Am STILL at the Edinburgh Fringe…its seems like ten weeks
instead of four let me tell you. I have bonded with the white Scottie Dog
called Hector who lives in our cobbled stoned mews area, he has a floppy ear
and wee black button eyes and chases squirrels and loves cuddles. I am addicted
to the dishwasher in the three floored mews we are staying in and I adore the
The shows have been awesome, I have bitched and whined about
the McEwan Hall which seats over 1,000 folk sucking in all the punters but the
basic truth is, people just want to go see people they have seen on the telly…I
am not on the telly, so ergo people have no real interest in me, except the
people who are fans of my comedy.
Though the numbers have been fabulous, I am aware that the
glut of footfall has been avoiding the small shows, the interesting theatre and
the fantastic musical shows. It kind of rings like a death knell for the fringe
if the punters just want to go see people off the telly…that’s not a fringe
that’s a TV comedy festival!
Ok, done moaning about that.
I am knackered just being here and it feels like some
alternative life I am living, though getting to see loads of cracking comedy
pals has been awesome, and making new pals is worthwhile.
Ashley is bored with me tweeting or reading in her company,
she has gotten into an attention seeking vibe, much like when she was five
years old. “Put that book down and talk to me Mum” she whinges…we have been
together too long here in Edinburgh. She needs her own life back; she needs her
room, her computer and her own pals.
My mate Monica calls and we can’t have a decent natter coz I
am either in a show or going to a show, coming from a show or asleep.
The people coming to the show and chatting afterwards have
been wickedly nice, how cool to meet people who like what you do?
Twitter, Facebook and the internet in general have changed
the way comedians interact with their audiences, they now can let you know they
are coming, they can arrange a gab afterwards and all those people you wished
happy birthday to on the internet, or commented on their baby photos can now
contact you and we get to know each other more. That’s awesome.
When I first came to the fringe in 1995 things were
different, there were no 60 foot posters or faces on a taxi. A young long
haired Ed Byrne was cutting a career out, a bouncy manic Brendan Burns was
screaming at people in Late and Live, Johnny Vegas was crippled with nerves
driving through with me from Glasgow and comedy was dependant not on telly
appearances, or internet campaigns or adverts but on people making choices
about what they fancied. Mobile phones weren’t that common,
how they hell did we survive? How did we know a gig was
running late and who was next on, how did we contact venues about ticket sales,
promoters tickets without email and text? No one held up a phone and took
pictures of Ross Noble crowd surfing and let millions view it instantly on the
web! It was the old days when word of mouth was king.
It was the days when people used watches to tell the time,
but progress is an amazing thing people and it helps with comedy ticket sales.
Am looking forward to getting this
weekend out of the way and getting back to normality, sleeping in my own bed
and not checking stars on my reviews, there is a life outside Edinburgh and
apparently it is dominated by a woman who threw a cat in a wheelie bin…that’s
all the news I know…has anything else happened in the world since I have been
here? No…didn’t think so.
Come see my last weekend at
Pleasance Dome 7pm nightly.
A man dressed as King Henry the Eighth eating a kebab, a
unicyclist falling and hurting his head, a woman abandoning her baby in a pram
to scream in excitement at Stephen K Amos (barking up the wrong tree love), a
BBC Tee Shirt clad assistant vomiting into the barbeque at Gilded Balloon, a
critic loudly slag off a female comic who was standing right behind her, a
female comic tell people my show has been getting no stars as I was standing
behind HER (two five stars and a four, love, watch your back), and a wee woman
calling a flyerer an ‘inconsiderate cunt’…these are a few of my favourite
things so far at the fringe!
The week has been great, amazing audiences and lovely
reviews, am happy people; I also had a few good meetings and a cracking
audition, who knows what next?
My flyering team have been super sexy and fun, so good on
Ashley has been so wonderful and feeling so much better, I
am blessed with having her around. Who else can do Alan Partridge
impersonations at 4am to make me laugh? Who else can do owl noises and catch
spiders like she? No one that’s who!
Meanwhile I have mastered the spoons, I know you have all
been waiting with excited anticipation but I did it, I got two big spoons,
clacked them off my knee and can now do the whole of the song ‘Seven Tears’ by
the Goombay Dance Band….on the clacky spoons, Ashley accompanies me with a
tambourine, we are thinking of starting a band. I am thinking of organising a
three thousand seater venue or even Wembley for the first night, but suppose I
should extend my repertoire to more than one song.
I never knew I was that musical.
My late night shows at Late and Live and Spank have been
awesome, and the Late and Live gig has become quite a story as a skinny blonde
girl from Oxford threw a stool at me as I walked on stage and challenged me to
a fight, now as you all know I have been waiting years to beat a skinny
Oxbridge bedwetter to death with a three legged seat, but I declined and let
her live, we do need more law students and god forbid she doesn’t get to ski
this winter. The audience band there feet shouting “kill her Janey” but I
didn’t, she got thrown out and I never hit her coz am a feminist.
The fringe is in full swing but why don’t other flyerers
know not to try to get people with venue passes on to buy a ticket for their
interesting play about a one eyed boy on a boat? I don’t know?
There are amazing plays on and I try to go see them, I did
go see Tony Tanners one man show ‘Charlatan’ at Assembly on the mound and it
was stunning, just an awesome piece of theatre.
The other good news is, the flat
has a juicer and am devouring six carrots, four apples and some organic ginger
every day in a glass; soon I will be eating aubergine paste, starting a macramé
class and offering wheatgrass workshops to the women who love cats and croc
So if you are reading this and coming to the fringe come see
me at The Pleasance Dome at 7pm every night till end of August.
Ok, I know the blog is late…do you know what I have been
doing? Well basically loads of shows and high jinkery at night here at the
Right, so we had to cancel the kids show as Ashley got a
virus and the rumour that I stood on a baby wasn’t true in the least! But the
show was great fun and people brought in babies everyday…just babies…and a few
smaller kids, so it was hard to entertain kids when babies were wandering the
stage. Ashley ended up on the floor every day with small sticky babies crawling
all over her.
The kids show got good reviews and MY ONE WOMAN show The
Godley Hour has had two FIVE star reviews and ONE four star review!
Though am happy doing my thing it has to be said that
Edinburgh fringe has changed…dramatically, it’s no longer about people going to
see a wee show in a small venue, its all about EVERYONE going to see people
they have watched on telly. It’s heartbreaking as many small theatre shows,
comedy gigs and amazing interesting shows aren’t getting an audience as the big
telly comics are hoovering up the crowds.
Most people I meet are very despondent, not negative but
just gloomy as they cant get people to take a punt on an unknown show anymore,
people on the street ask “have you been on the telly?” and if they don’t
recognise your face they don’t want to come to the shows.
That aside, me and Ashley are pretty exhausted and because
we are in someone else’s flat for the fringe we are covered in bruises, as we
keep whacking our elbows and arms off door handles and unfamiliar furniture…I
look like a battered wife!
Husband isn’t here with us and I miss him dearly. He is
right to stay away as he is bored with Edinburgh. Everyone gets bored,
especially with flyerers coming at you in droves shoving their flyers into your
face…it cant daunting but be kind to them, they are doing their job!
The weather has been either really warm or BATTERING rain
which scatters the tourists into shop fronts, the good thing about the rain is
that it stops clutches of Italians from standing 13 deep on the small cobbled
pavements of Edinburgh’s ancient streets and making us all nearly get flattened
by a tour bus as we try to go round them and fall into the busy road.
Why cant tourists just go single file? Why do they have to
stand in an annoying circle on a tiny sidewalk and open a big map and point at
the skyline? The good news is, I kick my way through them. It doesn’t make me
popular but it makes me happy!
Ashley has been a blessing and makes me laugh; she looks
after me and keeps sending me for a nap when I do late night gigs. I have done
Late and Live at 2am and am doing Spank at 2am soon…fuck I am tired.
I also realised that I am the most ethnic person at the
fringe; I am THE ONLY white, working class, uneducated, Scottish woman over 40
doing comedy! Surely a grant will be allocated my way soon?
So life is hard work and good fun the crowds coming in to my
show have been awesome and I am humbled at the return business every year after
year, I thank thee all from the bottom of my wee Scottish heart!
Come see me at Pleasance Dome beside the upside down purple
cow in Bristo square every night at 7pm…I will make you welcome.
You'll find people from all over
the world at the Fringe from all different backgrounds, races and creeds. But
one of the most noticably absent ethnic minorities is the over-40 white working
class woman, as Janey herself observes.
Her distinctive Glaswegian voice is always a
welcome breath of fresh proletarian air in the middle-class fog and her
informal, chatty style gives her performance an intimacy lacking in so many
comedians who desperately want to be somebody or something.
However, distinctive voice or not,
you still need to be funny. And Janey is. Very funny. Perhaps especially so for
the older members of the audience. A few of the students present may not have
had the life experience to fully appreciate her wicked and hilarious insights
into every day existence.
Her performance might have the
appearance of being off-the-cuff but the material is wonderfully observed.
After another brilliant show this
year I'm left wondering why the mainstream non-Scottish media have not more
fully embraced her. I'm guessing its something to do with age, gender and
accent. It certainly isn't down to her lack of talent.
In an era when so many piss poor
comedians are commissioned to put piss poor shows on TV, it seems an act of
wilful ignorance that she has not been invited to bring her wit and wisdom to a
wider UK television audience.
In an era of bland and faux-shocking comedians, Janey is a true revolutionary
delivering raw, unpretentious comedy at its best
Star Rating* * * * * Janey Godley - Godley Hour 5th August - 30th August Queen Dome, 19.00
So we are in Edinburgh. It took one big car move to do so;
Ashley seems to have moved everything she owns to the mews house we rented.
The place is awesome I have to say, though it’s full of
antiques and expensive art work and there are two Samurai swords on a table in
the hallway, just in case one of us develops schizophrenia and goes mad on the
Royal Mile and slashes a big troupe of amateur actors, which can happen.
Our first day here we got the flat organised, we got the flyers
and posters in and we checked out the venue. My venue at the Pleasance Dome was
all up and running, I couldn’t really see my posters anywhere but I always get
paranoid about that. Meanwhile, there are GIGANTIC posters of some comics off
the telly gracing the main area up at Bristo Square, I was sorely tempted to
draw big moustaches and colour in teeth but refrained.
Edinburgh council now charge you per poster that goes up on
their precious boards across the city, which makes me insane. I know they have
to monitor the amount of posters that go up, but the charges are ludicrous. It
means only the big named acts with a TV presence can afford to do this,
therefore the smaller shows in smaller rooms will suffer.
Comedy is big business, there are now career comedians who
decided on comedy as a chosen path, they get a technique, they get a big agent,
they get some decent writers and they get on with job of being famous.
It isn’t an art anymore; it’s a ‘career’ its much like the
way some pop bands are packaged and presented, it doesn’t come from the heart,
it doesn’t come from treading the small rooms above a pub, it isn’t honing a
deep need to voice your words, it’s all about the ability to be young, fresh
and getting your face on telly. Good on them, but it does feel hollow at times,
when you see clones and clones of skinny blokes in an interesting Trilby hat or
with hair that looks raped running about the stage all saying much of the same
thing! Then again we had a swathe of blokes in working class togs all being
Billy Connolly for a decade, so its swings and roundabouts all round.
So, all that aside I am enjoying the festival, my first
comedy show had a reviewer in which was scary for me as I hadn’t actually wrote
or performed the show up till that point. That will teach me!
The kids show has been very eye opening for me, firstly
babies love comedy shows, they like to crawl around the stage on their belly
and small kids either LOVE singing or LOVE screaming…who knew?
Ashley and I have been on a steep learning curve with that
situation, but she loves kids and it shows, though it is hard to entertain kids
when a baby is choking on a wooden spoon you gave it to bang a drum with.