It’s Bank Holiday Weekend in London and I am here doing the
Soho Theatre – fun times!
Ashley and I are having a ball, but the downside is, I
didn’t explain fully to Ashley how long we are leaving Scotland for, as we go
from here to Atlanta to do some comedy and she thought it was 6 days the round
There is a point to this conversation, she only packed a
small case and screamed when she found out we are actually travelling for 14
days in all. She has 3 pairs of knickers, one pair of boots and a few tops and
one pair of leggings. So we need to go shopping for clothes for Ashley.
The shows so far at The Soho Theatre have been great fun, I
had some nice Twitter people come to see me, GOD BLESS TWITTER and that was
amazing, I love the internet.
Ashley has been hanging out at The Groucho on her own as I
go onstage, she is now a fixture in the corner reading, drinking and nattering
to the staff. I am just the old mother who turns up and kills the party with a
sweaty head, a boring story and penchant for cups of tea.
Ashley told me a funny story – but here is the back story
first - at home Ashley doesn’t swear as it annoys her dad so instead of cursing
she does a big childish ‘raspberry’ with her mouth when something pisses her
Anyway she sat in the club watching the Election debate,
there were some serious intense blokes sitting alongside her. Ashley is into
politics and loves the whole debate thing, but got so carried away, that every
time David Cameron spoke Ashley blew a big spitty raspberry with her tongue
snaking out and cheeks puffed up. Then she looked to the side and spotted three
pretty interesting actor blokes staring at her like she was slightly special.
She almost cried with horror when she told me “Mum, I love
that actor, he is my favourite and all he will know of me is that I sit in a
winged backed chair and blow big baby raspberries at political debates in
I told her not to worry, as that is a marriage proposal in
The other night we were in a bar and three very skinny girls
dressed in Twiggy mini dresses, blonde bobbed haircuts and big heavy eye make
up came tottering in, they were totally into the whole 60s thing. They were
wearing white thick tights, big black T-Bar shoes and pouting.
Ashley whispered “Do you think they know the Pill has been
invented” and that made me snort, but the girls were awesome, I love people who
stick to a theme and go for it in public. You can’t beat Soho for whacky
dressed folk and a homeless man who will scream poetry into your face and
demand cash for his ‘Art’.
Yes, that actually happened, the homeless in Soho love a
performance, whether it’s pissing at your feet whilst you try to recall your
pin number or throwing a kitten at you when you try to eat a pasta pot before a
show….I love Soho.
Being with Ashley makes me happy, though she is missing her
mates; she is insinuating that I duped her into travelling with her. I will let
go of her one day….one day indeed.
Yes, finally my flight from Toronto was good to go, and to
make things perfect- I got upgraded to full lie down bed by British Airways and
the service in that part of the plane is just wonderful. When we landed in
London I met Alan Shearer and Alan Hanson who are ex-footballers and now TV
sport pundits, they were coming to Scotland to play golf. They were lovely men-
I like some ex-footballers, they’re not all twats.
I cannot thank Mark Breslin and YukYuk’s comedy clubs enough
for financially taking care of me when I got stranded and all the local
comedians who supported me and kept me company. Especially Jo-Anna Downey, Cal,
Marilla Wex, Ron Vaudrey, Cleeve, Kate and everyone else whose name escapes me,
its good to have a family of people around me this lovely.
Husband was at the airport for me and was so glad to see me
as he kind of missed me for a while. Ashley was at home and I could see they
had both cleaned the house and tided up – they both live like unsupervised
students when am away then do a blitz and clean up quickly.
I am home for a few days, before I head off to do Soho
Theatre this weekend from Thursday and ending Saturday night. Then Ashley and I
are off to Georgia Atlanta for a road trip comedy tour, it apparently is in the
whitest part of Atlanta with Middle Class bake sales, art lectures, wear-
green- wig for charity day and a jam tasting competition, what’s not to like?
Ashley is excited and says the most boring places usually throw up the most
interesting adventures. I hope she is right, but I once stayed over in Oban and
the most exciting thing to happen was I saw a cross dresser who turned out to
just be a badly dressed woman who had a beard.
I am the stage where I am dragging clothes out of the case
into the washer, hanging them up and throwing them back into the case. That’s a
weird feeling and everything smells of places that I don’t know.
I am looking forward to spending time with Monica my best
pal, we haven’t had a full conversation for a month as she always out of the
country or I am too busy or she is too busy. I miss my pal.
I will also miss the election and really don’t want to
return home to find out slimy Cameron has taken over my homeland, it will make
me cry at the airport if this is true. I am not really a big fan of Labour or
Gordon Brown but suddenly he seems more attractive than Tory boy in brogues and
I was supposed to be going home last Tuesday but as we all
know the big ash in the sky has determined that I stay here in Canada. Who
knows what will become of me? I am joking…I have met so many nice people like
Marilla Wex, Jo-anna Downey, Ron Vaudry, Kerry, Ryan and all the team at
YukYuk’s that I don’t feel isolated or lonely. I have to say as well, the
standard of comedy in Canada is as good as I expected, they are awesome.
On Wednesday, I went for a wander round town, a short
meeting with the YukYuk’s team and then heading for dinner at Jo-anna’s place.
I have decided that if I get stuck here for a while, I am
going to do more gigs and just enjoy my time, when do I EVER get to go ‘off
calendar’ and just drift? Never is the answer to that question, somehow the
situation makes me feel footloose and free!
I do know that there are problems all over the planet with
food wasting, flowers dying and industry being crippled, so I do feel bad for
The sun is shining in Toronto today and I feel good. I do
miss Ashley and Husband and I know they are coping well without me, and I have
spoken to my dad, who basically thinks I have been kidnapped and am currently
living in a basement being assaulted by strange men, but then he has a vivid
Who knew volcanic ash could cause such horrendous
disruption? Where was that in the information about volcanoes and flight
problems? I never heard that being mentioned before? Now we all know.
There are so many lovely and odd things to see here in
Toronto the Dollarama store is my favourite place and the homeless lying on the
streets disturbs me. But we have homeless people back home, who am I to feel
Last night I went to do some open mic at Eton House with
Jo-anna and it was cracking fun, there is a wee old man called Chicken Legs who
is 69 years old and picks up the empty glasses. He is a legend round at the
Greek area of Pape (where Eton House Bar is) I cant stop laughing at the word
Pape, coz in Glasgow it’s a derogatory word for Catholic, as it derives from
Anyway Chicken Legs is a wee wizened man of huge character,
his face resembles a crumpled brown paper bag that may have been set of fire at
one time, but he is such a huge local character it was awesome to meet him. He
reminded me on Notty, a wee drunken wizened man who used to be my pot man
(someone who clears the tables for beer) back in the pub I owned in the early
80s. Old characters like Notty and Chicken legs are so important to a
community, wee men who were proper tradesmen who fell on hard times but are
still part of fabric of the area. It made me sit last night and think of my
days in that East End bar when I never thought I would ever get out of there.
And here I am sitting in Toronto writing back home from a comedy tour. It would
make Notty proud am sure.
I am supposed to be flying home on Saturday and am excited
about that, I cannot thank Mark Breslin and the team from YukYuk’s comedy
company enough for looking after me when I was stranded in Canada; I am blessed
with good people.
I will miss my new mates, like Jo-Anna, Cal, Marilla, Cleeve,
Katie, Kerry, Sarah, Ryan, Ron and all the gang at YukYuk’s – thanks guys you
made me welcome.
First they refuse to pay back the cash we gave them now they
have fucked the skies with a giant flume of molten Bjork just to fuck the world
off. Lets go to Iceland and beat the shit out of the weird whale hooting people
who live their just to vent our anger…or let’s just accept we can’t take the
world for granted and accept that seals are pissing themselves laughing and the
rainforest is screaming with giggles.
Apparently we made the earth angry and it’s now throwing
shit at us- well I can take it. Am currently in Toronto and may or may not be
able to get home on Monday, you know what? I don’t care now…I am done
stressing, people are watching their kid die of a disease somewhere in the
world and I might not make a BBC radio show in London on Tuesday- BIG DEAL!
I love Toronto, the comics are lovely, the club YukYuk’s is
awesome and the traffic lights have a countdown system that goes from 20 to
zero really quickly and makes you RUN across their giant roads with sheer panic
in your heart.
The weather here is freezing cold windy (another sign that
we will all die coz we never recycled our own shit) - it was sunny then rainy
then hailstones came down and then a big wind nearly took my tits off…its
My room is trashed as I went all moody and never bothered to
tidy up, so it’s now 3am almost and am folding clothes and packing up slowly,
whilst listening to Plan B, which is an awesome band from London.
When I mentioned how I love Plan B on stage the people of
Toronto clapped, cheered and made hooting noises, now I was amazed that this
relatively new band from Forest Gate in London were so big in Canada – turns
out Plan B is the very famous Morning After pill in Toronto which women take
after unprotected sex. I am not a hip chick who knows her music; I am whore who
can’t use a condom. How they laughed.
Tomorrow I go find big coffee filters that husband has asked
me to get as they are hardly available in Scotland and I had already bought
some but guess what – I got the wrong ones, so a stilted snappy conversation
via Skype ensued…oh how I love Aspergers – he basically turned into a pretzel
when he heard I got cone shaped ones…one day I will hit him in the eye with a
Miss him though and Ashley.
So I wake up Sunday and find out my flight is cancelled and
am stuck in Toronto, the British Airways website gave me an option to rebook my
flight, but the page is out of date and mentions the strike in March. I suspect
they are panicking and not looking after their website. When I call BA they
tell me there is a high volume of calls and best I book on their website….but I
want to tell them – no doubt like squillions of other people that we CANT
rebook as the link is out of date and keeps talking about MARCH for fucksake.
I don’t know when I am getting home, but that’s all good and
I am happy to stay here till times when I can go. Give me a hug Toronto – I
So I arrived in Toronto after a three hour delay with
British Airways, where we had to sit on the ground at Heathrow waiting for a
staff member to arrive as they were a man down…three hours for this fuckwit to
finally get to the airport and board the plane. I was sat beside a woman in her
late 30s who did a shed load of paper work, then sat back sucked her thumb and
twiddled her hair as her legs rocked up and down. The suckling noises were
horrifically disturbing, here’s a tip people – thumb sucking is cute in the
womb on a sonar scan, not on a fully formed grown woman!
I got into the city and in to the hotel in quick time, I got
to bed and snored loudly and happily after the long flight. I am performing all
week at YukYuk’s Toronto and the local comics are lovely and the club is really
The weird thing is there is no break in the show and four
comics do seven minutes then I go up and do 45 minutes! That’s odd for me coz
in the UK comics do 10 minutes, then a 20 minutes and then the headline does 30
minutes…it just felt odd, but the Canadian audiences are just lovely.
No one has had a problem with my accent except for last
night when a big American man from Dallas in the front row shouted loudly when
I walked onstage “Will we get closed captions with the Scottish woman?”
I laughed and said “Shut up fatty boom boom”
“How dare you” he shouted back.
“Well, you understood that didn’t you sir?” I giggled, the
room cheered and the show went fabulously well.
The fat American and I bonded and all was well.
Toronto is a very benign city, there is no menace, and the
homeless folks lay right smack bang in the middle of the pavement on a grill
that blows hot air. It is a highly inconvenient spot to choose, but they don’t
care and they sleep fully extended on the ground letting the people from the
financial district step around them. I like that the homeless are so visible
and tolerated, there is something to be said about people who don’t sneer or
try to hide their social issues.
I tried to step round a homeless bloke at the traffic lights
and I tripped over his leg and he shouted “you clumpy footed cunt” at me which
made me think he might have had Scottish ancestry, and then he smiled.
They call you ‘cunt’ then laugh, I love these people.
Back in the UK I missed the ‘dance off’ between, Brown,
Cameron and Nick Clegg with their political jousting live on telly. For those
reading this abroad, the UK is about to have an election and we had a debate
with the three major politicians. From all the tweets I read it seems Cameron
was slimy, Brown was bumbling and Clegg resembled a woman trying to get into
the Masonic Lodge.
I am going to miss my daughter Birthday on 19th
April as I will still be in Canada and by all accounts on the news, with the
volcanic cloud from Iceland I might not get home at all! So please wish Ashley;
http://twitter.com/ashleystorrieon Twitter for me on 19th as it will help assuage my guilt of
not being there.
My nose is burned and the heat in Glasgow is mental. I mean
its scorching, it’s serious – that big burning ball of fire in the sky- ‘The
Sun’ is making a comeback and Glasgow is its opening season.
We haven’t seen ‘The Sun’ in ages, in fact we REALLY gave up
on it, much in the same way we gave up on Madonna after she started collecting
babies from dead mothers in Africa, we knew she couldn’t go back to singing
after that. Luckily Lady GaGa made a hat out of a fish tank and flashed her
minge whilst singing big songs, she’s great.
Anyway ‘The Sun’ hasn’t been on tour in Scotland
since….aw…way back last year, maybe August? It was a sell out show back then,
everyone came out to see it and people were totally worshipping it, but for
some reason – it gave up on public appearances in Scotland and left us for a
better hemisphere. We got ‘The Snow’ – Yes that came and entertained us for a
while, it was amazing, I mean it killed, it was a showstopper but we like ‘The
So today we all heard on the radio that ‘The Sun’ was coming
for a whole day and me and squillions of other Scottish people and especially
in Glasgow headed out to go pay homage to our hero.
Me and my wee great nieces Abi (6 years old) Julia (3 years
old) and their mum Ann Margaret all headed off to the Botanic Gardens up
Glasgow’s West End. We decided not to go to Kelvingrove Park as we went there
the other night and saw a teenager on a BMX bike with a real live python round
his neck, it clung to his torso as he did tricks in the skateboard park, and it
freaked us a bit.
We don’t like people who ride bikes and do tricks.
The girls, their mum and I managed to find a spot amongst
the crowds who had gathered to shield their tiny Scottish eyes from the
People looked happy, but something came to me that I had
forgotten, and its this – kids don’t really like sitting in a park in the
blistering heat, there is nothing to do but eat or scream at bees.
People brought dogs to the park and they hate the heat as
much as the kids. They started snapping at random children, trying to either
eat their melting ice creams or just having a go at something head level to
All around us were happy languid West Ender’s eating Marks
and Spencer’s salads and drinking cool chilled wine from hampers, and
surrounding them were innately bored, sweaty toddlers who screamed for shade,
their own sofa and their cartoons.
Even Abi got annoying and she is normally fabulously funny,
chatty and so easy to be with. Abi, started to bitch, moan and get involved
with complete strangers lying beside us and then slating their dress sense,
food choice and loudly speaking about everyone and everything she has ever
It was like she was a wee Scottish Perez Hilton.
Nothing would shut her up. Then Julia threw her weird
tantrum, its worth seeing. Julia has a strange way of throwing a tantrum, she
doesn’t speak, she stands with fists clenched and opens her gigantic blue eyes
and basically stares at something without blinking, its totally freaky, she
glared at a couple of kissers for almost 20 solid minutes, and it frightened
the kissing couple – in fact I think it broke them up.
Then she progressed with her David Lynch tribute act and
threw my big flip flop at a pigeon almost killing it in front of other stressed
toddlers who screamed as it flapped in pain into the circle of guitar – playing
posh teens who were all on their IPhone’s
or talking about ‘Topher’s trip to Tibet’. Abi commented loudly on their
hairstyles and baggy shorts, apparently one girl had a big nose and bushy hair.
We couldn’t stop her she was in full on bitch mode.
Me and Ann Margaret tried to ignore the kids but it wasn’t
just our kids that were annoying, once one toddler screamed at ‘The Sun’ it set
a chain of events off and before long, there were just heaps of tired floppy
kids haranguing parents to go home.
Scottish people need ‘The Sun’ to make them feel good about
living in the dark rainy climes, but the kids didn’t understand that and just
screamed loudly as one big burning wound.
We cajoled, we played, we chatted, we sang songs but the
kids decided if we didn’t get our fat asses off the grass, they would actually
swallow their own tongue for attention. Well, that’s what it felt like, Julia
choked on ‘nothing’ and Abi pretended to be dying on a bit of cardboard-
clutching her chest and mock vomiting.
So ‘The Sun’ made a comeback, but it only served to hurt us,
annoy our children and make dogs slightly mental, foamy and bug eyed bitey.
It’s this time of year when everything seems to be moving
quickly and without much pushing. The Edinburgh Fringe is almost upon me and I
have this year been really organised, my advert/images and posters are all up
I just need to get a flat in Edinburgh and every year it
costs me about three thousand pounds to get a decent place…that kills me…does
anyone have a decent flat to let in Edinburgh during August?
Soon I am off to Toronto to do Yuk- Yuk’s comedy clubs, then
am off to Soho theatre and then off to USA to do gigs at Roswell, Georgia –
Atlanta and am taking my co – writer daughter Ashley with me.
She is going to video some blogs and we need to get our kids
show for Edinburgh organised. Did I mention I was doing two shows daily at
fringe? Yes – Ashley and I are doing a kids show at 12.50pm and my own one
woman show is at 7pm.
So to complete my travels, I am off to LA in June and have
practically paralysed myself with nervousness and fear over the few meetings I have
there. I need to get some Moxie and stop being so girly!
A few weeks ago I did a gig in front of the TV booking people
in London and I was the only female, the guys all swore and did some really
filthy funny stuff but I never swore or did rude material as I don’t get away
My accent makes any swear word sound like a cluster bomb that
just killed babies. If I was a girly girl from Oxford and stuttered out ‘fuck’
covered my mouth and giggled, then that would be fine, but when I say ‘fuck’ it
sounds like I am actually ‘fucking’ in real life in front of people.
The TV folks were lovely and not scary and even dropped me
off at my flat in Kensington…how nice was that? OR maybe they wanted rid me of
My accent has been taking a battering lately, but I am
getting over it.
My big three night run at Soho Theatre at end of April is
coming up and some lovely celebs twittered it for me, people like Allan Carr,
Jason Manford, Justin Moorhouse and Simon Pegg all did me proud!
Thanks Guys….come see me at Soho Theatre London last weekend
There is nothing better than
escaping the slum ridden streets of Glasgow in the searing heat of 1969; I know
this, because I did it. I was eight years old and looking forward to going to a
caravan in St Andrews. Two things to remember here, caravans are magical when
you are eight. They contain a table that turns into a bed, they have wee gas
lights that enclose a delicate fibre hood that glows like a witch’s eye and
caravans have secret compartments that suddenly turn into cupboards that
The other thing to bear in
mind is caravans are right near a beach. I was eight and almost wetting myself
with the sheer delight of getting into that magical caravan. I saw caravans on
the telly, they looked amazing and sometimes old gnarled gypsies lived in them
and had an exciting horse to pull it, or you saw skinny bikini clad ladies with
scarves tied on their heads and sporting horn rimmed sunglasses sit outside
sipping drinks at a picnic table and sometimes they would just jump up and
start throwing a colourful beach ball whilst giggling for no good reason other
than to look amazingly happy. I was going to that place.
Not just me, there would be me
and my two big brothers and my big sister and my mammy and daddy. We would don bikinis,
swimsuits, giggle, drink big jugs of juice and sit happily around the picnic
table, we would bask in the sun and I would suddenly run into the ocean as my
mammy sat knitting on a rug. She would laugh and wave, I would turn round and
remember her face forever in that moment and see my whole family in the
background watching me fondly….some people actually have lives like that, BUT
not in this story.
What actually happened was,
my wee harassed poverty ridden mammy stuffed thick woolly clothes into our
family sized smelly suitcase, because she knew that it always rains in Fife and
she didn’t own a bikini.
My daddy like many men of his
generation worked for 50 weeks of the year in a steel foundry, and his weekend
hobby was getting really drunk in the local pub and impersonating Frank Sinatra
as he walked home in the dark. We basically saw him for two hours on a Sunday
afternoon before he got drunk enough to sober up enough for work on Monday
morning. He wasn’t a bad man, he was the same as everyone else’s daddy in my
street, except for Mr Gillan, but he shouted loudly outside the Tabernacle
about Jesus, he wore brown sandals and bred blue budgies.
My mammy says he did that
because, he had red hair, used to be a sailor never got married. My mammy knew
things, she was really clever, she used to pawn a brown box tied up with string
and tell Uncle Moshie the pawnbroker that it was her husband’s leather shoes
and he never knew it was just a brick.
So back to the holiday in St
Andrews, we were all jammed into a car that an uncle drove as we didn’t own a car;
it would be waste of money as my parents didn’t drive. Though my dad liked to
boast he could drive a tank like he was taught in the army, mammy said he never
drove a tank, he spent his national service in prison for fighting with a toffy
nosed Top hatted English man who had a lisp and funny leg who really shouted at
him. Dad said he never punched him hard enough and I wondered why a soldier
would wear a top hat in a tank. No one ever told me why. So back to the car
journey, we all sat on top of each other, three adults and four kids squashed
into a wee motor as the three adults smoked all the way and made the inside of
the car look like the set of a horror film when Dracula comes out the coffin.
My sister was sick all over my mum’s good American tan tights and she had been
saving them for the holiday. My plastic brown sandals had vomit in the soles
and it made them really slippy.
Finally we got to St Andrews
and the rain battered us sideways as we got out the car. The wind made me fall
in the mud and mammy got the keys to the caravan. I could not wait to get
inside…hey hang on where’s the horse? Ok, maybe it’s not a gypsy caravan, maybe
its going to be a trendy caravan with a picnic table and beach ball. In reality
it was small tin box that stank like a wet cloth that had got stuck behind the
cooker for a few years. Mammy and daddy started arguing straight away as daddy
went looking for a local pub, and we all starting wanting food and my big
brothers punched each other in the face as they struggled to be first in to the
Immediately all my dreams of
a wonderful peaceful holiday went straight down the drain. Mammy showed us
where the toilets were. Hang on…we had to walk to the toilet block? And what
pee in outside toilets? This was fast becoming a nightmare, no one told me
about toilets that were half a mile way. The toilets looked like a prison block
from Hogan’s Heroes my favourite TV show and that was about a German war camp.
It was horrific we had to
walk through big stretches of water and I couldn’t understand why there was a
river near the caravans and not a beach. It was soon explained to me that it
wasn’t a river, but big puddles as the caravan park was flooded by the
It soon became apparent to
both my parents that they had never seen so much of each other in all their married
life, and they quickly discovered they didn’t like each other. Being stuck in a
damp smelly caravan was the worst place to come to this conclusion, but we knew
we weren’t alone as we could hear other families fighting and shouting all over
the caravan site. Probably more drunken men sobering up for half a day and
realising their wives and kids drove them insane and that the local pub was
My daddy was also incredibly shocked
to discover that he had FOUR kids and they all spoke at once and the youngest
one even spoke in her sleep, she just didn’t shut up EVER! Did she have to ask
that many questions? Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, I open
a cupboard and a giant swarm or earwig beetles ran up my arm and covered my
upper body and dead mouse sat at my feet.
We ate macaroni that night as
I sat scratching at my head convinced the beetles had gone right into my ear as
that’s what my brother whispered to me “Janey, there called earwigs because the
go into your ear and lay their babies there” I was never going to sleep a wink
for checking my ear for baby beetles.
My dad found a place that
sold beer and brought it back to the caravan. He opened some cans, got drunk,
sang us a few Frank Sinatra songs and decided it was bed time.
We pulled the table down and
made it into bed with a damp mattress and mammy and daddy, slept on the pull
down bed on the other side of the beetle ridden caravan.
I woke up in the middle of
the night or about 11pm and needed the toilet. Everyone was asleep, I knew this
as there was no arguing, swearing or singing and daddy was snoring like a bull.
I pulled on my brown slippy
sandals, and crept out into the darkness and headed for the prison block
toilets. I didn’t have a torch because we hadn’t won the Pools or anything
fabulous like that, so I had to just remember which direction to go in. Finally
I found them, did a quick furtive wee and started to walk back when I realised
that every single caravan looked the same in dense dark rain. The shock hit me.
I wandered about in my raincoat with just my knickers and vest underneath,
shivering and crying. How would I know which caravan we lived in? They all were
small, round and were cream on top and brown at the bottom.
The rain slashed harder, I
started crying just wandering about knocking on random doors saying “Are you my
daddy?” People just said “No, go away” and didn’t bother to help; they were
probably too busy killing beetles or fighting with their wives. Finally a woman
opened the door to her caravan and came out to help me find my mammy and daddy.
I was hysterical by that point as it seemed there were five million caravans to
my wee eyes and I would never find them, ever.
Finally the warden for the
park came and got me, he asked me my name and then looked up the book and gave
the kind woman my caravan number. She walked me back through the rainy puddles
and finally got me to the door. As soon as we knocked on it my daddy flung the
door open wildly and with glaring angry eyes, he threw himself out onto the
dirty ground and hugged me crying. He sat there in his white vest and pants
just holding me in a vice like grip as we sat in the mud and the rain pelted
down on us. I could see the full moon in the dark sky over his shoulder, I knew
men had just landed there, because I heard it on the news and I wondered if
they could see my daddy hugging me like this.
My mammy was crying behind
him and trying to calm everyone down. I had been gone missing for about an hour
and they couldn’t find me and were worried sick I had drowned in the big
puddles that surrounded the wee caravans.
“I thought we had lost you
Janey” my dad wept and kissed my face.
They pulled me into the
caravan, wrapped me in a towel and mammy and daddy made me sleep in between
them. Both of their limbs tangled up in each other and in me, it was like we
were one big monkey puzzle.
Mammy spent the whole of the
next week trying to buy food in the tiny wee caravan park shop. The prices were
incredibly over inflated and under stocked, to make matters worse, they didn’t even
“Five bob for a Fray Bentos
Pie, who made it the Queen? A shilling for a pint of milk? Is the cow made of
gold?” My mammy lived on a budget that was bordered on poverty and begging. She
could barely feed us for the first four days, so we lived on musty bread and
waxy Stork margarine that was oily and started to stink.
The caravan didn’t have a
fridge, and the earwigs were everywhere, so we kept the food in a tin box under
the caravan in the hope that it would stay fresh.
My intrepid mammy rounded up
a few of the other mothers and headed out into the main hub of St Andrews, the
caravan site was way out of town and up on a hill. It was a long walk away and
the battering rain didn’t help.
I can still remember the
sight of a bunch of Glasgow mothers, all in wellies, big coats, wielding huge
shopping bags and with a raggle taggle cluster of bedraggled kids behind them.
St Andrews was a rather twee middle class town back then and yet my mammy
managed to find the best butcher within minutes of hitting the high street. She
could smell a good cut of liver from 50 feet and within hours of their outing,
big pots of soup and steak pies were being cooked all over the caravan site.
The holiday started to feel
like a bad social experiment and silent seething crept in as the rain rattled
constantly on the roof of the metal box that contained the angry people all
over the site. Slowly kids made their way out of their caravans as boredom
forced them to play in the rain, tentative friendship started to develop, kids
getting together to kick a ball about and wee girls started up a play shop with
empty beer cans and stones for money.
Mammy’s and daddy’s organised
a sing song to bring people together, and it meant they could all share their
beer supplies and talk with strangers when they got drunk as they were now
bored fighting with each other. My mammy even sang and normally she just sat
smoking with her eyes shut and usually just mouthed the words when daddy sang.
She looked younger when she sang that night.
The sun did finally come out,
daddy finally sobered up and he and mammy kissed each other sitting on the
beach, which incidentally was right next to our caravan. My big brother Jim
broke the showers in the toilet block by kicking the pipes showing off to a fat
girl with a red Alice band, my big sister Ann got bitten by a one eyed Alsatian
dog that belonged to the park keeper and my brother David fell off a steep
cliff and ended up in hospital and I managed to slice my hand on the razor
hooks of fishing tackle that someone kept under their caravan and I tried to
borrow. Mammy and daddy just sat beside the picnic table, drank beer and danced
to music on the radio, they were drunk enough not to worry too much and parents
surely deserve one night off from the rest of the world. It was the summer of
Far from me being the one to point the finger, but I did
have a woman who worked for a huge corporation in London come to Glasgow to
tell me that the people I might be speaking to will not understand my accent as
some of them are English. Now had I been of Asian descent that comment would
have been considered racist – but because I am white it’s considered just
I ignored her comments and decided to speak to these whacky
foreign folk from England in my perfectly wonderful Scottish accent, funnily
enough they understood every word I said and before long we were interacting
like proper English types without the aid of an overhead projector and finger
pidgin words to help us.
It does infuriate me when people come to Scotland to work
then assume you wont be able to talk to the visitors from London…I am doing a
tour of Canada next week and am off to Soho Theatre for my fourth run in their
lovely venue. I also do BBC radio 4 ‘Just a Minute’ and we don’t need a
diversity course to introduce my dulcet tones to the listeners, we believe they
have all heard a Scottish accent before.
I think the woman in question just doesn’t like who I am and
picks on the one weakness she believed would play on my insecurities, what she
underestimated was my ability to constantly shout ‘FIRE” at her to see if she
understood my warning or say funny things about her and watch her reaction. “Oh
I didn’t know you could understand me, so I talk about you a lot in this accent
thinking you wouldn’t know what I was saying”
I am a comedian and that’s funny, especially in front of the
English people she said wouldn’t understand what I was saying in my guttural
useless Scottish tongue!
I did during the course of my work that night ask a wee
English girl what age she was and she answered ‘six’ and we chatted. Later on a
woman from Sheffield said to me “when you say ‘six’ its sounds like ‘sex’ and
we all laughed at your accent, whatever did the child think when you repeated
her age over the microphone?”
I replied “Erm, I don’t think she knows what the word ‘sex’ is and she nodded when I asked her if
was ‘six’ so maybe only you heard the
word ‘sex’ when I was talking to a small girl?”
You see I had been through enough that night about my accent
and I didn’t know when I said ‘six’ it sounded like ‘sex’ so I have been
walking about all day saying ‘would you like sex six times?’ to hear the
difference and husband is really happy and he has been walking around behind me
Fuck the naysayers – my accent is awesome and the people of
New Zealand, Netherlands, New York, Los Angeles and London have always said so.