There is an old Scottish saying ‘Ne’er cast a cloot till May
is oot’ which means don’t throw off warm clothes until the month of May ends
and how true it is.
I have been in London for a few days and the weather was bitterly
wet and cold. I decided I needed a warm hat as I left my tawny Tammy bonnet
behind in Glasgow.
The shops on Kensington High Street were full of spring
flowers, mannequin’s semi naked in strapless frocks and giant photo images of
young women lying beside rivers in a sunhat and see through top. I want to know
who these people are and what country do they retailers actually think they are
in? AND who decides that ‘spring’ is a time for flip flops and bra-less gypsy
tops? NOT in the UK it isn’t…and never has been to my knowledge….we are damn
lucky we get enough sun in the middle of July for that type of fabric and
fashion and even then it only lasts about three days maximum!
I needed a bloody woolly hat to stop my scalp from freezing
off Shackelton – style, the ice cold wind blew the dustbins right onto the main
road and the bus stop at Kensington Palace looked like it was hosting a Chinese
fan dance as women spun gaily coloured umbrella’s around as they tried to pop
them back into shape. The rain slashed sideways at the tourists who stood
beside the huge poster outside GAP of a young woman in a cotton bikini blinking
against the sun!
I went into every single major retailer along that busy road
and NOT ONE of them sold a woolly hat. They had tiny cotton dresses with
spaghetti straps, they had brightly coloured cotton wraps to wear on a beach,
they had white linen shorts and pink tasselled sandals, and they had straw hats
and baby pink cotton hats, but nothing with wool or anything that would be
warm. I stomped out angrily into the biting wind and rain.
Finally I found a stall on wheels next to the park that sold
tacky Union Jack crap, and London street signs on tee shirts…you know what I
mean… and bought a woolly hat from the man who didn’t speak a word of English
but at least he understood our weather system. It snugly fitted my head, kept
my ears warm and made me happy! Then I went back to H&M and bought a
strappy dress for my visit to LA in June as that’s the ONLY place I could be
hot enough to wear it.
London had been awesome, I did a wee gig in Kingston and
Michael McIntyre came along and did 6 minutes, it’s a great wee gig, they had
the famous American comedian Robin Williams there one night trying out new
stuff. They tend to get really big names turn up to do a few minutes to try out
I also managed to record the pilot of my radio show for
radio 4 and that was great fun, it seems to take forever getting things done
but I am happy we got it down now.
I am off soon to Canada to do the gigs at Yuk-Yuks comedy
clubs in Toronto, am excited and bringing my woolly hat and strappy dress just
to cover all bases of weather!
Life is happening all around us
Except in my niece Ann Margaret’s house where the hamster
has died. Wee Abi aged 6 was distraught, she donned a big pair of black
sunglasses, clutched a single daisy and clattered downstairs in cheap childish
girly high heels and stood mourning at the burial of the hamster. She did a
whole big Betty Davis performance of anguish and pain, before throwing herself
onto the freshly turned earth screaming “I miss you baby”
Julia aged three merely shrugged and said “don’t worry it
will be back” in a voice that suggested she may dig it up and place it’s rotten
corpse on Abi’s bed in a Godfather-esque way to warn her off from touching
Julia’s chunky glitter crayons.
The minute the girls were dragged upstairs Ann Margaret
looked out the window and spotted a fox dragging the dead hamster away between
its sharp teeth, leaving behind a gaping hole and a mangled daisy.
Life in my house is fine…I had my one woman show at Tron
Theatre; it was a sell out and was good!
Probably sold out due to the fact that lovely Simon Pegg had
tweeted and tweeted info about the show- the man is not only Scotty in Star
Trek- he is a GOD in GODLEY world for doing that.
This weekend I am presenting an award at the Scottish
Variety Awards and on Monday am off to London for meetings and recordings
etc…so life is just chugging along.
Ashley and I are excited about our kid’s show we are doing
at Edinburgh Fringe. I am still off the fags and happy as hell about that.
Husband took me shopping to the giant retail park Silverburn
and did the ‘man’ thing where he took off at a tangent in the direction of
electronic shops as they don’t annoy him he despised clothes shops.
It’s just a thing he hates, just wandering like a lost soul
between rows and rows of ladies tops make him grumpy and me punchy.
I spotted a neon yellow/black checked funky dress that I
thought Ashley would love; it had wee puff sleeves and a swirly skirt at the
I bought it, took it home, pulled it out the bag and said
“this is like something out of Glee; you know the lead girl always wears kooky
clothes? Well you might like this”
Ashley actually screamed and said “that is hideous and may
incite epilepsy in folk, what the fuck made you think I would wear that God
awful horrible frock?”
I made it her put it on and I took photos, she looked either
Punk Amish or neon Little House on The Prairie- either way it was totally
insidious. Its official I am not a Personal Shopper with unique taste and
style, I am a middle aged mum with no sense of colour/fabric/style.
I also bought myself a dress in clingy fabric the colours of
a battered parrot- there are slashes of bright green, yellow- with red dots,
Ashley said it looked like someone had vomited up a clown onto bri-nylon.
When I tried it on the wrap around front over emphasised my
breasts to the point where it was basically ‘reader’s wives’ for inner city
I realise that this might be the onset of my menopause, some
women get flushes, I get colour blind and the added bonus of the fashion sense
of Sue Pollard.
Been a strange week as usual, me and Ashley attended the
Woman of Influence ball at the Hilton Glasgow. Ashley loved it- she normally
hates these things and says stuff like “Mum, this is like that film Cocoon all
these old people are waiting to scoop my youthful soul out” but this event was
actually lovely and we are both at The Scottish Variety Awards this coming
Friday as I am presenting an award there.
Am still off the fags, don’t want to talk about it too much
as no doubt I will fall off the non smoking wagon again and look like a dick.
The Glasgow Comedy Festival has been going great guns and I
saw some cracking comics. My own show is this Thursday 25th at Tron
Theatre, am excited indeedy!
Been busy getting my posters done for Edinburgh Fringe, as
you all know I am doing two shows this year- a comedy myself and a kids show
with Ashley at the Pleasance Dome!
Ashley and I also have been up at my dads helping with his
garden, well I say helping, my dad just handed power tools and a rake to us and
buggered off inside! Ashley by the way is allergic to all flora, fauna and
trees…so her eyes were bulgy – yet she managed to trim hedges clear undergrowth
and pull down a big jaggy thing which we weren’t sure was a plant or a
thingy…it looked dead is all I am saying.
My job was to rake up all the dead shit and put it in a bag,
but every time I tried to lift it up small insects came flying, flapping and
diving at me so screaming and screaming was all I could manage. I hate
Dad is deaf so the screaming didn’t affect him and Ashley
was using a big power chopper and couldn’t hear me.
Then she stopped, screamed and pointed behind a big bush. I
ran over…”What is it?” I yelled.
“Mum, there is something down there with eyes, it looked at
me” she clutched her mouth in horror. She leaned over and pulled out a clay
figure of a squirrel with boggly woggly eyes that dad must have bought in the
garden centre years ago, it had fallen off the wall and lay in the hedgerow for
I didn’t manage to get all the dead leaves etc into bin bags
so decided to gather it all up into one big giant mess and declare it organic
waste which will over time somehow melt down into the grass…I know it can
happen I saw it once in a cartoon. Dad merely opened a hatch in the fence at
the bottom of the garden and shoved it all out onto the hill and it tumbled
down onto the dense woodland that is behind his house.
“That’s called recycling” he said and walked away quite
happy with himself.
People who get together at an event and hire an after dinner
speaker for a wad load of cash deserve a good night. I am not writing here to
berate the after dinner speakers circuit- I won after Dinner Speaker of The
Year and beat 9 men to the title. I like after dinner speaking, to me it’s a
way of doing comedy in a nice dress to people who normally wouldn’t come out to
a comedy club and hopefully giving them a taste for it.
What I have encountered is basically horrendous!
I am usually on with two other men, in suits, who get up
with a clutch of cards in their hands and launch into 30 minutes of old
material which is peppered with gross sexist, racist and unbelievably dull
comedy that they either got off the internet or swapped with another speaker.
The audience are usually full of nice business people who ask me things like
‘as a woman comic do you swear?’ but they don’t hesitate to laugh out loud at
the joke about ‘my mother only had two kids because she was told every third
child born is Chinese’ that the bloke read out of his hands.
Its seems to me that the after dinner speakers circuit is
alive with misogyny, despite me winning the top award- (that was down to the
audience in the hall that night – they voted for me – not the men in suits).
What amazes me is that I haven’t encountered one after
dinner speaker man who had written his own material, I believe that if you
‘own’ a joke or story and made it up yourself you wouldn’t naturally peddle
racist, sexist stuff. But because they get this crap material off other old
comics or the internet- they don’t seem to think its offensive as they know its
been told before over and over again- so to them it MUST be ok, if people keep
saying it and people keep laughing at it!
The other thing that stuns me is after dinner speakers are
usually professional men in a self employed capacity, they usually own a small
company – surely they know what is offensive, sexist and racist as in their
line of work? They must know that material that comes out of their mouth is
basically a sacking offensive and would have them in court with the equal
opportunities people if it was repeated by them in the workplace!
The majority of after dinner speakers are men who used to be
involved in sport, and they are usually the worst offenders of the sexist,
racist ancient material.
My gripe is this, people come to an event and are sometimes
faced with an after dinner speaker who spouts rot to them whilst dressed in a
nice suit, he eats their food, takes their cash and heads off, some people will
never want to listen to comedy ever again after that experience!
When I do after dinner speaking, I just do a comedy set and
tailor it to the event. Most times I don’t swear, I just do stand up comedy,
original, funny and relaxed without bullet points on cards to lead me through
the night. I make eye contact and tell funny stories that don’t involve hiring
prostitutes, or do material about how women hate men and wont give them sex, or
jokes about black people who can’t golf/ski or horse ride (really! – yes I have
heard that joke 6 times now).
So come on after dinner speakers, step up to the plate, stop
peddling other people’s jokes, stop being old school racists, throw down your
bullet point cards, loosen your tie, be innovative and create a comedy set
worth the two grand you demand from an event company! Be FUNNY!
Yes, it has begun and I love the festival in my wee home
town. Comedy is very much a Glaswegian thing; we just seem to be a funny bunch
of folk in Glasgow, which isn’t to say people from Dumfries, Hawick or
Prestonpans aren’t inherently funny, but well…are they? We in Glasgow are the
kind of people who can turn a queue at a bus stop into a comedy gig, and that
my friend is something I have never seen in London or elsewhere!
Last night I headed down to The Stand in Glasgow and watched
the amazing Benjamin Crellin, he is a Kiwi comic mate of mine from New Zealand
and Ben’s stuff always makes me smile from the inside out- very clever and
interesting comedy juice flows out of him.
There are heaps of big TV names coming to Glasgow and that’s
nice but it’s always good to go watch a comic who doesn’t have a huge profile
yet and you can be the first to say you say him/her in a basement gig in
The weather in Glasgow has been lovely actually; really
sunny but dry and cold, just the way I like it. I am still off the fags (I hear
you groan AGAIN!) yes, bloody again and this time I am also embarking on a keep
fit regime to help me lose weight and get my mojo back. I am carrying three
stones too much weight and no wonder I am always tired, it must be like
dragging 14 bags of potatoes on my skeleton every time I climb stairs!
I am currently getting everything ready for the Edinburgh
Fringe and am doing two shows this year, one is a kid’s show with my daughter
Ashley and one is my own comedy show at night. The sheer amount of form filling
is dementing for me- and don’t even start me on how many hundreds of pounds
each brochure entry needs, and how much every adverts costs, its basically a
big rip off by people who will always have a demand – probably never before
have you witnessed a rush to by advert space like there is with the Fringe
Brochures! No sales team needed to cold call and convince people they need an
advert! No, just a till and credit card machine that gobbles up the cash in
Edinburgh as the money comes rolling in.
Yet – I still do it every year. I do love the festival and I
enjoy it in stress free way other people get mad about. But then I am someone
who used to work 16 hours a day in a bar for 15 years so – working two hours a
day on two shows is basically a holiday!
Enjoy the Glasgow comedy festival and do come to the Tron if
you fancy a night out with me and my lovely audience. Janey
Been ages since I have been to Liverpool and my GOD it has
changed beyond some recognition- big flashy shops and a weird area just full of
expansive expensive shops like an LA mall or something. But it is lovely and
that’s cracking, though I don’t understand why building big concrete shopping
museums as a way of regenerating a city is helpful- but am not educated in
inner city regeneration, so what the hell do I know?
I am staying in lovely flash serviced apartments; it really
is so awesome-but the doors bother me. They are HUGE doors and all marbled
flooring throughout. The doors on my flat don’t have a chain or lock, just a
plastic card with numbers in indelible ink crudely scrawled over it, then
scored out and rewritten. You just hold the plastic card against the door and
it unlocks, so when I am in bed I worried I couldn’t lock my door, so I put a
metal grill pan handle I found in the massive kitchen (which is beautiful) and
balanced it on the handle so if anyone opened my door that metal handle would
clatter to the marble floor and alert me of the intruder. I thought of
balancing a big kitchen knife but that would have just given the intruder
something to attack me with.
Yes, I may be paranoid, but…as it turns out the two other flats
on the marble landing were inhabited by a big group of people who constantly
knocked, banged and slammed loudly each others doors from 7am in the morning.
To be fair, it’s not their fault that the doors
automatically slam loudly behind them, but the noise is like a gun going off
and at one point the doors slammed eight times in succession around 8am. The
vibrations of the door slamming knocked the grill handle onto the marble floor
and I nearly wet the bed.
After the 18th knocking and slamming of the doors,
I opened my door and asked the young lady if she could possibly try and not let
the big door banging happen as she entered the flat (how can she not hear it?)
and she agreed, walked in and let the door bang behind her. I conceded defeat
and tried to sleep as the noise of cannon fire door slamming continued. I
wonder why people who spend so much money on creating these flats didn’t sit
back and think, ‘Those doors slam loudly, they are bigger than normal doors and
the marble floors resonate the noise, maybe we should put something on the door
hinges to delay the closing like they do in hotels?’
They didn’t think that at all- they built giant shopping
I sound very moody, but I have been trying to sleep since
The new club in Liverpool is called Comedy hell (a strange
name) and it is really lovely. The seating is all fixed to the floor and the
bloke who runs it is delightfully lovely. The downside is some noise of the
upstairs bar’s music does leak into the room later on as the night wears on.
That is something that can be fixed but all in all it’s a
Just fix the doors please on the serviced apartments please?
Give us a chain to assure us of security, give us some gadget that stops the
giant doors from banging behind us and let me sleep?
So that was Liverpool, I headed home on the train to
Glasgow, which needed a first class upgrade as the train was mobbed. On £15 but
with no free tea or lovely free sandwiches, there was free nothing as the
catering bit was broke. But what we did get for free was a young bloke verbally
and possibly attacking a seven year old boy outside the toilets. I did
intervene, I did challenge him and it seems I couldn’t prove he was hitting the
boy. He didn’t like being confronted by me and sometimes when you get involved
with a bully and pull them up in public, they go away and beat their victims
more so in private.
“Don’t let the cat lick your eyelashes” my great niece Abi
There was no danger of me letting her evil cat near my face;
it has the temperament of Naomi Campbell on one of her hormonal days.
I have never known such a moody cat in my life. Seriously it
goes into attack mode from the far end of the hall when it sees me and it
regularly cuddles up to the kids then turns on them. It’s stopped using its
nails on them and basically boxes their wee cheeks with its pads…but the intention
is still there.
I do love going over to see Abi, Shaun and Julia but Myra
Hindley the cat always manages to have a go at me for no reason and I LOVE
CATS…yet it still resists my cat luring charms.
I think it’s slightly mental.
Anyway had fun seeing Ann Mags and the kids- their house is
always chaotic when I arrive and this visit was no different. Julia was doing
tumbles and banging her spine off the coffee table, Shaun was clattering all
over the hall with a ball and Abi was dragging the rabbit out of its hutch as
Bitey McStabby the cat was being all autistic and hissing at the light bulb.
Ann Mags (their mum) was in the kitchen fighting on the phone with the gas
people who apparently ‘broke into’ her house when she was out, they changed the
meter and left a note to say they had kicked in her door and changed the locks
and gave her new keys!
Yes, they can do that for no good reason…I was surprised
Hitler the Cat let them in the bloody door. So whilst she was screaming at the
gas people about her rights, the kids and all their animals took the
opportunity to go crazy when I was trying to calm them down. The rabbit was
banging on its cage door, the hamster was doing strange upside down tricks and
the doorbell didn’t stop with a stream of visitors for the kids.
I was exhausted just standing there watching it all.
In am off to London this weekend to do a gig at Shepherds
Bush Empire and then onto Liverpool to do two shows at Lenny’s comedy gig.
Travelling is my favourite thing but am tired and my hair is
going through its abstract period and my skin thinks I am fifteen and has
decided to have an acne breakout.
Good news is…I am off to LA in June to catch up with old
pals and meetings – I love LA more than I ever imagined I would. So am all
giddy with excitement.
I still have to get through all the process of organising my
Edinburgh Fringe shows, and perform at Glasgow Comedy festival on 25th
March at Tron Theatre in Glasgow (still tickets for sale) and the Soho Theatre
in London on April 29th/30th and 1st May.
Life is a wee bit mental but at least I don’t have Peter
Sutcliffe the Cat in my hallway waiting to slash me on my way to the loo.