pretzels all curled up, twisted and angry.

There are no answers; we both need a personality transplant or a divorce.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Bobby the Hamster is King

Ashley got soaked in yet another down pour that represents Glasgow’s wonderful late summer weather. She came home completely soaked and stomping about cursing the rain. She accused me of neglect for not birthing her in Florida or some other garden state where the sun shines regularly.

“Why didn’t you consider me when you were pregnant? Why didn’t you say to yourself ‘My child will hate Glasgow, I shall migrate to Australia’ Mum it could have been easier all round?” she whined as rain water cascaded onto the floor from her big giant amount of thick hair, it clung to her shoulders like soaking wet ship ropes.

“I didn’t consider you when I was pregnant because your internment inside my womb almost killed me!” I shouted back. I had suffered terrible during the pregnancy and almost died in a coma, as I had a horrible illness and that’s why I only had one child, I wasn’t medically allowed to have another baby, though making Ashley feel guilty for this is abhorrent, but she annoyed me for blaming me on the weather. So bring it on.

Luckily she laughed at me, she always does.

I decided on a trip to my niece Ann Margaret’s house. It is a fun house with many children and small animals. A bit like a petting zoo cum nursery, but only filled with kids that I love.

Ann Margaret has three kids, Shaun is 11, Abi is 5 and Julia is nearly 2 years old.

They have a cat called Squeak who is moody and slightly evil and hates being stroked. The have a rabbit called Tufty who is pathologically attracted to Squeak who HATES it.
They have a small goldfish called Bubbles who sucks on and drags the paraphernalia in its tank; therefore it rearranges the ferns and sunken ship into its very own floor plan, it may be a gay decorator in a past life.

They have a hamster called Bobby who up until last week had no personality, but more about that later. There is a guinea pig, who I have never seen but am assured exists somewhere in the house.

Squeak the cat is a surly dreary cat for one so young. No stroking or purring or playfulness with this beast. He skulks about the big tenement flat with an air of discord and glares at all who look at him. Poor Abi was desperate for a cat and she now owns one that has the personality of an angry disenchanted pensioner who demands food, prime couch space and no touching whatsoever.

Tufty the rabbit has learned no lessons from the spitting angry cat and would demand regular pretend rabbit-cat-sex and tried to hump the insane looking cat that constantly clawed at the poor wee black beast. The wee rabbit had to be neutered to halt the attempted cat rape incidents that the kids were constantly curious about. Too many questions arose from the kids for Ann Margaret to cope with. I thought it was funny; the cat glared at me when I laughed and I knew it was plotting some deep revenge.

Bobby the hamster was always quiet and his cage sat atop the rabbit hutch. Squeak the cat would often stare at Bobby and hiss at him, this stressed the wee creature so the cat and hamster were always kept apart, but with a busy household it was hard to keep this rule going. Especially when baby Julia left every door open in her wake as she explored her own home.

Last week Squeak was in his usual sentinel duty staring at the hamster. His nose right up at the cage, the hamster furiously tried to run five hundred miles on his wee wheel, but was getting nowhere away from the big moody cat.

Ann Margaret shouted “Squeak, stop threatening the hamster”

Squeak slowly dragged his head round to look at Ann Margaret and as he did this his big pointy papery ear peaked in between the hamster cage bars. Bobby saw his chance; he scuttled up and bit hard right into the cat’s ear. Squeak howled in pain and almost dragged the hamster cage off the hutch as the hamster would not let go.

The cat’s tail bushed into full toilet brush mode and finally escaped the jaws of Bobby the hamster. The cat ran up the walls terrified and squawked about the kitchen hissing and spitting in fear.

Bobby clung to the bars watching the cat scream, his beady eyes were taking in the whole scene. The rabbit was inside the hutch beneath peeping out to see what just happened to his beloved sex kitten, all hell broke loose as the animals screeched, hissed, thumped and rattled about their various cages!

Ann Margaret laughed her head off and checked the cat’s ear, it was fine, no skin broken, but he was even more surly and skulked off under the baby’s cot for some rest.

Bobby the hamster escaped last night, well I say escaped, Julia let him out, she is all for freedom in animals and often lets the rabbit out at teatime just to add to the melee that is her home.

Squeak spotted the hamster, Ann Margaret watched closely as the wee hamster strolled past the cat, looked at it and walked on. Squeak walked backwards away from it, Bobby looked like he may be wearing a wee leather jacket and carrying a flick knife, he was king of the Beasts now and nothing will stop his reign.

Squeak hid back under the baby’s cot. His spirit is broken, he will have to go back to threatening the goldfish who regularly rearranges his tank, and ignores the feline.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Not Neglectful? Think Again Gerry McCann

Recent news on the hunt for Madeleine McCann has revealed that their parents have spent ‘about a million pounds’ so far in trying to find their missing toddler.

The fund that was set up to find their daughter is still active and the cash has been spent on various forms of investigation it has recently been revealed.
There can be no cost on finding your missing child, I agree with that, but what really got me angered was the Team McCann statement at the end of the press release when it states that Mr McCann again expressed his anguish at leaving Madeleine alone with twins Sean and Amelie as they went for dinner in Portugal's Praia da Luz resort.

But he said the couple were "not negligent" but "profoundly regret" what happened.

I hastily and angrily disagree with Gerry McCann and would like to ask him that if he doesn’t see his actions as negligent will he be leaving his twins unattended on their next holiday? Can they not just admit that leaving their babies without proper supervision is wrong and irresponsible?

Constantly defending your own reckless behaviour smacks of either naivety or arrogance, and someone needs to raise this subject matter. Some areas of the press have been scornful and even accusatory towards the McCann’s and newspapers have either been sued or threatened to have legal wolf hounds snapping at their throats, recently the detective who handled the case when Madeleine originally went missing has written an inflammatory book. He too is being threatened with the suing stick, yet no-one actually holds Mr McCann to account over his own seditious statement about being innocent of neglect.

This isn’t another diatribe against the press hungry parents, because if my child had gone missing I too would move heaven and earth to find her, but I wouldn’t deny neglect if it were my own careless actions that originally rendered my child vulnerable. Appearing stoical in their own defence over what actually is- a dangerous attitude to parenting will not win the public’s heart and spur them onto help finding the missing child. The subversive behaviour of the McCann family has managed to distance people from their cause.

Just put your hands up Mr McCann and admit you were both wrong, people make mistakes and you and your wife are paying for that more than anyone I know, but just don’t tell me that leaving your kids alone in an apartment is not neglectful. If you don’t believe me and feel like suing, then click on the NSPCC website and check the law out for yourself.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Julia

My great Niece Baby Julia is slightly eerie at times. She is almost two years old and very different to the other kids in her family. Shaun and Abi are brown haired and brown eyes, whereas wee Julia is pure white blonde with huge blue staring eyes. Shaun and Abi were really funny chatters and very sociable, whereas Julia is slightly quieter and a wee bit more solitary. But she is very funny, smart and kind.

Lately her mum Ann disposed of Julia’s cot and replaced it with a small bed, so Julia could be in a big girl’s bed like her elder sister. But Ann tells me there have been problems with this arrangement.

“Janey, the problem is that Julia can now get in and out of her bed on her own and last week I got up at 5am to pee, as I tiptoed through the big tenement hallway in the dark, I spotted a movement down the far end near the door. I struggled to see through the dense shadows and there stood Baby Julia with her big pale moon face, wearing a white nightgown she had the pet rabbit in one hand and packet of dry noodles in the other. She was deathly still; the rabbit was blinking in fear. The only light that was coming through was from the stained glass window of the door and it cast a yellow-ish glow over her, I nearly pissed myself with fear. Julia just kept staring at me then whispered ‘Hello mummy’, she dropped the rabbit and glided into the kitchen, and it was really creepy. I chased after her and found her sitting at the dinner table in the dark, she is quite odd. I tucked her back into bed and hardly slept a wink listening for her, so the cot is back out and she caged in until she can stop her night time creeping”

This story made me laugh out loud. Wee Julia is a character all on her own; she is very individual and loves you to read books to her. Her attention span is awesome and she watches your mouth as you read the words. Her speech is coming on heaps; I love her wee happy face, though she has never been a big smiler. Julia smiles when she feels like it and does reward you with a big grin if she feels you deserve it.

She told me last week “Love you Nanty Jenny” and kissed me on the cheek. I was so touched, but I still wont keep her overnight, I would crap myself if I saw a wee scary baby stalk the house in the twig light hours.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The MC

“You are a really good on stage, I loved you as an MC, maybe one day you could even do comedy” the blonde girl in the silver top shouted at me as the disco banged out its cheesy tunes in Leeds Jongleurs Comedy Club.

That is the best compliment I could ever receive as comedy club host.

A comedy MC is someone who holds the gig together, someone who chats to the audience in between comics hitting the stage. This is the person who sets the tone and gets the room ready for the big event.

A funny fluffer…if you will! Rubbing the audience into a height of comedy readiness, the foreplay of fun.

The MC is not supposed to be the big hitter of jokes on the night, people should be happy to hear them talk, but equally anticipating the arrival of the comic coming on stage. No MC worth their wages should eat the show, bask in the headlights or try to out-do the big name coming on; the MC is a scene setter - not scene stealer.

The MC can also be the front line defence on the coal face of live comedy.

Christmas parties full of reluctant comedy goers are the biggest trial for a good MC; I know this as last year I spent a whole Christmas week as MC at Leeds Jongleurs. Trying hard to get the large group of men from Barstock’s Garage to shut up and pay attention to the stage, whilst they shout ‘Show us your tits’ can be a hard slog.

Knowing that the comics are sitting watching the crowd, hoping you can educate that audience in the art of listening within ten minutes can be nerve wracking but really rewarding when you get the heaving mob to sit back and relax.

In the event of an aggressive rowdy audience, you are sent out as the scout, it’s your impression on them and your consequential conquering of the ensuing enemy that will secure the safe passage of the acts that grace the stage.

Being defensive and shouty doesn’t always work; it can serve to aggrieve the men who are not used to a woman speaking out loudly. Though a good funny put down followed by some witty charm directed at the growlers usually works.

I know this from my past life as a pub landlady. When a huge gang of antagonistic men descended on my bar, I always made it my point to find the ‘leader’ and recognise his management qualities.

I would make sure he knew that I was aware of his influence over ‘his men’ and played on the power conflict within that dynamic. Basically if he couldn’t contain his troops, then he was a weak man and I would make sure that the watching public were aware of his flaws. Men also assert themselves quicker when you relate to them as female figure in their lives. Emotionally remind of them of their mother, sister or daughter and the mood can change…usually for the better.

The same applies with mixed groups and females who seem to be getting out of hand.
Mutual respect and acknowledgement of status can level most playing fields; undermining people will always serve to fan the flames of anger.

And to think we all thought it was just talking for money?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Imagination is more important than knowledge

There has been an explosion of ideas and technology the past ten years. These have mostly come from the creative kids who grew up in the 1960s and 70s. Decades where these kids grew up without electronic games, DVDs, multi channels on the TV and no one knew anything about mobile phones.

Yet their innovative ideas created the majority of the latest gizmos that dominate today’s society.
Children, who fell out of trees, stayed too long in the sun, drank out of ponds and more often than not spent summers with nothing more than a ball and a stick.

We made dens out of dirty blankets and tried to tame vicious dogs, we ate bread and sugar, stole rhubarb from gardens and ate it in bulk without washing it and we stayed out till 10pm in hot summer nights without mobile contact.

The kids I knew never had access to video cameras yet we played out scenes from Kung Fu movies and imagined the cameras to be right there capturing the action. We explained entire movies, scene by scene, summarising the plot to the kids who missed the latest block buster film. We played old tape cassettes of music we had copied from the radio so we could all dance in the hallway of our tenements. We were the generation that were just too early for the IPod, yet we made the best of what we had.

Kites were awesome and involved a lot of running, bikes were generally haphazard and often broken yet revered and kids knew how to build one from scratch, comics were swapped, toys were constantly repaired, roller skates were shared between a whole community of kids and a dirty old mattress became a trampoline for the summer.

We knew Michael Jackson when he was black, we were convinced Skippy the Bush Kangaroo could talk and we imagined the days when we could wear a watch that would display TV shows live to our wrist.

Who knew that the kids with no real toys would foster enough imagination to create the fantastic technology of today’s world?

The kids of the 1960s could only dream of a future world. The gadgets we saw on the old episodes of Star Trek would fire our imagination. All those hand held electronic devices that could transport people up and down the galaxies, made me excited about my future.

I personally believed back in the 70s that the Jolt Belt from the TV hit show the Tomorrow People would most certainly be available in the year 2000. Imagine how wonderful that could have been? We wouldn’t even need to remove our shoes for security purposes first! Just simply press a button and arrive at our chosen destination.

We were the generation that used our imagination and our unbridled passion to create the wonderful stuff that our kids enjoy today, yet we spent days with nothing but a wooden board, two old broken skates and the ability to make it into a small inner city push cart.

Today’s youngsters have no real idea how to occupy themselves without electronic goods; they wont know the joy of building a den or organising a spontaneous party that involved building a fire and roasting stolen potatoes from mums cupboard. Everything is done for them, wee girls are sexualised too soon and wee boys no longer get to dress as cowboys without being labelled gay.

The kids of the 70s have something that the children of today will never have- a childhood!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fringe Rumours

It’s all over for yet another year and the newspapers are still reporting on the ‘down turn’ of the ticket sales and problems with the ticket box office. Even the good old Scottish weather has become a feature in itself. The splashing showers got more attention and reviews than some heavily financed shows this year.

My own personal look back at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe is wonderfully optimistic. Despite all the gloomy news about the slump in ticket sales, I had my best year ever.
Some reviews of my show were less than favourable, yet I sold 60% more tickets this year than any other. Which makes me wonder if the reviews do sell the shows?

When I got a host of four and five star reviews back in 2006 and 2007 I was playing to fifteen people a night. This year my lowest audience was 90 punters.

So what does make the show a success? Is it the word on the street? Early press and features? Is it the gritty hard working Flyering team or just a plain determination to keep going and giving your audience a show they like? I am not totally sure.

A few things were rather disconcerting for me this year. One being the sheer amount of papering the rooms with free tickets and two-for-ones right up until the last day, this kind of marketing devalues the shows that depend on money coming through the door.

Luckily many punters who come to the Fringe have come to realise that the ‘Free shows’ are already catered for on Peter Buckley Hill’s and Alex Petty Free shows already. I fully support both of their ideals and understand that they are a great way for fresh comics testing the Fringe waters and I hope they grow throughout the years. What I find upsetting is the ‘Big Four Venues’ giving away free tickets when I am in the same venue as a show that will gladly throw the tickets to anyone who will grab them.

I believe punters will feel aggrieved at having to pay £11 for a ticket when they have gotten used to hanging around some shows that will simply give them tickets at the door to get the bums on seats. I can understand that papering rooms is acceptable for the first few days and previews. I myself did two-for –ones on the first three days. After that, it’s cash only.

I have never papered rooms at the Fringe, not even when I first did my one woman show in 2002. I would rather play to six committed punters than 40 people who really didn’t want to be there. Though that it my own personal view.

My biggest gripe with this year’s Fringe Festival was the oddly awarded If.Com Award for Panel Prize. It is usually awarded to people or a show that are deemed the ‘spirit of the Fringe’ and this year the money and title went to ALL comedians who performed in Edinburgh. Apparently there was a free bar on the 25th of August. I didn’t bother to turn up, as I don’t really drink and didn’t agree with their choice.

I believe the Spirit of The Fringe should have gone to Peter Buckley Hill. A man who has been coming to the Fringe for at least a hundred years, supporting comedy, initiating the Free shows, showcasing comics and just being a jolly old stalwart that personifies the bonhomie of The Royal Mile.
I can’t even begin to believe that the If.Com panel found it hard to pick one person for that award, despite their protests I believe something seriously went wrong or some sort of controversy went down at that final meeting. How hard would it be to pick someone? Isn’t that their job?

At least all the comics on the Fringe can now have the If.Com logo on their posters next year; after all we did all win the prize collectively.

Well done to all who braved the rain, the ticket system fiasco and the seemingly low attendance numbers just to perform at the biggest arts festival in the world. I hope it was worth it.