Janey's Blogs - October 2007
Monday the 1st
of October 2007
Take Part in a WORLD WIDE Experiment
During the Edinburgh Fringe
2004 I wrote in chalk on the walls of Edinburgh my name Janey
It became a really well known piece of graffiti and now I am sending out a call to all the people all over the world who read my Blog to write Janey Godley in CHALK on any wall in your own city, home town or wherever you live -not an important civic building, I dont want to get in terrible trouble.
Please get a picture of it, preferably with you in the picture, make it as quirky or original as possible and email it to me on firstname.lastname@example.org tell me where you live and include your name on the email. Try if you can to make the picture reflect where you live!
I will then put it up on my website and I am trying to get as many pictures of as many people standing beside my name Janey Godley in chalk from all corners of the world. Please help me in this one? Pass it on if possible, get as many people as you can to make this my truly one off special photo exhibition.
Love Janey Godley.
Wednesday the 3rd
of October 2007
The Dog and the Doughnuts
Warm baked bread
always makes me think about the old bakery in Shettleston where I grew
The baker's shop
had a typical layout. It had loads of glass shelves with bread, cakes
and buns all on display and it had white coated shop assistants serving
The black and white tiled floor had a fine dusting of flour that always stuck to your plimsolls as you left the place. The smell was amazing; it was the concoction of dough, sugar and hot floury loaves emanating from its big ovens.
In the back shop you could hear the bakers shouting and going about their business, one of them occasionally coming through to the shop with a big wooden bread board loaded with loaves that he emptied onto one of the top shelves.
Mr Shaw was the head baker and I knew him as his daughter was a pal of mine. Sometimes he would let me come through the back shop where I would watch the people at work and gawp at the wonderful arrangement of cakes and see the mountains of dough all set out.
At times, he would let me taste some fresh bread. He would just rip a big crusty loaf with his floury hand and give it to me to put in my mouth, hot from the oven. To this day nothing has ever tasted so good.
On good days, he would hand me a big bag of doughnuts to take home to my mum for our tea. I would grab it, thank him and run outside and untie my dog Major from a lamppost and dangle the bag in front of him. He was a black and white mixed breed - somewhere between Alsatian and mongrel. I loved him.
He understood the sign and would jump up and down excitedly trying to snatch the bag with his teeth. He wanted a doughnut.
The bag was soaked in oil and sugar and made patches of transparency in the brown paper.
It was warm and
the sweet smell was so tempting that I would get halfway up the street
before I let go of the dog's leash and I would dip my wee hand into
the bag and I would pull out a big sticky roasting hot sugary doughnut.
It was fresh from the fryer and you could smell the oil. It would scorch my fingers as it mixed with the sugar and yet I would still stick it in my hungry mouth, burning my lips yet biting deep through the crispy sweet crust to the doughy middle and savouring every moment of it.
My dog Major would be watching me, his bright eyes staring hard, his black pointy ears right up high and the anticipation in his face making sure that I never missed any of his body language he wanted a doughnut and he wanted it right now.
His front paws would dance about as he sat on his hind legs, tapping out his impatience and wagging his tail on the dusty ground. I would smile in between mouthfuls and pull out a thick sugary ring and throw it to him.
The dog would catch it in his mouth but then let it drop; he would sniff it and poke it with his sharp dog claws till it was cool enough to eat.
He was never as
daft as me to go ahead and burn his own mouth.
I would be nearly finished and he would slowly lick his doughnut, and then he finally gobbled down the whole thing and then would lick all around his mouth and we would head off home.
Major would always
run into the front gardens to make his way up the street. He liked to
skulk and slip through the fences and sniff for other dogs, occasionally
barking to let me know here he was.
If I didnt shout: Here, boy! he would bark again till he got the sign that he knew I was there with him. It was a language we both knew without it being taught to us, dog and kid in harmony.
If anyone approached me to chat, the dog would dart through a fence like a wolf and prepare to attack with his hair all standing up jaggy and vicious looking.
If it was someone I knew, I would say, Its OK, Major, yet he would still stand and growl till they left. You never made many friends with the dog around.
People just accepted Major was an angry dog and often avoided me in case they had an encounter with him; I would notice how people would walk across the road if I was carrying a dog lead wrapped on my wrist.
I was never scared of him; he never once bit me or even growled at me. Most days he would jump on my bed, his sharp claws digging into my legs to get me up as he needed to go pee.
Major, go leave me alone, I would whisper, but he just scraped at the bed clothes till they were all clawed off.
Freezing cold winter
mornings would bite hard and both of us would be standing shivering
in the back court as he did the worlds longest pee.
Hurry up, Major, how can you pee that much? I would ask him.
His big brown eyes
would look scornfully at me as If he was annoyed that I was watching
Then he would dog scratch with his legs into the dirt to signify his toilet was finished and would dart across the white crispy frosted grass and sniff for stuff that dogs sniff for, whatever that was.
Come on, Major, it's freezing, I would moan as my teeth chattered; he would dart his head back to look at me, his eyes pleading for a few more minutes of outdoor dog freedom.
He would leap up into the bins for a quick sniff around, bark at a few pigeons, growl at anyone who happened to pass through the back courts and then run back to join me in the run upstairs to our flat.
He always beat me in that run. "You have four legs and I only have two!" I would often shout at him. But there he was standing at our door panting and almost laughing at me, with his tail wagging.
I would fall to my knees and hug him, rubbing his rough hairy coat and breathing-in his dog smell. He would turn and wriggle away.
a soppy, sentimental type of dog. He didnt much like contact.
Occasionally in the house, when the fire was roaring, he would snuggle up to me and then shuffle in front of the fire and lay flat.
His hair would be scorching hot and he would let me stroke it flat; sometimes he would extend a paw to me if I stopped, letting me know he liked being touched just sometimes only when it suited him.
I miss the dog.
Thursday the 4th
of October 2007
Tom McAnea was jailed
last this week for six years in Glasgow after being caught printing
millions of Euros and Sterling. Hologram Tam he was dubbed
by the Glasgow police, as he was an expert in his field.
Tam was known the world over for being the best in his business; he was a genius in his field. There was nothing that Tam couldnt reproduce, right down to the secure watermarks and fine paper that was needed to organise such a venture.
Tam is a good friend of mine and every poster or flyer I ever got made and previewed on this blog was made and printed at his now infamous print shop Print Link.
Tam is such a great raconteur; you could never get a job done in the shop for his funny stories.
Sometimes we would
end up in the local bar and Tam would hold court with his anecdotes.
I will miss him but I will go visit if I can and write to him.
It seems the local police have many pictures of the comings and goings of the late night shifts at Print Link and I am sure they must have some images of me, as I used to work in there late at night getting the posters designed. I dont care, as I knew nothing of the slab boys activities upstairs.
Many people reading this will assume that I sympathise with criminals but you have to remember I lived within a criminal family most of my married life and to me corporate crime is deemed less worrisome than violent evil acts.
To be honest I think Tony Blair is more of a criminal than Tam; he dragged our country into an illegal war. The authorities say that Tam would have destabilised the economy with his forged notes.
No more than our shit government are already doing with funding a war against the Iraqs as far as I am concerned.
I hope Tam has an easy time in prison and I know he will, as he was well loved within the criminal community and deserves the label genius, I just wish he had put his artistic talents into something more legal and was out on the streets contributing to the community.
I dont know who is going to make my posters for the forthcoming festivals, unless of course the prison had an art department and Tam can still take orders.
Monday the 8th of
Gigs and good fun
The Glasgow Stand
was an awesome gig on Friday, the place was crowded and the audience
were very appreciative. How nice to get such a reaction! It was great
to gig in my own fair city; I am off to Leicester next weekend to work
- back on the road.
I was off to the beautiful wee fishing village of South Queensferry,
the sunshine was sparkling off the water with the Forth Rail Bridge
in the distance, it was magical looking.
I was doing a wee bit to camera for a South Bank TV special on Scottish Authors. The producer asked me to wear black, which is easy for me as I hardly own any clothing in many other colours. The bad news is I managed to grow a huge spot on my chin just in time for my big TV appearance.
That always happens.
Saturday night and back at the Stand in Glasgow, the crowd was fabulous again. I so love live stand up. Its the best feeling in the world getting up on stage and having a great gig.
Woke up Sunday with
a stonking horrible headache. It almost debilitated me and I had to
go back to bed and cuddle up to husband. It was really annoying as the
sunshine was wonderful outside. I wanted to go out and enjoy the weather
but I couldnt bear to even face the light. This weather is awesome
just now; I love Scotland in the sunny autumn.
This week will be busy again, so lets chat later and if you guys are still up to writing my name Janey Godley in chalk on your home town and email it to me when you can. Thanks all.
Thursday the 11th
of October 2007
Baby Abi and Autumn Leaves
Went over to see
my favourite wee great-niece Abi, her wee sister Julia and big brother
Shawn, they are so cute. Shawn is ten, Abi is four and wee Julia is
one year old now and is almost walking about. They are the kids of my
niece Ann Margaret.
Abi is the funniest wee human being in the world and features on my videos, etc.
I walked into the hall and their nasty grumpy cat Squeak wrapped itself around my leg and purred loudly. This is highly unusual as Squeak is an evil grouchy cat that hates everyone and everything except shitting and eating.
Why is the cat nice? I asked Abi, as Squeak shoved its ass right up my leg. I suppose I should have guessed.
Well mummy says Squeak wants a man cat to kiss it so they can have kittens and when she is like this, she gets all cuddly, but only her bottom likes cuddles coz her head still bites you, Abi explained to me. It was clear to see that the evil cat was on the heat and was all horny; I was disgusted at her blatant sexual advances and tried to shake her off my leg.
I went through to the living room and wee Julia was standing holding onto a table, doing the wobbly leg dance and scaring the beejebus out of me as she almost knocked her eye on the corner of the sharp edges. I hate this baby stage when wee babies are practically suicidal and constantly crack their heads on floors and other household objects. Why cant we just wrap them up in bubble-wrap until they are three years old?
I walked out of the room for a minute and came back in to see Julia being ass rubbed by the evil cat. I yelped out loud as Julia appeared to be sticking pretend play money up the end that the cat was shoving in her face. the cat looked pleased and Julia was amazed that the cat was letting her near without trying to scratch her big blue eyes out.
Oh dear, I think plastic money has been shoved into the cat's nana." I explained to the babys mum Ann Margaret. "Julia has been sitting with her on the floor and thats what it looked like she was doing I am sorry.
Oh shit! Get her back from Paris Hilton the cat, Ann Margaret screamed and washed the babys hands and prised the plastic coins out of her wee chubby tight fist.
I got Abi dressed and took her out a walk to the local park. The sun was shining so bright and we both took our coats off and put them in the buggy. I decided to bring the babys buggy so Abi could get a wee push in it; she had to become a big girl at three years old when Julia was born, but she loves a push in the stroller occasionally.
The trees in the park were so beautiful with their autumn leaves all fluttering down and making a gorgeous carpet of red and gold on the pathways.
Look, Aunty Janey - the leaves are so pretty, let's collect some and make an autumn picture with glue when we get home, Abi gasped as she leapt from the stroller and started picking up armfuls of crispy leaves.
She stopped every second to show me yet another leaf: Look at this one, its so beautiful. Feel it, Aunty Janey. She held out yet another red leaf with awe and wonderment, like she had just discovered leaves for the very first time.
Her wee face was a picture; she truly loves nature and flowers. We approached the lake and she leaned round in the stroller to look up at me and shouted: Remember I fell in the lake last time it was summer?
Yes, I do remember: you scared the hell out of us all. Why did you fall in? I asked.
Well, I thought I was at the side and then I looked down and just fell over and my head went in first and the water tasted like fish. Her wee cute face and lispy mouth were so animated; she has amazing big brown eyes and the curliest hair, she is stunningly cute is our Abi.
Well I am glad you were OK, I told her and we pushed onto the swing park.
Just then a squirrel ran in front of us and stopped dead in our path, its bushy fine tail twitched and it looked at Abi. Hello wee squirrel, come here so I can see your cute wee face and give you a kiss, Abi beckoned the wee animal, but is scampered into the bushes.
You cant touch squirrels, Abi, they have sharp claws, I explained.
I know but their wee faces are my favourite faces on anything - they have really cute faces, not like swans they have angry faces and mice have sharp faces - ducks have silly faces and pigeons have cheeky faces, but squirrels have the nicest faces and I just want to kiss them, she told me in one big long torrent of a sentence.
You forget how toddlers explain every emotion and theory that they have very openly; it's so refreshing to be with her; she tells you everything she feels, smells sees and hears each and every moment it happens. Kids have a running commentary of their landscape and feelings!
We finally made it home and Abi took the leaves upstairs to show her mum every leaf separately and explained the exact spot where we found each leaf; poor Ann Margaret was exhausted. Abi talks more than me.
Then Shawn arrived from school. Wee baby Julias whole face lit up when she saw her big brother come into the room: she immediately dropped everything she was trying to shove into her mouth and threw up both arms at him.
Shawn, with all the expertise of being a big brother who has already nursed two babies younger than him, scooped her up and held her tight. Julia snuggled into his neck and sucked her thumb contentedly and closed her big eyes.
She promptly fell asleep as Shawn walked around the living room picking things up with his other hand; its amazing to see how deft he is with her. He sat down and settled her into the crook of his wee ten year old arms and kissed her head as she sucked away at her thumb snoozing. He pushed his spectacles up on his nose and cuddled her as he watched kids TV and stroked the babys head. He was completely nonplussed at having a kid sleep on him as he fiddled with the remote control and continued gently stroking the baby, like he was born to nurture.
Abi clambered over Shawn; she too is his baby sister and demanded his attention; he simply opened up his other arm and let Abi snuggle in there as he watched cartoons and kissed the two wee girls' heads. He looked like a wee man sitting there. It doesnt seem that long ago I was bottle feeding him and pushing him in the pram. He has grown up so quick since the girls arrived.
It makes you feel old watching them all grow up so quickly.
I had a great day in the sunshine, but have to stop reminiscing about babies as it makes me broody. Ann Margaret always laughs when I say this and promises to give me all three of her kids for a week and see how that sorts my broody hormones out.
I would have them in a minute, but not the hormonal cat - that she can keep.
Tuesday the 16th
of October 2007
Asians in Scotland and Racism
I was gigging with
a lovely Asian comic, Inder Manocha. He is an amazing comic and wonderful
man and when we spoke backstage about Asians and Scottish peoples
attitude towards them it made me recall when I was young.
I lived in Shettleston
in Glasgows East End and, in the 1960s, we had many small Asian
shops but no Asians actually lived there, they only worked in the area.
There was a small shop at the end of the street and they were a lovely
family. Aslam was the father and he had a wee boy called Khalid and
he was my friend. Back then people in Glasgow were racist by nature;
they would often look down on Asians and be openly racist.
My mammy was friends
with many of the Asian shopkeepers as she ran so much credit and debt
through her own poverty and relied on the shopkeepers good nature, yet
she would still call them Pakis to me, I hated that she
Anyway Khalid and I used to play outside at football and if we ever kicked the ball and it hit some man Khalid was always incredibly polite and would shout: Sorry Sir, and apologise profusely and that would annoy me. He was being so subservient to these men who would shout: Fucking watch it, Paki, and I would hate them for their rudeness.
One time I felt so sorry for Khalid as he seemed lonely and not many people played with him. I invited him up to my house to play and he quickly said, No.
Why wont you come? Are you not allowed? I asked, I was worried he thought he might not be treated properly or was mistrustful.
You have nits and lice - thats what my dad told me - and I am not really allowed to play with you, he replied. I was taken aback as I always thought he was slightly disadvantaged and wouldnt mind and, because I was white, everything about my poverty would be overlooked because he was Asian and needed all the friends he could get! I was aghast! I was being typically racist, as I was taught to be by my peers, and never thought to look past it all; but I was only nine years old.
Weeks later, we met up and he was carrying a bag with photos in to take to his grandmother.
He showed me a photo
of him in his school uniform. It was a posh-looking uniform and he was
standing beside a mansion.
It that your school? I asked.
No, thats my house he simply replied.
You see, most of
the Asians in Glasgow were really hard working and quite rich. They
worked in the poor areas but they lived in amazing houses on the other
side of the city and drove fancy cars, yet Glaswegians would always
look down on them as if they were better because their skin was white!
Glasgow has changed, though racism still exists; people seem to be less accepting of other cultures since 9/11 and the rise of radical Muslims. I hope it changes. I wonder how my old mate Khalid is now.
Wednesday the 17th
of October 2007
Ashley got drunk
The other night
Ashley came home late from University, she was roaring drunk.
She had been out
with some guys from class and drank Tequila.
I was sitting happily watching TV and the giant stumbling daughter from hell arrived. She banged every door in the house and started speaking very posh, which is a sure sign of being drunk.
Mama, I am
in the hall and I am absolutely tip top, she shouted in some mock
middle class accent.
Not only was she drunk but she was speaking like Hugh Grant.
Great! I said sarcastically to husband who smiled and gestured his acceptance of the situation by spreading open his arms and saying, Well she is 21 years old.
Ashley threw herself onto the sofa, reeking of smelly alcohol and proceeded to eat the baked potato leftovers that were lying on my plate. She dropped potato all down her legs and I demanded she get to bed.
She laughed like a maniac and headed off to her room, making enough noise to wake up the entire block of flats. She knocked over the drying frame which was full of wet washing, so my damp jumper landed in the recycling box amongst the sticky plastic pop bottles.
She fell asleep. I kept her door open so I could check she wasnt going to choke on her vomit, as this haunts me; I knew a few people who died of this when I was young.
Next morning, I was awoken by the sound of her retching into a plastic bucket I had placed beside her bed.
Mum! she cried through the vomiting noises. I went into her room and she was laying half out the bed, damp with sweat and trying to tie up her masses of dark hair that were threatening to land amongst the yellow bile in the bucket.
I did the good mummy thing and held up her hair and sponged her back with a cold cloth and she retched up more yellow stuff.
I am sorry, mum, she mumbled as her body heaved over and over to get a teaspoonful of yellow bile out of her alcohol poisoned stomach.
I spent most of the day checking her, sponging her, washing out a vomitty bucket and encouraging her to sip some water that bounced straight back up out of her trampoline-like dodgy tummy.
By teatime she was starting to come round, her body had sweated and vomited out most of the Tequila and she managed to keep down a glass of water.
I am never getting drunk again! she declared. Her white face and huge hollow eyes looked like she meant it. Probably she will, but I hope she never gets that sick again.
Friday the 19th
of October 2007
A real ghost story
This really happened,
I have spent years thinking about it and every time I recall it, it
makes me feel creepy, scared and sad.
Back in 1985 I was pregnant and very ill. I developed some weird sickness that meant I could not hold down any food during the pregnancy and I almost had to consider terminating the baby. Luckily I didnt and my daughter came through the foetal trauma and is wonderful.
Anyway, the night I want to talk about happened one early evening when I had such a big argument with my husband. I really wasnt fit for fighting or walking out to the dusky streets in a strop but I did it anyway. It was something I did quite a lot in those days. I just simply walked out.
My husband had pissed me off beyond belief and as it was such a hot summer night I decided to walk along by the River Clyde.
I didnt really like the river as my mother had been thrown in its murky water years before and had died that spring night of 1982 at the hands of her violent boyfriend.
I always felt odd looking at the dirty water, as I often pictured her rotting corpse floating about amongst the reeds. I do have a very vivid imagination but what happened that summer night of 1985 will stay with me till I die.
I had walked right down to the dockside. It used to be a busy industrial place but, now that the shipyards had closed down, it was just a dirty broken place where old drunks hung out on the rusting decks and corroded pontoons that used to serve the giant ships.
It started to get dark and the summer sun had dipped beyond the massive metal bridges on the river and left a strange red striped pattern on the flat water near the old shipyard. Minutes later, the whole area went dark as the sun slipped of to the West. There were not many street lights down at the dockside. The local council had tried to make the place look presentable by planting loads of trees, hedges and thick bushes but that only served to hide rabbits and a few city foxes that would raid the bins.
I sat down feeling nauseous on a bench that had green crackled paint and deep gouges of graffiti cut into it, making the seat scratchy and uncomfortable, but I needed a rest.
I watched the water move slowly, my eyes trying to focus into the darkness. There were some pools of light from the orange street lamps that lit up various spots along the water side, but only sporadically as many of the lights were broken.
Empty beer cans and fag ends littered the pathways illuminated in the freakish-looking orange light, bushes rustled and I could hear moans coming from various points along the walkway from drunks who had taken refuge amongst the undergrowth.
I didnt feel
unsafe or scared. This was my city and drunks arent always dangerous.
Most are just friendly and like a chat. We owned a bar at that time
and drunks were my constant companions. I knew how to handle them.
Behind me, I heard the foliage move; twigs were being broken underfoot. I turned to see who was coming behind me but, in the darkness, it was hard to see what was there. I assumed it was a fox and dismissed it. I sat there fighting the need to vomit.
The noise stopped and I focussed back on the river, sitting there in my own thoughts again. Still feeling angry and sick at the same time, I went over the fight with my husband in my head. We never stopped fighting. We always argued. And, now that I was pregnant, I wondered what the hell I was going to do with my life. I got lost in my thoughts and just then I felt someone brush past me from behind. It was a slight feeling, as if my hair was being touched and my neck was slowly getting warm.
I got startled and turned round.
There was no-one there, yet I could hear movement around me. I stood up and saw something just out of the corner of my vision. It was like a very small person or a child crouching down and running into the deep bushes beside the bench.
I wondered who the hell would have a child out at this time of night and why the hell it was running into the thick hedges. I looked around for an adult who might have been with the toddler, but there was no-one around.
Hello! I shouted in the direction of the bushes, but no sound came back.
My stomach flipped at that point and I threw up on the path, just retched and watched as yellow bile splattered all over the gravelly ground. I was used to the burning yellow liquid that often came up from my throat without warning. I hated this pregnancy.
My eyes smarted and I sat back down. I forgot about the child in the bushes and held onto my tummy. My forehead was clammy and I really wanted to go to bed now. I decided to get up and head for home.
I walked a few steps and heard more movement amongst the greenery. This time I stopped and looked behind me along the darkened pathway. Nothing was there. I spun round and looked ahead No-one was on the walkway that I could see. I looked towards the river and nothing moved. I stood on tiptoes and tried to peer over the bushes towards the deserted streets that lined the docks Nothing No sound of cars or people that I could hear anyway.
I stood for a few moments and I heard a child cry out. This alarmed me, so I leaned down to where I thought the noise was coming from and there, amongst the dense leaves, I could see a small dark-haired child crouched down on his haunches. I could only see the top of the childs head.
Hello, are you OK? I spoke quietly.
It must be a lost kid One of these drunks has brought a kid down here and its got lost, was all I could think.
The head moved, the face came up and there sat a dirty wee round faced boy.
His eyes looked very dark and his skin was dirty. I couldnt quite see his features, it was so dark. He stood up and he was about three feet tall and with one filthy hand he beckoned me to follow him into the hedges.
I knew I couldnt go in with him as the bushes were too thick and there was no way I could get my body in between the labyrinth of branches.
Are you OK? I repeated. He looked at me and put out both of his hands. He outstretched to me and I put out my arms to help him out of the tall, thick hedge. He stopped halfway, so I leaned forward to get him and encourage him to come out. Just then, I looked at his face and he was looking past me, as if there was someone behind me. I immediately looked round and there stood a tall man, watching us.
I suddenly got scared and stepped back onto the path to face him. He was drunk and holding a can of beer.
Are you OK, missus? he asked me.
His breath could have stripped paint.
The sheer smell of booze made me want to retch again.
Is this your child? I snapped at him and pointed into the bushes. How dare he stand there and watch me try to get this scared kid and not help, I thought to myself.
I never took my eyes off him, just in case he did turn nasty.
It was a dark, isolated place and I was there with a small child in the bushes. Not an ideal situation.
No, I dont have any kids, missus, he answered and then added: Are you OK? You were falling into the bushes.
I turned to see if the child was OK and not scared of the drunken man, but there was no-one there. He must have disappeared under the branches, I thought to myself.
Hello there! Are you OK? I shouted out to the kid.
There isnt anyone there, the man said.
Yes there is: it was a wee boy and I was trying to help him out, I answered angrily.
The drunk man stepped back and looked at me, then laughed: You were standing there on your own; you had your arms out and you were falling into the bushes.
I wasnt falling! I was helping out a wee boy, I spat at him. And you scared him!
I started to think I was going mad. The man kept trying to assure me I had been standing there alone. He was drunk. What the hell did he know? My stomach heaved and I vomited again in front of the tall, smelly man.
He reached over and patted my back: You dont look well, take a seat. He spoke with genuine concern.
I sat down and wiped my mouth. Look, I am telling you there was child in those bushes and he was coming out and then you came along. I spoke quietly as I clutched my stomach.
At that moment, the bushes rustled again and out stepped the wee boy. His dark hair and dirty clothes were now clearer to see. He had no shoes on and his skinny legs were all scraped and bloody looking. The boy simply looked at us both and walked away towards the docks. The man gasped and put his beer can down. We both got up to follow the boy but within seconds he was gone. He simply vanished into the darkness. He wasnt on the pathway at all. We both turned on our heels and peered into the dimly-lit dockside in every direction.
We both called out into the dockside. We walked up and down a few yards in opposite directions, passing each other on the dense dark gravel path, both wildly looking about for the small boy.
He was nowhere to be seen. I sat down, exhausted, and put my head in my hands.
You saw him, right?
I needed reassurance that he, too, had watched a child disappear. It wasnt just me. And I wasnt pregnant and insane.
Aye, I did see him. He was about five years old, eh? He didnt have any shoes on, did he? The man spoke with both arms outstretched, looking as bewildered as I felt.
Out of the dense darkness, two men started walking towards us. They were slightly stumbling and drunk-looking. One was carrying a plastic bag with clinking bottles of Buckfast wine. I could see the familiar gold bottle tops peep out of the carrier bag. This wine was popular with hardened drinkers in Glasgow; it was cheap and very potent. The other man had thick bushy unkempt hair and he was swigging beer from a can with every step he took.
How you doing, Frank? asked the taller of the two drunk men to the man who was standing with me.
Bobby, did you see a wee boy in his bare feet run towards you? Frank, my new friend, asked.
No, why the fuck would a wee boy be out this late in bare feet, Frank? Bobby asked. Its almost three in the morning.
The Bushy haired man slumped onto the bench. He was more inebriated than I initially suspected.
The man on the bench spoke quietly: Its the wee black faced boy, he is a ghost. He comes out in the night. A few of us have seen him in the bushes and he always tries to get you in there. Nobody believed me when I saw him. He just runs about in his bare feet then disappears.
We all turned to stare at him.
Thats crap! I shouted. We both saw him and he was a real boy! I was annoyed at myself for standing on the dirty dockside arguing with drunk men about ghosts. What the hell was I doing here?
I am off, I said. I have had enough. Thanks for helping me, Frank.
I gathered up my bag and headed along towards the dimly-lit roadside where I could maybe catch a cab back to the East End.
I didnt bother to look back. I no longer cared about some mysterious wee boy. I ignored the men who were debating ghosts and wee black boys. My head was spinning, I felt sick and I was physically exhausted now.
I spotted a taxi in the distance on the lonely road with its orange light breaking the darkness. Thank goodness, I thought, I spend enough time with drunk men in that bloody bar. What the hell am I doing out this late? My husband will be worried and I need my bed.
The cab stopped, let me in the comfy warm back seat and did a U-turn to take me back along the road. I sat down, enveloped in the heat, and looked out towards the River Clyde. I could see the silhouette of Frank, Bobby and the other drunk man standing beyond the hedges as the taxi prepared to head off.
Just then, at the bottom of the bushes something caught my eye. I tried to focus as the taxi was moving off and there I saw a wee dirty faced boy crouched down low and waving at me. He smiled, his teeth so bright against the grubby skin of his face. Then he just faded back amongst the leaves. Right in front of my eyes, he just disappeared.
I clambered on the taxi seat, turning around and kneeling, looking backwards in case he reappeared.
I never saw him again. I went home and dragged my sorry sick body into bed. Husband lay holding me tight. He had been walking the streets looking for me and had been frantic. We promised never to argue again.
But I wasnt really listening. I was lying in the darkness of my bedroom still seeing in my minds eye the wee black-faced boy who lived in the bushes.
Monday the 22nd
of October 2007
Aberdeen & Wombles
I had a hectic weekend.
I went up to Aberdeen as I was performing my one woman comedy show at
The Lemon Tree club/theatre which is an awesome space to do comedy in.
I got an early train up and checked into a hotel just on the outskirts
of the main city centre as I figured that would be quiet. No it wasnt
quiet. As I checked in, there was a huge big Cockney accented family
form London all screaming and fighting with each other at 11 am in the
There were kids, mums, dads, fat women, baldy fat men, skinny screeching young women, spiky haired drunk loud young men ... all having a big barney in the main reception.
They were running
in and out of the hotels main bar, sloshing beer and vodka around in
glasses as they took part in the debacle. (They didnt dare leave
their drink unattended, incase someone else downed it).
Nice! I thought to myself as I now imagined my quiet Friday afternoon spent by the swimming pool would no longer exist.
I went into the main bar/restaurant to get lunch. The hotel was quite secluded and I dont drive, so I thought a swim then lunch should be a good set up for my show that night.
I managed to sit through eating fish and chips whilst the din of Cockney screamers went on, apparently they were all attending a family wedding at the hotel he next day.
I am sure it was
lavish classy affair that I would have to miss as I left for Glasgow
the next day.
Despite the noise and madness I made it to The Lemon Tree that night and the show went great. I did one hour and forty-five minutes onstage! I had great fun and the audience were lovely.
I slept well that night and travelled home the next day by train, watching the beautiful Scottish countryside show off its spectacular autumn display from the train window.
Saturday night in Glasgow, I was lying in bed trying to sleep about 1 am, but there was noise beneath the windows and I couldnt quite work out what was going on. I leaned up and opened my window and looked down and there was a young man pulling stuff out of my garbage bins. I am three floors up but the noise was really loud as he pulled stuff onto the concrete. He leaned down and started picking stuff out of my refuse collection and was shoving it into a bag.
I know that people can steal your identity by collecting your paper bills and info, but we shred everything and recycle all our shredded paper, so that wasnt concerning me. What did bother me was the sheer amount of noise and mess he was creating.
He moved on and started in the bin shelter across at the next flats. He was like a mad dog pulling rubbish out and throwing it over his shoulder and scurrying through all the discarded refuse that had been tied up in bags and was now scattered all over the car park.
I decided to call the police: either he was a mental patient who really needed help or he was the worst and most indiscreet identity thief in Scotland.
I sat at my window and watched the police car arrive. Now I dont like the police and hate calling them on anyone, but I started to have real concerns about this young guy; he was manic in his search and the noise was getting the neighbours at their windows.
The police simply brought him out of the bin shelter and chatted to him; they then put him in the back of the police car and shut the door as they went into the bin shelter.
They searched the big bag he had full of stuff. I hung out of my window and shouted down: Is there any paperwork in that bag?
The young police man shouted up: No, its just all rubbish to be honest. I think he has mental problems.
Or maybe he is a Womble, I shouted back down and the policeman laughed and waved as he drove off with the poor guy.
Wombles were animated characters on UK telly back in the 1970s. They wore big furry suits, looked like bears and they collected rubbish from other peoples bins and from local parks to recycle. They were a big family of Wombles and the kids who watched it loved their nice wee moral stories about not throwing away good working stuff and that recycling was the way forward. The Wombles were very advanced for their time!
I think I just got a Womble put in a police cell shame on me.
Joking aside, I hope the poor guy gets himself sorted; a mental illness where you are compelled to root through rubbish bins cannot be good for your health.
Wednesday the 24th of October
Kill the PC
I stared at the blank screen
on my laptop, it blinked and effectively died, right there in front
of me. A tight pain went in my chest, but then it blinked back on and
I quickly saved loads of my files and emailed them to myself. Then I
killed the pc by turning it off. I knew it would never come back on.
Thank fuck all my emails and videos are stored online, no more shit OUTLOOK EXPRESS to make life feel like it ran down a drain. I love my BT Yahoo whooo hooo!
I took the dead laptop
back to the shop where I had a fight about my ability to claim the insurance
- which resembled that scene with Al Pacino in Scarface when he snorts
too much coke and goes on a killing spree or that famous scene in Ben
Hur when Charlton Heston races a chariot and horses amidst blood and
The whole store came to a standstill as I had what I suspect to be my first ever hormonal menopausal flush. I sweated, screamed and even threw myself on the floor.
After a quiet lull, the manager assured me it would be fixed within 24 hours for free.
I am beginning to like this menopausal thing. Fuck, I must have looked scary. Husband (who was standing outside) said he could hear my incredibly funny insults come through the front doors as they swished open and shut as customers came in and out of the store.
He also added that when I left the place I looked like one of those women from the hit TV show TENKO, all dishevelled and traumatised.
Luckily, the PC was restored and returned to me. I love it .it looks better and runs faster than a cute kid being chased by Michael Jackson.
Now all I have to deal with is menopausal things.
From the beginning of the year I had a situation where, if I coughed, some pee came out. how awful is that? The last thing I need is to smell of piss.
You hit 46 and suddenly your pelvic floor muscles decide to go south. So, to remedy the situation, I have been doing a rigorous exercise plan of pelvic floor training. Now my muscles and pelvic floor are as strong and tight as a kettle drum. I even tried it out by coughing nope no pee there! I may open beer bottles with my vag as a new party trick.
I think husband may be impressed
Friday the 26th of October
Why do we Hate?
I am off to London this weekend,
just for a week of gigs down south. I am looking forward to it, I do
There is a distinct anti-
English feeling sometimes in Scotland; people can very rude about southern
cousins. Some people say to me: Thats a shame you have to
go to England to work, poor you - they are bastards, and I reply:
You are a racist, fucked-up nutter, now leave me alone!
It can work both ways, especially with the likes of Kelvin MacKenzie, the ex-editor of The Sun newspaper.
He relishes in his anti-Scottish speeches which he does in the press and on TV.
Mr MacKenzie said on BBC
TV show Question Time: "Scotland believes not in entrepreneurialism
like in London and the South East. The reality is that the Scots enjoy
spending it, they do not enjoy creating it, which is the opposite of
down in the South."
It seems people in London shout out in the street to him: Go Kelvin! Keep telling those Scots to fuck off!"
If people shouted out: Go on, tell those Pakistanis to fuck off, Kelvin! he would be charged with inciting racial hatred and quite rightly so! It seems OK to hate the Scots. But not all English people treat us this way.
As I say, it can work both ways and there is a deep undercurrent of anti-Englishness even in comedy clubs in Scotland. I hate it when Scottish MCs feel the need to tell an audience that the next act up is English some people boo and thats awful.
There is no point to explaining
their nationality in some disparaging way and offenders of this hate
crime need to be pulled off stage by the promoter, as far as I am concerned.
I have never had anti-Scottish feelings when I am performing in England. Sometimes there are a few boos when there happens to be a significant football match concerning Scotland that day football often brings hatred into a situation. But there has never been anything really obnoxious hurled at me about my nationality.
Hating a country because they are not your country or because they are a country beside your country it's just mental, especially as we are all supposed to be British!
Its the same with cities. Glaswegians are supposed to hate people from Edinburgh and vice versa I dont really understand it. Then it comes down to streets, people from one street being territorial about some other street next to it What the fuck is that about?
Gangs all stabbing each other because their post code is slightly different. Meanwhile the houses they live in are rented and at any minute they could get evicted and move to another street then start all over again wondering what to do with the tattoo that says Smith Street Gang Rules on their arms!
I dont have a conclusion to all of this as I am now slightly bewildered and am off to tattoo on my leg: I love Scotland and other countries, even Communist ones. That should take up some time.