Saturday, February 27, 2010

What times I had

It’s been a weird week all in all. I was in Birmingham last week doing shows and was about to head home by train on the Monday, and then of course I got the news on Saturday night that my comedy friend Jason Wood had died suddenly. So, instead of heading back to Glasgow I went straight to London. I just felt I had to see my best pal Monica and spend some time with her; Jason’s death shocked us both to the core. And of course I wanted to attend the wee get together with some of my mates who knew Jason.

So, I brought forward some meetings I had at BBC as well and just spent the past week in London. I do love the place and despite being all discombobulated I had some quality time doing nothing much but sleeping and wondering why someone can die suddenly so young and what that means to us all.

The rain battered London into submission, I even managed to stand on one of those wobbly cracked concrete paving stones that are secretly submerged in a puddle, so when you land on it, you lever the puddle up Tsunami style and the water is projected right up into your crotch at 30 miles per hour.
My ass and lady parts were drenched in fetid dirty street water that ran down my legs. I was disgusted and walked like a cowboy trying to get it to dry off.

Then to make matters worse, I headed onto the London Tube and managed to fight at least three times in ten minutes as stupid foreign people stood in a huddle at the top of the escalator of the Piccadilly line just staring about.
They then decided that the entrance to the escalator was the exact spot to pull out a tube map and huddle close. The bottleneck of people behind them grew larger by the second with me at the front of the enraged mob.

“Move – you crazy people decide if you are going down or MOVE!” I screamed and did nothing for the London tourist board. My big accent scared the bejebus out of the folks, yet still they stood in a brood staring at the map. Finally the mob behind me pushed and I eventually pushed them in a big domino effect, they were going down whether they wanted to or not now.

Then at the bottom of the escalator they couldn’t decide if they wanted to go east or west on the Piccadilly line and created yet another bottleneck. There was about nine of them, all just standing at the entrances to things huddling close like fucking blind stoned pandas with no sense of awareness. There was a space they could stand to make a choice, but they preferred to be in everyone’s way. So guess who had to shove them onto the east side of the Piccadilly line? Yes, me…I just pushed them as the crowd pushed me, I was being used as a battering ram for tourists who couldn’t make a decision.

They all glared at me, it wasn’t my fault, but I was enjoying being a conduit for other people’s anger, it was somehow enjoyable. Once on the tube they all stood at the entrance, of course they did, they didn’t know how to move down the carriage did they? No, that was MY JOB to shove them down.

We all stood in silence as the train rattled on its merry way, a young woman in the group of irritating Italians, (did I mention they were Italian?) anyway she spoke in broken English to me “You stop pushing rude” the group agreed and looked at me.

The other passengers who had been using me as a battering ram looked away (of course they did, they didn’t need me now) I looked at the pretty Italian girl and simply said “I am sorry I don’t speak English” in my clearest BBC English voice (which was surprisingly good) and went back to dancing to George Michael on my IPod.

People ignored me, I spotted my stop and pushed the Italian group out of the way (will they never learn?) and got off the tube. When I met up with friends they said to me “The best way to remember Jason, is to be nice to random people, he was always so patient and kind”

So I have failed already. Sorry Jason.

So got home in time to do a Masonic gig in Glasgow, I often cross over into the after dinner speakers especially when I actually won after dinner speaker of the year award last year! Loved beating seven men famous footballer included!

Anyway the gig was just a whole room full of just men. Loads of them glaring at me. Outside when I had a ciggie with the blokes before the gig they said “Do you hate men and do all that stuff about men being shit at sex. Do you talk about your womb and vagina all night?”

I laughed and said “why is that what you like?” and stubbed out my ciggie.

The after dinner speaker circuit is full of lovely blokes in suits who are usually ex footballers and professional speakers from all walks of life. A lot of comics really don’t like them, as they do mostly use Chic Murray’s material and every other joke off the internet. They do make great cash and they rarely very rarely have women on the bill.

I often find myself at a ‘top table’ with men who are really nice but bemused at me. They do a good job, but it can excruciating listening to the same jokes over and over from blokes who have pieces of paper and read through them. I actually enjoy watching people laugh. Despite the plagiarism and the blatant sexism peddled, I still laugh.

So this Masonic night was no different, the sheer amount of sexist and sectarian stuff can be hard to swallow, but I know when I get up there I do comedy and that is so different from what they do.

The Masonic night was proving a hard one as the ‘head man’ did explain that it was nice to have a lady for a change. The room went quiet, but I absolutely stormed it, I took the piss out of the Masons gently, laughed at their attitude to women and made the room burst with laughter. I even got a standing ovation, took the cash and left the room.

So that’s my life, one more night one more audience won over.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I am Julia and I am Three (Short story)

It’s serious business being three years old. I know this, because I wear big girl’s pants and mummy cheers when I go to the toilet myself, but she hates it when I show Mr Ali in the newspaper shop my big girl’s pants under my dress. There are rules to understand, big people make the rules, then break the rules. “Show Aunty Janey, your big girls pants” she says, but when I show them to other people she screams “Don’t Julia” So I guess only some people is allowed to see them, I wish she would make a list of these people so I can keep up.

“Be kind to the hamster” is another rule, but when I put lipstick on it, she shouts again. The hamster loves lipstick, its smiles at me when I do it and then it licks its lips which I know it means it wants more. Cuddling the goldfish is out; it makes its eyes go funny and I suppose it doesn’t like cuddles.

There are three girls upstairs with the same faces that are brown, mummy says I have never to say that as it makes me sound like the bee and peas, I don’t understand that as I don’t like bees or peas, but the girls all have the same brown faces, why is that wrong to say?.

Their mummy makes me laugh as she dresses up in a black mask and a cape, mummy says I have to stop clapping my hands and laughing at her, but my mummy doesn’t dress up and hide her face, I wish she would do it, it looks like good fun and it means she wouldn’t take ages to fix her hair and stick the hot things in it which I am not allowed to touch.

The girls upstairs with the same brown faces don’t speak to me, I tried but they always look away when I ask them their names. One day I am going to show them my rabbit and show them how to put lipstick on the hamster. Yesterday their mummy poked her hand out of her cape and stroked my face and smiled with her eyes, she has lovely kind eyes, so I showed her my big girl’s pants and the mummy laughed and clapped her hands. She had a big laugh and my mummy and her giggled together. So I guess I can show my pants to people who wear capes.

My mummy tells me to eat vegetables, but when I eat the carrots out of the blue basket next to the fridge she shouts at me “they are dirty” if carrots are dirty why does she feed me them? Eggs are funny, they are hard but go squishy when you throw them in the Wendy House, mummy doesn’t like that.

I love my cat, but sometimes it goes funny, mummy calls it ‘on heat’ but it isn’t hot, it’s just all bendy and makes a noise that sounds like it its singing with a deep voice. The cat sometimes tries to get me to put a crayon near its bottom, it shoves its back bottom near my hand and makes the bad singing and my mummy goes really high and screamy. Maybe the cat likes crayons under its tail? The cat spits at mummy when she pulls it away. “Don’t go near the cats bum Julia” mummy shouts. I don’t go near the cats bum; the cat puts its bum near me! Once the cat tried to get me to put the karaoke stick in its bum, but I knew that was bad and just whacked the bad cat with it, mummy screamed again. I don’t know all the rules, I am only three.

Yesterday I stared out of the window and saw the woman with the blue coat again. She walks about and I don’t think she knows where her house is, as she knocks on all the doors, but she does like to talk into the mouth of the post box. Maybe someone is in there? I saw Dr Who and he lives in a police box so there might be a lady in the post box. The old lady with the blue coat watches me and waves at me. She wears big girl’s pants as she shows them off a lot. I like her. There is another lady who hugs her and takes her back to the right door where she really lives and then the wee woman in the blue coat cries and shouts, maybe its time for her bed and she doesn’t like nap time.

Mummy sometimes shuts the bedroom door and tells me to stay out as she is on the phone, but she isn’t talking she is smoking which is bad and makes you kill children with the smoke; I saw that on the telly. I sit behind the door and shout “Smoking kills childrens” and mummy tells me to go watch a cartoon. Tomorrow I am going to try to go out myself as I can reach the door and open it, mummy says I must never go out alone, but I sometimes stand in the landing when nobody is looking. The lady with cape upstairs saw me doing it and shook a finger at me, clapped her hands and pointed at the door. She didn’t speak but she knows I was doing a bad thing; she made a clicky noise, so I have to make sure no one sees me doing it.

I am three and am going to be four soon, talk later.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Jason Wood



Jason Wood the lovely comedian aged 38, died on Saturday 20th February 2010.

He transcended all the bitching, all the jealousy and all the clich├ęs that comedy generates and actually made us better people for knowing him.

It’s not often in comedy you meet a gracious lovely human with no bad words to say about anyone and Jason Wood was that man. He was a great comic and amazing singer who worked the circuit all over the world. I met Jason years ago through a mutual friend and then we renewed the friendship years later when I got into comedy and it was as strong as ever. You see that was thing about Jason he touched the heart and made a connection with everyone he met. We all had a special friendship with him.

He twittered me on Friday afternoon to encourage me to play a game on IPhone with him and always sent wee uplifting messages when he instinctively knew you needed them. That’s who Jason was, someone who always had your back.

We last spoke on the phone when he called to ask me if he should retweet a twitter message he got mentioning his standing ovation, he didn’t think it was gracious to accept the compliment or to let others know he got such praise. I told him “RT that now! You deserve to take every accolade going and its not being vain, its being happy someone loved your show”

He was so worried that people would think him up himself for putting the good praise on the web, that’s who Jason was. I would have retweeted that comment in seconds without a backward glance, but I don’t posses the grace that Jason had, but I will now need to learn it. Because that was who he was, someone who taught you stuff about yourself.

I could go on and on about the lovely things he told me and the nice words of sincerity that he heaped on me but he did the same with everyone. He had a space in his heart for everyone he met; he had the ability to make you feel you were the one person worth bothering about.

I don’t think I will ever meet anyone that good again and that’s why I cry, for my own selfish wants, I want him alive, I want him singing and I want him here. See you in the next life Jason You Star!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

London was chilly

I was in London last weekend.
The wind whipped right through me at Battersea Park, it was like a cold sharp knife seeking the warmth in my body, so it could slice and dice the heat into fragments to jagged ice through my old blood. Do not go out there people. I saw skinny folk jogging, I felt eternally sorry for them but they probably had better arteries than me, so who am I to judge?

I walked down past the Latchmere theatre to find a hairdresser to get my ever present grey roots dyed as they push up through my scalp like persistent weeds. Why can’t someone invent a chemical pill that you take which dyes your hair from ‘inside’ your head and grows out that particular colour? Why can’t that happen? University’s get funding to write papers on why biscuits go damp in tea or why women don’t like slap stick comedy, why can’t someone spend cash on the hair dye pill?

Anyway I went searching for a hairdresser’s and came across one where the woman hairdresser wears a Burka and as much as I am liberal enough to understand women’s right to wear what they want, I am not getting my hair coloured and blow dried by a woman who doesn’t actually show her hair in public….ok I am saying that tongue in cheek and it isn’t meant to be a racist slur, but am I alone in that thinking that? Anyway the real reason I said no to their shop was that they didn’t take credit card, and I didn’t have enough cash on me.

Finally did get my hair done and had a wonderful show at Hammersmith Jongleurs which is awesome by the way- a whole audience facing front and being attentive was just refreshing.

On Saturday night I went out my favourite Soho club with my mates Monica and Elaine, all was fabulous and I finally got to relax. I have been writing for other people recently and my head has been filled with words that aren’t destined for my mouth and that can be confusing.

Sunday morning- I head to Heathrow- got on a plane and sat beside two very young soldiers just back from Afghanistan’s Helmand province (the word province makes it sound so genteel and villagey doesn’t it?) anyway they both looked about 12 years old and of course we got chatting.

“Why did you join up” I asked them both.

The one at nineteen with a flushed face, skin so burstingly bright and full of energy said “I saw what the Iraq’s done as they bombed the twin towers and I needed to stop them bombing us”

“You do know it wasn’t Iraq’s on that plane and there were no bombs used on the twin towers don’t you?” I whispered as people across the aisle watched us. My opinion doesn’t bode well being said loud in public, as they shit folk are fed by the press make them comfortable in their fear.

“Yeah, well that thing that happened in 9/11 made me want to protect my country” he added. He was about 11 years old when the twin towers were attacked by Saudi men and sharp knives (not bombs) and he looked so eager.

“Well, good for you, though I can’t believe they let you have a gun! You are so young. My daughter is 23 and would probably shoot her own eye out trying to light a fag with a gun” I giggled. He laughed and his mate giggled. Bless their wee strong hearty souls I thought to myself. They were sitting there in their camouflage soldiers outfits and gulping down cans of beer.

Just then a wee boy aged about 6 years old with thick glasses and a heavy blond fringe popped over the seats in front of us and said “Are you real soldiers”

“Aye, we are, do you want to be a soldier when you get big?” the dark haired soldier to my left asked him.

The wee blond boy said “No, I am going to invent a computer game, have you killed anyone yet?”

Everyone went quiet; the wee boy was dragged down into his seat by his embarrassed mum. “I want to know if they have shot bad men in the desert” the wee guy hissed. The soldiers went quiet and stared into the beer cans.

“I bet you the computer game he invents will have guns in it” I said quietly. They boy soldiers smiled wanly.

“What kind of work do you guys do?” I asked to break the tension.

“We do mapping and patrolling really” one said.

“My mum doesn’t know I am coming home” the brown haired fresh faced soldier said “I am going to just turn up at her door” he smiled.

I told him to ease up on the beer as he will end up vomiting all over her face if he didn’t stop necking the cans! We laughed and I told him I was a comedian, and then we just chatted about comedy and life.

When the plane landed, everyone was smiling at the soldier boys and patting them on the back, I felt so strangely sad for them They looked so young and full of life, I hated to think of what they went through and will go through out in Helmand Province.

We all headed downstairs at Glasgow Airport to get the luggage and I stood by the belt allocated to our flight, I noticed the boys were at another belt for a flight from Gatwick. I gingerly tiptoed after them and whispered “Guys, I know you do mapping and work with intelligence but you need to know that your luggage is going to come out over there” and I pointed to the other conveyor belt.

The laughed loudly and followed me over to the belt. All I could think about was some mother was going to open the door and see her son standing there back from a war zone.

“Janey, maybe one day we will see you in the paper and we can say ‘we met her’” the taller soldier laughed as we parted.

“Well, I hope I never see you in the paper” I whispered as I hugged both of them tightly, I felt so sad for them and worried for their future.

Life goes on for me, but I am glad my daughter isn’t in uniform standing in a desert at such a young age with fear and a gun in her hand. But bless all those young folk who do and I hope they get out of that dirty illegal war as soon as possible.

I hope my two big soldier boys have fun back in Scotland and stay safe forever.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

World’s laziest blogger

Yes, I know…over a week for a blog…I have been busy as hell. Writing and doing stuff, eating and watching movies. My life is eternally dull; I couldn’t imagine what to tell you all. Went into Glasgow centre yesterday to meet dad, who told me a big story about how years ago he went to a Scotland versus Brazil football match in Edinburgh (maybe it was the 60s) anyway he told me that a fight broke out and an Edinburgh man hit him right between the eyes with a hand held scythe, the pointed bit knocked a hole in my dads forehead. Ok a few questions here, who takes a scythe to a football match, why was he fighting other Scottish people AND when was my dad a crowd fighter?

Anyway he told me this story to impress upon me why he doesn’t like Edinburgh people….seriously? One scythe to the head and you don’t like a city? So I suppose he wont be coming to the Fringe to see my show…not with all that scythe action happening.

There are lots about my dad I don’t know, it’s all coming out slowly.
Today is the one year anniversary of my step mum’s death and we all miss her terribly, my dad most of all, I know this because if she were alive he wouldn’t tell me scythe fighting stories!

The other thing he told me was that his grandfather whom he was raised with suffered from gas injuries and a hole in his arm from the First World War, the poor old man used to walk about the house wheezing and could never settle. The old man worked as a watchman back in the 50s and one night a gang broke into the factory he was looking after and hit him with an axe to the side of his head, but my great grandfather never left his post and fought the men off.

So the men in my family often get whacked with steel implements to the skull, that’s what I learned yesterday.
Thought I would share that with you.
I am off to London this weekend, hopefully will have tales to tell you all.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Spoiler Alert- may contain stories about shit

Andy Murray got beat at tennis and I got a camera up my ass.

Yes, the day dawned for my colonoscopy, heres what happened, months ago I told my doc I had some bowel issues, now I would write the Latin word but my spell check is having trouble with Diarrhoea – maybe that’s the right spelling eh? Anyway…my doc got me a hospital appointment and the specialist booked me in for a colonoscopy…as fast as that!
And as fast as that my Diarrhoea disappeared, yes it did!

So, I was told to drink FOUR litres of a powder that the hospital sent in the post, not an illegal powder I hasten to add, just something called Prep-klean…I hate ANYTHING spelt with a K when it really means a C but anyway I had to dilute these evil smelling granules in water.
It said ‘vanilla’ flavour on the side, now unless vanilla tastes like battery acid, I have no idea what they added to the foul smelling salts, but I managed to get ONE litre down my gullet before I started throwing up.

I was to drink the four litres over the course of a night after starving myself before I went to hospital the next day. Great…now I was just vomiting up the cold battery acid flavoured granules…it came out of my nose!
I called the hospital to tell them I couldn’t keep four litres down and they told me not to worry as whatever I got down would work. I didn’t believe them.

That was until I felt an almighty grumble in my lower bowel and I made it to the loo in time to witness an avalanche as my very skeleton flew out from my bum. It was extraordinary to experience; just a torrent came rushing forth.

I fell asleep exhausted, it was sleep you have after child birth, trust me I know this! My body was shaking and a crashing brain tumour of a headache descended and woke me up at 2am. Finally I called the hospital to tell them I couldn’t drink their four litres of Guantanamo Bay torture juice but I had ‘passed liquid’. They assured me I would be fine for the procedure and I should come along.

My headache was banging above my eye and my vision was blurred, at this point I considered swapping a colonoscopy for a brain scan in the reception of the hospital, but I don’t think they have a swap shop for procedures on the NHS.
I was taken into a small room and stripped. They gave me one of those sexy backless gowns and told me to get ready to go through to the ‘theatre’. Now I love the theatre as you all know, but going in there to get the ass ripped out of me sounds odd and not the kind of thing I love at all.

I explained to my specialist that I am scared of sedation, he told me repeatedly that everyone loves it, then I repeated how I didn’t, and he told me I was being silly as he stuck a needle into the back of my hand and I told him his birth mark on his face looked like a foetus and finally the room went quiet. He fingered his birth mark and sat beside me.

“Janey, it just makes you slightly less angry” he spoke.

“My anger is what keeps me alive, can I get this done without being sedated?” I suggested quietly.

The nurses waited with the vial of sedative to be put into the valve they had opened on the back of my hand.

“Ok, you relax and you will feel the camera go in and if you breathe slowly you can do this” he spoke firmly.

I am scared of sedation; I once got sedated and had terrible feelings of despair and a panic attack in my 20s when I got sedated for a dental treatment and that never quite left me. So I slowly breathed and they did the whole colonoscopy without the sedation! My head was still banging like hell though.

The procedure didn’t feel sore, it felt weird as I could feel the camera wind its way around my insides! Like when a baby kicks you from the inside.
Anyway my bowels are fine, there are no lumps, bumps and nothing wrong with them at all. And the good news was, I didn’t need an hour recovery in a hospital bed or have to take a day off to get orientated again.

I walked out five minutes after the bowel investigation (after farting the biggest fart in my entire life- it was awesomely wonderful in a strange way) and went for a walk as my husband was gone, he was told to come back two hours later for me. I didn’t have a phone on me to get him to come back sooner!

So I went a wander and found an old man stuck in the loo door where he had fallen. I got him up and into one of those horrible wheelie chairs they have lying about, and that’s when my husband turned up- to find me pushing a strange old man about the reception!

Husband thought I had been sedated and took an old bloke hostage in my crazed state!

“Janey, what are you doing?” he yelled.

I quickly explained I had been out for ages, never got sedated and found an old man who was shaky and he couldn’t find his wife. After we reunited the old bloke and his wife and walked them to their car I went home and managed to eat something so I could take painkillers to get rid of my racketing headache!

All good! My stomach is making seriously weird noises though!